Let me introduce you to the Dominican republic, my favourite holiday as of yet! Sam (my partner) and I decided to take our annual beach trip to a lovely part of the Caribbean, Punta Cana. Punta cana is known for its Rum, Cigars, coffee and cocoa, you know green & blacks chocolate? Well they get there cocoa from Punta cana. With so much history, white beaches and unlimited rum who could say no? Although this has been the most deer holiday I have been on so far, it was well worth it.
We traveled with Tui, and although the trip started off with us not getting seats directly next to each other due to us not being aware that as we had booked ‘extra leg room’, we were able to reserve our seats much earlier than anticipated, however we were just a little to late. I completely fault tui for the lack of clarity on this part, the only notification we had informing us on this was in the small print of one single email. So already I was cross and anxious about spending 10 hours next to a stranger. Luckily, we were moved to extra space on arrival which we were very pleased about.
Must haves for long haul flights:
*change of clothes (pants, socks, t-shirts, bottoms)
* Face wipes
* toothbrush and paste
You are usually provided with a pillow and headphones so it’s not essential. but to avoid germy pillows and poor sounding headphones you’re better off bringing your own. Additionally, there was plenty of food provided for the 10 hours
and we ended up throwing away our snacks.
15 hours later and we arrived to the check-out process and finding our transfer was very simple! Exactly what you need after 10 hours in the air. BUT BE AWARE there will be lots of porters asking to take your luggage for you, so if you want to save your travel cash then don’t let them take your belongings as you will be expected to tip.
Arriving at the Sensatori hotel, WHAT A WELCOME, we were greeted by a local band a glass of champagne and a face wipe. The resort is large so golf buggies are used to transport luggage to your rooms (make sure to tip). We were so impressed with the hotel, the staff were insanely friendly, the rooms were large and stylish and we had a lovely balcony which caught the evening sun.
With an array of restaurants to choose from we were totally impressed with the quality, variety and service at every single restaurant we attended. With a choice of Japanese, burger shacks, Italian, outta this world steak and a Micheline star restaurant, we came back 8kg heavier.
*Tips for the restaurants book kitchen 23 on arrival (suitable for adults only) and you can only book the other restaurants 2 days in advance through your personal concierge.
There was also a café which was open all day and evening which I personally thought was a great touch, offering health juices, coffees and cakes, it was perfect for a mid-day snack or post gym treat. With a moderately sized gym, equipped with plenty of free weights, machines and mats you can use the facilities anytime of the day. - Although it did get busy between 6:30-9am which made it difficult to manoeuvre around the gym.
Although the entertainment was impressive for a small resident cast of 3-4 individuals there was not as much variety as hoped and some of the acts lacked quality compared to previous holidays. The best night was the beach party which happens every Tuesday! Make sure you turn up on time, so you don’t miss out.
Onto Excursions, leaving the resort is a NO-NO! Dom Rep is a 3rd world country and although its crime rates are low you wouldn’t want to be roaming the streets without protection of a local or a guide.
Pick up was between 7am and 9am on a colourful open-air bus, our tour guide (George) was absolutely fantastic, he was very comedic and had unlimited rum and beer, so he quickly became my best friend. The day started visiting a family run coconut farm in which we learnt about the process and uses of coconuts we ultimately got to try fresh coconut, cocoa butter and oil, in fact coconut oil is supposed to stop you from being stung by mosquitoes.
Next was the chocolate and coffee farm, I won’t give away too much away as if you do decide to go I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you. This was followed by lunch (which was provided if you attended the full-day), I would recommend bringing your own food if you suffer with any allergies or intolerances as the food is limited. After lunch we watched how to construct cigar’s, did you know- in the past cuba was the biggest producers of cigars and not the Dominican republic ar ethe leading producers.
The end of the trip was spent lake swimming and tubing, by this point I was quite *tipsy and enjoyed some sun bathing in a toob on a hidden lake in the deep woods of punta cana.
What to bring:
The Macao experience
A 2 hour surfing lesson with the instructors from Macao surf camp was incredible. I am a beginner and the whole experience was very enjoyable. It can be daunting doing something new but in this case after the initial butterflies it was such a comfortable and exhilarating experience. I could go on about my insane experience but … why don’t I just show you... (click the photo below)
We heard about Scape park through trip advisor 4 months before getting to the Dominican republic but didn’t decide to go until 2 days before our second last day of our holiday ...long, this was due to the fact it’s quite pricey and our holiday reps hadn’t been themselves so were unable to advise us. When I heard the word ‘zip-line’ I pictured me attached one or maybe two cables that last 2-3 minutes but this was the longest and scariest zip line I have ever been on! 9 zip lines getting higher and higher and ending up in water, if youre an adrenaline junkie you’d love this- Although the health & safety was questionable.
*Tip: Start your day on the zip lines and make sure to wear clothes that cover your skin
The rest of the day was spent walking around the nature reserve doing other various activities:
Bat-cave, SCARY! We were literally given a torch and helmet and told to go on into a massive underground bat-cave BY OURSELVES! No one else was in the cave and it was a looong 5 minutes walk back around to the exit. Sam had to check his pants when we got out.
Swimming in a blue lagoon, one word STUNNING!
The café ‘buffet style’ is included in the price and is exactly what you need, CARBS CARBS CARBS, if you’re on a ‘strict’ or ‘healthy diet then you’ll need to bring your own food!
*Tips: what to bring; Water shoes, waterproof camera, sun cream and chafe cream!
Currency and culture
Something that didn’t even cross my mind until Sam mentioned it was ‘what do we pay with?’ We were advised to bring 40% Dominican pasos and 60% US dollars however in the end US dollars were fine. The locals, shops and staff all prefer US dollars because of the high exchange rate. As mentioned previously tipping is expected.
Something that I really really really really wanted to do, but unfortunatly didn’t get the chance to do was dance! The domincan republic is known for its merengue and bachata and if you’ve been following me for a while you would know that I am IN LOVE WITH LATIN DANCE!
I cannot wait to return to the Dominican Republic and that’s saying something as I am usually one of those people that don’t like returning to the same place if I can help it.