My eyes widened as I opened it up to see the endless green mass ahead along the shimmering cerulean coastline. I was approximately 12 hours into the last leg of my flight, as we ready our descent into the majestic paradise of Punta Cana, a designated and renowned resort region within the Dominican Republic.
The thought of private time on the hammack, suspended between towering palm trees, with that NY Times best-seller novel I need to finish, on a white sandy beach pervaded my mind as I eagerly stepped off the plane and right into my hotel shuttle.
I was ready to be immediately transported away from my every day reality and keep all digital devices at a healthy but reachable distance.
If you’re interested in partaking in this digital detox with me, I highly encourage reading and taking notes of what I am about to highlight and how it makes Punta Cana the perfect getaway you’ll need this coming year in 2017.
- Punta Cana is first and foremost a resort destination.
This is its signature expertise. With such a wide-range of resorts, it doesn’t disappoint either. It is home to luxury boutique hotels, like Punta Cana CHIC and Casa De Campo, as well as more corporate luxury chains like the Hard Rock Hotel and Resort Punta Cana. It was at the latter, where lavish en-suites with jacuzzi tubs are present, that I learned about all-inclusive packages. These worry-free packages are designed for families, so they can eat, wine and dine at ease and without incurring additional financial charges on the final bill. In some cases, it also includes access into private lounge areas where all-inclusive VIP members can refuel at any time with a complete food/dessert buffet and bar.
- Punta Cana houses some of the most luxurious private villas, which are a great alternative if traveling in a family or group setting. Villas can accommodate up to 10-15 people quite easily with enough private rooms and areas for each person. These resort alternatives are typically centrally located on enormous golf courses or private beaches that are entirely gated off, come with an entire fleet of staff and even your own private chef for all the meals (all these services are an added expense, of course, depending on your villa package). I fell in love the Palmera Villas, especially after an enchanting private dinner conducted by their in-house Michelin-star private chef.
- There’s a never-ending list of recreational, family and solo traveler-friendly activities to partake in — ranging from breathtaking hot air balloon rides to a moving spa on a boat. With years and years of experience under their belts, the Dominican Balloons crew will put you on a very safe and incredible adventure of a lifetime — a few hundred feet up in the air. It is surprisingly a very calming and smooth ride than expected, so acrophobics no need to fear. But if you are deathly afraid heights, Dr Fish Ocean Spa may just be the panacea you’re looking for. Nothing beats a relaxing session of yoga followed by a body scrub and massage.
- Punta Cana’s many private islands are the ultimate definition of luxury.
Dreams do come true: I was luxuriating away on a hammock but I didn’t get much reading done because there were so many beautiful distractions on Saona Island. After feasting on a meal fresh from the sea (langoustine pasta, anyone?), I soaked up the sights, took a dip into the warm ocean and just allowed my body to float for a few minutes. It was a great way to mentally and physically to devour and digest such a beautiful environment. Don’t forget to snap plenty of photos with the gorgeous palm trees or on the sand and enjoy a fresh coconut from one of the juice vendors.
- The Punta Cana nightlife isn’t too shabby — in fact, Coco Bongo is an entertainment attraction that outshines even its popular counterparts in Las Vegas!
While this is all according to CNN, I can personally attest to how greatly entertaining the show was. There’s plenty of celebrity impersonation, lip-synching, acrobatics and interpretative dancing performances and re-enactments of famous movie scenes (think Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back levels of epicness) to keep all your senses stimulated.
- Punta Cana is close proximity to Santo Domingo, the city capital of Dominican Republic.
The city capital gets a hearty recommendation from if you can fit it within your travel itinerary. We decided on a whim to embark on a day trip adventure out there, and it turned out to be a major highlight! There was no shortage of colonial architecture, local boutiques, shops and restaurants to stop by. As you come into the city, be sure to reserve an hour to explore Los Tres Ojos (The Three Eyes), a national park just outside of Santo Domingo. Don’t be fooled by all the trees that you see, because underneath it all lies a 50-yard open air limestone cave. It is a mesmerizing feast for the eyes to take in, as you descend into the lower sanctums of this naturally-formed cave. Other sights worthy of stopping by include the hospital ruins of St. Nicolas of Bari as well as the extraordinary cigar shop — Boutique del Fumador — where you can watch the artisans hard at work.
So what do you guys think of Punta Cana? Is it the next luxury detour you’re looking for in 2017? Please let us know in the comments below!
*A huge thanks to Go Dominican Republic for making this trip possible. Some of the images here are captured by Nick Argires (@nickargires) on behalf of GoDominicanRepublic.com.