The beautiful beaches and the warm, tropical weather of the Caribbean had been calling me for months, so I finally gave in and booked a last-minute trip to one of the Caribbean’s most popular destinations – Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. This resort destination attracts visitors from all over the world, and I met people from countries like France, Brazil and Canada during my stay in Punta Cana. And while Punta Cana is certainly known primarily as a resort town, I was able to step outside of the luxurious resorts and discover the side of Punta Cana that locals love. By venturing out of my beachside resort during the days, I got a great sense of the heart and soul of this Caribbean town, and I absolutely fell in love with Punta Cana.
Since my trip to Punta Cana was a rather spur-of-the-moment decision, I was faced with a somewhat scary task – booking a last-minute hotel. Fortunately, HotelTonight makes it easy to book great last-minute hotels in popular destinations all over the world, and I was able to book a fantastic last-minute hotel in Punta Cana within minutes thanks to HotelTonight. With my hotel room waiting for me next to a sparkling white beach in the Caribbean, I hopped on my plane and headed south.
If you’re looking for the quintessential beach paradise, you won’t want to miss Playa Blanca when you’re in the Dominican Republican. This beach features sugary white sand, picture-perfect palm trees, and sparkling blue water. While this beach is adjacent to a major resort, it’s also one of the beaches that locals and expats recommended the most, so I knew I had to check it out. This beach is definitely well worth the visit, especially since there are numerous shipwrecks just off the shore that are great for snorkeling. After hours of lounging on Playa Blanca’s powdery soft sand, I had to pinch myself as a reminder that I wasn’t actually dreaming.
After spending the morning basking in the beauty of paradise on the beach, I decided to explore some more of the Dominican’s gorgeous natural beauty, so I headed to the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve. This 1,500-acre reserve is a must-see (in my opinion) when visiting Punta Cana, since it provides a great glimpse into the natural habitats and wildlife on the island. The Ecological Reserve features several trails for walking and hiking, as well as beautiful freshwater lagoons. Be sure to bring your swimsuit to the Ecological Reserve, as you definitely won’t be able to resist taking a dip in these crystal clear freshwater pools.
I had already enjoyed a full day of sun, clear blue water, and stunning natural scenery, but I hadn’t gotten enough of the beach just yet – I was in the Caribbean, after all. So I made my way to El Cortecito, a neighborhood in the Bavaro region of Punta Cana. El Cortecito is known for its beautiful beach as well as for its colorful, charming beach town. When you visit El Cortecito, you’ll find small shacks on the beach where you can grab a bite to eat or an ice-cold beverage, but you can also wander into the streets to find a larger selection of shops and restaurants. I spent the evening exploring El Cortecito, which is a great place to find fresh seafood and a laidback island atmosphere.
Okay, I know that golfing isn’t exactly an off-the-beaten-path activity, but I couldn’t travel all the way to paradise without partaking in one of my favorite activities, especially since Punta Cana is known for having so many great golf courses. The warm weather and sunny days provide the perfect climate for golfing, and there are a number of great courses to try out during your stay. Since I had a limited time in Punta Cana, I was only able to check out one golf course, but I definitely wasn’t disappointed by the sweeping views of the Caribbean I had on nearly every hole. As I finally made it to the 18th hole, I realized why people love Punta Cana so much – it offers a taste of the good life no matter where you are, whether you’re enjoying a beverage in town with some locals or basking in the sunshine on one of its renowned golf courses.
There’s never a bad time to take a spontaneous trip to a tropical locale, which is why I’m so glad I can use HotelTonight to book last-minute hotels in destinations around the world. Whenever I have another weekend free and need to soak in some sunshine, I’ll be sure to check out HotelTonight to help plan my beach getaway. Since I loved Punta Cana so much, I just might return to this Caribbean beach oasis, or I might check out a new destination. Who knows? Thanks to HotelTonight, the possibilities are endless.