Just got back from a one week holiday with 7 other Newfoundland women and we had a great time.The hotel was small in comparison to what i’m use to but still fine.I stayed in room 205,very large,2 double beds,sitting area,fridge,microwave,large balcony,in need of a little repair but not worth complaining about.The animation team made our holiday super.Spaghetti,Cappuchino and Stephanie were our favorite Dominicans-They sat and talked about the Dominican culture,played games,danced and entertained all day long.The pools were fine,beach always had a little breeze to cool down,buffet restaurant was fine,Thai rest. was a great experience and food at the Mexican was very good.Jeep Safari we booked through the rep.was a great day experiencing how the Dominican people live and Cabrete Cave is a must to see.The cave is only $15 us currency and worth so much more,it’s fabulous to see.The Dominican people work very hard and receive little money so if you are able to tip with money or leave a gift please do so because if you can change one life the rewards are worth it.You will never want for what you give.Overall,I would definately go back to this resort for the staff if nothing else-they were the best.If you keep in mind that this resort is a 3 star,I don’t feel you will be disappointed.Enjoy,don’t complain-the dominican people are great.
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|Vicki and Kevin
via Puerto Plata / Air Transat and Sunquest vacations
The food was good; especially the chicken (every time and every way) and the breakfast omelet bar. Although there were a limited amount of items on the buffet table, we never left the restaurant hungry. I especially enjoyed a dessert that had a sort of bread pudding bottom and crème brule custard body. It was delicious and there just about every night! My husband is still disappointed that they only had rice pudding (his favorite) once during our seven-night stay. There were two a la carte restaurants at the resort; a Mexican-style and a Thai-style. Both were good and you could go as many times during your stay as you wished as long as you made reservations at the front desk in the morning. We didn’t have any problem getting a table either time and it was a nice change from the main buffet. My favorite meal at the buffet had to be the pasta bar, which was set up so that you could choose your own style of pasta, sauce and ingredients, and the chef would heat them up individually. A close second would be the burrito plate at the Mexican place. The Thai coconut-octopus soup at the Thai place would be third. There was also a snack bar near the beach that ran for a short time in late afternoon and it offered hamburgers, hot-dogs or grilled ham-n-cheese sandwiches depending on the day.
The service everywhere in the resort was very good. I did not expect to be waited on at the buffet, but we were provided drinks and table-clearing services by very friendly and courteous staff members, who had varying degrees of skill in the English language. They were very good about helping me with my efforts to speak Spanish, although quite pathetic at times, it seemed as though they appreciated me trying. I have always felt a warmth in the people that I have been lucky enough to meet during our four stays in the DR, and this was also present in Cabarete.
The beach itself is quite well-maintained and absolutely gorgeous! The surf and palm trees made for some amazing pictures, but it was way too harsh for any snorkeling. Even swimming was difficult, but it was fun to frolic in the giant waves and we enjoyed watching the kite-sailing. You could take lessons and rent boogie boards right on the beach. There were also the various vendors and hair-braiders one usually finds at beach-front resorts, and it sometimes took several negative responses before they would give up on their sales-pitches. There were also daily horse-back rides (also not part of the all-inclusive), but only once did we see any motorized vehicles along the beach or in the water, and that was only a couple of small dirt-bikes and only the one time. Not having the whine and exhaust smell of the motorized sea-doos and speedboats was a nice change from the place where we stayed during our last visit to the DR. The down side of the beach was the beach chair situation. There were too few of them so, as a result of the shortage the “reserve by towel” practice was a bit out of hand. It was difficult to get two decent chairs in the morning unless you were able to stick your towels on a couple before around 7:30am. The pool chairs were also busy, but we usually were able to find a vacancy in the latter part of the afternoon.
