Coral Canoa Beach Hotel & Spa Reviews – Dominican Republic Hotels – Debbie's Caribbean Travel Resort Reviews – Coral Canoa Beach Hotel & Spa

   Oasis Canoa   Valerie ~ Montreal

February 2009 Arrival
When we arrived the staff was great. We arrived before check-in so we had to wait before we got our room so we went and toured the place. Rooms
The room was quite nice. Everything worked the only problem was that they only cleaned our room at around 4 o’clock so when we got back from the beach either our room wasn’t cleaned our they were cleaning it. Restaurants and Bars
The buffet and the snack bar was great it was the best food I ever ate since I’ve been going on vacation. The dessert bar is the best! I tried the italain and didn’t enjoy it. My mother at at the japanese and says it was really good she was ready to go for a second time. Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach was beautiful the only problem is the there was rocks in the water but the second day there we found out that if you go in the water near the veraclub there wasn’t any rocks. The pool was a little cold but I mostly stayed at the beach. The grounds was really nice. Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel We did the activity where you go and visit a italian village in La Romana and then you go visit La Romana and a cigar manufacture and we had a lot of fun.

Near the hotel there is a little village named Dominicus its the street infront of the casino (which was closed for renovations) it’s a village where you can go shopping and that is where I bought most of my presents. There was a lot of activities at the hotel we never got bored.

Other Comments
This was one of the best trips that I ever had. The animation staff where really fun we would laugh with them everyday they really know how to do there jobs and you can see that they enjoy there job. We attended every show that they showed at the theatre and it was worth it. It is seriously the best trip I ever had.
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   Oasis Canoa   Wendy ~ Ontario, Canada

February 2009 Arrival: Feb 7 – 14
We are a family of there and my daughter is six, we went with another family and there daughter the same age. We flied to Punta Cana via Sunwing, then took the 2 hour bus ride to the hotel, I got a bit motion sickness but everybody else on the bus was fine. Check in was easy and we got welcome drink. Rooms
The room has everything I needed, clean, only one day we didn’t get refill bath gel, I didn’t mind because I use my own stuff anyway. Restaurants and Bars
The buffet was OK, not as good as the Oasis in Punta Cana. Beach Bar has very limited food but my six year old was happy with Hot dog and fries, we only ate there once and other days we went through the trouble to cover up and went to Buffet. The Japanese restaurant was open when we were there and needs reservation. The setting was beautiful, elegant and romantic. They gave you a couple of sushi and did Teriyaki in front of you, it’s very good to watch but I was not crazy about the food(Our local Sushi Buffet has much better food). We went once to the Mexico Restaurant, I ordered Seafood marinade appetizer and Fajita, the raw seafood didn’t smell very fresh, Fajita was OK. We ended up going back to the Buffet. We decided not to go to the Italian after the Japanese and Mexico experience. Beach/Pools/Grounds
The Beach is beautiful with some Palm trees. The sand above the water was soft but not as soft as in Punta Cana. The shallow water and soft sand only stretch about two meters toward the sea and then there is a big drop in sea level and water became quiet deep for my daughter(above her shoulder), and the ground became quiet rocky, I need water shoes. MY daughter has a little life jacket on so she did’t reach the bottom and she had tons of fun riding the wave. But her little friend only had the arm inflation on and was scared and never pass the big drop. So I think this beach is not very good for little kids who cannot swim. The pool were not as warm as the ocean, the kids pool is the coldest. I wish the big pool had a slope that would be good for the kids. The Hotel ground was OK, the girls had fun feeding the fish and the turtle. The best part of the beach is the fake reef. They put lots of big jars (tall as a person) along the line defining the swimming area, there were tons of fish over there, we went snorkeling everyday, I like those Dori fish very much. My husband tried to catch the lobsters but only got some spines in his fingers, ouch, ouch. Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
There is always something to do, aerobic, aqua gym, this and that. My daughter had lots of the fun in Mini Disco, she wanted to win at the game after but never did. We went on the Catalina excursion booked with Sunwing Rep, $98 quiet expensive. IT was raining when we got to Altos de Chavon, then stopped later, the little village is very beautiful, then they took us to shopping in La Romana, only bought a toy, then we took the speeding boat to the Island. The beach was very nice, the reef looks beautiful and very close to shore. The day we went was windy and some of the reef are pretty close to the surface, the snorkeling was nice but I was so scared the reef might scratch me. We had lobster lunch and spend 3.5 hours on the island, we were supposed to ride the alligator boat in the river but they cancelled it because there was too much water in the river, we tried to get some refund but failed. We also took a 1.5 hour snorkel excursion with the dive shop at the beach, &20, they took us to Bayahibe where it is close to Dream La Romana, the snorkeling is so good, better than Catalina, I love the blue fish with shining diamond over its body. We wanted to go the next day but there wasn’t enough people they didn’t take us, so we had to snorkel in the fake reef again, which is not bad either. Other Comments
This is our third time to Dominic Republic, we went to Punta Cana twice before, this time we chose La Romana for offshore snorkeling and we got what we wanted. Overall the Beach and Restaurant are much nicer in Punta Cana, but we still had great time in Bayahibe.
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   Oasis Canoa   Alyson ~ New Hampshire

