The all-inclusive mecca of Punta Cana has a great record of dodging hurricanes, and more than 30,000 hotel rooms that need filling. Enough to let you book late at no extra charge while keeping an eye on the weather.
In the air: Plenty of early morning nonstop flights (JetBlue launched service from Fort Lauderdale in May, and also flies from Boston and New York) ensure I’m sipping a cerveza by lunchtime.
On the ground: From the airport (have cash for the $10 tourist card), most hotels are 30-ish minutes by shuttle bus. Even those in Uvero Alto, on the north end, are less than 45 minutes away, thanks to the new highway. Once there, two feet will do.
Into a Room
Grand Palladium Bavaro: Not venturing outside the resort would be OK since my two-story oceanfront suite comes with swim-up access from the pool; a rooftop deck with hot tub; 24 hour-room service and some seriously Instagram-worthy beach views. All-inclusive, from $270 a night.
Excellence Punta Cana: An extra 15 minutes on the road is nothing when I realize that this all-inclusive includes spa treatments. Let the humble brags begin. From $366 a night.
Within Easy Reach
Solo Pollo: Not far from Grand Palladium, in Los Corales, I’m sinking my teeth into some authentically Dominican, lip-smacking pollo horneado (rotisserie chicken) with rice ’n’ beans and a tangy tamarind juice for less than $9. Turns out the food isn’t the only local flavor when a local pup takes up residence at my feet.
Up high: Punta Cana is the only place in the Caribbean that offers hot-air balloon rides. Our basket climbed as high as 3,000 feet and dipped so low I could touch the tips of sugar-cane stalks.