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Dominican Republic

Punta Cana Vacation Review

© Dominican Republic Tourist Office
Punta Cana was a vacation of sunshine, smiling faces and the turquoise ocean.

Punta Cana is a major all-inclusive resort destination in the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola. This island in the middle of the Caribbean is shared by Dominican Republic on the eastern half and Haiti on the western half. Punta Cana is on the easternmost tip of the island and has a busy international airport.

I only mention this because it is quite a nice facility -- open air with large thatched roofs. It gives visitors a tropical island feeling right when they get off the airplane.

Punta Cana is a major tourist area and every year the numbers of visitors grow. The country attracts about 5 million tourists every year, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Most of the tourists go to Punta Cana and Puerto Plata. In Punta Cana, hotels and especially all-inclusive resorts line the beaches.

The resort was humongous. It had restaurants, bars, clubs, a casino, swimming pools, a lazy river, and a kids area -- the list goes on and on.

Visitors could literally stay on the resort grounds for their entire vacation and never get bored. Of course, that would be silly. Traveling is about exploring new places and cultures, so exploring we did.


Resort Excursions

We chose to do a snorkeling tour, which we booked at our hotel. Let it be known that this was one of those tours where they shoot video of the day and want people to purchase it at the end of the trip.

This means they are constantly trying to get visitors to wave at the camera, dance, cheer, etc. We don't really like that type of scene, but we laughed it off because we knew we would enjoy the snorkeling.

The first stop was in the middle of the ocean at the stingray/shark bay. We had previously gone swimming with sharks so this time we chose the stingrays. They were magnificent. These animals are gentle and glide through the water with ease. It was a beautiful experience.

The next part of the tour, we went to another area above a reef to snorkel. It was a bit crowded with so many people, but we were able to spot some amazing fish. Overall, the tour was well worth it. The staff was friendly and I got what I came for.

Guided Land Excursion

Another day of our trip was spent on the Punta Cana Mike Tour. Other than the beautiful beaches, this was the best part of our vacation. Mike was a local resident who provides tours around the city and has great insight into the culture and people.

Stops throughout the city include a cigar factory, an elegant jewelry store, a car wash (where the locals hang out), an elementary school, a farmers market, a beach and outdoor eatery.

Our favorite part of the land tour was visiting the elementary school. It was an old stone building with bars in place of windows. Four rooms separate the children by age/grade level. As guests, we were allowed to go in to meet the students. Their little faces were adorable. All of them were grinning and excited to meet us. We researched ahead of time, so we knew guests were able to bring gifts for the kids. We had some candies and stickers, and it was so fun handing them all out.

Traveling to Punta Cana was an experience we will never forget. The beaches are stunning with aqua waters and soft white sand. Locals are friendly, always offering a smile. It is a destination we would recommend to anyone pursuing tropical happiness.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

 > Category: Vacation Reviews   

April 07, 2020
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