The Dominican Republic has been included on two of the Best of Caribbean travel lists of the US News & World Report publication.
Puerto Plata and Punta Cana are both included the "Best Affordable Caribbean Destinations" list. Interestingly, the destinations are given the same weight as countries such as Puerto Rico, Curacao, Jamaica, Grenada, Dominica, US Virgin Islands, Barbados, and St. Kitts and Nevis.
The publication recommends a trip to Punta Cana:
"Thanks to a wealth of all-inclusive resorts, Punta Cana is an affordable haven for sun-worshippers. This resort town offers everything from pristine beaches and turquoise water to challenging golf courses and top-notch cuisine."
And to Puerto Plata:
"This Dominican Republic beach town offers plenty for those seeking off-resort activities. Here, you can enjoy water sports in Cabarete and jaw-dropping sights like the Damajaqua Cascades [sic]. And with daily nonstop flights from the U.S., getting to Puerto Plata is a cinch."
In the "beach bum" category, Punta Cana is on the Best Caribbean Beaches list. http://travel.usnews.com/Rankings/Best_Affordable_Caribbean_Destinations/