Foofoo drinks, palm trees, sky-blue waters, tanned bodies, island music, and not much spoken English; that sums up the Dominican Republic experience.
Prior to my Punta Cana trip, I was a virgin to the Caribbean experience. Today, from the snowy land of Chicago my nostalgia wanes slowly as I recollect my 4-night experience in the sun-drenched heart of the Caribbean. VIEW GALLERY
Day One: the travel day
I get anxious on travel days. We had a 6 AM flight, and were directed to arrive at the airport at 4 AM; to sleep, or not to sleep; we went the later.
Going through the Chicago airport was a breeze. In record time we were at the gate within 15 minutes of our arrival to the airport and reclined to catch some Zs at the gate.
Once on the airplane, I was strategically placed behind all-the-back-seat-recliner (if you know me, you know that I am not the smallest of humans, and a reclined seats seriously dwindles my personal space) and in front of a hyper soccer kid that insisted on blasting my seat with repetitive leg thrusts, as if she was playing Nintendo Wii for the World Cup Championship. 4 hours of this continuous torment drained my already dry tank of patience. Luckily, the kid conked out for 30 minutes and I had a half-hour of blissful flight time. Note to parents: instill a little discipline in your kids when traveling on long flights, thank you in advance for your steadfast compliance.
Touchdown. We have landed, and the view on the way down was glorious, more than I had imagined, and I could not wait to get to the beach.
After an interesting ride through the third-world-like streets of the Dominican Republic (Dramamine may be needed for the bus ride to your resort, amazingly bumpy), we had arrived at our paradise; Sirenis Resort and Casino in Punta Cana; it was just like the movies. After only a few steps off of the bus, tropical drinks were placed in our hands, and the dull remembrance of the soccer kid on the plane was nothing more than a spec in my memory; I was here, where I belonged.
The day finished with an afternoon of tropical drinks on the beach with short excursions to the poolside bar for refills; life does not get any easier than this, but then again, it might; suddenly, a waiter popped up on the sandy shore and was more than happy to retrieve our every request.
Days Two and Three
Days two and three were much like our day one afternoon, more beach-side relaxation with minor excursions like; massage in a tiki hut, meringue lessons, ocean-side shopping, and biddy counting (identifying topless sunbathers).
Unfortunately we made a poor decision and decided to go on a tour. We specifically selected the “Shopping” tour because it was the shortest tour, but it ended up being about 8 hours. Next time, we would bypass this tour and elect to have more days like two and three. But, the cigar shop was neat; now we know how cigars are made!
The final day was depressing, as it was our time to leave paradise; mostly travel, but all in all it was an amazing jaunt to the Caribbean, and one that I will not soon forget.
Punta Cana Tips
- The Dominican Republic is very poor and everyone is looking for a tip, but your tip will go a long way
- Do not leave the resort, unless it is for a tour
- The food is mediocre at best, buffet is best option
- Bring snacks
- Bring Imodium AD
- Bring lots of sunscreen
- Learn some Spanish
- Don’t drink the water
- Get up early a claim the nice lounges; I discovered this and it makes the ocean-side lounging experience that much more relaxing
- Barter: if a vendor says $100, reply back with $65; the come down to $75, walk away; they will take $65.
- Do it, just go, you will love the experience.