The Animation Team
It may only be a small resort, but the entertaining Animation Team worked hard to ensure you wouldn’t be bored. There were games, at pool and beach-side throughout the day and Showtime every evening. The Magic show was the best show of its type that we’ve seen during our four visits to the DR. It starred the friendly and darn cute white bunny named Jackie, which has free range of the resort and isn’t the least bit shy. Jackie drove the gardener staff nuts digging up the plants in the front lobby, (which was actually quite entertaining) and she spent a fair bit of time in our building. The next most impressive show was a tribute to Africa, which involved fire, dancing, and had a faux fight using wooden poles. The sports bar had a flat screen TV, which always seemed to have a soccer game going on. There were two (just) usable pool tables and a dart board, as well as a ping-pong table. Organized activities included things like water polo, beach volley-ball and soccer, dancing lessons and Spanish lessons. I did get up and try a bit of Meringue with staff members on one of the dance nights, and had fun with it. They also had just a traditional high school dance type thing on Valentines Day and played love-songs. Most of the music we heard while at the resort was either North American or British popular music of yesteryear or Spanish slow ones, rather than what I would consider Dominican music. I would have preferred a bit more Meringue music and a lot more variety in the other styles. We heard the same CD several times over. There was also a live band playing at the buffet one night, which was a nice added touch to the entertainment line-up. The Animation team was always trying to keep people involved in the fun, but we prefer a quieter vacation experience, so we tended to lounge on the beach or around the quieter pool or use the pool tables rather than take part in the organized sports and activities.
The first room we were given was on the third floor of the lobby building that a nice British lady referred to as “the cell block.” I must admit there was a resemblance, but that’s not why we asked to switch to another room. None of the drawers in the dresser would open, the air conditioning unit in the room wasn’t working and it overlooked a somewhat noisy lane where the taxi drivers congregated and all the resort staff and supply trucks travelled. The door to the balcony, even when fully closed, had gaps around it that a bird could fly through (maybe that’s a bit of exaggeration). My husband is a light sleeper, so the noise level was really the deciding factor. The move wasn’t a problem for us, although we later heard others weren’t able to get different rooms. The second room was located in a building that was across the main lane from the lobby and furthermost from the beach, but it had been recently renovated and was very quiet. There were chickens and a few cows grazing outside our ground-floor balcony-patio, and a bunny hopping the hallway. The room was quite spacious and had adequate, functional furniture. The bathroom had a nice newly-tiled shower. There was always lots of water and it was as hot as you wanted it to be. The cleaning staff was constantly busy and we had no complaints other than the TV wouldn’t power up, but we aren’t TV watchers anyway so it wasn’t an issue. We did witness several flooding incidents. For those who prefer to be near the action, the rooms overlooking the sports-bar pool would probably be the best bet. The constant thumping of the bass from the party pool closer to the beach would likely hinder an afternoon nap. The review we first read about this resort said something to the effect that “if you want a lively night life, then this resort is not for you.” That’s actually one of the reasons we chose to go to this particular resort. There was lots of night-life close by, had we chosen to stay up past Showtime at the resort. Cabarete is a jumping little town at night, or so I’ve heard.
There were zero hassles getting between the airport in Puerto Plata and the Paraiso in Cabarete either coming or going. In fact, since we were the end of the line for resort drop-off and pick-up, we got a sort of free tour of the Playa Dorada complex and the towns of Sousua and Cabarete en route. That was helpful, as we had a better idea of where the Scotiabank and best place to shop was before we went to town on our own. The Paraiso has a free shuttle to town that leaves in the morning daily and comes back in late afternoon. We chose to go on Saturday, as that’s the day the shuttle supposedly returns to the resort at noon. I say, “supposedly,” because it didn’t return at all on the Saturday that we went. After more than a half hour had passed, a German lady from the group of nine people who had come into town on the shuttle made a call to the front desk. This is when we learned there would be no return shuttle. He had told us to be back at the Scotiabank parking lot at noon, so we were a bit miffed, but the hotel paid for our taxis back. The next time we went to town, we took the shuttle in and the local bus back. That was an experience; 23 people in a van meant to hold a maximum of thirteen! It reminded me of Vancouver busses downtown at rush hour. We paid 30 pesos each and the guy seemed happy with that.