January 2009 Arrival: 11/24/08 to 12/01/08
We flew into the Santo Domingo airport. The ride from there to the hotel took 90 minutes and was not bad at all. Check in was easy and quick and we were given nice fruit drinks to drink. Rooms:
We were given recently renovated rooms. They are just standard and nothing special, but were clean and everything worked ie the air conditioning, tv, fridge, shower. Restaurants and Bars: Only one restaurant, the Italian and the main buffet were open each night. The Italian was nice inside, but the food was just so-so. The buffet was more casual, but good most nights. Our favorite meal by far was breakfast at the main buffet. The freshly made eggs, fresh fruits and croissants were wonderful! The juice and coffee is also great! We hated the beach bar for lunch. The food was lousey!

There was a beach bar, pool bar and a sports bar. They were just okay.

Beach/Pools/Grounds: The beach is beautiful! Especially if you walk up towards the National park area. Very private. The pool is pretty and clean, but the water is on the cold side about 70 to 75 degrees.

The hotel grounds are very pretty with lots of flowers.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Lots of activies on the beach and pool area. They have pool volleyball, beach scoocer, horsehoes. You can parasail ($90 for 2 people)banana boat ride ($35.00 for 3 people) snorkle and they also offer horse backriding, and diving lessons. There is also a kids club and mini golf (only good for kids).

We took a tour to Altos De chavon. $50.00 per person for about 4 hours. It was fun and the site is beautiful!

Other Comments: We were a family of six with 3 teenagers. for the money we paid $800.00 each for the 8 days it was a great fun family vacation.

If we had paid much more, we would have been disappointed.

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January 2009

Arrival: November 28 – Dec 3
Very very long…… Did not get the room we booked, ( a double adjoining room) none left per the staff. Not welcoming at all. Rooms:
OK, nothing to rave about. Nothing like the advertisement pics. Restaurants and Bars:
What restaurants???? There was 1 open and it was terrible. One buffet we ate at almost every night. 1 Bar, average. Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beach-beautiful, pools-beautiful, (hours they were open were not accomodating. Grounds were ok but too much construction going on. Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Went snorkeling, activities on the grounds were minimal. The staff did attempt to engage guests with what entertainment they could offer. After dinner, there was nothing to do. One sports bar with one tv, and a small kids ping pong area. Very lame. Other Comments:
The price was good, but like they say " You get what you pay for:"!
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November 2008

We stayed at Oasis Canoa Nov.1-8 don’t look for al la carte resteraunts there were none opened ,language barriar terrible ,flight delayed 14 hours ,hotel had no imformation for us unwilling to help find out imformation and would not extend room for us to stay in only offered half hour in courtesy room for 6 people .Sunwing sent no representatives to imform us as to problem after 4 delays. should not classed as 4.5 star but maybe a 3 star. O.K. if you want buffet everyday 3 meals a day .Misleading ads by sunwing
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July 2008

