Adventure International

Discover Playa Coson: Dominican Republic

Playa Coson unravels like a tawny ribbon, sprawling toward verdant green mountains. Located in the Dominican Republic, it is part of a necklace of glittering white beaches in Las Terrenas.

While everyone knows of Punta Cana, its celebrity cousin in DR, Las Terrenas is an ex-pat enclave. Originally discovered by French tourists in the 1970s, the Italians soon followed. Now it is a popular European escape. To rephrase Dominican Republic’s tourism slogan, Playa Coson has it all. I come to watch the sea.

Las Terrenas

Las Terrenas is a resort town on the Samaná Peninsula, in the northeastern part of DR. But my niece Karen & I stayed in a hamlet. Our AirBnb was an incredible value at USD$1,500 a week, especially since it was listed in a Travel & Leisure article of Best Caribbean AirBnbs.

Our AirBnb

The three-bedroom villa features an infinity pool overlooking the ocean and mountains. The landscaping is Idyllic Island fantasy—bougainvillea flowers blooming in February, and palm trees branches dancing the merengue.

We even picked up a coconut off our lawn. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a machete to sample its sweet fruit.

No Hiking Vacation

While Karen and my 2020 pre-pandemic vacation involved trekking the mountains of Madeira, this trip is a lazy girls’ retreat. We will trek to our recliners to sunbathe or run into the ocean to swim.

We want to escape winter’s obligations—boots, gloves, scarves, and ski coats. While I love playing with my Golden Retriever puppy in a snowstorm, it gets mighty cold after a two-hour walk around the U.S. Capitol grounds.

“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”

Carl Reiner

All we need in DR is a bathing suit, robe, and flip-flops. I pack a suitcase full of sundresses, shorts, and t-shirts but I live in a swimsuit all day.

Climb that Mountain

There is the main highway from Santo Domingo International Airport to Las Terrenas. But our Airbnb is perched like an eagle in the mountains. The cement road climbs at a steep angle.

Hill to descend to beach

Even a car needs a heavy foot on the acceleration to climb this hill. Karen and I look at each other in shock. What goes up must come down. It looks like we will be on a hiking vacation in DR—but wearing flip flops instead of boots.

Playa Coson

On Sunday morning we decide to investigate the beach. There is nothing here in our little village but a dusty road leading to Playa Coson. We have to trek down a cement driveway that looks like we should ski down it. The driveway passes three villas, a caretaker’s house, and a dense jungle. A dirt road climbs higher but I don’t plan to investigate. This daunting trek means we only go to the beach once a day.

Crossing the highway, we follow a dirt road past houses. Roosters cluck and then disperse behind bushes. A black and grey goat wanders in a fenced yard.

Dusty beach road

Dogs swarm around us, attempting to herd us. They begin furiously barking as we follow two women and a toddler.

It rained last night so there are puddles of water. I skate over a slick pad of mud. The roof of a nondescript metal house sags. There are shacks and villas on this road. Up ahead we see a sign on a fence advertising Hotel Casa Coson. The sliver of the sapphire blue sea that I spy looks like the door to enter paradise. We walk past street art painted on the hotel’s fence. It is a hodgepodge of images—swimmer, whale, and horse. My favorite mural is woman in red.

Street Art

Beach Swing

When we finally reach Playa Coson, we find an old-fashion swing hanging from a palm tree. There are several children standing in line for their turn to fly towards the sky. It reminds me so much of being a kid. There was no greater fun in the world than to ride a rope swing across a lake and then let go.

Beach swing

Instead of waiting our turn, Karen and I decide to turn right and walk down the beach. As we distance ourselves from the hotel cafe, the stray dogs begin to disperse.

Playa Coson

Along the way, we see coconuts fallen from trees. There is an abandoned building project missing roofs, windows, and doors. Parts of the shore are difficult to maneuver due to falling tree branches and big boulders.

On the way back to find our beach cafe, I decide to take a ride on the beach swing. It is pure joy to act like a kid and fly over the water.

Motor Kite

I would never be brave enough to fly over the ocean with a motor kite. But we actually saw a man fly for over 15 minutes on Playa Coson. It looked so simple. He just heaved on a motor to propel his flight. Then he began to run down the runway (beach) until he took flight. This is definitely the place to come fly away to quote Frank Sinatra.

“Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away . . .”

Frank Sinatra

Island Sunrise

Although I wouldn’t mind a sunrise hike, I don’t want to descend the mountainous driveway more than once a day. So I greet the sunrise at 7:22 a.m. by meditating at our infinity pool. I have a choice of outdoor beds—a sofa strewn with bright pillows, an upholstered recliner on the porch, or a recliner on the deck.

But I want to see the sun rising through a dense wall of palm trees and fronds on our property so I must walk out on the edge of the pool. Standing on my tiptoes, I see a golden circle surrounded by a quilt of grey clouds.

To center my mind, I breathe deeply the tropical flowers growing on bushes. Lavender bougainvillea waves in the breeze.

Caffeine & Cat

I chose to spend my morning sipping my cafe latte by the pool and stroking my island cat. Since she is a calico, Karen names her Cali.


We think the petite cat belongs to the caretaker’s family. But since they only speak Spanish, we initially cannot confirm. There are at least four dogs and two cats who roam the estate. First, we adopt Cali who comes to visit us on Sunday morning.

Our feline guest

She settles herself on our outdoor dining room chair and just watches us. When we go inside, she follows suit. Soon she will be spending each day sleeping on our sofa and meowing for food in our kitchen.

We don’t allow her to spend the night at our Airbnb. But she is waiting outside on the patio each morning to be let inside. I perk my coffee and hold Cali in my arms.