The Town of Cabarete
The cheapest place to buy vanilla, coffee and rum to bring home is always the town supermercado, so we hit Janet’s for that. It’s located on the north side of the street at the east end of town and is a bit of a hike from the Scotiabank. It was also the only place in town where I was able to find feminine hygiene products, but that’s another story. (One would think the pharmacy would carry such things!) The best place for touristy-type stuff was Liquidation World. It is located on the south side of the street and just west of Scotiabank. Several other merchants (including one in the lower level of the building that the real one is in) have been capitalizing on Liquidation World’s reputation for good prices by putting up their own “Liquidation” signs so don’t be fooled by imitations! Their building has an orange roof and also is home to a surfer supply store called “No Work Crew”. The ‘real’ Liquidation World opens around 10am and the prices are so low that you don’t do any bartering there. I bought a really cute dress for my young granddaughter, a package of vanilla cigarillos, and two pairs of earrings. There were also some really nice leather hats that were tempting (975 pesos/36$Can); not to mention all the other stuff like t-shirts, sarongs, jewelry, paintings, and clay stuff. We also enjoyed a bit of a break at a sports restaurant called the Downwinder, which is almost right next door to Janets’ supermarket. The bathroom is clean and the cappuccino was good. There was a menu in English (the staff spoke very good English too) that offered breakfast for under 300 pesos, but it was a cash-only establishment, so don’t expect to use your credit card. The best rate for money-changing was at Scotiabank and I wish I had brought my bank card, as that’s all I would have needed. To change money inside the bank itself required a passport. Our Sunquest rep had advised us to change our money at the bank as it’s not uncommon to get counterfeit pesos from some of the money exchangers that seem to be on every corner. We also got a slightly better rate at Scotiabank. Most places would accept US currency as well as pesos, but forget using Canadian cash. Many places also take credit cards. We were told that Visa and Mastercard would be the most likely ones to be accepted. Be careful walking in Cabarete, the sidewalks are very narrow at best and are often blocked by merchants’ signs or parked vehicles. Don’t even think about renting a vehicle of any type unless your life insurance is paid up and you are ready to meet your maker. The Sunquest rep told us she has been living in the DR for 22 years and still does not drive herself. The DR is the only place I’ve ever been where a car’s horn likely wears out before the tires.
The only off-resort organized tour we elected to do during this visit to the DR was the Zip-Line Adventure Tour, which was a blast! It is offered from Paraiso twice per week, Wednesday and Friday mornings, and costs $89 US each. We booked it through our SunQuest rep. Pick-up was an early 7:40am and we didn’t get back until close to 2pm. It took some time to collect others on the tour and drop them off, plus the zip line itself is inland toward Santiago. Franklin, our guide, was great and his English was excellent. All of the staff was very professional and we felt safe at all times. We had never zip-lined before, but it wasn’t a problem. There was a guy selling a video of the whole experience, but we elected not to buy. I think he charged $25 or $39 US. You could also buy a beer or pop for a reasonable amount of money at the last platform, which is where the office is located, and I was really looking forward to it! There were eight or nine lines, some faster or longer than others, but all were fun. I would do it again, for sure. This one ranks up with the jungle safari tour that we did on a previous visit, which I would also recommend.
The first thing we noticed when we got on the plane was the generous (for an airliner) leg room. Apparently Transat has listened to their passengers and reconfigured their planes, loosing a few rows of seats to offer a bit more comfort. It was a very smooth flight south. The approach was very rough on the way back because of the snow storm in Halifax (welcome back to Canada EH?) but the cockpit crew made a very graceful landing in spite of it. The cabin crew was very polite and attentive. The southbound breakfast meal was good. The meal served on the return trip (black beans and beef) earned some negative comments from some of our neighbouring passengers. We normally don’t eat beef and if there had been an alternative meal, there were none left by the time we were served.
Very good things to say about the Sunquest reps. Lilly met us at the airport and escorted us to the resort, staying with each group long enough to make sure everything was in order before the bus moved on to the next. She is a native of Canada (Quebec). English is not her first language, but it is adequate. Leslie, the rep who visited the resort most every day, is also from Canada and has impeccable English. She was very patient and answered all the questions we had.
