As a gated community made up of five separate communities, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is a wonderful and rare balance of commercial areas and residential spots. Framed by its world famous beaches and home to an airport, it is also where three premium hotels are found. With a small and appealing village just outside of its gates, it offers an abundance of restaurant and dining options.

For those who want authentic foods, like the dishes preferred by the local residents, a few hours spent in Punta Cana Village can introduce you to some of the most popular tastes and ingredients. Of course, if you are a big fan of gourmet cuisine, the different hotels and villas also have amazing dining options. For instance, villa rentals might allow you to also book a private chef, or a visit to one of the hotels will allow you to enjoy meals in their world class restaurants.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most famous eateries in the Punta Cana neighborhood itself:

Playa Blanca

Sitting directly on the sands, it is a seafood restaurant that specializes in local and tropical ingredients. Famous for its drinks, it is good for lunch or dinner, and you will most certainly want to take in a sunset along the shore.

La Yola

Also a waterfront option, but this one is tucked into the marina. It is a AAA Diamond Award holder and is inspired by classic maritime décor. The menu is pure Mediterranean and it rates as one of the hottest options in the Punta Cana area. That means reservations are a must.


This is a bar and grill tucked into the gorgeous Westin hotel. It offers some of the best views of the sea and is famous for its standard American fare, including steaks and seafood served alongside amazing drinks.

The Grill

When you are spending some time on the greens at the La Cana Golf Course, be sure you enjoy a meal here. Casual and yet classic, it has a lighter Caribbean fusion cuisine that visitors love.


This is another of the area’s AAA Four Diamond restaurants and a fantastic choice for breakfast. Located in the Tortuga Bay Hotel, it requires reservations and it offers afternoon tea as well as three meals daily.

Make absolutely certain you try several of the restaurants in Punta Cana, and especially those that give you views of the sea, golf courses, or marina!

Punta Cana Village

A visit to Punta Cana Village is a must. An elegant pedestrian inspired village that features shops, restaurants and a grocery store. As you stroll down the promenade, guests can enjoy a variety of different cuisines from Asian inspired restaurants, pizzerias, taco joints, Tapas bar, fine Italian and French restaurants as well as restaurants specializing in local Dominican fare.

You may have opted to head to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic because you know about its two amazing golf courses. It could be that you yearn for a tropical holiday where premium tennis facilities and lessons at the Oscar de la Renta Tennis Center are part of the experience. Maybe it is that you love the idea of spending endless days along some of the finest beaches in the entire world, or maybe you love visiting top of the line spas, luxury resorts, gourmet restaurants and fabulous shops.

If so, Punta Cana can satisfy all such wishes, but there is even more to see and do during a visit to Punta Cana. While you can most certainly enjoy relaxing hours by a private or resort pool, head to spas like the amazing Six Senses, Dreams Punta Cana, or the Rock Spa and savor luxury cuisine at each meal, you have even more options.

We already mentioned the golfing and tennis, but did you know that it is also a world-class destination for adventure and eco tourism as well as guided excursions?

Visitors are able to book 4WD adventures, off road tours, extreme excursions or activities, fishing and sailing charters, horseback riding adventures, camping and safaris, zip line activities and even nature and wildlife tours offered by numerous adventure outfits.

Just consider time climbing and exploring Farallon, or El Farallon Cliffs and then zip lining over 100 meters to the valley floor below. You can also pay a visit to one of the area’s cenotes, such as the Hoyo Azul. If you are less of a conqueror and more of a seer, then an excursion to the Los Haitises National Park and Ecological Reserve is ideal for you. Noted as the most exciting way to see the Dominican Republic‘s remaining wilderness, it is a fabulous way to boost the excitement of your visit.

There is also the Bavaro Adventure Park and the Scape Park in Cap Cana. The Scape Park is well worth a visit, too because it has a staggering number of activities and all of them emphasize the natural setting of the Punta Cana and Cap Cana area. Visit caves and cenotes, purchase native-made goods, enjoy hikes and even charter a private boat to tour the coast.

Though you might hear Punta Cana described in terms of its stunning beaches, amazing golf, luxury dining and shopping and good scenery, it is so much more. Pay a visit and be sure to book at least one of the many eco adventures or guided excursions that let you savor the natural beauty of this island destination.

