Trip Type (based on flights and accommodation):
Flights, accommodation and transfers – £867 (we got an all-inclusive* deal with a travel agency)
Spending money – £300 (17,655 Dominican Pesos) They take dollars in addition to pesos but you’ll get way more for your money if you take pesos.
$30 tourist fee to enter and depart DR
£1,167 and $30
All-inclusive* – Our flights, transfers in Punta Cana, accommodation, meals and non-alcoholic/alcoholic drinks were included in the price
I visited Punta Cana last September and let me tell you now, it was the ULTIMATE girls’ trip.
7 childhood friends, unlimited sunshine, unlimited alcohol and good food…What else was really needed?
If you’re thinking of where to go for an affordable holiday in the Caribbean, then visit the Dominican Republic. In terms of all inclusive deals, it’s the cheapest country to go on holiday to in that region and there’s amazing weather most of the year round.
From the first day to the last, every moment out there was amazing and the whole trip was one of the highlights of my 2017.
We stayed at the Catalonia Bavaro Beach Golf & Casino Resort
It’s a beautiful all-inclusive resort with a number of a la carte and themed/specialty restaurants. We enjoyed our time there and it’s such a big resort we didn’t even manage to explore it all!
The hotel has a wide range of facilities, and attractive features including an open air theatre; my personal favourite was the main pool’s swim up bar 😍 My negatives would be that the WiFi on the resort was quite poor and only worked around the lobby. The rooms were also outdated and the food wasn’t particularly amazing (apart from the breakfast buffet and Japanese teppanyaki restaurant).
There is so much to do there! The Dominican Republic has generated a lot of it’s income from tourism, so you’ll find that there’s something for everyone.
We did our own research prior to the trip and spoke to people who had been to Punta Cana to see what activities and excursions we could get up to.
Scape Park describes itself as a ‘natural theme park’ and it’s exactly that. We chose a package deal which included various activities and were all absolutely knackered by the end of the day.
We started with the zip line adventure which took us through 12 zip lines, each one higher and longer than the other. Me, being scared of heights, didn’t think the activity through properly and was severely schooketh from the very first zip line. I didn’t want to wait on the ground for however long it would take for the girls to finish the zip lines so I made sure that a member of staff did almost every one of them with me. #embarrassing
Once the zip lining was over we moved on to the next activity which was a cultural/scenic walk that took us through part of the park. A tour guide was on hand and would stop every now and then to tell us about the animals and nature on the route. This was my least favourite activity as walking in 30+ degree weather really wasn’t and still isn’t my cup of tea.
Our walk came to a stop at a cenote called ‘Hoyo Azul’. To go into the pool there were two options, walk down the steps straight into the pool or jump from a ledge. A few of us chose to jump from the ledges, myself included. Me and my friend jumped in and our wigs popped off like a cork from a champagne bottle. Luckily for me, I grabbed mine as soon as I felt it come off. My friend however, didn’t react on time and the wig slowly floated to the bottom of the abyss. Me and the girls were all screaming, “your wig! your wig’s going!” Next thing we knew, one of the guys in our tour group jumped into the pool and retrieved the wig from the bottom. That had to be one of the funniest moments of the trip. After all the fun and excitement at Hoyo Azul we went to an underground water cave but it was pretty cold so we didn’t stay there for too long.
Our last activity was a cruise on a catamaran which included an open bar and snacks. We spent hours dancing, singing and snorkelling. A beautiful and relaxing way to end what was a jam packed day.
We spent an afternoon driving beach buggies around with a stop at the beach as well as educational stops at a Taińo settlement to watch areítos (sacred dances) and ‘Rancho Macao’ for a short talk on how local produce such as cocoa, tobacco, coffee and mamajuana is made.
Saona Island is a tropical island located off the mainland. We had a coach pick us up from our hotel and it took us to a beach about 40 mins away. From there we got on a speed boat to a catamaran which had a number of tourists on. The catamaran journey to the island was 2 hours and it was a VIBE. There was music, rum and whining dancing. Dominicans can move; one of the crew members was moving her waist so fluidly, all me and my girls could do was watch in awe.
We pulled up to the island and it looked like the beaches you see in pictures and movies but don’t expect to see in real life (the header pic for this post is Saona Island). White sand, lines of palm trees, clear water, blue skies and hardly a cloud in sight. Paradise. There was already a lunch buffet and drinks stand set up for us which we quickly rushed to. We spent the next few hours taking pictures, eating, drinking, sunbathing, swimming and taking pictures that were worthy of shutting down the gram.
Next was searching for starfish! We got on a big speed boat, went to an area close to the island and had the pleasure of seeing some starfish. We got to take pictures with them and as the water was shallow enough for us to stand in, we spent about 30 mins in the sea. After that we went back into our boat and sped back to the beach we started our excursion at. That concluded the end of our Saona Island trip and another great day.
If you want to party with the locals and experience a proper Dominican night out, then this is the place for you. There’s bottle service and shisha and most of the music that’s played is merengue, bachata and reggaeton. They played mainstream American music every now and then but if that’s what you expect to hear all night then I’m here to tell you that you won’t 😂
This place is INSANE. If you’ve been to the one in Cancun, then you’ll know all about this club. To be honest with you ‘club’ isn’t even the right word for Coco Bongo, think of it as more of a theatrical night out. Expect to see everything and anything from a carnival extravaganza to aerialists to balloons falling from the air to Beetlejuice! We chose to go here on our last night and it was an experience like no other. I’d definitely recommend it.
P.S. If you venture on to the stage to dance and you’re wearing a skirt or dress then be sure to steer clear of the wind machines 😩
The Dominicans are such beautiful and friendly people. We made friends with the locals we met at some of our excursions and nights out and they made the holiday even more enjoyable. And the men? Whew chile, all I have to say is Spanish is a sensual language.
The mosquitoes in DR had a personal vendetta against me, I’m sure of it. Who knew insects could be so greedy? Even with the layers of repellant spray lathered on my body and the repellent wristbands, they still managed to find a way to attack me! I personally don’t think my feet are the juiciest parts of my body but to those mosquitoes it was. My poor feet were covered with itchy red bites so do bare those irritating creatures in mind if you plan on going.
Mamajuana! The drink of the Dominican Republic. It’s a mix of rum, red wine, honey and herbs. Deadly. I had too much of this on our catamaran cruise on the day of Scape Park and I had to forfeit a night out with some locals we’d made friends with as I needed to recover. Lol.
Peace, love and flights.