Conclusion Overall, I think the Paraiso Tropical was good value for money. Resort guests hailed mainly from Canada (the majority), Germany, and Britain. There’s a lot that could be done to improve this resort, my handyman husband figures he could stay busy fixing stuff at the resort for a long time to come, but it is a 3-star and pretty much what we expected. Very high marks go to the staff and the food. We do enjoy swimming and snorkeling a great deal, so would probably choose not to return to the Cabarete area for that reason.
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|Paul & Jen
My wife and I arrived at 11:30 am on Saturday March 22/08 at Paraiso Tropical in Cabarete.We opted to take a cab there as to avoid the lineup at check-in. The ride there was smooth and the driver was excellent.Check in was great as before when we were there in Nov/06.Chris the gentleman behind the counter is very efficient and remebered us from the previous time there.Christina the manager remembered us also and as did a few of the remaining animation staff that were still there. I must say that all of the staff are very efficient at their job and excellent at remembering people ,even though they see so many people every day.The room we were assigned was a little dated but it was very comfortable and always very clean.The cleaning lady always made sure we had some sort of animal made of towels everyday,which I think is wonderful that they take the time to do that even though they have so much to do and so little pay.(We made sure she got a tip everyday)This resort is just an awesome paradise,a diamond in the ruff, a great little place to just relax and enjoy a wonderful time without all of the sometimes annoying travel club folks at other resorts that can hassle you to no end.The food was always good as we never went away hungry from any meal.There was always an egg station at breakfast for eggs anyway you would want them.At lunch,there was always something there for everyone to eat,as dinner ,same thing,lots of choice.One evening they had roast suckling pig on a spit which we just think is amazing.We only tried the Mexican ala carte,it was superb.We ate chimichingas and quesidillas and to finish the meal they served a big shot of Tequilla and lime.Simply superb.The beer served is Presidente which is almost the best beer you can find.The pina coladas were always awesome as were the cuba libre.The beach is always cleaned as you see the workers raking the seaweed everyday.The beach is just right outside the resort about 20 steps.What a great view.The folks at this resort are so helpful and caring if you had a problem it would be fixed right away.The people of the D.R. are wonderful and so is this resort.I can’t beleive that this resort would get a bad review but I guess my opinions are mine and other peoples are theirs.Just as we were leaving and saying our good-byes to all the staff,Christina the manager came up to us and gave us this little plate of cookies.The plate was made of some sort of plaster as a momento of their resort.She is such a great person and makes you feel at home.We will definitely be returning in November to Paraiso Tropical as we vacation twice a year to the D.R. We absolutely love this great little hideaway.
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Just returned from 1 week at Paraiso Tropical. It was my second trip to this area of the Dominican. No complaints about the resort. Everything that was said in the December 07 review is what I would write. Food was good, we ate at the Italian A La Carte and enjoyed it, didn’t try the Mexican and tried to make reservations for the Thai but it wasn’t open while we were there. Rooms are older but clean, we did request a different room when we arrived as we were very far from the main buildings and pools, we were told they were full but would let us know and we were moved after the third night to a larger room near the pools. Very friendly staff who are more than happy to interact with vacationers and they put on great shows in the evenings considering they are a very small entertainment staff. The pools were clean, one is quiet the other had most of the activities, water polo, volleyball, aerobics,etc. The ocean has pretty substantial waves but not unmanageable. You just need to be aware of your surrounding and not be irresponsible that’s why it’s the ocean and not a pool!! Overall, it is a no frills resort that lives up to it’s 3 stars. I did an all inclusive last minute deal with gotraveldirect and it was well worth the money. P.S. The Outback Safari which you can book through the hotel is fabulous!
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My wife and I, ( 56 and 62 years old ) just returned from this hotel after a two week vacation – Dec 14-28/07. I have traveled extensively over the past 35 years in the Bahamas, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. In my mind, vacations are what you make them. This hotel is NOT in North America , nor does it try to be North American. Vacations are NOT made by hotels, they are made by the travelers.
