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Las Terrenas in the Dominican Republic Is the Best Caribbean Beach Getaway You’ve Never Heard Of

For the last ten years, I’ve been in search of the perfect weekend paradise. My dream destination is hot during the New York winters, with a beautiful swimmable beach that’s walking distance from town. There are cute local restaurants, fun beach clubs, and chic boutique hotels. There’s no need to rent a car or rely on taxis.

Of course, many such places exist in the world. As a travel writer willing to scour the far corners of the globe in the quest for paradise, I have happily endured 40-hour travel days for the chance to swim in a remote seaside lagoon and dine on fresh seafood in a thatched-roof hut. But visiting the Philippines for a long weekend isn’t exactly feasible.

So, my perfect long weekend destination has to be a direct flight from New York City that’s under five hours. From there, it has to be an easy (as in, only one form of transportation—no car-to-puddle jumper-to-ferry) ride to the destination that takes two hours at the most. The Yucatán is one of my favorite places to visit, but due to the seaweed problem there, the “beautiful swimmable beaches” bit is not a guarantee. Other Caribbean locales I’ve visited have checked most—but never all—of the boxes. Until I visited Las Terrenas.

The Salto de Limon waterfall located on the Samaná peninsula near Las Terrenas.Photo: Getty Images

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