Outstretched and angled in various ways, the palm trees lining the beaches of Punta Cana are picture perfect. The long, skinny-trunked palms are indigenous to this area. All-inclusive esorts line the shoreline, with vacationing made easy – food, beverages, pools, and the beach at your fingertips 24/7. Water sports such as parasailing and jet boats, located at the waters edge, give many reason to never leave the property.
A rendezvous in the Dominican Republic is about fun in the sun, especially at the Iberostar Grand, with two-person palapas lining the beach, pool parties, ocean view spa and gym, and plenty of local rum, Ron Barcelo, it makes life simple. Yet, the question lingered for me during a recent visit, what is Punta Cana beyond the palm trees and all-inclusive pampering? This beach hot spot answered with these must tries:
1- Marina Caribe Beach Club – An unexpected surprise! This quaint restaurant surprises with Rosé Champagne and fresh and imaginative salt encrusted fish. This local fish, similar to red snapper, melts in your mouth, providing an unforgettable experience. The sights and sounds of ocean waves kissing the shoreline, while watching various excursions coming and going, provide an inviting and charming atmosphere at Marina Caribe. Unsure what is behind the entrance, this quaint, open-air restaurant fulifills all the senses, and is a must visit.
2- CocoBongo – Straight from Cancun, this nightclub is happening. The performances entertain, and a perfect blend of music styles from merengue to hip hop with a splash of Bon Jovi, will have you in the mood for a good time. Dance, laugh, sing, whatever your heart desires, and you will not be disappointed, unless you hate having fun! Let loose and enjoy! You only live once! Reserve a table for a VIP experience, it’s worth it!
3- La Palapa @ Eden Roc – A transfer from the airport to lunch at La Palapa, sounded exquisite, and it was, with breathtaking beauty complimenting an intimate experience. Attentive staff and attention to detail, coupled with a delicious menu, made this first class all the way. It was the first portrait of Punta Cana, and will not be forgotten. Eden Roc is a classic, and more exclusive with a private beach and elegant poolside complete with a bird’s eye view of palm trees.
4- Duck Confit- Who expects to eat duck on an island? And more importantly, expects it to be A-mazing? The best Duck Confit I have ever tasted happened to be at the La Sibila (reservations required), located at the five star all-inclusive Iberostar Grand. It had to be listed on this must try list, it was that good. And, if you go, the must have wine pairing of Spanish wine, 2010 Page de Carraovejas El Anejón, will take it over the top.
5- Pearl- With South Beach sophistication, this place does not disappoint. Known to locals, and only a few months old, this place was a gem of a find. The atmosphere, was a perfect combination for an afternoon beach and pool escape, romantic dinner with a loved one, or gathering with friends for an evening cocktail and/or dinner. And appropriately named, pearls have a natural calming effect, which Pearl does from the moment you step inside.
6- Massage on the Ocean- Imagine floating on the magnificent Caribbean Ocean, and receiving a massage. I believe the word paradise could be inserted here. Combined with an exotic ocean foot soak, leaving your feet smooth after a foot exfoliation with tiny fish Garra Rufa, this experience is one-of-a-kind. Dr. Fish is rejuvenating. Add a touch of minor yoga stretching and fresh juice selections with the warm salty air, and your sun-kissed skin, will thank you.
Punta Cana, mysterious and exotic, you do have a lovely bunch of palms… Bienvenido to Punta Cana
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