Arrival: January 29 – February 5 The plane arrived on time. We got off the plane and felt like we were in paradise. Very hot and sunny. Change clothes at Pearson because the bathroom in the airport had 2 stalls and I waited for 30 min. At the exit, some local guy helped us find our bus for a tip. We were seated into a well airconditioned bus and taken to our resort. I wished we bought a bottle of water on the plane, but we had some hot water in the thermos for the baby’s formula so we finished it. The ride was not bad, time flew by fast. There was some paperwork to fill on the bus and getting room numbers etc. Check in was smooth, we left our bags and noone took them, went to eat lunch, then came back and got our key and went to the room to change.
Nothing special, but you are in it to sleep and change so who cares. It had everything working, NO IRON, but good hair drier. Hot water, AC – no problems. We had gold club update, so our unit was near the beach, and it was nice to see the ocean from the balcony. And it had satellite TV with lots of channels and cartoons for the baby. Coffeemaker was there and we used it to boil baby’s water for the formula.
Restaurants and Bars:
The main restaurant (La Brisa) had lots of choices: big islands with main dishes, seafood etc. You can find anything you like there and change it up every day. The food is local, which is important for the fruits and vegetables. They are so sweet and fresh. I loved their whole wheat dark bread: it was so fresh and very delicious. Tons of desert, but I stayed away from that island. The local coconut is to die for. And they had these freshly grilled jumbo shrimp that was AWSOME. Local red wine was good, not too sweet and not too dry (I like it dry though). The other restaurants were good. Medeterranean was very fancy, Italian and Mexican were OK. Get Pizza San Juan – my husband loved it and I could not stop stealing pieces from him. Seafood restaurant was impossible to book. Alcohol and drinks were available everywhere and the service was very quick. I enjoyed the state of mild to moderate buzz throughout my stay there, but I did not like that feeling of overly full and bloated which comes from overeating at the buffet. Bring something to relieve bloating, or you’ll start looking 3 months pregrant by your 3rd day of staying.
We loved hanging out by the main pool because of the activities there and our little one was a bit scared of the ocean. I hated the smokers who could light up anywhere at anytime. It was very unpleasant to breath their smoke. Europeans and French Canadians still smoke in public places and near yours and their kids, which was repulsive. The kiddie pool was nice, and the main pool was big enough for a nice swim. The swim-up bar was a nice treat. The beach was fantastic: long as far as the eye could see, beautifully treed, shallow, safe, calm. Five star quality except for the dard sand. But that sand was very soothing for the feet and firm to have a comfy walk along the beach. The water was not clear, unfortunately, so it took away from the experience. And the concrete wave-blockers were not very pretty. But it could have been worse: we went to Puerto Plata and passed by a beach where huge industrial ugly ships were going by and there were no wave-blockers making the ocean totally scary. Loved the palm trees on the beach. Activities in the ocean were easy to book: we went peddalboating, and my husband windsurfed all free. The resort was landscaped beautifully. We wanted to take pictures everywhere, and there were so many kinds of trees, not just palm trees. They had local gardeners working on landscaping every day.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:: The entertainment crew was great, and we so wanted to give them a large tip for their efforts, but the last day we got too buzzed and tried to do too many things, so we forgot. The shows were just OK, do not expect some grand performances. We watched the entertainment crew put on shows and involve the tourists, and we left when the baby passed out. The other people had an option to go to the local nightclub by the resort. It was close and I heard people enjoyed it. We went to Ocean World. It was nice, loved swimming in Tiger Grotto because it was a simulated natural grotto and you could see tigers through the glass wall. Loved birds landing on you and the dolphin show. For $10, got to touch the dolphin a couple of times and they took my picture touching the dolphin. My baby loved Ocean World because of the animal interactions they offer. Be prepared to pay $8 for a taco there and $5 for a drink (USD). Puerto Plata was pricey!
We were tricked by some promoters to see another resort near Ocean World (Hacienda… VIP). It looked so sad and dead, I hated the atmosphere there. And their beach had rusty long ships sailing through from some huge factory nearby. So, we were thankful that we did not end up in a Puerto Plata resort, but we were far far away in a small community who treated us with love.
Other Comments:: WORTH EVERY PENNY YOU SPEND. Anything above and beyond would be appreciated but not neccessary. That one star that’s lacking in the rating is definitely made up by the friendliness of the staff. They try so hard to please you: their town is remote and poor, they value their job and appreciate your tip. And they are so funny. Dominican people are funny, full of emotion and they love to talk and they are very open to any discussion. Most of them know English well enough.
They would never hurt a tourist. But they would trick you. The guy who tricked us to check out that resort in Puerto Plata was sooooo scared when I started yelling at him after spending 5 min at that resort and calling him names and accusing him of wasting my time, that he quickly went to get a bus to take me back to Ocean World. I was so mad and kept on yelling at him on the bus and being very mean to him, but he never freaked out at me. He was SCARED! It was the best vacation ever escpecially because the weather was great the whole time we were there.