Our Fun Adventures in Punta Cana {with Travelling Tips!}

March 13, 2016


I was super excited when Will told me he's going to take me on a trip for my birthday and I get to pick the destination. Since we were planning to buy a house together, I didn't want him us to break the bank for this vacation. So, we decided we'll do an all-inclusive down to Punta Cana, Dominican.




We stayed at Catalonia Bavaro Beach, Casino & Golf Resort during our 7-day getaway, it wasn't a big cost difference for a shorter trip so we opted for the 7-day. The resort is very open and clean but it's not an adult-only resort. The beach was alright, not as beautiful as the ones in Cuba. There were a lot of seaweeds and it was quite windy too. The resort offers lively entertainment every night at the central stage with lots of activities to do around the resort. We also picked this particular resort because it provides a few other cuisines without having to pay extra charge at the resort. For us, that's one of our must-haves since we don't want to eat the same buffet for 7 days straight.




Here is the list of all-inclusive details offered by our resort that matters to us:

  • 4 restaurants with a la carte specialties (Japanese, French, Italian, Caribbean) 
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet
  • 24 hours snack
  • Unlimited alcoholic drinks
  • Party on the beach with live entertainment
  • Variety of activities at the resort (aerobics, volleyball, water aerobics, casino, golf,  tennis, table tennis, archery, soccer, basketball)
  • Non-motorized water sports
  • Disco and night shows at the central stage
  • Gym
  • Tips and taxes included



We didn't want to stay at the resort all the time like when I went to Cuba with my family, so we researched a bunch of activities to do in advance to make the trip more fun and enjoyable for us. We did two excursions, the Catamaran Cruise to Saona Island and Bavaro Runners Adventures. Originally, I wanted us to try the Dolphin rides but upon discovering the fact that it's more than a hundred bucks for each of us on a 30-minute ride just turned us off. I also heard that you are not allowed to bring camera to take your own selfies with the dolphin. You’ll need to purchase the photos separately, which then adds up to the cost of the tour. So we decided against it and picked the Catamaran Cruise that everybody there raved about.


{Catamaran Cruise to Saona Island Excursion}

The Catamaran cruise ride was long and there were also a lot of people on it. We were lucky we got a spot where we could stretch our legs during the 2-hours. But I have to say the ride was actually quite fun. The staffs kept offering us Rum the entire time and we all danced off to some party music together. After we landed on the island, we were served a nice barbecued lunch. The island, in my opinion wasn’t as breathtaking as some people has described it to be. I’ve been to several other islands in the Caribbean that are way better. The water was not as clear and I hurt myself couple of times because there were a lot of rocks and shells in the water.

We snorkeled for the majority of the time there as there weren’t anything else to do on the island (Luckily, we got our own snorkeling equipment!). We were a bit disappointed in the water, it was smoggy and we didn’t see fishes until they were few centimeters away from us. The snorkeling experience was much better at the beach from our resort.

On our way back though, we took the speed boat and stopped at the "swimming pool" in the middle of the sea. It was like a paradise there. Crystal clear and blue water as if I was in Maldives. You can see the ground from standing in the water. We had an amazing time snorkeling there because we caught 3 star fishes! I didn’t realize how hard their shells are.


{Bavaro Runners Adventures Excursion}

For our 2nd excursion, I wanted us to learn more about the Dominican city and lifestyle, so we went with the Bavaro Runners Adventures Excursion. From this tour, I was hoping to gain a bit of knowledge about the history and culture together. It would help us appreciate the place more. We got to experience and see quite a few things at the countryside of Punta Cana during the tour. We were taken to see the local Dominican homes and learned how their living lifestyle is. There were some tropical plants that we got to see around too, such as cinnamon, vanilla, paprika and pineapple! Trivia of the day: did you know that it takes 15 years to grow a pineapple? We also stopped at the sugar cane farm and tried some freshly pressed sugar cane juice. Up to this point, it was an organic yet a bit commericalized experience.



Then, we witnessed how cigars and cocoa were being made and tried some Mamajuana. We were taken to the bat cave where we actually saw real bats flying above our heads as well! Once we were out of the cave, we were greeted by Taino people who speak languages that we did not understand. It was quite interesting. We learned some Taino phrases and dance moves as they performed Arieto for us. For lunch, which was also included in the tour, was taken at the mountain top with a picturesque view. Ending the trip, we went horseback riding around the hill side. It was so much fun! I managed to take selfies and videos while riding the horse at the same time. Ha ha. Overall, I think the tour was great and it was completely an eye-opening experience that is different than your regular beaches and islands.




{Tips to help you plan your next all-inclusive trip}


  • Pick dates before March Break for cheaper price and for a more relaxed and peaceful stay (There were a lot of young adults partying hard during March Break that might tick you off if all you want is some quiet time) 
  • Ask for your room to be closer to the beach/pool or restaurant (depending on your preference). People go very early in the morning to reserve a spot by the pool/beach, so you might want to be closer, that way it will save you time from walking because the amenities areas are usually some distance away from the rooms. 
  • Do not purchase any excursions packages from solicitors. There are many of those around the resort who will bombard you with package deals. Only book through your travel agency (they usually have a booth at the resort) so that you are guaranteed that someone will bring you back to the resort even after they take your money. 
  • Bring Pepto Bismol or some kind of medicines with you and purchase travel insurance. Will got food poisoned the day before our excursion (we suspected it was the bad mango he ate) and we almost thought we had to bail out on the tour. 
  • Invest in your own snorkeling equipment for sanitary reasons. Costco carries them for cheap. 
  • Invest in a GoPro, we regretted for not borrowing one at the very least because it was an eye-opening view under the water. Hello Starfishes! Even a waterproof disposable camera would be great to have. 
  • Do not carry expensive bling-bling with you, especially when you're outside of the resort. 
  • Ask for local shopping tours if you like to do some shopping. It’s free! All you need to do is let Air Transat crew know ahead of time when you’ll want to go out to shop and they will schedule a driver to drop you off at the “shopping centre” (which is really a huge gift shop). 
  • If you are planning to go outside of the resort to shop, be sure to check out the gift shop at your resort first, before buying any souvenirs from outside. Chances are you can get a better deal of the same item at the resort than from tourist attractions. You can always come back to the resort to buy it if you find it more expensive outside. 
  • Make your reservation at specialty restaurants as soon as you arrive so you can guarantee you are able to try them out during the duration of your stay. Some restaurants from the resorts I have been to get booked up fast and I didn’t end up trying any! You don’t want to eat buffet all week for 3 times a day, do you? 
  • Lastly, when you catch a star fish, do not leave it out of the water for too long, it will die from lack of oxygen. Or don’t attempt to bring it home like I tried to do…because it’s illegal.

Adios. Until next time!


 



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4 comments

  1. Great trip and pics, I love Punta Cana!!!!
    Kisses, Paola.

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  2. This is really beautiful!

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  3. place is soooo pretty! i can't wait summer and travel!

    xo, Carla
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  4. Awwww babe!
    So awesome pics! Wish be there some day ^^
    Much love hun, have fun.
    xxx

    www.lavidadeunadonnadie.com

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About [span]me[/span]
Hello, my name is Lorita. This is a journal of my personal style, travel adventures, food excursions, recipe experiments, DIY tutorials and every little thing in life.


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