Rough and Luxe in the Dominican Republic
Plenty of sun-seeking Americans drop down to the D.R. for a few days of luxurious oceanfront inertia. We get it. We really do. And when you're sprawled out on a terry-cloth-covered daybed by the infinity pool overlooking a bay of screaming kiteboards at a chicly indulgent place like the new Gansevoort in Puerto Plata (from $625 a night), it seems wise simply to sit still until the short drive back to the airport.
That would be a mistake on a number of levels. First, as windsurfers discovered 30 years ago, the breezes off nearby Cabarete are among the Caribbean's most reliable, making it ideal for any wind or water pursuit. And then there are the subtropical mountains in the island's north that are carved with 27 waterfalls, exotic natural pools, and miles of mountain biking trails. One of the area's oldest outfitters, Iguana Mama, will spring you from your resort and take you canyoning — stomping through the rivers, rappelling down waterfalls, and jumping 60 feet into turquoise pools. And fear not: You'll be back on your chaise longue by sunset.
Cabarete is just 12 miles from Gregorio Luperon International Airport in Puerto Plata. From Santiago's Cibao International, it's a 90-minute drive.