Now that the spring breakers have headed home, the bars are empty and the hotel halls quiet. Things are finally back to normal in resort world. In the Dominican Republic, that means sparkling beaches, water sports galore, giant full-service beachfront resorts, cold Presidente beer, and huge food buffets at hotel restaurants and bars. With airfare dropping and resort packages decreasing in price to make way for the less-crowded summer months, tourists can find some way-low deals to the Dominican Republic's top beaches.
Cheap Caribbean (tel. 800/915-2322; www.cheapcaribbean.com), which advertises vacation deals reduced up to 70 percent off published prices, has a five-night special to Puerto Plata on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. With accommodations at the Sun Village Resort and Spa, this air/land package starts at just $589 per person with departures out of several major U.S. gateways including Miami, New York and Atlanta. You need to book this trip by April 6, 2005 with travel good from April 20 to June 30, 2005. In addition to all meals, beverages and alcoholic drinks, free tickets to the Ocean World (a $55 dollar per person value) are thrown in. Tips and gratuities are also included. Air taxes and security fees are not included. The resort is packed with things to do, upscale restaurants and nightlife and a beautiful, large pool that looks out onto the Atlantic Ocean. A similar five-night trip to the same North coast with accommodations at the slightly more luxurious Marien Coral by Hilton starts at $699. Travel for this deal must be booked by April 4, 2005 with travel good from April 1 to June 30, 2005.
If you're looking to hit the calmer Southern coast of the Dominican Republic on the Caribbean Sea, all-inclusive trips to Santa Domingo are available as well. Vacation Travel Mart (tel. 800-288-1435, www.vacmart.com) has three versions of several trips to the Santa Domingo coastal region. Starting at $462 for three-nights accommodations and airfare out of New York and other departure cities (Miami is $411), this package also includes all your on-premises meals and drink. This tour puts you up at the popular Coral Costa Caribe which boasts 400-plus hotel rooms, its own full-service casino, four restaurants, six bars, a disco, tennis courts and a smorgasbord of motor and non-motor water sports. If you like the specs and resort stats for this trip, you can choose the five-night package out of New York for $607 or the seven-night for $751.
If you want to see the Dominican Republic on your own terms, both Jet Blue (tel. 800/JET-BLUE; www.jetblue.com) and American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) have excellent deals to one of the three international Dominican Republic airports. If you book two weeks in advance, Jet Blue has round-trips from New York's JFK to Santiago, D.R. for $194 with one-ways available for as low as $75 from New York to the D.R. and $87 back. Check the site for their "Take Five" specials.
While resort stays at the Dominican Republic are very safe, there are reports from the island of mild crime with unsuspecting tourists being targeted as easy pickings. Give the United States Department of State's Consular Information Sheet on travel to the D.R. (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1103.html) a solid read, which warns to watch out for thieves on mopeds and to stay away from remote island locales in the deep of the night.
Now that we've told you the where to get the best deals, head over to our Dominican Republic Message Boards to talk about travel.