I went to Punta Cana to find out what all the fuss is about. I found out. It is very much like the Riviera Maya, south of Cancun - huge gigantic enormous all-inclusive resorts on a beautiful beach without much to do but sit there and bake in the sun, drink large cocktails filled with fruit and wait until your spa appointment is about to begin. Oh yes, and eat. There is a lot of food. It's not the best food, but it is certainly edible and the presentation is fabulous. The mangos were really awesome.
One place has a Bellini bar, which was fun because you can order one of each flavor and try them all, like a taste test. The original peach was the best. At dinner you can go from restaurant to restaurant trying the food, having an appetizer at one, a drink at another, a main course at a third and dessert at the last one. The food was pretty much as nonstop as the blazing sun.
The most impressive part of Punta Cana is the sand (but I seem not to have a photo of it). You hear all the time about that powdery white sand that people seem so attracted to. I had never paid much attention to the difference in sand quality or color, but I really must say, the sand in Punta Cana is very fine and luxurious and sensual as it trickles through your fingers.
It is low season now and the hotels are not very full, so it is the best time to go. It is much cheaper than other islands, and most hotels are brand spanking new. The combination of all of these things is something akin to fantasy island but without the drama.
The most oddball thing about Punta Cana are the casinos. Most hotels have one, some larger than others. But none of them have craps. Nobody could say why. It is the mystery of Punta Cana. If somebody has an answer to this, I would love to know why.