DONT DO IT… I just got back last night from a hell of a trip. 7 nights of being in a nasty dirty resort.. I would not even call this a resort. More on a level of a Motel 8. Anyone who Sais it’s a nice place to stay must not have very high standards. I have stayed at many resorts for close to the same price and this one is extremely bad. THE ROOMS
Are so dirty and old.. Our first night we walked into our room and you could tell the sheets had not been changed from the last guest.. We called down the first 10 min of being in the room and asked for clean sheets.. 7 hrs later at 11:30 pm after being at the beach we come back to see nothing had been done yet. We got sheets later that night.. Waking up the next morning with bug bites all over our body.. Bed Bugs. . It was an every night thing.. .. Every day thing as well is not getting clean towels or water.. The towels that you do end up getting are old and stained.. I could go on and on but I just say the rooms are so gross. FOOD… NASTY!!!! I think my boyfriend and I lost weight … No Joke,,, The outdoor buffet in 90 degree weather really doesn’t mix well. The food is so bad…. The Italian restaurant was the only one we could eat at but it was closed 3 of the 7 nights we were there… Good service in there as well….. STAFF….RUDE!!!! They are some of the rudest people I have been around.. No one speaks English.. That part I could handle but no one is out to help you.. We would walk up to the bar and have to ask several times to get some service.. BEACH…. It was nice, Very warm water and minimal rocks. This is the only thing that saved us from going in sane.. The sand fleas will eat you alive after 5 pm. RIDE from airport. and back. We did the round trip Turtinter… Air conditioned and clean transportation.. No English speaker. So you just hope he knows where he is going.. Wear seatbelt.. It’s a Ride…. NEVER AGAIN………. HATED IT… It’s too much money to waist. I suggest MEXICO.. EL CID Loved IT!
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   Oasis Canoa   Gale ~ Saint John N.B.

May 2008 We spent the week of April 30 to May 7 at this resort and it was wonderful. The rooms are kept clean, the food was very nice, we ate mostly at the buffet and never had a complaint. The majority of the people that work at this resort are very friendly and gracious and willl go out of their way for you. The pool and beach area were always clean, and the bar staff very friendly. We definitly want to go back to the Dominican and would not hesitate to stay again at this resort.
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   Oasis Canoa   Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

May 2008 Vacation from April 30 to May 7 at the Oasis Canoa. Resort very clean, room clean, food terrific, staff great especially Rosa & Carlos in the towel hut. Our Sun Wing Reps Leo & Ney who took excellent care of us. Leo has certainly taken the time to learn about Canada and kept us posted on the hockey, he is a terrific asset to your company.. Again, Rosa became our special friend as I am sure she has to all the other visitors to the resort. She would certainly be a great asset to your front desk or guest services desk, to see her shining face and terrific smile would be a great welcome. Will return to this resort.
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May 2008

