Dominican Republic Resorts ----by Edwin Leschhorn


I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, and grew up snorkeling and diving its warm waters when there were hardly any hotels in its then virgin beautiful beaches. Through the years, especially the last ten, there has been an explosion of Resorts development mostly owned by international hotel chains, many of them from Spain. Therefore, the main tourist market has been European, although lately more travel agencies from the United States have been sending their clients to join the Spaniards, French, Italian, German, Belgian, English, Austrian, etc, who have been enjoying these beaches for years.


I live in New Jersey, USA, and go back every year for 2 weeks or so, generally spending  a week in a Resort and another week in the capital Santo Domingo. This has allowed me to experience a good amount of Resorts.
Let's divide the DR shores in roughly three regions:
North (Puerto Plata, Playa Dorada, Rio San Juan, Cabarete, Sosua, Playa Grande), East (Las Terrenas and Portillo, Uvero Alto, Bavaro, Macao, Punta Cana), Southeast (Dominicus, Bayahibe, La Romana), South (Santo Domingo, Boca Chica, Juan Dolio, Guayacanes).



Puerto Plata and nearby Playa Dorada- the first area undergoing strong tourist development around 1980.
Jack Tar Village (first in the area), Playa Dorada, Villas Dorada, Riu, Flamenco Beach, Heavens, Paradise Beach, Victoria Resort, Gran Ventana, Club on the Green, Playa Naco, Dorado Naco. There is a golf course on site.
The beach is windy with grey sand and cloudy water, not the best of the island I am afraid.


Sosua- a protected relatively small but gorgeous beach, has undergone tremendous development.
There are many large and small motels and shops in the area with mostly European tourism.
Rumor has it that prostitution has found its way to this previously nice and quiet town.
The previous areas are better suited for couples and singles. Sosua is not generally suited for families with kids.


Cabarete/ Rio San Juan- Sol de Plata, Estrella del Mar, Tropical Garden, Goleta and many small motels.

Cabarete is famous for world class windsurfing and kiteboarding.

Playa Grande - a very large beach good for body and board surfing (be careful, it is rough) has probably the best golf course in the Caribbean next to a Caribbean Village.




Punta Cana/ Bavaro/ Macao- Club Med, Punta Cana Beach Resort, Natura Park, 5 Bavaro (Barcelo Hotels), 4 Riu, 3 Fiesta, 3 Iberostar, 2 Melia, Paradisus, AllegroSirenis Cocotal Beach Resort, Secrets Excellence Royal Uvero Alto, Catalonia, Occidental, Hodelpa, Sunscape, Secrets, Breezes (it's gorgeous!), Palladium, etc, etc. I can't keep up with them. Last I heard there were 30,000 rooms in the area. But, this is a LONG beach and there is no crowding. Bavaro's beach is calm and clear. As you go North, the Atlantic Ocean turns a little rough such as in Macao and Uvero Alto.
Punta Cana airport (PUJ) serves the Punta Cana/Bavaro/Macao area. Very convenient if you are staying in this area, since is a 3 hours ride from the main airport.


     Las Terrenas/ El Portillo- Gran Bahia, Jack Tar Village Plantation, El Portillo Beach Resort.




My favorite by far. Beaches have white sand, no wind and clear blue water. Some, like  Bavaro and Macao, extend for many miles allowing you to have a good walk and peek at other resorts.
Resorts are large and very good to excellent quality. Most are all-inclusive since they are isolated. This is not Cancun, so don't expect many restaurants in the area, especially within walking distance.
"Captain Hook" has excellent seafood (Bavaro).


La Romana- Casa de Campo with  famous "Teeth-of-the Dog" golf course. Newly renovated and luxurious with great service. The beach (Minitas) has been very much improved and is near the rather bustling town of La Romana. Don't miss nearby Altos de Chavon, a nice artist's villa, and the Marina, with its nice (and expensive) restaurants frequented by well-to-do Dominicans.
Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus


Bayahibe/Dominicus- Casa del Mar, Viva Dominicus Beach and Viva Dominicus Palace, Gran Dominicus (warning: all italian), Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus (the absolute best !), Coral Canoa.

My favorite area, is only 2 hours from the capital. Bayahibe/Dominicus is a GREAT beach (especially in front of the Gran Dominicus Hotel) with good nearby boat diving. Insist to be taken to Catalina and Saona Islands dive sites.
There is a new
airport in La Romana (LRM) serving the Romana/Bayahibe area. Very convenient and fast to get out from. If you are going to the Bayahibe/Dominicus area, I would strongly advise to fly to LRM.

Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus





Santo Domingo- the capital of the Dominican Republic, has no beach but nightlife is excellent with many good restaurants specializing  in Spanish and local food, discotheques and casinos with Jaragua being the most popular.
If you go, don't miss the old colonial center of the city (UNESCO World Heritage Site), where you will see buildings dating to the 1500's such as the Alcazar de Colon where Diego (Christopher Columbus' son) lived, the first cathedral in America, museums, etc.
Alcazar de Colon


Coral Hamaca Hotel Boca Chica- nearest beach (30 min east) to Santo Domingo. A very calm beach very popular with locals, therefore crowded in the weekends with many vendors on the public area. Has many small motels and large Hotels/Resorts such as the Coral Hamaca Hotel, Boca Chica Beach Resort and Don Juan Beach Resort.


Juan Dolio and Guayacanes- the beach is short with algae washing ashore. Water tends to be choppy and turbid. Many locals and vendors come here since is not far from Boca Chica and Santo Domingo. There are many resorts including Capella Beach Resort, Decameron, Casa Marina, Metro, Coral Costa Caribe, Melia, Talanquera and Playa Real, with many more being built. Nice golf courses in this area include Guavaberry and Metro Country Club. Coral Costa Caribe




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