Tucked into the far eastern end of the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is a gorgeous planned community that is noted for its beauty, amazing weather, scenery and array of premium and upscale accommodations that provide access to some of the finest amenities and services imaginable. Made up of five unique and individual communities, it is home to three world class hotels, a huge number of luxury villas and appealing beach houses.

It is surrounded by lovely balnearios and beaches, and is less than fifty years old! It was once nothing more than a small resort reached only by an impossibly bumpy dirt road. Even then, it had its unique appeal and by the 1980s, it was officially recognized as Punta Cana. The region is under the umbrella name of Punta Cana, but there is actually only the Punta Cana Village and those five smaller communities already mentioned that actually make up the area. The village was also part of the overall plans and features all that travelers and residents need, including markets, banks, restaurants, pharmacies and more.

The five communities include:


This is considered one of the hottest neighborhoods and is home to a golf course and gives direct access to some of the most popular and famous beaches in the world.


This is the premium or VIP neighborhood that is full of gorgeous, private estates. It is also home to a fabulous golf course and club house and even a private airport. Current homeowners include designer Oscar de la Renta and singer Julio Iglesias, among others.


This is a lovely spot in the hills and offers villas that gaze out to the sea. It is also where the Oscar de la Renta Tennis Club as well as a fitness center are found.


This is, as the name describes, the marina area and has waterfront villas as well as the Eco Park and the popular La Yolla restaurant. It is also the neighborhood where the area’s only cenote is found.


This is for the golf lovers as it gives you access to the La Cana Golf Club and the golf course, as well as the beaches nearby. The Tortuga Bay Hotel is also in this neighborhood.

Easily one of the finest designed destinations in the world, it has that rare diversity so often missing from resort properties. Whether you want a private villa tucked into the hill, a waterfront property overlooking the marina, a premium suite in a luxury hotel or something else, you will find it at Punta Cana along with the amazing beaches, shopping, dining, tennis, golfing, spas and sightseeing and eco tourism that makes it such an appealing destination.

Set at the far eastern end of the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana has a stunning 35+ kilometers of gorgeous white sand beaches available. In fact, it is noted for offering some of the very best beaches in the entire Caribbean region. Most visitors, when asked about their stay, immediately comment on the beauty of the beaches, their rows of swaying palms, their perfect waters and their many comforts.

Of course, like so many tropical destinations, there are some good beaches and then some even better beaches. Though we recommend that all visitors to Punta Cana take a day or two to drive around and see each for themselves – going back to spend days at their favorites – there are some that seem to get universal “thumbs up”.

Playa Bavaro

The Playa Bavaro area seems to rank as one of the most popular and is often described as pristine. Though it is the main tourist beach, it is enormous, long and can seem quite uncrowded or empty in many areas. If you want the ultimate, a sunset stroll along its sands is an unforgettable experience. It is close to the Melia Caribe Resort and has a great parking area and easy path that takes you to the sand.

El Cortecito

In the midst of Bavaro is El Cortecito, which is also considered a downtown area of Punta Cana. This provides you with the ultimate island beach life option. Steps from great restaurants and luxury rentals, but also steps back to the sands…you can easily spend your days here.

Kid-Friendly Arena Gordo

If your Punta Cana beach life includes kids, then the Arena Gordo is a good one for you. Unusual for its wide stretches of sand that have gentle slopes to the water, the beaches are noted for the shallowness of the water that makes the area great for children. The public access is at Ocean Blue and Sand Service.

Cabeza de Toro

If you love nature and serenity, the Cabeza de Toro is one of the most natural beaches in Punta Cana and close to the Natura Park Eco Resort. Juanillo also has one of the most secluded beaches but it is also equipped with a restaurant, lounges and cabanas! Ultra luxurious and beautiful, it is possible to find local fish merchants in addition to fun local eateries and taco trucks!

As you can see, the beach life in Punta Cana is as diverse as Punta Cana itself. Take time to experience and explore and you will easily find many destinations to love.