Arrival and Flight – Air Canada is its usual hassle and poor service but generally they got us there in one piece and that’s what really counted. We flew into Punta Cana and faced a 90 minute shuttle ride to the resort. We were not part of a tour group so we were a little lost once we got to the airport. No problem. One of the staff grabbed our itinerary and found the shuttle we needed in no time. We were introduced to the “Best driver” in the Dominican. We soon learned this meant the one who will get us there the fastest without loss of life. The drive was an event to say the least. It ranks right up there with some of the best thrill rides I’ve been on. Break neck speeds, near death experiences, close calls and some imaginative use of lanes and roadways. Well worth the price of admission. The trip takes you through a number of towns and villages. It was our first introduction to a 3rd world country and it was definitely an eye opener. Not really what I wanted to see on my vacation but an experience none the less. Check in was painless and quick. Our room wasn’t ready right away (3pm check in) but we were rewarded for having to wait 90 minutes in the bar with an upgrade. We soon learned this meant we had pictures in our room. The bell boys were great and attentive. Good start so far… The Rooms: As I said we got an upgrade. From what I could tell this meant pictures and a king-size bed. The room was rough but clean. One interesting note was that our pictures (from the upgrade) were never straight. Not just a bit out of line but a full 30 degrees or so out of whack. This gave us a chuckle all week. The room was cleaned daily but at random times. Fresh towels and sheets every day which we learned from other guests was not the norm. (There’s that upgrade again…) The bed was rock hard however, once we pulled the plywood out from between the mattress and box spring it was great. The staff had no problem taking care of that for us. We had a one little visitor in the form of a 2 inch cockroach one night but otherwise we had no complaints about the rooms themselves. Location, on the other hand, had a few minor issues. We were directly behind the souvenir shop / bar complex down by the beach. This was not a bad thing as it was very close the bar as well as 150 feet away from the pool, both pluses in my book. The problem was the open sewer way and the construction. This didn’t really allow us to sit outside on the deck and enjoy the view. Obviously we were forced to sit in the really nice open bar area right beside us. (Darn). The mini bar contains 2 beers (El Presidente) 1 coke and 1 sprite. I tipped the mini bar staff heavily the first day and was rewarded with an extra bottle of sprite. Anyone who has a right to come into your room (Mini bar, cleaning staff) will do so with 1 light knock and then they come in. Many of the guests commented on this and a few were caught with more than their proverbial pants down. Restaurants – The buffets are far better than you would expect. Lunch is the best time for fresh food and grilled items. Anything not consumed at lunch finds its way into the buffet bar at dinner. The Italian restaurant was great. Even the tableside entertainment was great and I normally don’t approve of having my meals interrupted. These guys were good and not over powering. We didn’t care for the Mexican and never went into the Dominican restaurant for dinner. The Dominican didn’t have a menu in English and this kind of food is not something you guess at. Trust me. The location is also used as the daytime bar and lunch buffet during the day. It turns out surprisingly good roast chicken and burgers. If you like corn then the Dominican is the place for you. They put corn on EVERYTHING. Eggs, pizza, pasta, lasagna… The staff in the buffet were very good. They were attentive and courteous as well as friendly without being intrusive. The chefs were awesome. Pass on anything beef and dig into the pork at every opportunity. Even the roast turkey was very good. Here is my one of big complaints. Twice during our stay, the resort brought in 10+ merchants to set up their tables directly outside of the main buffet. At first I thought this was great until I realized that this meant I had to walk through a gauntlet of very aggressive (but polite) salesmen who were pretty much selling the same stuff we had seen all week every where else. It really became an annoying obstacle. More than a few folks expressed their discontent. I truly liked the concept of an open air market. At night with their lights it was a really cool spectacle and well worth wandering through. However, don’t force everyone walk through it on their way to dinner. Bars – The bars were OK. Loved the RUM!! Contrary to popular belief, tipping doesn’t get you any better service. If you drink something not main line like Rum and Coke / Vodka and 7 then you are out of luck. The resort caters to cruise ship excursions during the day. If they show up then don’t even try to get in line as they are paying cash, tipping heavily and getting all the attention. This is only at one bar (Beachside) so take 30 seconds of your time and walk over to the pool bar. It’s worth the trip Beach and Pools – WOW is the only way to describe them. The pool is awesome, the beach is very good. Key point, poolside, throw a towel on a chair to reserve it early. (8am) otherwise you are out of luck. They actually gather up the unused chairs around 1 in the afternoon. If you are stuck without, then mosey on down to the beach (Once again… Darn) or hang out at the pool bar. By the way, here is something they don’t tell you… You get your towels at the Scuba shop at the very far corner of the resort. Grounds – The grounds were nice and well kept. They are doing some construction but it wasn’t a problem. The work crews were actually very nice and completely polite and respectful. The grounds were kept exceptionally well. The beaches and grass were racked daily and there were always crews working on the plant and tree plots. If you avoided the construction in the middle of the grounds an evening walk with your loved one was a very pleasant experience Activities and Entertainment – The evening entertainment is very weak. Nice theater and all but the shows are very amateurish and continue along the mass participation theme. By 9:45 I’m tired and really just want to be entertained. Let me sit and watch… thank you. The poolside activity team is very high energy and I really looked forward to their regularly schedule events at 4:30. Once again they were mass participation but they were not pushy about it. Generally it was all a ton of fun. 2 issues here, 1) the team promotes Staff vs. Guests contests all the time. Don’t kid yourself here folks, there is NO consideration given to the fact that you are paying their salary. The staff look at these little events as an opportunity to kick the %$#@ out of the guests all the time at every event. Still a lot of fun though. 2) The Bikini contest. I’m a healthy red blooded male and appreciate the female form very much; however this was a little uncalled for. The activity staff walks through the pool side and asks all the “attractive” people if they want to participate. This tends to send a poor message to those not part of the perfect body crowd. The first part of the contest was fun and done well, however, there was a second part where they brought up a couple of men from the senior crowd and the contestants were expected to perform a lap dance on them. A few of the participants walked out of the contest and there were more than a few families with children in the area that were offended. If this was done at 11:30 at night I would have been all over it. But at 4:30 in the afternoon it’s not the best thing to be doing. We went on the free horseback riding a couple of times. This is well worth your time. The horses are a far cry from Secretariat but the equipment was well maintained and the excursion saw some good sights. We did a morning boat trip to Catalina. $40 got you 2 snorkeling stops, an open bar and a snack. The snorkeling was very poor and the equipment was questionable at best. There was very little color and the highlight was feeding fish with bread. Our snorkeling almost didn’t happen. When we stopped the captain suddenly stopped speaking French and English and proceeded to grab a nap on the deck while his assistant dove into the water and started paddling around. This left 17 guests on the boat with flippers but no masks or snorkel. We had to get the assistant back on the boat to have him pull the box of equipment out for us. Catalina Island was great. It’s set up like an open air BBQ and picnic grounds. The snorkeling was better but once again almost didn’t happen. No-one told us this was the second site. Once we all disembarked the captain immediately sped off with all of our equipment to visit with another boat up the beach. He came back 20 minutes later and actually asked why no-one was in the water. (Suddenly he spoke English again) Our snack was a bag of Doritos and the open bar was a 64 oz bottle of rum and that ran out in a few minutes. There were a few merchants on the island as well as some ladies braiding hair. Nice touch and a welcome distraction. My wife looked awesome with a few braids. I was a little concerned with the boat when we stopped (twice) in the middle of the ocean to change spark plugs and tape up wires. A third stop had us drifting for 20 minutes before I could draw the “Captain’s” attention to the fact he had kicked off a battery cable on the fully exposed car battery sliding around the deck at his feet. We did see a whale and some dolphins as well as a view of the homes for the rich and famous. If you want to snorkel, do it at the beach. The view by the netting / reef is very good and it’s free. A few folks we talked to went on the afternoon and all day Catalina trip and they had nothing but great things to say about it. We also went on the River Run where we boated up the local tributary. This was great. Lot’s to see and a lot of good times with the crew and guests. (Far more rum on this trip) The resort has some nice add-ons during the week. They have a movie night on the open air veranda just outside the sports bar and Italian restaurant. This was really nice and at times very romantic. They also had a beach party that was absolutely a blast. Dance, sing, and laugh well into the night. This is a definite Must-do. Don’t bother with the little market on the beach between resorts. The stuff is all very poor quality Departure and Check Out – This was hassle free. Shuttle was there when we needed. The Customer support staff made sure we were confirmed on the shuttle as well as the airline. The trip back was once again a thrill ride but we arrived in one piece. Conclusion – Overall we really enjoyed our time at the Oasis Canoa resort. We would definitely do it again. All we recommend is to not have your standards too high, enjoy yourself and be prepared to be self sufficient. Most of the staff speaks Spanish and French and enough broken English to get by. The important staff speaks all 3 fluently. Everyone is there to help and generally there to make your stay pleasant.
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   Oasis Canoa   Mitchell ~ Virginia, USA

