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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.....in my opinion

So for a honeymoon (since we didn't get much of one in PV) we decided to visit Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I had a travel agent deal I couldn't pass up at the Hard Rock Resort so that made the hotel selection for us.

This is what I thought:

It is a large property with lots of walking. They do have the golf cart shuttle trams that run all the time with lots of pick up points similar to the Paradisus. Our room was closer to the main building which is where the spa, casino, and most of the restaurants were. I liked being close to that stuff as opposed to the beach but totally a personal preference.

8 pools that line the ocean and some other ones throughout the property including a kids pool area with slides and a lazy river. The pools toward the middle of the property had lots of activities going and music and the ones on the outskirts were more laid back and quiet so it was nice to pick based on your mood. There are lots of waves in the ocean here. People were having fun jumping over them but it seemed almost dangerous to me but maybe I’m just a chicken. I prefer to just float.

The spa was really nice. They even had these massage huts that sat over the water (not the ocean but this massive man made water thing they had).

The casino was huge! All kinds of gaming available and at the far end was a sports bar with tvs up the ceiling with all kinds of sports betting. It was fun watching the Thunder game there.

It seemed the kids there were having a really good time. So many options and they had an activity board with options of fun stuff to do from baseball on the beach to a dance contest, etc. There was also an arcade and a kid camp that seemed like people were using to drop off the littlest ones during like dinner. They had small tables with activities and fisher price type video games.

Lots of music memorabilia everything seeing that this is the Hard Rock which was neat.

The rooms are nice. They have a large bathroom with a shower only (double heads in the shower) and they have a separate toilet area and double sinks. The rooms had either a king or 2 doubles and then a huge Jacuzzi tub in the middle of the room and you stepped down to where the balcony was with a sitting area. They do offer “family rooms” to book which is just adjoining rooms which is kinda hard to find in an all inclusive!
FOOD
There were more Europeans there than Americans when I went. There are direct flights from Paris, Moscow, Madrid as well as others so there were quite a bit of Europeans. The food reminded me of being more in Europe with how they put things together and some of the menu options. It seemed to be hit and miss on the food which I guess is pretty typical of all inclusive. I’m kind of a foodie so all inclusive isn’t always my favorite way to go. My husband isn’t picky so he liked everything. For example, the beef tenderloin at the steak restaurant was pretty good. The sirloin was not so good. There was a Japanese restaurant and the chef was entertaining and personable. The food was pretty good. They had chicken, steak and shrimp and then calamari.  I didn’t think the buffet was as good as other all inclusives I have visited. I did like the grill out by the pool. They had really good hamburgers and chicken sandwiches. I opted for this at lunch as opposed to the buffet. There was an ice cream shop on property. The ice cream was different. It was still good but not like Braums.

COUNTRY
There is tons of poverty in the Dominican Republic. We did a group tour to Santo Domingo for the day. It was eye opening and interesting but we saw a lot of poverty and trash lining the streets all the way there. Santo Domingo claims to have the 1st church in the Americas and to be where Christopher Columbus first landed and is buried. There was lots of history. It did not seem unsafe at all but just a lot of poverty.
We also did a snorkel day trip and that was really nice. The water is really pretty. Not the best snorkeling in the world but definitely better than a lot of places. They took you out and you snorkeled over to these cages they had set up in the ocean. You then snorkeled into the cages where they had sharks and stingrays. I thought I would be more scared but it was really neat. Then we did a cruise down the coast and stopped at shallow area where they let us all swim and they had drink service in the ocean.

There were a ton of water activities and the sand there was so soft and powdery, that was a definite plus.


Over all, I dont know if I personally would go back to Punta Cana (well unless it was free!) but for people who like affordable all inclusives (but the air for some reason is still expensive) with gorgeous beaches it's a great choice. It's an easy place for Destination Weddings too.


More Mexican Stars at the Mexican restaurant at Hard Rock! Wohooo!


Our Room



Fresh Passion Fruit (It was like tropical sweet tarts)



This was the spinach salad I ordered. Gross.



Chris on the beach in front of Hard Rock.

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