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Best Area and Resort on Dominican Republic

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I have absolutely no experience with the Dominican Republic. I think I heard that there are two very different "sides?" of the island. Can anyone explain this? Also, we are a married couple in our late 40's looking for a great resort that has beautiful decor/grounds, excellent food and service, varied evening entertainment and a nice beach and pool. Access to golf would be a plus. Any recommendations? Thanks for the help.

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    I'm certainly not an expert on the DR, but there seem to be two popular areas: Punta Cana, which is on the southeast coast, and Puerto Plata, which is on the northern coast. La Romana, on the southern coast more towards Santo Domingo, is also becoming more popular. I've been to Punta Cana and La Romana, but not Puerto Plata. In my research, it seems that the water and weather is rougher in Puerto Plata because it can sometimes be affected by hurricanes, whereas Punta Cana is a safer bet. I love the Iberostar resorts, and have stayed there in both Punta Cana and La Romana (Hacienda Dominicus). I would recommend going to an all-inclusive in the DR--it's just not wise to be travelling outside of the resort for meals and entertainment. I've also stayed at the Allegro in Punta Cana, which is not as upscale as the Iberostars (but priced more affordably). Also check out Casa de Campo in La Romana for a really amazing property. As for golf, I believe that there is a complex of Bavaro hotels in Punta Cana that has its own golf course. And many people rave about Secrets Excellence in Punta Cana, so investigate that too (it's adults only).

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    The previous reply has most of the info to help. We have been to both sides and have also stayed at the Iberostar in Punta Cana. The main difference between the two areas would be the beach and the landscape. Puerto Plata has brown sand beaches that face the Atlantic and hills with places to see by car. The hotels overall are not as nice as Punta Cana and there are gaps in the beach area between resorts. Punta Cana is basically flat in comparison but the beach is one of the best in the carribean. The hotels line the beach for miles and they are all low hotels I did not see one more then 4 floors. The Secrets resort has received great reviews and for adults without kids is great and a bit away from it all. We enjoyed Iberostar (it has three resorts together) with the Bavaro being their top one. If I was going back to the area I would likely pick Iberostar Bavaro as the rooms are in these 4 room buildings surrounded by amazing gardens and pathways. Very romantic. We enjoyed the free use of the ocean kayaks and hobie cats at the hotel. Cocotal in Punta Cana is likely your best best for condition with a cost around $105US. The best course in DR is Teeth of the Dog but it is a good 90+ minutes away towards La Romano not sure if I would want to spend 3 hours going baack and forth to golf. If you have any questions let me know.

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