Chances are, if you booked a holiday to Punta Cana you are well aware of the amazing array of activities possible. Travelers have fallen in love with this gated community in the Dominican Republic because it is a world all its own, with spas, restaurants, eco tourism and excursions, sailing, dining, beaches and more. It is also home to two amazing golf courses. They are the Corales Golf Club (18 holes) and La Cana Golf Club (27 holes), and each has a long list of appealing amenities and features.

Regardless of where it is you might be staying in Punta Cana, you will always find time on the courses an option. Most travelers plan on booking inclusive golf packages that feature everything from transportation to and from the course, green fees, taxes, carts and more.

Corales Golf Club

The Corales Golf Club is the creation of Tam Fazio while the La Cana is the brainchild of P.B. Dye. Both are noted for their scenic beauty and respect for the landscape’s natural contours. Corales was opened only in 2010 and yet it is noted for its amazing beauty and popularity. It has six waterfront holes that include one 500+ yard, par four hole. As one expert said about the 18th hole, “If you want to reach the green in regulation, you’ll have to blast one over waves breaking against the coastline.”  It is a course that is ripe with varied experiences and challenges, and the La Cana is just as appealing.

La Cana Golf and Beach Club

Though La Cana is not so dramatic, it too has 14 holes along the water and is a popular course with golfing enthusiasts from all parts of the world. It is noted for its environmentally friendly design and policies and is the very first in the entire Caribbean to opt for paspalum grass that survives watering with sea water rather than the wasteful habit of fresh water processed on the premises.

Plan Your Punta Cana Golf Vacation

To set up your next golfing adventure, reserve your Punta Cana villa with Isle Blue and allow our concierge team to set up tee-times and logistics to play the famed golf courses of Punta Cana, Cap Cana and Casa de Campo including world famous Teeth of the Dog.


If you ask experts, they all agree that there are 14 noted beaches on the island of St. Barts. Those same experts tell you that most are full of the stunning, white sands and that even at the busiest part of the tourist season, the beaches are typically laid-back, not at all crowded and always appealing. The beaches are also all public and all free.

So, that means that any beach on St. Barts is a wonderful beach, and that it might be impossible to point to one and describe it as the best. However, there are some long-time favorites. For example, speak to those who like nightlife and they will typically say that St. Jean Beach is the best. Ask surfers for a suggestion, and they are likely to point to Lorient Beach as their preferred “best”.

However, there are some beaches that might be described as a bit underrated or even hidden gems that are not on the lists of most travelers. This is not because they are not amazing and gorgeous beaches. Typically, it is because they are a bit out of the way or without the bars and restaurants of the most popular destinations. If you want to spend time on one of the island’s finest, hidden or secret beaches, we have suggestions below.

Saline Beach

Known as a gem along the southern coast of the island, it is tucked behind large dunes and enormous boulders. Most visitors find it empty and pristine. There are no buildings that crowd along the edge of the sands and the waters are safe and appealing. Because of its location, the beach is also the ideal spot for sunset watching.

NOTE: For those looking for the ultimate hidden gem, this one has a hidden gem of its own. Head down to the far easternmost end of Saline Beach and you reach some cliffs that lead to the water. There is actually a cozy little cove here that is one of the most romantic places imaginable.

Anse de Chauvette

This one is nearby Lurin, and may also be reached by a very difficult path from Saline. This one takes some hiking to reach, but is a lovely and supremely private cove for those who want the most hidden of hidden beaches. You can also book a boat to bring you to this beach as some of the paths can be challenging if you do not know the way!

Plage Morne Rouge

Those looking for Saline and Anse de Chauvette often stumble across Plage Morne Rouge! It is frequently described as one of the cutest little beaches on the island and it features some picnicking tables, and little else.

Colombier Beach

This is a well-known beach, but it is also one of the most secluded. It takes a 20-minute hike along a pebbly goat path or a charter boat to reach the stunning white sands, but most agree that any journey is well worth it. Pack a picnic and bring your snorkeling gear because this beach is a dream for snorkeling, swimming, relaxing, picnicking and toasting the sunset. The walk alone is a good reason to pay a visit as it leads through an amazing range of native plants. Enjoy the scent and colors of the bougainvillea, take a good look at the many different native cacti and enjoy views of plantains as you make your way towards the shore.

