Photo: Courtesy of Puntacana Resort & Club
If you're looking for a honeymoon destination that's sexy and easy, the Dominican Republic has it all. There are tons of direct flights (it's just two and a half hours from Miami!) and so much to do, from surfing to sunning to riding horseback through the jungle. To experience the best of what the isle has to offer without having to stray too far from your honeymoon suite, head to a resort complex like the Puntacana Resort & Club, 26 square miles of hotels, private homes (Oscar de la Renta was a resident!), and pristine white sands on an ecological preserve. Here are some of the best ways to take advantage of this 15,000-acre paradise:
Book a room at the just-opened Westin Puntacana Resort & Club, home to 200 ocean-view rooms, a huge pool, beach access, and plenty of running and biking paths. If you need a little extra motivation to work out on vacation, the hotel's WestinWorkout program makes it easy to lace up and hit the trails. At the resort, an in-house Well Ambassador can guide you through a strength-training workout at the resort's full gym, or lead you and your groom on a beachside jog.
See more: Top 10 All-Inclusive Resorts
Hit the waves:
After you dive into the lagoons, head for the open water. The Caribbean Sea is warm and clear year-round. Take advantage of the calm waves and try Stand up Paddle Surfing, or SUP. A personal instructor will walk you through a three-day course, so by the time you leave you'll be a pro. Or, if you're feeling really adventurous, give kiteboarding a try!
Photo: Puntacana Resort & Club
Beautiful as the beaches may be, there's plenty more to see beyond all that white sand. The resort is home to a 1,500-acre ecological reserve with 12 freshwater lagoons, five of which are swimmable. Jump in, and slip on a snorkeling mask to swim with the lagoons' colorful freshwater fish. And don't miss a trip to the working apiary, where you can pick up some home-grown raw honey, before stopping by the equestrian center to snag a four-hooved ride back to the beach.
When you're in the mood for a laid-back beachside meal, hit up Anani, the Westin's biggest restaurant, for dinner. Santiagofaves. Don't miss the ultra-fresh salmon tartare, or, if you're feeling adventurous, try a goat empanada—so good with a glass of white wine and Caribbean views.
For lunch, head to The Grill at the Puntacana Resort, overlooking the La Cana Golf Course. Go light with the pumpkin and shrimp salad, and wash it down with a Banana Mama, a vacation-worthy blend of rum, banana, coconut and pineapple.
For a purely Caribbean vibe, check out La Yola, at the Puntacana resort marina. Modeled on a fishing boat and stretching out on a dock over the ocean, the eatery specializes in tropical dishes like ceviche, octopus, and yucca, a Dominican root vegetable. Don't be surprised when a live band appears behind your table and begins to play!