Island Dog

There is a little dog that also steals our hearts. She is a sturdy petite black dog with exotic face markings that spends her day on our recliners. When Karen and I lay at the pool, she comes to lay between us on the ground. We name her Mattie. I think every AirBnb rental should include a cat or dog that spends the week—Pura Vida.


No Working During Drinking Hours

Our chief occupation during our beach vacation is not to work. This means blocking eyes scanning work emails, ears listening for Teams calls, or mind pondering next week’s tasks.

I have to laugh when I see this reminder on Pinterest on how to successfully spend your beach vacation — “No working during drinking hours.”

Luis Restaurant

While we could get a drink at Hotel Coson, we prefer to head where the locals hang out. The waiters at Restaurant Luis all move rapidly around the outdoor cafe. It is a cafe where the sky is the roof. A space between two palm trees is the doorway. A hut features a low-slung bar lined with a blender, bottles of booze. I think they go through a lot of rum.

There is no menu in sight nor even a blackboard listing cocktails. We point to a carved-out pineapple wearing its leafy green “hat” top.

Pina cola fun!

“Dos pina coladas por favor.” (2 pina coladas please).

“Con ron?” (With rum?)

“Si!” (Yes!)

No tropical beach vacation is complete without ordering a pina colada — especially if you are visiting an island that grows its own coconuts.

Over the course of six days, we will eat the most amazing garlic shrimp, grilled fish, french fries, and beans in rice at Playa Coson. Of course, nothing will match the pina coladas served in a carved out pineapple. Life seems so simple. Muy bonita.


We all need to escape our lives sometimes … simply rest for a week (or two) away from all the distractions and deadlines of our work life. I found that my seven days in Las Terrenas in the Dominican Republic Republic was a great way to reset the pandemic clock and be happy. Come stroll on the beach.

Calli likes to sunbathe at her pool at Las Terrenas

You Might Also Like

  • Linnea
    March 5, 2022 at 11:58 am

    This looks so amazing! I’ve never been to the DR!

    • Terri
      March 6, 2022 at 6:33 am

      I highly recommend visiting DR.

  • Elena Pappalardo
    March 5, 2022 at 12:09 pm

    I can DEFINITELY get down with escaping the obligations of winter, as you said. I also love that villa where you stayed!

    • Terri
      March 6, 2022 at 6:33 am

      The pool was incredible. I could have spent a week just staring at it (and the ocean beyond)!

  • Bejal
    March 5, 2022 at 12:18 pm

    Oh my no winter blues here! Love the villa, the sunrises and the food. I’ve never been so now adding this place to my list!

    • Terri
      March 6, 2022 at 6:32 am

      You absolutely must visit DR! It is worth the trip. I love the island.

  • Sarah
    March 5, 2022 at 4:27 pm

    I miss the DR! It’s been years since I’ve been to Samana where we had an amazing experience on a private beach. Nothing beats an island sunrise, I can totally agree with that! And what a great value for that entire villa for that price! You got a great deal!

    • Terri
      March 6, 2022 at 6:32 am

      I agree. The Villa would cost $3,000-$5,000 elsewhere. If you have been to Samana, you know how gorgeous it is.

  • Tish
    March 5, 2022 at 9:49 pm

    Wow Terri
    I would love to visit La Terranes some Day.
    Looks wonderful there.

    • Terri
      March 6, 2022 at 6:31 am

      It is absolutely fantastic. I love the beaches (and the cats & dogs).

  • Tabitha
    March 5, 2022 at 10:05 pm

    This looks stunning.

    • Terri
      March 6, 2022 at 6:30 am

      You can really unwind here!

  • Jyotsna Ramani
    March 6, 2022 at 2:08 am

    DR Has been on my list for so long. these photos are inspiring me to head to the white sand beaches now.

    • Terri
      March 6, 2022 at 6:29 am

      I highly recommend DR! I have visited three times in the last decade.

  • Marina
    March 6, 2022 at 2:37 am

    I’ve never been to DR but it looks so incredible!

    • Terri
      March 6, 2022 at 6:29 am

      The beaches are gorgeous in Dominican Republic. I hope you can visit!

  • Sue
    March 6, 2022 at 8:36 am

    I stayed in Las Terranes a few years ago so this brought back some memories! Thanks for taking me back there.

    • Terri
      March 13, 2022 at 7:52 am

      It is such a lovely place.

  • Jenny
    March 6, 2022 at 11:12 am

    I went to DR years ago in an all-inclusive resort for a week and I really regret I haven’t seen anything but the hotel and the beach. I was so young 😀 Hopefully, I will go back on day. Las Terranes look a lot more traditional. Love the recommendation

    • Terri
      March 11, 2022 at 7:45 pm

      I hope you can return and visit La Terranes. It is a long drive from Santo Domingo but so worth it!

    • Terri
      March 13, 2022 at 7:53 am

      I preferred seeing the real DR instead of the cloistered resort experience. Plus I met so many cute dogs and cats at Playa Coson!

  • Sharyn
    March 6, 2022 at 9:44 pm

    This place looks amazing. It has everything – climbing mountains, great beaches and lots of good food! Cannot wait to visit.

    • Terri
      March 13, 2022 at 7:52 am

      I have now visited DR three times in the last decade. For Americans on the East Coast, it is a great Caribbean country to visit due to access. I hope you can visit Playa Coson soon.

  • Krista
    March 8, 2022 at 11:53 am

    This looks like a stunning place to go on vacation! I haven’t been to the Dominican Republic before so I’ll add this to my list for sure.

    • Terri
      March 13, 2022 at 7:50 am

      Playa Coson is absolutely beautiful and quite the contrast from the inclusive resorts in DR, like Punta Cana. I hope you can visit!