Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

 

For Alyson’s birthday we took a girls trip to the beautiful Dominican Republic! Brittany, Stephanie, Alyson and I stayed at the Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe resort in Punta Cana. The resort was all inclusive! The only thing we had to pay for while there were any activities we wanted to do. The resort had so many amenities including multiple pools, over ten restaurants, two buffets, a bowling alley, a casino, a nightclub (or the Disco as they call it), a golf course, a children’s water park, a spa, a salon, and a 24 hour sports bar. The resort also offered many different activities through the hotel, so you really never had to leave the resort. Anything you needed, or wanted to do they had for you there.

The beach was the best part of the resort! The white sand and light blue water was gorgeous! They had tons of chairs all down the beach, so you never had to worry about finding an open chair. There were plenty! Food and drinks were always in walking distance from wherever you were. Each pool had a bar, and the buffets were located right next to the two main pools. The beach was only a few feet from the pools making it super easy to get wherever you wanted!

Having unlimited drinks wasn’t bad either. Our favorite drink while there was the Coco Loco! The main pool had a swim up bar which we spent a lot of time at! They also had cabanas, and in pool lounge chairs. There were so many ways you could relax here. This resort made sure you always had what you needed to relax, and have a good time. We could have spent all day every day bouncing back and forth from the ocean to the pool.

At the resort you could access the sports bar, and the buffets at any time they were open. The restaurants were only open for dinner, and you needed to make a reservation. While we were there we ate at the seafood restaurant, the steakhouse, and the Mexican restaurant. The seafood and steak restaurants had soup, salad, and dessert buffets. You chose your entrees off the menu, while everything else was buffet style. At the Mexican restaurant you ordered everything off the menu including an appetizer, entree, and a dessert. I think the food was alright. Nothing was really amazing to me. It was good, but it definitely could have been better. I think all the entrees we ordered were always really delicious, but the buffets I wasn’t into as much. The one thing that was very different for us was the salad bar, and the soup. The salad bar was not like a traditional American salad bar at all (which is fine, it was just different for us!). They had a lot of cheeses, meats, and veggie salads. I tried a few things, but it wasn’t my favorite. They also eat most of their soup cold. I learned I am not a fan of cold soup! The food was good, but it’s always hard to get used to food from different cultures.

The buffets were closed for a few hours during the day, but the sports bar was 24 hours. The sports bar was a buffet style as well.  We spent a lot of time at the sports bar because of its convenience. They had typical bar food like wings, burgers, pizza, and fries. It was also super close to our room so we loved it. The resort was huge, so it was really nice being so close to the only 24 hour food spot.

We did three activities while on our trip; horseback riding on the beach, an excursion with dune buggies, and snorkeling. The horseback riding was an hour long. It was us four, plus one other girl. We rode along this beautiful beach just a couple miles from the resort. The beach was just a little messy because of all the hurricanes from the previous weeks. I thought it was gorgeous, and relaxing. The views were amazing, and it was nice to get away from the resort a little to see new spots. We all had a good time.

The excursion was so much fun, but when we finished we were exhausted. It was four hours long, plus about a half an hour travel time each way. The excursion started with us driving dune buggies to the first location. I thought the dune buggies were a little uncomfortable. We drove our dune buggies for about half an hour to our first stop. One of the best parts of the trip was being able to see all the local stuff on the way. You got to drive through residential areas allowing us to see their homes. We even saw little shops like cafes, and banks. A lot of the kids would come give us high-fives, and say hello. To me it was so exciting to really see their culture, and the way they live. It is crazy to see how different it is compared to the US.

Our first stop was the cave! We all got out of our dune buggies, and walked down into this gorgeous cave. We got to get in the water and swim for a while. Warning: the water was freezing! It was such a cool experience though. We then got to sit down, and try some of the locally grown items that they are famous for. We tried coffee, tea, chocolate, and some alcohol. I am a huge coffee lover, so that is the first item I tried. I picked the sweetened coffee, and it was definitely too sweet! Still good coffee, though! The chocolate was delicious; you can never go wrong with chocolate. Their famous rum beverage, “Mama Juana,”  was very strong! They joked about how strong it was, and all the crazy things that happen when you drink it. I saw Mama Juana everywhere we went, so it must really be a local favorite. It tasted like rum mixed with red wine. Extremely strong! We then rode our dune buggies to this private beach that they said is the most beautiful beach in Punta Cana. Pictured below

The beach really was so gorgeous. They had a lot of locals on the beach selling things like necklaces, bracelets, and hats. They had drinks such as water or beer. There were also a few people walking around with baby monkeys and parrots that you could take pictures with. These ladies stopped us and asked if we wanted our hair braided. Of course we said yes, who doesn’t love some french braids? The two women braided all our hair while we relaxed, and enjoyed the beach. We went in the water for a while, then it was time to head back. We rode our dune buggies back through the town, and that was the end of the excursion.

