Las Terrenas is about two hours from Santo Domingo–Las Americas airport on a new highway. Takeoff Destination Service offers a shuttle van from the airport to Las Terrenas for $95 per person each way; Domincan Airport Transfers offers a similar, if pricier, service ($225 per couple per way).
Two hundred meters back from Playa Las Ballenas, Eva Luna’s (from $100 per night for two people) five Mexican-style villas are a tantalizing value. Upon arrival, consult with the on-site French chef about dinner: You have to order one day in advance if you want something français (like leg of lamb) or if you’d like lobster, so the chef can coordinate with local fishermen. Eat breakfast every day on your private terrace.
About a ten-minute stroll from the village’s action, the hospitable, Italian-owned Kari Beach Hotel (doubles from $60, includes breakfast) sits across the street from its own beach. Request a room with a water-view terrace, then inquire after the day’s catch. It’s served at the thatched-roof beer bar, paired with a cold Presidente.
More luxurious are the modern new apartments—and on-site day spa—at Hotel Alisei (apartments from $147 in high season), situated around a pretty bean-shaped pool. If you don’t plan on cooking, save pesos by reserving a smaller penthouse room ($117), sans kitchen. Bringing the family? Snag a two-bedroom villa, and take the kids to the all-you-can-eat beach parrillada (barbecue) for fresh seafood and meat on weekend nights (about $25 per person).