April 2008 Arrival and Flight – We arrived as a family from Santo Domingo, 1 & 1/2 hour crazy car ride. ($90 USD) This was our second trip to the island so we had expected this. Great fun for our teenagers, and a real eye opener on how others live. Check in was easy. No one was waiting in line. Bell hops were attentive. Rooms – Building 4. I consider this a 2 star room. Room needed painting and repair. Bedspread needed to be replaced. Sliding door did NOT lock. We made the best of it. We tipped 4 dollars each day and left presents for the maid service. By the third day, I think they were cleaning our room first and made sure we had fresh towels and extra water early. Restaurants – Food was good in all the locations. We enjoyed the Italian the best. My picky teenagers always found something they would eat and enjoy. On a scale of 1-10 I give the restaurants an 8. Service was always good and the coffee was fantastic. The house wine wasn’t very good. Wine purchased from the wine list is expensive and comes with a 26% additional fee. FYI. Bars – Bars were all good. Bartenders were attentive but not always friendly. I tipped every time, but I’m not sure it gave me any better service. Most Europeans were not tipping and it didn’t seem to make any difference in service level. Beach and Pools – Pool was fantastic. Beach was good. We usually split our days between the two. Our teenagers enjoyed the pool activities daily. Remember to reserve your seats before 8 AM or before you go to breakfast. Grounds – The grounds were nice and well kept. They are doing some construction but it wasn’t a problem. Activities and Entertainment – Organized day activities were good. Staff tried to get everyone involved. The evening shows were lame. We went on the Saona boat trip. The boat employees come up to you and put hats on your head…. then 10 minutes later they try to force you to buy the hat they placed on your head. A very troubling selling technique. The water and the island are beautiful. However, it wasn’t very restful or peaceful since there are sooooo many vendors trying to sell you trinkets. Departure and Check Out – Checkout was easy, but I recommend you go to the cashier early to pay for the extras; wine at dinner, safe locks… Conclusion – We really like the Dominican Republic. We would definitely go back but probably pick a different resort. If you have kids from 7-18 and want something cheap…… this is probably the place.
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April 2008

