Playa Blanca, Dominican Republic

Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic

This three-mile stretch of white sand is the only public beach at the gated Puntacana Resort & Club. Even so, non-guests can only reach the beach after dining at the resort’s oceanfront Playa Blanca Restaurant. It’s worth it, though, as the calm turquoise water is ideal for swimming, kayaking, and catamaran sailing. A mesh barrier keeps seaweed out of the swimming and beach areas, ensuring pristine water and sand as far as the eye can see.

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Cheers to the President

Few presidents are this accessible, though that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise for those with knowledge of the Dominican Republic; this Presidente was brewed to party. Presidente is the archetypal island beer; a light, easy drinking Pilsner, just malty enough to keep beer nerds happy while chilling on the beach. The beer is virtually ubiquitous, though getting your hands on other varieties can prove something of a challenge, depending on where you’re staying.

Dine at Playa Blanca

If a better seaside dining option exists in Punta Cana, then it’s hidden in a coral garden somewhere, guarded by a shark. Dinner at Playa Blanca is that spectacular, and that special, whether you’re feasting on portions of house paella (both meat and seafood options are available), sampling the best the sea has to offer (lobster, conch, crab, snapper, and more), or simply settling in for a sundowner session. Playa Blanca overlooks the sea and is blissfully isolated on its own private stretch of Punta Cana sand. The atmosphere is at once cozy and chic, with a general air of Caribbean chill that puts you in the mood for culinary magic.

A Fresh Spin on Johnnycakes

If you’ve been anywhere in the Caribbean previously, you know that johnnycakes, in all their infinite varieties, are a staple across the islands. In Anguilla they’re light and fluffy like a pastry, in Jamaica they often appear as a pancake, and in St. Lucia they’re thin and crisp. Here in the Dominican Republic, at least in Punta Cana, johnnycakes take on the character of thick, savory tortilla chips, made from tremendously fresh cornmeal. The cakes are served with an excellent bean dip as an appetizer when ordering lunch at Playa Blanca, which makes selecting an entrée an exercise in restraint. The cakes are that good.

Toast Your Island Escape

The Dominican Republic isn’t quite as hot a cocktail destination as places like Cuba or Aruba, which makes a Playa Blanca margarita an even more exciting experience. Top shelf tequila, fresh mix, and just the right amount of ice make this the perfect companion to a hot day on the beach. What would an island escape be without a frosty margarita?

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