Only Britt and I did snorkeling on the last day. Alyson and Steph wanted to lay out on the beach instead. We chose the snorkeling option through the hotel. It was just Britt and I on the tour. That made it super nice because we got to control the tour. He took us out to where he said was one of the best snorkeling spots in Punta Cana. Then he took us to this area where we could get out and just swim. The water so clear! It was beautiful. Our tour guide was so nice too! We all swam and talked for a while. He told us all about his life in the Dominican. It was definitely interesting to hear how they live! It was such an awesome experience.

You all know I love my fashion! I had so much fun creating my island style. There is just something so fabulous about dressing for the tropics. I love all the flowing dresses, and of course the swimsuits! Everything is usually bright colors, and always comfortable. The green floral print romper was definitely my favorite outfit! The silk bralette, and the gold earrings gave it a glamorous vibe. The must haves for any tropical vacation are: maxi dresses, floral print, and lots of cute sandals! Oh, and of course, lots of bikinis!

Shop My Looks:

Red Bikini: Fashion Nova

Green Swimsuit: Amazon

Black Swimsuit: Ami

Green Floral Print Romper: Windsor

Black Lace Pants: ANGL

Black Blue and Pink Matching set: Agaci (not available online)

 

Pros:

The overall pros for the resort was definitely how beautiful it was. The resort was very nice, and clean. With all the amenities the resort had to offer you really never needed to leave. We went to the disco every night, and it was such a good vibe in there. None of the men were creepy or anything, everyone just wanted to have a good time. Some guys at the disco actually taught us how to salsa dance! The casino was large, you had lots of options for gambling. They had a lot of live music in there, and different live entertainment. The bowling center/arcade was fun as well. We went in there one night to play arcade games. It was right next to the sports bar which also had pool tables. Another great thing was how big the pools were, and how many pools they had! It never felt crowded because of how much space you had. The male staff at the resort was amazing! They were so nice to us everywhere we went. They were extremely accommodating, they made sure we had whatever we needed. The drinks were always delicious as well!

Cons:

The female staff was extremely rude. They would literally roll their eyes at us if we asked for anything. We always felt the women were trying to scam us too. The woman that you booked activities with always tried to charge us way more than we knew we should be charged. If we ever asked for anything they would act like it was the biggest inconvenience ever to them. We even had women at the casino talking bad about us in Spanish because they didn’t know we could understand them. They were the complete opposite of the men! Another con was that we booked our vacation through Expedia, and part of our package was a $1,000 resort credit to use while there. When we got there everyone told us that didn’t exist, and that they never do that. We were extremely annoyed. My last con would probably be the food. Like I said before the food was just alright. I really feel it could have been a lot better. Also, it was annoying that the buffets would close for a few hours during the day. For about three hours right in the middle of the day the only food option you had was the sports bar. Sometimes it wasn’t convenient to walk all the way over to the sports bar. The resort was huge! It would be nice if they kept the buffets open all day considering they are right next to the pools/beach.

One other con that has nothing to do with the resort was what happened to us at the airport. When we arrived we were pressured to switch out our US dollars for Pesos. I almost did, but I had a bad feeling about the woman. She was extremely pushy, and rude. I decided to cancel my transaction, and told her to give me my US dollars back. She was so angry because I didn’t go through with the exchange. I knew there had to be a reason, she must have been able to make a lot of money off of it. Well Steph had used the currency booth as an ATM. She took out $300 from her account, and later we found out they charged her $75 for that transaction! We couldn’t believe it. So every $100, they charge you $25. Absolutely insane! Now I know why she was so rude to me when I changed my mind because she was about to take $25 from every $100 I gave her. The resorts use US dollars so DO NOT exchange your money. You will lose a lot of money in the transaction, and it’s completely pointless.

 

Here’s a link to the resort: Barcelo Bavaro Palace

I would absolutely go back to the Dominican Republic, and I would stay at this resort again!

 

 

 

 

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