Sunday, January 29, 2012

Punta Cana Trip: Day Four

Hi!  If you are catching up, I've been recapping my trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Days One and Two
Day Three

Our final day at the resort began with another awesome breakfast.  I missed the breakfast I had eaten on our first day and did a repeat of that- veggie and cheese omelet, potatoes, and fresh fruit.  So good!

While again enjoying the beautiful view...

After breakfast we stopped in to the resort gift shop, where we met Yolanda, the resident iguana.

We didn't have long before our planned activity of the day- a Segway tour!  The resort actually has a lot of activities you can register to do, boat rides, kayaks, golf at the three courses, tennis, horseback riding... 
I kind of zeroed in the Segways though because I have done it before (at a park in Charlotte), but Greg hasn't and I thought he would like it.

We were picked up by a golf cart that took us over to the Segway area.

Love the bathroom signs...  stick figures holding their crotches.  Awesome.

We were treated to lemonade while we got instruction on how to use the Segways.  Then we got our helmets on and got going.

I actually don't have ANY pictures of us on the actual Segways because we weren't allowed to take pictures while on them, but our tour took us all over the resort and I have a bunch of pictures of places we stopped on the tour.

First we headed to the beach.

We then drove our Segways to back to the Ecological Reserve.  Again, Greg braved the water, while I hung back!

Shortly after this, Greg realized he'd got for a swim with his wallet in his pocket.  Ooops!

We hopped back on the Segways and finished cruising around the resort.  It was about a 2-3 hour tour.  Pretty cool!

After our tour, we decided to head back to the beach one last time and soak in the last day of sun and sand (translation, reading in the shade because we didn't want to burn!).

After a few hours outside we headed back to our room to shower and get ready for dinner.  We made a reservation at Playa Blanca, for our last night.

It's kind of a beachy, modern restaurant. 

I got the impression it's sort of the place to go to party during the day.  A DJ was wrapping up with many party people winding down when we arrived for dinner.  It was kind of amusing :)

I ordered a fruity frozen drink to start with.  I think it was called a Bama Mama, and it had banana and pinapple in it.  Quite delicious.

It was windier and colder than we'd anticipated near the beach that night, and I wished I'd brought a warmer wrap or cardigan.

I can't help but crave seafood near the beach, so I ordered grilled shrimp with spring vegetables and we got another side of plantains to share.

We had a little time to kill before our shuttle came to get us (you take a shuttle to get to this restaurant), so we decided to get dessert, since we were killing time.  We got a Dominican coconut specialty that the waiter recommended.  Greg and I agreed it was sort of like a deconstructed Samoa Girl Scout cookie.  Tasty!

After dinner we headed back and went to bed early, since our flight out of DR left at 8am Monday morning.

In conclusion, I had SUCH a great time. 
It was just what I needed after the year I have had to start 2012 off right and relaxed.

Overall, I think Punta Cana Resort is great.  I don't know how the other resorts in Punta Cana are, but this place has miles of uninhabited beach, phenomenal restaurants, friendly staff, a great pool, and many activities to choose from.

I would just warn anyone going there that the rooms were kind of average, nothing fancy (if that's your thing), and we did have to wait a while for the water to get warm sometimes (not a huge deal).  They do have suites and casitas which are upgraded from what we were in though, so those maybe nicer, and there's also Tortuga Bay, the sister resort, which is supposed to be more luxe. 

I would also recommend pre-arranging transportation to the resort from the airport, which we didn't, and stressed me out the first day upon arrival.  The airport in general is kind of a nightmare, just be prepared for that...

In the end, I enjoyed going with a resort that was NOT all inclusive.  Neither of us are big drinkers, we often filled up on our included breakfast and had snacks for lunch, and we loved the restaurants we had to choose from.  I think the quality, atmosphere, and hospitality were awesome, and I'm not sure you would get that attention to detail at an all inclusive resort.  You do need to be aware that planning meals is a little trickier though when it's not all inclusive.  We had to make reservations and the restaurants are only open at specific times.  It seems that most people down there eat later, because we were the first ones at the restaurants both nights we had reservations since we made them for 7pm- when most of them open there.

Since we are not big party animals, I guess I would also say that this might not be the best spot for you if that's what you are looking for.  I got the impression most people were that to relax like we were.  On that same note, it's not a couples only resort, there were some kids, but not a lot, and they didn't bother us at all.

There was a little bit of a language barrier.  Most people speak English and Spanish, but some of the English is not great, so you may occasionally experience a langage barrier.  I actually know a bit of Spanish, which sometimes came in handy (like when I was helping Greg pick out cold medicine at the grocery store).  We did have one instance where we ate a meal earlier than we'd planned because we wrongly thought the waiter was telling us when the restaurant closed, but was actually trying to communicate that they were open for dinner later.  It wasn't a huge deal.

Bring tons of singles for tips.  Most places take US dollars, but may give you change in DR money.  There was an exchange bank at the resort, but we just got by with US dollars.  You can also charge any of your meals or activities to your room number and settle up at the end. 

Email me (lifeinaholdingpattern at gmail dot com) if you have any other questions about the resort!


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