March 7, 2013

Flourish Dominican Culture

Dear Travel Junkies:
The Dominican Republic is the greatest location for your small, inexpensive dream getaway from the cold winters basking in the scorching heat under the extreme UV rays with a great book and a Miami Vice by your side.  The Dominican Republic is the epicenter of the all-inclusive vacations and tourism with the best white sandy beaches in the Caribbean. Punta Cana has the most beautiful, warm aquamarine waters I've ever come across. You will agree with me once you've gone through as many beaches as I have been to. A majority of resorts are scattered around the beaches of Bavaro.  

Where I stayed:
My girlfriend and I stayed at the 5-star all-inclusive Gran Bahia Principe recommended by my travel agent. The resort was enormous, crowded and great for first time young vacationers like ourselves. There were three hotels in one large resort: Punta Cana, Bavaro, and Ambar. We stayed at the Punta Cana hotel and it was amazing. The staff were really friendly, smiley, and attentive. The rooms were big and cleaned twice a day, so don't forget to leave a tip for your housekeeper everyday. The beach by the resort was very dreamy like out of a postcard and they offer various water sports like water skiing, snorkelling, scuba diving, parasailing, and more. Finding a lounger by the pool or by the beach was never a problem. The food selection and restaurants were tasteful but I had to control myself otherwise I'd have a baby bump from over eating. The pool entertainers and evening entertainment were fun and engaging. The resort had everything, including their own shopping complex and discotheques so you won't have to leave the resort. As well, there were more shops down by the end of the beach for great handcrafted souvenirs and artifacts. The resort seemed to be a very popular wedding destination because there were 7 wedding ceremonies held that week while we were there. I'd definitely stay here again but probably upgrade to the Ambar hotel this time as per the great comments I hear about the Ambar. 

Google image of the large resort I stayed in Punta Cana, Gran Bahia Principe
Beach chairs on the beach

Girlfriend posing with our speedy getaway boat =p
The pools at the resort
I love the pathways in between the accommodations


What to do:
Bavaro Runners   Take a tour into town on a Safari-style Jeep, visit a local elementary school, gallop in the outskirts of a lush, tropical countryside paradise, and cruise through a sugar cane plantation. See the crops transform from cane juice to molasses and vinasse until becoming the finest Dominican run. The tour is complete with learning from a master craftsman, who generation after generation have handmade the most coveted cigars. Mimi aka Mini Me was an awesome tour guide and made the day very eventful and memorable. I'm glad that we signed up for this excursion, getting outside of the resort and truly seeing the Dominican culture was very educational and inspirational.
Imagine Disco   If you're going to party in Punta Cana, you have to do it right. It was a 15 minute ride from the resort. You'll be amazed to see that the disco is inside a cave. The price you pay is amazing for quick entry, open bar and a great time with other tourists.
Water Sports & Adventures   These activities are offered by your hotel and resort or can be purchased by the beach. They have everything from scuba diving, parasailing, water skiing, and more. 

Paying a visit to a local elementary school
Quickly became the students' fave visitor =)
Traveling Safari style
Our tour guide Mimi
The typical Dominican home
President Leonel Fernandez's home

Horseback riding in the tropical countryside
This long cigar is called the Monica Lewinsky lol
Getting her braid on by the beach
The day I forgot to apply sun block... never again =(


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