Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Dominican Republic Luxurious Resorts...

The Dominican Republic is a land of contrasts – the physical kind, like the highest peak and the lowest point in the Caribbean, and the more metaphorical kind, like that between the urban street life of Santo Domingo and the rural villages only a short drive away. Santo Domingo, or ‘La Capital’ as it’s typically called, is to Dominicans what New York is to Americans, a collage of cultures; or what Havana is to Cubans, a vibrant beating heart that fuels the entire country. It’s also a living museum, offering the sight of New World firsts scattered around the charming cobblestone streets of the Zona Colonial.

The second-largest country in the Caribbean and one of the most affordable, the Dominican Republic also offers diverse culture and a unique Latin flavor.

Must-see sights
# Beaches: Located on the easternmost coast, Punta Cana offers a 20-mile stretch of pristine white sand.
# Sports fans: Watch pro baseball players practice in the off-season from October to January.
# Visit the historic district of Santo Domingo, where shops and cafйs line cobblestone streets lit by gas lamps.

The Dominican Republic is home to the largest all-inclusive resort industry in the world. This type of resort typically includes your accommodations, meals, beverages, and activities all in one price.

The past 10 years have been kind to the tourism industry here. The island was once was a well-kept secret, known only to surfers and travelers trying to get by on the cheap. But that time is over - now there are thousands of resorts and hotels in the Dominican Republic. Every major city on the country has plenty of each – the eastern beach of Punta Cana is the latest to delve headlong into the burgeoning tourist industry.

Santo Domingo, Boca Chica, Punta Cana, Playa Dorada and Cabarate are the main areas to stay on the island, each one offering something different to the traveler. Santa Domingo is the sprawling capital, alive with restaurants and bars and historical monuments. For many it may be a bit too much, especially those looking for a more relaxing vacation, but the activity in the city is as infectious as it is hectic. Bound into many itineraries as merely a day trip, Santo Domingo misses out on a lot of the tourists – which is too bad because you'll find a number of the quirkiest and hippest hotels in the Dominican Republic in the capital city. Casinos and voluminous bars give you something to do at night when you stay at the Sofitel Nicolas Ovando or the pink-tinged Renaissance Jaragua Hotel and Casino.

The Dominican Republic resorts here are not at the same high standard as many of the other areas, but decent values and beautiful beaches abound for those who explore Boca Chica.

Punta Cana is the new hot place to be for all inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic. Coco palms sway as pale tourists attempt surfing lessons. Untouched beaches are all along the coast. Here you'll find the highest grade of luxury available in Dominican Republic resorts – there are 25,000 rooms for rent around Punta Cana. The fact that they are almost invariably sold out months ahead of time should tell you everything you need to know about this scenic area of the island.

Playa Dorada is back on the northern coast of the country, and where a handful of the very first Dominican Republic resorts were built. The beautiful Gran Ventana Beach Resort is here, and a fine deal. But the definition of luxury is found here in the boutique hotel called Casa Colonial Beach and Spa. Stucco walls, fine cuisine and a rooftop deck to enjoy your rum punch distinguish this all-suite treasure as the pinnacle of hotels in the Dominican Republic.

The final, and for many, most likable spot on the island is the city of Cabarete. Along with nearby Sosua, this is the place to stay if you want to play on the beach all day and in the clubs all night. Somewhat overlooked for years as merely a surfer hangout, there are still a number of independently owned, quality hotels and inns for those who venture to the north. Fewer and far between are the all inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic from which the country derives its fame, and that alone is a selling point for many.

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