Sprawling Resort with Beach Cottages Overlooking the Caribbean Sea
Puntacana Resort & Club is a world unto itself. Spread across the 15,000-acre property are three golf courses, six clay tennis courts, a shopping village, ecological reserve, and several restaurants. The resort’s Puntacana Hotel sites on a prized piece of real estate along 3 miles of private beach, where cabana-style cottages overlook the Caribbean Sea.
Guests staying in the casitas have access to all of the resort's attractions, which range from a petting zoo to the most popular draw, the golf courses. There are three courses to choose from, including the beachside La Cana Golf Course, which measures a whopping 7,152 yards, making it one of the longest courses in the Caribbean. Apart from golfing, you can reenact the cover of a romance novel during one- or two-hour horseback rides along the beach, or take a scuba tour of a sunken ship ($70/dive). Other watersport activities include deep-sea fishing excursions ($140/person for a half-day trip) and Hobie Cat sailing ($35–$45/hour). For a break from the bustle, meander through the resort’s ecological reserve, where 15 natural-spring-water lagoons shimmer in the sun.
Puntacana Hotel's two-bedroom casitas are nestled among a grove of coconut trees, overlooking the beach. You can start the day off with a meal on your own private terrace or go for a buffet-style breakfast at La Cana restaurant, one of eight onsite eateries. At La Yola, diners are treated to Mediterranean fare beneath the thatched roof of a building modeled after a fisherman's boat. The more upscale Bamboo was designed by Puntacana resident Oscar de la Renta.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic: Miles of White-Sand Beaches
When Christopher Columbus landed on the Dominican Republic more than five centuries ago, he described it as “a beautiful island paradise.” Punta Cana—located on the island’s easternmost tip—lays a legitimate claim to that description. The coast stretches for more than 20 miles, dotted with coconut palms, chaise lounges, and laid-back bars. But a few of the beaches, including Playa El Cortecito, which is about a 30-mintue drive up the coast, hark back to earlier times. The small village has retained a charming flavor of the past, as evidenced by the local fisherman who bring their boats to shore each afternoon with the day’s catch.