Many visitors here encounter sea turtles on the sands and in the waters, and most agree that this beach, tucked between two large sets of framing cliffs is one of the best secrets on the island.

You may know St. Barts as a jet setter’s paradise that attracts many of the world’s most famous, but it is also a truly romantic destination. After all, it is home to a large number of private and luxurious villas sized ideally for two. It has many amazing beaches, stunning scenery, amazing restaurants and a long list of activities that can make it the perfect choice for a honeymoon or romantic retreat.

Let’s consider some of the most romantic activities and itineraries available to visitors eager to savor the best the island has to offer.

Shell Beach at Sunset

What could be more romantic than booking a table with an unimpeded sunset view? Booking that table along a beach where you and your beloved can spend some time gathering a few shells to take home as souvenirs! Of course, the romance factor increases measurably when you realize that Shell Beach on St. Barts is also known as one of the loveliest in the entire Caribbean and that it is oriented precisely for stunning sunsets.

The ideal spot to book that table is the beachfront Do Brazil with its famous tropical cocktails and casual atmosphere ideal for a meal and drinks and romantic stroll on the sands.

A Day at Colombier

Maybe your vision of romance involves a secluded beach, palms swaying in the breeze, flawless turquoise waters and a hamper full of delicious foods and drinks? If so, this too is an option when you make a visit to the more remote Colombier Beach. Set in the central region of the island, and requiring an easy 25-minute hike, it is often abandoned during the week and perfect for the most romantic experience of your stay.

Dining in Style

Perhaps the two of you prefer your views a bit removed from the actual beachfront? Maybe you also enjoy premium service and world-class cuisine? If so, the stunning views from Le Toiny, along with the amazing gourmet menu options may be exactly what you desire. Noted for offering one of the most amazing views on the island, each table is a “good” table, and the four-star cuisine can make a perfect lunch or dinner for the romantic couple.

In-house Romance

Of course, many couples come to St. Barts because of its amazing range of romantic villas ideally sized for two. These are often stocked with every possible comfort and luxury, including private pools, gardens, terraces, hot tubs, entertainment systems and more. However, many also make concierge services available, and this could prove the perfect opportunity for romance.

After all, you might be able to book a chef-prepared meal right in your villa. You may be able to arrange for spa treatments provided right on the premises. There can even be options for everything from cooking classes in your villa to a private charter boat departing from the dock nearby.

Put on your thinking cap and speak with your villa concierge to find out what sort of custom services and luxury amenities are available.

Hit the Waters

Naturally, a chartered boat tour is probably the most romantic way to see the island. Having a skilled and knowledgeable guide to take you from one romantic vista to another, regaling you with stories about the island or simply letting you marvel at the scenery is a wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable experience.

There are many ways you might enjoy this sort of experience. Perhaps you would like to pair a boat trip with some diving or snorkeling? That’s possible. Maybe you want to visit a beach reachable only by water? That is an option. Maybe a gourmet meal at sea and a sunset toast Is your dream. Really, almost any sort of private sailing option is yours to enjoy.

There is much to see and do in St. Barts if you are of the romantic mindset, and these are just a few of the opportunities available.

So often called the French Riviera, except amazing luxury rentals, the Cote D’Azur has a historic reputation for its glamorous visitors, its hair-pin and winding roads, and its dazzling night life. It is also, however, a fabulous spot for a romantic getaway or honeymoon. The trick is to know where the artists, writers and well-heeled visit and then make a point of paying those same, quieter and out of the way locations, a visit, too.

Do keep in mind that the best way to guarantee yourself a wonderful experience in the Cote D’Azur is to rent a car or hire a driver who can start and stop at will, and explore the many unique spots that make this such a fabulous destination for millions of travelers.

There are a few spots in which a couple could savor a romantic day or two. Most begin in Nice, as this is where the major airport is located. Rather than dashing right out of the city, though, make a point of visiting some of the following spots:

Promenade des Anglais

If you follow this all of the way to Castle Hill and then hike up the Terrasse Frederic Nietzsche, you will savor one of the most stunning views of the region. Why not pack a picnic and enjoy a few hours in this wonderful location?

