Although a lack of wind didn’t allow her boyfriend to practice kitesurfing as planned, W's Karla Martinez found charming restaurants, cozy villas and deliciously strong coffee during a recent trip to the Samana Peninsula in Dominican Republic. Highlights from the vacation and her summer essential packing list below.

Balcones del Atlantico: Two and three bedroom villas with lovely service and great food on premise.
Peninsula House: A 6 bedroom boutique hotel, perfect for couples.

Balcones Beach House: Must have scrambled eggs and a Mangu specialty, mashed plantains. Dominican coffee is fantastic. Order a cortadito, an espresso with a drop of milk.

Lunch by the Sea

Peninsula Beach House at Playa Coson: Where after lunch you can rent four wheelers and take an off-road ride.
Luis: Rustic and casual, great grilled fish

La Terrasse: A charming spot with red and white décor.
Cuca Marina: Incredible ceviche.
Pizza Playa: Delicious pizza, Dominican Style with cheese and corn.

Late Night
Mosquito Bar: Small and quaint with a great DJ and delicious Mojito’s.

Packing Essentials: