You might be like me. As people chatter about falling leaves and pull boots out of the back corners of the closet, I stand outside and try to catch the last bit of summer sunlight on my cheeks. I mourn the passage of summer. I mourn the loss of poolside sits, listening to the ocean swells hit the sand, and the late evenings spent with a cocktail in hand around a barbecue pit.
However, if you have some free time on your hands, it doesn’t have to be the end of summer. Perched between the warm waters of the Caribbean and the southern currents of the Atlantic, the Dominican Republic offers white sands and plenty of summer adventure. The DR has it all, and, as luck would have it, fall is the “off” season in the Caribbean. So pack up and get ready for the good deals!
For the Slow, Luxurious Summer Lover – Bavaro
Perhaps nothing effuses summer more than a day dedicated to relaxing on the beach. There is a reason that Punta Cana and Bavaro are touted so often in travel magazines. With turquoise waters and stereotypical white sands, all of your pictures will come out looking like postcards.
Opt for the slightly cheaper Bavaro beach that sits adjacent to Punta Cana. There, you will find Playa de Arena Blanca, or the White Sand Beach. Summer is about leniency and allowance, so allow yourself to indulge in an all-inclusive resort. You’ll eat more food than you can fit on your plate and drink as often as you are willing to swim up to the bar.
Stay: Ocean Blue and Sand Resort. It has all the trappings of the bigger, flashier resorts with a more modest price tag. And make sure to visit Mike’s Coffee Shop and sample a Dominican coffee!
For the Fun, Summer Party Lover – Cabarete
If you are sport for a little more excitement, journey to the north shore of the island. Here, you will find Cabarete. While the beach here still boasts clear waters and plenty of sun, it cannot be said to be the prettiest beach in all the land. However, it is the most fun.
The city is home to champion kitesurfing. The stronger winds of the Atlantic give rise to all types of sports and activities on the coast. The bars line the sands, and when the sun sets, their lights blink and shine as the surfers come in and enjoy some dance and drink. The entire town has a young, vibrant feel– just the kind of summer you thought you left behind.
Stay: Hotel Kaoba is right across from the beach, and you can rent an entire bungalow to yourself for about $30-50 per day. At night, make sure to walk down the road to the German Bayherserhoff to sample authentic German sausage!
For the Adventurous, Secluded Summer Lover – Las Galeras
I’ve traveled to all of the corners of the Dominican Republic, but the northeastern peninsula of Samana is by far my favorite. Its mountains jut out over the very waters where the Caribbean and Atlantic meet. Less traveled than the southern coasts, its thick forests and beaches are still well-preserved. If you can make the trek, adventure and isolated beaches await.
Las Galeras amounts to little more than a fishing village at the farthest end of the peninsula. Here, walk to Playa Playenca, where mountain ridges ring the cerulean waters, and buy fried fish caught out of the sea just hours before. Rent a boat and venture out to Playa Fronton to scuba dive on the reef under the cliffs. Travel inland and hike or ride horseback to the Limon Waterfall and swim out under the cascade. Whatever you do, make sure to venture out to the secluded Playa Rincon, rated as one of the ten best beaches in the Caribbean. You won’t be disappointed.
Stay: El Pequeno Refugio. The rooms possess this quaint, exotic charm with rustic furniture and draping mosquito nets. Head downstairs for excellent meals made by the renowned Canadian chef and join the owner, Lea, and other locals for a handmade drink.
Whatever summer mood you might be in, don’t let it fade. Reach past the boots and dig out your suitcase instead. Pack up your bathing suits one last time and take advantage of the lower fall prices in the Dominican Republic. After all, summer only ends if you let it.
Hallie Lipsey currently works as a teacher and writer. She has spent the last several years teaching outside of the United States while living in apartments without air conditioning. When not teaching or writing, she enjoys eating bowls of spicy salsa and rescuing small, fuzzy critters. Follow her on Twitter @.