Good simple fare within the buffet range. No problems having a good meal. The Italian a-la-carte restaurant was only opened on 2-3 occasions, we caught one meal there and it was excellent. The Mexican restaurant was never opened, yet we were in high season. My food rating is high!
The mail hotel section is older and has very, very small rooms that are antiquated. We were in this section the first night and it was simply not up to any standards. We requested a room change which was promptly accommodated with courtesy. The second room was adequate and clean. Room rating is adequate!
The staff use of English is limited , however they all seem to be Happy Campers with Great attitudes. They go the extra mile and always are helpful and cheerful. Staff rating is very high!
There are two pools which are maintained in a reasonable fashion. One near the ocean which is noisy and a second inner for the people who want to be in a quiet environment. Pool rating average!
Be prepared for Huge waves. Wave surfing is the norm rather than swimming. In two weeks there was only two days where the Green Flag for swimming was raised. The undertow is noticeable. Not the best swimming environment. Beach rating is low!
If you are an extrovert and want to interact with lots of Canadians..stay away. This is a hotel with a 75% German occupancy and they are aggressive! If you like your own company……its SUPER ! We saw only one additional Canadian couple in two weeks. There were a few Brits and a few Icelanders. For us, it was super as we did not go to make friends, rather to have a peaceful time.
Good value for the dollar. If you want an action packed vacation you had best stay away. However, if you want a rest vacation it can fit your needs. Nothing is spectacular, but them again it surely is one of the better three star hotels. If you want any further information, simply write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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|Harvey S. ~ Canada
I recently returned from a fabulous 2 week vacation at the Paraiso Tropical Beach Resort just outside of Cabarete. I had read a couple of reviews and had mixed feelings. After spending Two weeks at this resort, all I can say is it is GREAT. The place Is small, but beautifully landscaped and maintained and very clean. The rooms were large and clean as well and comfortable. The food at the buffet wad very good and a great variety to choose from. I think me and my partner both put on some weight. The 3 A La Carte restaurants were quite good as well, and a nice break from the buffet. The staff was terrific and helped make our visit a memorable one. It has 2 beautiful and clean pools and is about 20 feet from a lovely beach.
I have visited the Dominican Republic 7 times and stayed at 7 different hotels, and can honestly say that this was one of the best ones. I will certainly return there again. Drop me a line if I can help in any way. Good luck! Harvey S. (email@example.com)
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|Laurie, Ryan, Angie, Jessica ~ Ottawa, Canada
We went to Paraiso Tropical (Cabarete, Dominican Republic) in November of 2006, and had a great time. The staff at the hotel were all fantastic – they were very friendly, and went out of their way to please. The animation staff were great people and made our vacation. The rooms were clean, the pools were clean and the food was good. This is a 3 star resort therefore we went with low expectations and we were pleasantly surprised. We will be returning in Feb/2007 and can not wait.
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|Patricia ~ North Bay, Ont, Canada
I went to Paraiso Tropical (Cabarete, Dominican Republic) in April of 2006, and it was probably the best experience I ever had. The staff at the hotel were all fantastic – they were very friendly, and went out of their way to please. Many of the staff spoke several languages, which was very impressive. The room was clean, and the service ladies did an excellent job. As for the food, there was a nice variety, and was not too spicy. The staff at the buffet area were great, and happily made Tim Horton’s coffee for me, which I brought from Canada. It took a little while to explain what I needed, as some of the staff in this area did not speak great English. But, when done, it was served with a smile. I don’t think I have ever met a friendlier group of people in my life.
There was a young lad there, aptly nicknamed "Jackie Chan" (Jose is his real name). He was fantastic with the children, and usually kept them occupied for a good portion of the day. My son just loved him, and probably missed him the most out of anyone when we left. Then there is Tico, a very sweet older man – he’s the guy to see if you have a sunburn. He very respectfully treated my sunburn with aloe vera. The front desk staff were excellent, and always very helpful if you needed anything.
The entertainment was simple, but very good all the same. The "Mr. Paraiso Tropical" contest was hilarious. You will have to go there for yourself to see it.
I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone. I will be going back in November for a week, and next year in April for two. I can’t wait….
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