The Dominican Republic is back in full shape after storm Noel's passage, through most people were under the impression that the beaches were not ready.
Punta Cana, Puerto Plata , Bavaro and Cabrera have the most impressive beaches. We will be having a group trip next December 22nd for a bachelor party at Charlisangels in the north coast.
The beaches of the Dominican Republic were not harmed after Noel's passage, as published in several news sites. I've traveled all over the island of Dominican Republic in the past 8 months on and off because of my job, found this country to be more beautiful than what all the magazines can talk about. Punta Cana is very nice, though there is little outside of the beach resorts. Santo Domingo is full of old wonder, just avoid peak time traffic. In the south I visited Barahona and neighboring towns, the views are breathtaking scenery.
In the North I found Sosua, Cabarete, Cofresi and Puerto Plata. Excellent beaches, some hotels here and there (not really crowded) and a tale of two towns: Cabarete is a water sports mecca, while Sosua is more laid back and quiet. While Sosua and Cabarete both have beach resorts, a lot of private villa rentals are offered, many of which are high end luxury villas.
Nowadays many tourists have purchased homes and condos in the area and set up businesses, accounting for over 80% of the business ownership. One detail that both areas have to deal with is the "chicas", women who are part of the local life and attract a lot of single travelers each year. The villas for rent in Sosua also create a lot of business for the local grocery markets and cooks, maids, etc because all inclusive resorts keep tourists within their walls, and so their money too. Take time to visit the North of the island and you'll know what I'm talking about.