Don't let a slim wallet deter you from setting out for one of the Caribbean's most dynamic destinations. Maybe you daydream of quiet afternoons on sugar-sand stretches or rum-fueled nights set to the rhythms of merengue — either way, there's a host for every budget ready to welcome you. At these all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic, you get the included meals and drinks you expect, plus perks and amenities you didn't even know you wanted. (Sample prices show summer travel dates.)
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Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace - $118/night
Never heard of Dominicus Beach? Punta Cana and Puerto Plata all too often steal the thunder of under-appreciated beaches like this one, located not far from La Romana on the DR's southeast coast. But you'll be far from disappointed when you sink your feet into these sands. And your host, the Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace, won't disappoint either.
There's no appetite too big for its five restaurants, which include Il Palco, serving classic pasta dishes and a selection of red and white wine, and Viva Café, a beachside Mediterranean joint. Plus, guests have access to additional dining options at sister resort Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach, located just next door.
Sessions at Metamorphosis Spa are a must — body scrubs, wraps and facials are offered in addition to muscle-soothing massages. Need somewhere to cool off and sip a cold one? Submerge in of four sparkling swimming pools.
Caribe Club Princess - $204/night
You could spend all day admiring the cerulean waters just a stone's throw from Caribe Club Princess, located in the Bavaro area of Punta Cana. Or you could while away the hours poolside, ordering drink after drink without the worry of running up an exorbitant bar tab.
Either way, leave some room to take advantage of this property's central and walkable location, a feature that not all Punta Cana resorts can claim. White Sands Golf Course, Avalon Casino and Areito Disco are all reachable on foot. Superior rooms are simple and modern, with flat-screen TVs, minibars and balconies. Suites boast a rustic vibe complete with wood accents and colorful drapery.
Tropical Princess Beach Resort & Spa - $186/night
Located next to the Caribe Club Princess is sister resort Tropical Princess Beach Resort & Spa — booking at either of these hotels is like getting two for one. Why? Exchange privileges mean you can access either resort to take advantage of amenities, such as pools, bars and buffet restaurants (excludes a la carte dining).
Grab a bike and go for a tour around the property — you'll spy swimming pools, tennis courts, a kids club and a teens club, plus a shopping area with a gift shop and mini market. The resort's free shuttle is another easy way to move around the property.
Grand Palladium Bávaro Suites Resort & Spa - $240/night
Counting itself among the best all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana is the Grand Palladium Bávaro Suites, a 5-star resort overlooking Cortecito Beach, dotted with the area's famous willowy palm trees. Can't imagine ever being without a drink to sip while on vacation? You'll be at home here — 22 bars will keep you refreshed around the clock. Dining options abound too.
In the off chance you can't find something you want to nibble on at the resort's five buffet restaurants, get a seat at one of eight a la carte eateries, which include a teppanyaki-style Japanese restaurant and a colorful spot serving Mexican fare. Suites are serene, with a warm, contemporary feel and wood accents, plus whirlpool tubs and flat-screen TVs. But when you're ready for total relaxation, make your way to Zentropia Palladium Spa for a massage or a sauna session.
Be Live Collection Punta Cana - $290/night
Boasting simple, bright guest rooms and lagoon-style swimming pools around every corner, Be Live Collection Punta Cana hugs a curve of sand in Cabeza de Toro, a quieter section of Punta Cana near the Bávaro Lagoon.
This sleek property's a la carte dining options are impressive. Sip sake and enjoy plates of sushi at Akeru, or opt for tasty Mediterranean fare at Mylos. But don't discount the international buffet — you'll find that's where most guests congregate for choose-your-own breakfasts, lunches and dinners, not to mention an impressive array of desserts any time of the day.
Bali beds lining the white-sand beach are the ideal place to take in the sun's rays, and conveniently, there's a beach bar serving ice-cold drinks nearby. Want to find a slice of private beach paradise? Wander west along the beachfront for a while. You'll eventually come to a natural palm-dotted stretch of coast devoid of hotels and their noisy guests.
Occidental Caribe - $174/night
A 4-star beach retreat on Punta Cana's fabulous Playa Arena Gorda, the Occidental Caribe buzzes with activity. International guests shuffle between the beach, two lagoon-style swimming pools and the resort's many dining establishments, all while workers zip around to welcome guests or deliver much-needed cocktails. Get a taste of French cuisine at París, or save your appetite for classic Dominican dishes at El Conuco. Poolside dining is a hit at Marenostrum Snack Bar, open for breakfast, buffet brunch and lunch through 3 p.m.
With king-sized beds (or two double beds), flat-screen TVs, furnished balconies and stocked minibars, guest rooms are the perfect place to kick back and relax. Family rooms, featuring 776 square feet of space and views of tropical gardens, can accommodate up to six people. Love to sleep in? Check out time is not until 12 p.m.
Tip: Check out sister resort Occidental Punta Cana, a recently renovated 5-star property on Playa El Cortecito, with even more dining options and a fully-equipped spa boasting a Turkish bath and beach massages.
Be Live Experience Hamaca Beach - $266/night
Boca Chica is one of the DR's most underrated beach towns. Boasting gin-clear, shallow water (almost like a sparkling pool) and a white-sand beachfront packed with lively bars and restaurants, it draws city-dwellers for some rowdy weekend fun.
One of few all-inclusive resorts in the area, the Be Live Experience Hamaca Beach offers dining at seven restaurants, plus a poolside bar, a lobby bar and a beach bar to keep a steady flow of libations going. Just steps from the resort is the Caribbean Sea — sun loungers and palapas line the sun-drenched beachfront.
Want easy access to the ocean and to dinner and drinks? Dine at El Pelicano, the overwater restaurant with ladders leading right into the water (extra charges to dine here apply).