Old Town

As you come down from this vista, you can reach the Old Town area where you may want to dedicate several hours just to shopping and exploring the shops and markets that fill the area. Be sure to pick up some local wines and even stop by one of the cafes for some local favorites.

Dining on socca

The local dish known as socca is a fantastic pancake crafted of chickpea flour and an ideal snack in the afternoon.

La Petite Maison

If you wish to finish your visit of Nice with one of the most delicious meals you’ll enjoy, this is the spot. Open to the promenade and offering classic Nicoise cuisine, it is a must (as are reservations).

To Monaco You Go

Though we did advise heading to the lesser known spots, Monaco is a place you must visit. If you start in the village of Eze high above Monaco, you can enjoy amazing views and even make your own signature perfume when you visit the Galimard shop in the heart of town.

Get an early start on Monaco to avoid crowds and make sure to visit the “seafood shack” known as A’Trego for an unforgettable lunch. If you want to see a casino, the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino is here, as is the Cathedrale de Monaco (where Princess Grace was both married and is her final resting place). You may also see the Palais du Prince – the home of the royal family.

Relax Like Richard and Elizabeth

Another romantic destination is Antibes tucked along the western coastal area. The honeymoon location of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, it is home to the famous Hotel du Cap Eden Roc, which is open to visitors who wish to enjoy cocktails on their terrace or a meal at their stunning restaurant.

While most visitors will also allot days to Cannes, Saint Tropez and Marseilles, you might find that this quieter itinerary suits your romantic interests. If you do head to the busier destinations, keep in mind that an early start usually allows you to enjoy the waterfront areas and some of the shops before any crowds. Some major points to hit in Cannes is the bar at the Hotel Martinez, the old quarter and the Forville market, the Musee de Castre in the castle above town and the famous La Palme D’Or restaurant with its two Michelin stars!

The Cote D’Azur is a very glamorous spot, but it is also a wonderfully romantic one when you explore it your own pace and make a point of visiting a few of the lesser known or more luxurious destinations.

If you are planning a holiday to the Caribbean, it can be challenging to know just what to pack. After all, bringing the right belongings really does depend upon your intended activities and your personal lifestyle. For example, the person who intends to dedicate themselves to the beaches, a bit of shopping and a bit of sightseeing will have different packing needs over the traveler who intends to stay in a five-star resort with upscale dining establishments, more formal events and an array of excursions or activities.

Even so, it is possible to use a few savvy packing tips from experts and islanders alike, and avoid lugging around some bags full of things you may never put to use during your stay. To make things even more efficient, let’s first consider issues like climate, items most have packed and never used, and those super useful things that most find they did not bring but actually needed.

Consider the Climate

The Caribbean climate is very moderate but it also depends on your elevation. Though the prevailing, northeast trade winds are reliable and keep things comfortable, when you are at sea level the temperatures will often hold steady at roughly 75-90 degrees Fahrenheit (depending on the season), but go upward into the hills of some Caribbean islands and you will find temperatures during the day as low as 50 degrees.

Though it may not seem that islands could have defined seasons, they do, and during the winter seasons you will notices that daylight hours are shorter than in the summer months. However, unlike many parts of the world with a very defined spring, summer, autumn and winter, the islands of the Caribbean tend to have a distinctly rainy season and a drier season that are a match to the spring/summer, autumn/winter seasons of the northern hemisphere.

Some islands receive much more rain than others, and if you are on the windward side of any island or in the mountains, you can expect more rain than the leeward areas. Islands without many mountains, or even flat islands (there are several), do not get as much precipitation either. There is also the issue of hurricanes, but these appear during a very clearly defined season that typically runs from June to November, with modern science being able to identify and predict them with great accuracy.

What this means to a savvy traveler is that their packing should be dictated by the time of year they will visit, and the general geography of the island or the location of their luxury villa or accommodation. If it is likely that you will experience some rain, do bring lightweight rain gear as it can allow you to still get out and see some of the sights comfortably.

What NOT to Pack

If you trust the advice of many long-time island residents, most will insist that the casual traveler who intends to stay in a private villa or accommodation, head to the beaches or make casual explorations will need very limited packing. Some go to the extreme and say that two bathing suites, one or two shirts, one or two pairs of shorts, a dress or sarong for women and some flip flops will do the trick. Naturally, that is not as comprehensive as most would like, but most can skip dress shoes or heals, hair dryers, multiple swim suits or beach covers, and lots of jewelry.

