The Dominican Republic Takes Center Stage As an SI Swimsuit 2023 Hot-Spot Destination

The exclusive private community of Cap Cana is the ultimate luxury destination.

The pool at Sports Illustrated Resorts Marina & Villas Cap Cana.

The SI Swimsuit team traveled to Cap Cana, Dominican Republic, for its 2023 issue with rookies Lauren Chan and Madisin Rian. Some familiar faces also participated in photo shoots at the Caribbean’s top travel destination, namely Katie Austin, Camille Kostek, Hailey Clauson and Brooks Nader.

Cap Cana, located in the Punta Cana area of the country, is an exclusive private community known for its bustling activity and incredible service. The area is a natural paradise that boasts gorgeous scenery, including white sand beaches with lush palm trees, seaside cliffs and woodland areas. Cap Cana is home to a variety of wildlife, including manatees, humpback whales, dolphins, birds and iguanas.

The gated community development was founded more than 20 years ago and offers both adventure and relaxation, so whether you’re looking to experience a thrilling zip line or chill on the beach, there’s a little something for everyone.

“I always love going to the Dominican Republic,” said SI Swimsuit’s brand manager, Lynn Calomeni. “The people there are so hospitable, and the beaches are beautiful. We stayed at the new Sports Illustrated Resort which is tucked into one of the biggest marinas in the Caribbean and feels like a Mediterranean village.”

Marina Cap Cana

Marina Cap Cana.

How to get to the Dominican Republic

A number of U.S. cities offer flights directly to the Punta Cana International Airport, including Miami, Atlanta and Charlotte. Cap Cana is just a 10-minute drive from the airport, and guests can utilize a taxi or a hotel pick-up service for quick and easy transportation.

Cap Cana offers consistent tropical temperatures all year long, and while it can reach as high as 90° F during the summer months, the Caribbean breeze will help you keep your cool. While any time of year is ideal to visit the Dominican Republic, consider planning your travel to Cap Cana between November and April when it’s less rainy and not quite as humid. For budgeting purposes, keep in mind that you might find the best deals on hotels for forthcoming trips during the months of September through November.

Expanded pool deck view at Sports Illustrated Resorts Marina & Villas Cap Cana.

Where to stay in the Dominican Republic

Sports Illustrated Resorts Marina & Villas Cap Cana

This all-inclusive luxury resort offers four types of villas and tons of activities, from sports to local culture and culinary experiences to fun nightlife and entertainment. There are also two main restaurants and a poolside grill for snacks and beverages.

Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa

Situated on Juanillo Beach, this prime location is the ultimate romantic getaway for couples. Unlimited dining and drinks are readily available from more than 15 on-site establishments with the resort’s all-inclusive package.

Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana

If you’re traveling with your kids, this all-inclusive family resort is a great option. It offers a water park, infinity pools and a dozen different dining and bar options.

Punta Espada Golf Course

Punta Espada Golf Course.

Where to eat in the Dominican Republic

While in Cap Cana, be sure to Indulge in local favorites like a traditional Dominican breakfast, which consists of fried eggs, fried cheese, fried salami and mangú, or mashed plantains topped with sautéed onions.

Juanillo Grill & Beach Club

A great lunch spot on the beach, this establishment blends Latin American, Mediterranean and Asian cuisine for an unforgettable flavor fusion. Salads, sandwiches, burgers and fresh seafood are all on the menu.

Restaurante Nakamura

Nikkei cuisine blends Japanese and Peruvian ingredients, and this restaurant offers the best you’ll find just about anywhere. Meat dishes, pasta, poke bowls and sushi are the stars of this menu.

Barbudo

If you’re craving Italian or Mediterranean cuisine, look no further. This restaurant, which boasts both amazing food and an incredible atmosphere, offers everything from pasta to grilled octopus.

Dolce Italia

Fresh baked bread, wood-fired pizza and gelato are all specialties at Dolce Italia, a casual eatery with major flavors.

Scape Park

Scape Park.

What to do in the Dominican Republic

Cap Cana is made for both adventure and relaxation, so you’ll find plenty of options for both throughout your stay. Here are a few can’t-miss activities:

Marina Cap Cana

This marina isn’t just for yachting—it’s also a top destination for fishing and deep-water diving. Golf and tennis courts are located nearby, as well as several dining options, and visitors can play volleyball and shop on-site.

Punta Espada Golf Course

One of three Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses in Cap Cana, you’ve never seen a beachside green quite like this one. Enjoy incredible views of the Caribbean from the fairway at this course, which was voted as one of the top 50 in the world by Golf Digest.

Los Establos

This state-of-the-art equestrian facility provides tons of fun for the whole family. Try your hand at horseback riding on the trails, then after working up an appetite, enjoy a well-earned meal at the restaurant grill.

Scape Park

A natural theme park that’s sure to get your adrenaline pumping. Full admission grants you access to six fun activities, including a cave swim, cultural nature walk and an up-close and personal visit with the country’s native rhinoceros iguana.

Sole D’ Il Prato

A clothing store with chic offerings, you’ll find plenty of gorgeous dresses, swimwear and accessories to take home as souvenirs—for yourself or someone else.

Marina Cap Cana

Marina Cap Cana.

The best beaches in the Dominican Republic

Juanillo Beach

An incredible beach with powder white sand, Juanillo offers calm and clear blue waters that set the perfect scene for relaxing. There are shady spots for lounging, and when you’re ready for a tropical cocktail, you can visit the beachside bar and restaurant for a refreshment.

Api Beach

An infinity pool and exquisite views await at Api Beach, where you can walk the boardwalk or rent a cabana or deck space for a fun-filled afternoon in the sun.

Lago Azul

A hot-spot for tourists, Lago Azul may well be the trendiest beach in Cap Cana. In addition to catching some rays by the water, you have the option of taking advantage of fun sports like kayaking and paddle tennis.

Juanillo Beach

Juanillo Beach.


Published
Cara O’Bleness

CARA O’BLENESS

Cara is a trending news writer/editor for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. A passionate writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience in print and online media, she loves storytelling and believes that words have the power to change the world. Prior to joining the team, Cara worked as a writer and editor across a number of content verticals, including food, lifestyle, health and wellness, and small business and entrepreneurship. In her free time, Cara loves reading, spending time with her family and making her way through Michigan’s many microbreweries. She is a graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism.