Unspoilt beach, palms and plenty of fun — welcome to Coconut Palms Resort. This little piece of paradise is on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, a little east of Sosua, in the Puerto Plata area. Just before you reach the village of Cabarete, you'll come across a breezy hilltop overlooking expanses of palm trees and miles of unspoilt beach; the beach is Playa Encuentro and this is Coconut Palms. The rustic Spanish-inspired design gives this resort a quaint, retro feel. Inside, the décor is light, airy and comfortable. Whether you’re in a one-, two- or three-bedroom apartment, your kitchen is equipped with enough of the basics to make you feel at home, while the daily maid service is a welcome reminder you’re on vacation.
All of the resort's spacious units surround a sparkling swimming pool and on-site restaurant, and many boast spectacular ocean views that provide an incredible backdrop for a dinner on the balcony. Watching the sun rise with a cup of coffee from your private balcony is highly recommended. At night, the peaceful hilltop position and soothing sounds of ocean in the distance lull you to sleep, ready for a new day in paradise.
Whether you like to relax with a cocktail by the pool or throw yourself into the surf, you’ll find it at Coconut Palms. The pool always has sunny and shady spots, and there's no shortage of pool furniture or pool towels. The on-site Tiki bar is a great place to chill; the long-time bartender has been known to make drinks just the way you like them, including cutting a coconut right there and then for a special rum-and-coconut cocktail or mixing cool, refreshing virgin mocktails for the kids.
If you’re after action, this is the Dominican Republic's North Coast, famous for extreme sports. Playa Encuentro, a 10-minute downhill stroll (or a two-minute Tuk Tuk ride) from the resort, is the most reliable and accessible surf spot around. Nearby Cabarete is home to a thriving community of young Europeans, Americans and Canadians who have come for one thing — the surf.
Just after sunrise, you'll witness a steady stream of surfers and their boards making their way down the hill to spend a couple of hours catching the waves. The beachfront is home to a small number of very friendly surf schools, where you can hire a board and take lessons for a very reasonable rate. With its flat rock bottom for the first 10 feet or so, Playa Encuentro is also a good place to learn. In the afternoons, the wind picks up and supplies the perfect conditions for kiteboarders and windsurfers.
Even if you don’t surf, Playa Encuentro is a beautiful, natural beach with plenty of chairs and umbrellas; an authentic, laid-back Dominican restaurant and bar; unspoilt views; and wooden surf huts.
If, after all that, you still haven't had enough of the water, the scuba-diving instructors at Coconut Palms will let you have a test session in the pool and will happily arrange dives at Puerto Plata, Sosua, Cabarete, Rio San Juan, Gri Gri Lagoon, Abreu, DuDu Lagoon and Cabrera.
Of course, there are many other things to do in the area, like horseback riding and dirt buggy trips on Playa Encuentro, whale-watching, mountain safaris, river trips, and visits to the many stunning waterfalls. Then there are the surrounding beaches of Catelon, Olaya Grande, Playa Diamante and Sosua; Dudu Lake and Caves; the green-clad mountains and turquoise waters of the Samana Peninsula; and the excitement of Ocean World’s park, marina and casino.
Coconut Palms Resort also the only non-all-inclusive resort on the North Coast, which means after a morning or afternoon full of activity, you don’t have to eat at their restaurant — you have the choice to experience a wide variety of local cuisine off site! With that being said, we’d be surprised if you didn’t want to sample what the resort's on-site restaurant has to offer, like the cazuela de marisco, a local seafood stew. The chef, José, trained at the Hilton in Santo Domingo and has put together a fantastic menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And, every other night, there’s live music, magic shows and the very popular Dominican Fiesta, where you can sample authentic Dominican music and cooking.
Coconut Palms Resort prides itself on offering the privacy and relaxed atmosphere not often found at larger resorts. Many of the staff have worked there for years, and it shows in the high level of service. The resort is close enough everything for you feel as though it’s all easily within reach but far away enough for you to relax, let go and have the best vacation of your life.