While the Dominican Republic has become famous for its cheap all-inclusive hotels, it’s not the whole island that is that cheap. In fact, of the 4 most popular resort areas on this large island, only one really competes with Mexico and Jamaica for the bottom of the price rung, while the others are in the mid or upper ends of the price scale.
As you can see by the title of this post, it’s Puerto Plata that you want if you are on a low budget, and Punta Cana, La Romana, and Samana are better for those in higher tax brackets. Fortunately, Puerto Plata has many great choices across the price range, so it’s not just the lowest of low budget tourists.
Destination: Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
You’ll be flying into Gregorio Luperón International Airport, which is only about 15 minutes from the city center, but it can be farther from some of the more remote resorts. Airfares are generally quite low, with fares starting under US$400 from New York City even in high season, and a bit less than that during the rest of the year.
Puerto Plata has about 60 total resort hotels, and about half of them are either full all-inclusive or offer an all-inclusive option. In fact, this is one part of the Caribbean that is so famous for its army of all-inclusive hotels that you won’t find many independent restaurants and bars relative to the size of the crowds because a huge percentage of them never leave their resorts.
Fantastic off-season bargains
Let’s be honest and admit that Puerto Plata is not an alternative to St. Barths for the luxury travel set. It’s an alternative to Cancun or to staying home, so it’s important to set our expectations to a realistic level. The snorkeling and diving along these beaches are decent, but not what you will find at the most expensive cities. Still, as a place to relax and have a few nice meals and drinks, it’s hard to beat Puerto Plata for its value.
You can find all-inclusive resorts in the 3-star category at under US$120 per night per couple in the off season, and much closer to US$200 per night in the high season (after Christmas). If you can spend as much as US$150 per night for two people you’ll have nearly a dozen options among all-inclusive resorts during the low season.
If you are new to the all-inclusive resort thing you might not think that sounds like a great deal, but it really is amazing. It’s true that you can eat 3 meals at home and share a bottle of wine for US$50 per day for two people, but you have to compare these prices to beach resort prices AND realize that you are likely to overdo it a bit in the process.
In other words, if you were to eat a big buffet breakfast, then have another nice meal at lunch, then have a few cocktails in the afternoon while you relax by the pool, then have a wonderful dinner and more drinks at a resort, you’d spend probably US$100 per day per person even at a cheap place. So US$120 per night for two including a hotel room is amazing and something not to skip.