What You MUST Pack

While lightweight clothing, including a few “going out” ensembles is a good idea, as well as multiple bathing suits, some rain gear and a light jacket for cooler nights, don’t forget a beach tote, good sunglasses, excellent sun guard, lip balm with SPF, a great hat and some bug spray if you are going on an excursion. Most experienced Caribbean travelers know that they will wear the two or three ensembles they pack when going out, and enjoy optimally comfortable clothing for the rest of their stay. This means you can pack light and focus on enjoying your stay.

Though it is part of the area known as Provence, the Cote D’Azur (also called the French Riviera) is a world unto its own. With close links to the cuisine of Provence (meaning a heavy use of herbs, goat cheese, olive oil, seafood and the very freshest produce), it also has unique flavors, dishes and its own special spin on cuisine.

If you are headed to the area and wish to map out a food lover’s tour of the Cote D’Azur, we have some excellent suggestions and recommendations. If you are hoping to stick to the most authentic Cote D’Azur destinations, your map will stretch from Menton along the Italian border and just north of Monaco down to the stunning Saint Tropez area. This comprises destinations like Nice and Cannes, features stretches of the Alps as well as seemingly endless seascapes gazing out at the Caribbean, and offers cliff top castles, seaside villages and more.

Hilltop Scenery and Traditional Food

Tucked between Monaco and Nice, the village of Eze is a remarkable spot. Cliffs above the town feature the stunning chateau known as Chateau de la Chevre d’Or. Opened as a fine dining establishment in the 1950s, it is home to a Michelin two-star chef. The scenery from the dining room alone makes it worthy of a trip, but it is the cuisine that is sure to delight. Described as accenting the freshest local foods, the signature dishes include their foie gras layered mille-feuille with anchovies and their pasta packed with langoustines and spinach. Book at table on the terrace at lunch and you may never want to leave.

Authentic Nicoise Cuisine

You already know the salad that takes its name from the city and its innovative approach to food, but visitors will also want to take the time to scout out the tiny bistro known as La Merenda. With only a dozen tables, local wines and famous dishes such as stockfish, daube and tarte au citron, it is a fantastic spot for a long, slow and classic Provencal meal.

La Merenda is in the Old Town area of Nice, and if it is booked full, take a walk to La Petite Maison (also in Old Town) to enjoy classic bistro fare, including their chicken stuffed with foie gras, their zucchini fritters, and their amazing ice cream.

When in Nice, don’t miss your chance to visit the Cours Saleya which is the city’s world-class, open air market. Get there before 9AM and watch the local chefs pick their produce and treats. Be sure to try some pissaladiere (pizza with caramelized onions, olives and anchovies) and some socca (pancakes made with chickpea flour).

Great Beach Bar

If you want to find a bar with terrific atmosphere but without any thumping music or hordes of tourists, head to the bar overlooking La Ponche Beach at the Hotel de La Ponche in Saint Tropez. Though once a celebrity hotspot, it has a fantastic bar and restaurant ideal for people watching in a comfortable and relaxed setting.

A Gourmand Destination

If your goal is to sample at least one Michelin star restaurant in the Cote D’Azur, why not go for a two-star spot? The city of Monte Carlo in Monaco is home to Metropople and Joel Robuchon Monte-Carlo. Book a table on the terrace or near the open kitchen and delve into dishes prepared with only the freshest local fare. Chef Christophe Cussac is noted for the L’Atelier small dishes, but there is also the full menu created by chef Joel Robuchon, too.

Of course, you can also just skip to the chase, head to Cannes and hit what is famously known as restaurant row. There, along the Rue St. Antoine, visitors can sample the offerings of more than two dozen appealing cafes and restaurants. In Antibes, guests must visit the Patisserie Cottard for its amazing treats and the L’Atelier Jean Luc Pele in Cannes is an absolute must!

Dining your way through the Cote D’Azur is a challenge, but if you are a true foodie, it’s a challenge you’ll be happy to take!