Updated: Jun 2, 2019
I love to travel and as much as I love traveling, I love deals.
I just spent 4 days in Punta Cana and my vacation cost 368 dollars per person with food, air ticket, and hotel included.
A bunch of friends told me that I was crazy and even wondered what kind of crappy deal I had gotten. Even So, I left on my vacation and right now I am on the airplane making my way home after 4 spectacular days.
I flew Frontier, a low-end American airline. The fact that it is “low-end” simply means that they sell you the food on the airplane (which American Airlines does too) and they charge you for your luggage (which AA does too). Frontier also divides the seating into comfortable and super comfortable (AA does too). So, there is no reason why AA should be charging 4 times what Frontier does to take you to Punta Cana, unless they would have to compensate you for loosing your luggage for 2 days while you are trying to make your way to Punta Cana for a pleasant 4 days in the Caribbean. Anyway, I will talk about that in another blog.
The resort I stayed in had an upgrade for me. They gave me a room with a balcony, two double beds, a small living room, a huge desktop, and a TV.
The food offerings are very broad. During the breakfast and the lunch there is a big salon where they have a buffet, with all kinds of dishes exhibiting the yummy taste of the Caribbean and eccentric South East Asian flavors. At night, there is a buffet as well, or you can choose one of the 5 restaurants within the resort serving Italian, Japanese, Mexican, or American cuisine. There is also a steak house. Btw, no reservation was needed in any of these restaurants nor was there any extra cost.
A plus is that all of the drinks are part of the food package, including alcoholic beverages.
We checked in at 2pm just after arriving at the resort. There were no long lines and I was assigned a person who drove me through the resort in a gulf car and told me where the shows, beach, sports, etc., took place.
I went to have lunch as the buffet is open from 11 am to 3 pm, and it was almost 3 pm. Then I bought a bathing suit and went for a walk on the beach. (If you are wondering why I did not have a bathing suit, click here.) The weather was warm and it was impressively dry for the time of day. I sat all afternoon on the beach and heard the chant of the ocean waves.
I took a shower, unpacked, and headed to the Italian restaurant. All the workers work everywhere inside the resort. So, you can find one waiter working at the Italian restaurant one night, and the same waiter at the Mexican restaurant the next night. All of them are nice and they are nicer if you tip them. I always bring with me 20 dollars in 1-dollar bills to tip people. It is NOT worth it to exchange money unless you want to tip less than 1 dollar (bring coins).
I was very tired and went to bed. Before going to bed I went to talk to a group of guys sitting on the sides of the lobby to learn about the excursion. I was surprised and I remembered just then that I was assigned to meet with my guide the next day at 10am. I went to bed.
I woke up early and went for a walk on the beach. Upon my return I ate a big plate of exotic fruits such as mango and granadillas (different than passion fruit). Then I met with my guide who gave a 30 minute speech on the dos and don’ts while in Punta Cana. I will mention them the end of the blog.
I booked two excursions for an extra 180 dollars. One was to go on a buggy trip with 1 significant stop in a cave and the other One was Scape Park.
I got picked up at 2pm from the lobby to go and ride my buggy. After an hour of fun and risky driving, we went to a cave known as Taína Cave. I made a mistake as I brought flip flops because I was told not to bring shoes. If I would have know the reason, I would have brought the ugliest and dirtiest shoes I had at home.
There are many companies that offer these rides but I chose this one because I read online how strict they are with the rules plus it was covered in my insurance (the one included in the excursions).
It took me a while to make up my mind about going into the water. My fear was to be attacked by a marine animal (haha) or drowning if the cave fell on me. Yeah, yeah! the Latin drama. I just thought “the world wants me terrorized” and I jumped in. 1 hour later I was swimming with the fish and I did not want to leave.
I got to the hotel at 6pm, took a shower and went to the Japanese restaurant. It was hilarious to be there. It was hibachi and the cook was a crack! Here, I tried for the first time a mama-juana, the Dominican Republic’s (DR) official drink. Then I went bowling and to play pool. At the end of a happy second day I returned to my bedroom to sleep.
I waited for my pick up in the lobby at 645 am. I was a bit early as breakfast was fast. Around 7 am a man called my name out loud and I left with him. We drove 30 minutes and I was checked into the park. The adult ticket was 140 dollars and the kids’ ticket was 81 dollars. They handed me a map and recommended that I do the zip-line first thing in the morning.
The zip line consists of 12 zip-line drops with some hiking, crawling and rock climbing included. Nothing that you can’t do, believe me. If it’s in this blog, it is not scary at all.
This is what you want to bring to the park:
- A water proof cellphone bag for your phone because you are not allowed to bring cameras up there.
- Bathing suit and water shoes because the last drop ends in a big pool. Don’t bring flip flops as you are not allowed to wear them while zip-lining, and a small lock to close a locker. Otherwise, you have to rent one and it is an extra 5 dollars.
- Lunch is included (delicious btw) but you will need to tip, so bring single dollars inside of the water proof cellphone bag.
- Finally, a towel and a change of clothes (which you will keep in the locker until the end of the day).
Scape park is privately owned as most of the businesses and things are in the DR—even the airport in Punta Cana is privately own. This park has many well know activities that are included in the full day ticket. These include Hoyo Azul which is a magnificent spring-fed hole full of natural water in the most beautiful blue colors under a huge rock. Two caves know as Iguabonita and Cave Swim, and a cultural passageway where you will learn about the indigenous peoples of that area, the Caribbean, are included. Finally a very nice water fall and water activities where you can slide and jump are available to include fun for children (10 and older).
The only thing I did not like was the monkeys and parrots on exhibition, and the snakes for exploitation.
I ended my excursion after a lot of running around at 7pm. Got a shower and had dinner at the Mexican Restaurant. Afterward, I went dancing to Latin Music in the main square of the resort.
I woke up this morning to pack my room and spent the morning on the beach. I laid there for 2 hours. The water was transparent, the beach was not crowded, and the only missing piece was Caribbean music.
The travel agency I booked my trip with picked me up at 2pm for a 5pm flight. It is 8:00pm and I will be home in 2 hours. I had so much fun and those deals are completely worth it.
But it is my personal opinion :)
While I find a place to be, I will be in the moon,
Travel between October and April (right before the holy week)bring water shoes and walky-talkies so that you can communicate with your crowd.wait for your meeting with your travel guide. Other companies inside of the resort take advantage of you. Bring 20 bucks in 1-dollar bills to tipMake sure the fee of your visa is included in your ticket (AA does not do that).
You do not need to exchange dollars for Dominican Pesos. Do not pay with credit cards to operators different than the resort where you are staying and your travel agency/guide. You will get back home and you will see surcharges. Don’t go to the “special breakfast” with a “regalito” included unless you are looking into buying a shared vacation.