The 10 Best Budget Islands in the Caribbean

by - February 27, 2010 See all photo galleries
Dominican Republic Rocky Beach

Dominican Republic

Year-round temperatures hover between the high 70s and high 80s, making the Dominican Republic a perfect place to stretch out on the beach or play a round of golf on courses designed by golf legends. If you're looking for a little more excitement, the nightlife and casinos will keep you entertained. While travelers to Punta Cana can expect all-inclusive resorts and miles of beaches, those looking for a more authentic Dominican experience can visit Puerto Plata in the north.

Why It's a Good Value

With several international airports, getting to the Dominican Republic is a cinch. Look to JetBlue (expanding service to Punta Cana in addition to service to Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, and Santiago) and Delta (recently added service to Puerto Plata and Punta Cana) for good deals. Several Canadian carriers are offering new flights, including Air Canada (increased service from Montreal to Punta Cana and new flights from Halifax to Samana/El Catey) and WestJet (new service from Ottawa, Hamilton, and Thunder Bay to Punta Cana).

Stiff competition keeps prices down at hotels, restaurants, and attractions in the Dominican Republic, and the island offers tons of all-inclusive, easy-on-the-budget hotel options. Despite the Dominican peso being the official currency, the U.S. dollar is often preferred. American visitors can expect good exchange rates, as the dollar is strong in the country.

Best Beaches

With 30 miles of sand, visitors to Punta Cana won't feel crowded, despite the plethora of all-inclusive resorts lining the shore. Ranked number 12 on Our Readers' 15 Favorite Beaches, many agree about Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana. Reader BobbinTalk can "attest to the beauty and serenity of the beach! Warm waters even in the middle of January and great views."

washboardmary suggests Playa Rincon: "It is secluded and private. There is a lovely grove of palms that open onto a wide expanse of white sand in a crescent shape. The water is clear blue and there is great surf action. This is not so much a beach for swimming as standing in the waves."

Playa Punta Rucia, west of Puerto Plata, offers the longest coral reef just offshore, making it popular with snorkelers.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Hubert Inabinet)

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