When it comes to destinations that have it all, the north coast of Dominican Republic is pretty high up the list. Why the north specifically? Because it’s possible there to take long walks on a pristine beach—and be the only two people for seemingly miles. The entire island is pretty much a wild but real fantasy, though the more touristed parts such as Punta Cana, home to dozens of admittedly stunning resorts, don’t feel quite so private or perhaps immersive. That’s not to take anything away from the heavenly getaways so popular for honeymooners, but only to highlight one lesser-known area that’s especially appealing for adventure seekers.
If this part of the island is a hub for romance and privacy, the epicenter is Amanera. It’s a dream of a luxury resort, worth saving up diligently for (or maybe reigning in the floral arrangements). Think Champagne and canapés in your individual casita—with sexy yet serene minimalist design, tons of glass, green roofs and maybe even a private pool—surprise breakfast in bed, turndown with rose petals, candlelight and more bubbly, and sunset cocktails at secretive locales. But beyond the lavish treats the smiling staff are so good at doling out, there are some things that might tempt you out of that casita.
The biggest siren call comes from the mile-long Playa Grande out front, hands-down the country’s most beautiful and emptiest—the sand is soft and deep, causing you to stroll slowly as your feet sink into it, and the palm trees fringing it and azure Atlantic on the other side make the most awe-inspiring corridor. The private verdant jungle actually continues for 400 virgin acres, making it a playground for nature lovers who enjoy hiking, biking and four-wheeling. Even better, it’s home to a fun surf spot, and when it’s calmer can be great for kayaking and standup paddleboarding.
‘A Romance at Amanera’ package (available to newlyweds, honeymooners and couples until March 30, 2020) also beckons with its romantic bath, candlelit dinner, couple’s massage with Palo Santo ritual blessing and private merengue lesson—the super seductive Dominican partner dance. Add on a New Moon—The Beginning treatment, which opens the root chakra, incorporates warm poultices of Ruda herbs during a facial massage, and features a grounding hot stone massage to clear energy. The duo therapy wraps up with tuning your root and heart chakras to the same frequency to bless your new beginning and bestow peace.
Turning up the adrenaline are opportunities like the quest to learn kiteboarding in its birthplace. The exciting water sport is an iconic activity on the north coast due to the ideal wind—en route from the airport to Amanera, in fact, its advisable to stop by Cabarete beach to watch the boarders skim over the surface in zig zags and fly into the air for tricks. You’ll want to plan a few days for lessons with the amazingly patient, enthusiastic pros at Kite Club if you wish to really feel the rush.
If you like to engage with locals, make it a point to stop for a beer at a car wash on the way back or linger at the beach for a bite, coconut or beer at one of the cute, vibrant shacks. Windsurfing is also an option, as is deep-sea fishing (hint: you can expect to eat tons of great fresh catch while here.)
Golf enthusiasts don’t get it better than this: Playa Grande Golf and Ocean Club, which Amanera is within, hosts Dominican’s most pristine course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and updated recently by his son, Rees Jones. But it doesn’t only boast golf pros like the first local to play on the PGA Tour. It has signature Discovery Land Company (the private club and residential developer who owns the whole lot) Comfort Stations—stops along the oceanfront (some even go over the ocean) holes for the most opulent spread of gourmet and regular Joe snacks, Casamigos tequila, candy and hot dogs, guacamole and virtually everything you could crave.
Tee times should be booked early to ensure you can play the course—barefoot if you wish, there’s no dress code at this super laid-back club—since a limited number per day are available to Amanera guests (otherwise it’s totally private). Plan to make a day of it and lunch at the new farm-to-table Las Brasas restaurant or The Point, where epic panoramas are made even more memorable with the presence of a pizza oven and al fresco bar. There’s no denying: This slice of heaven is the stuff of honeymoon dreams.