Grand Paradise Samana Rating: 2.5 Pearls

Crystal blue water, soft white sand, and ample loungers abound at this budget resort in Samana.

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Best All-Inclusive Beaches in the Caribbean (31 of 31)

 Crystal blue water, soft white sand, and ample loungers abound at this budget resort in Samana.
Agua's stretch of beach is quiet and mellow, a refreshing contrast to the clogged mass of humanity typical of many of Punta Cana's mega-resort beaches. The soft, wet sandbars make for perfect walking conditions. Technically, the Gran Bahia has three beaches -- a main swimming beach, a nude beach, and a snorkeling beach (pictured here). The main swimming beach is less crowded than most all-inclusive beaches. On the far western edge of the property -- and blocked off by a tall fence -- is the nude beach. Located on the Caribbean Sea, the beaches at Viva Wyndham are calmer, more mellow, and slightly less congested than those along the Atlantic Ocean in Punta Cana. There are no local peddlers or vendors on the Wyndham's beach and they're sticklers about this rule, a huge plus compared to many other beaches where guests are bombarded by folks hawking cheap, rarely local wares. With especially fine, powdery white sand, the Bavaro's beach is one of the D.R.'s best stretches in Punta Cana. The Riu Paradise Island has a prime location on Cabbage Beach. The water is so clear, you can spy schools of fish swimming around your ankles, and the big waves make for great body surfing. But because this is one of the best beaches in the vicinity of Nassau, hoards of cruise ship passengers head here as soon as their ships dock. Guests can walk uninterrupted past four other Riu resorts -- and seemingly for many more miles -- along turquoise water and soft, sugary sand in Punta Cana. Negril's Seven Mile Beach is the longest continuous stretch of white sand in Jamaica. The entire beach is public, so the resort guests can mingle with the low-key local vendors wandering along the beach. The Beaches beachfront is perhaps the most family-friendly, with room to spare for walkers, sunbathers, and water-sports enthusiasts without feeling crowded. None of the guest rooms or suites look straight out onto the sand -- Negril's building codes restricted this starting in the 1990s -- so the beach is much broader than in Montego Bay or Ocho Rios. Cayo Levantado is located on its own private island off the Samana Peninsula, which means immense quiet and privacy, a rarity on many beaches in the D.R. As the D.R.'s only luxury resort set on its own island, Cayo Levantado has access to some of the of the best beaches in the country. Yet another Beaches-brand resort tops the best-beaches list, since it is also located on Seven Mile Beach. Beaches has two large swimming areas surrounded by buoys, which are meant to protect guests from the occasional Jet Ski or motorboat. The water is shallow, calm, and excellent for young children to swim in. Like anywhere on Seven Mile Beach, there are people in the water at all hours, but the beach itself never feels crowded. The Dreams Punta Cana's cerulean blue waters, misty waves, and clean, soft, sandy shore are about as picturesque is it gets in the Caribbean. The steep drop-off and somewhat vigorous waves make it less than ideal for swimming, though. Active lifeguards are on duty throughout the beach at Dreams, a superb family-friendly feature not found at most Dominican resorts. Also on Negril's Seven Mile Beach, the adults-only, couples-only Couples Swept Away resort has guest rooms, restaurants, and bars that line the beach. Vendors and musicians stroll down the beach with guitars and bamboo scrapers, playing reggae requests for small tips. Topless sunbathing is allowed here, like anywhere in Negril, but the adults-only rule at this resort makes it somewhat more prevalent. Ample non-motorized water sports are available on the beach, free of charge. Located on the Samana Peninsula, one of the least developed and most serene areas in the D.R., the beaches here are some of the best in the country, bar none. You can walk for miles on soft sand beside perfectly clear water. Other than the long, long powdery beach, there is virtually nothing to do in the hotel's immediate vicinity. Surrounded by trees and greenery rather than development and stucco buildings, the hotel is perfect for time off the grid. Montego Bay's closed, private beaches aren't as picturesque as Negril's. But the well-groomed sands at the Iberostar are better than at most of its neighbors' beaches. Low-lying palm shades create the exotic environment, and there's full drink service by the water. The clean, broad, powdery stretch of white sand beach at the adults-only, 400-room Ambar extends all the way from Ambar down to the family-friendly beachfront by its sister properties, the Punta Cana and Bavaro enclaves. At Breezes, the resort not only has enough space for lounge chairs, but it also has enough space for multiple trapeze sets and volleyball nets. But all this fun is exclusive to adults and teens (all guests of Breezes must be over the age of 14). The beach here is extraordinarily active, and the hotel's entertainment staff tries to get guests to join in the games. But if you're not up for a contest, you can still sip a cocktail in the nearby pools overlooking the ocean. The beach is fairly packed through the morning and midday, but stretches long enough so that people can have a fair amount of space. The water in this area of Punta Cana is really clear and fairly shallow, especially at low tide. The somewhat rocky, but secluded, beachfront at the Royal Decameron is punctuated by soft sandy inlets where guests can quietly soak up the sun beside clear, gentle waters. We're gonna say it, the bungalows and guest rooms are worn and dingy, but the beach is phenomenal at this secluded budget resort in Samana, 2.5 hours from the nearest airport. Crystal blue water, soft white sand, and ample loungers abound at this budget resort in Samana.
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