Enjoyable trip to Oasis Canoa We have just returned from our trip to Oasis Canoa. It was a family vacation an overall we enjoyed the trip. We thought the resort was rather a 3 star and not a 4 star. I’m comparing this to our stay at Bahia Principe San Juan 2 years ago. Perhaps once all the buildings are renovated, it will be a 4 star. We booked with Sunwing, flights there and back were great, meals onboard were good. The Sunwing Rep. at the resort was very informative and helpful. Reception : Check-in was pretty quick as we were the only ones in the tour van checking in at this resort at the time. We arrived shortly before 5:30pm and our room was ready. Rooms : Very old, used and abused. It was however clean and the maid kept it clean every day. We were on second floor in the 300 block. (I heard that the new renovated buildings, the rooms were much better) Restaurants : We tried them all (Italian, Mexican, Dominican and Buffet). The Italian was by far the best one. The Dominican was by far the Worst. The staff at the buffet was amazing. I just can’t get over how hard they work and how many tables and people they wait on. For lunch we always went to the Beach Grill and that was enjoyable. That Beach Grill turns in to the Dominican Restaurant for Supper. Entertainment : We did not attend any of the shows therefore I can’t comment on these. We did however enjoy the daily entertainment that the Animation team puts on. They certainly don’t stop all day long, just go go go, motivation….from AquaGym to Aquastretch, to dance etc.. you name it. Beach : The beach was amazing, very nice. Yes there is some seaweed but hey it’s the ocean you have to expect it. The water was warm and nice for a swim to cool off from the hot sun. Great snorkling right off the beach. Lots of chairs available at the beach and no need to reserve. Pool : The water was a little cool however it was nice cause it did get very hot in the sun. Lots of chair around the pool and you don’t need to be there early to reserve. There was one day when were there that the CruiseShip visitors arrived and they were just plain RUDE! They had the staff run to get them chairs and they would not even thank them or tip them. Bar : Our favorite was the pool bar. We tipped them off an on when going, one day I brought them chocolate that I had brought for Easter. They were great. Tipping : We tipped the maid everyday with US dollars and also left her several different little gifts. We tipped at the bar and restaurants. Grounds : Clean and well maintained. There was a little construction going on around the reception area, not sure what they were building or doing. There was construction workers, no hat, no shoes. We handed out several ball caps to them and gardeners. Excursions : We did the Isla Saona tour. We booked through the Sunwing rep. She told us that others had booked through someone at the beach 2 days prior and the boat that took them ran out of gas, not something I wanted to happen to us. All in all we enjoyed the excursions however it was not what we expected for a beach. It’s very commercialized. I recommend taking the free bus transportation to the Dominicus. The first time we went we walked on the road and it’s pretty scary with cars going by you at full speed. We came back walking along the beach and it was more enjoyable. The bus however was quick and nice. The store for Jewellery I recommend is Las Palmeras. The sales lady is amazing and you get a guarantee certificate. If any of you want braids in your hair, get it done at one of the hair salons in Dominicus, there are several and you can barter. Would I return to the resort, probably not as I like to visit new places. There was many Europeans at this resort, some nice and some others just plain rude. I mean reaching behind the bar to serve your own liquor, would you do that in your own country without being thrown out ? Cutting in front of people in line, running after the poor waiter cause he didn’t bring you a coffee in a split second. Wow that really made me see true colors. Hope this was helpful.
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   Oasis Canoa   Dave ~ Hamilton, Ontario

February 2008 Arrival – Our airport transfer from La Romana was arrainged by Sunwing and was efficient and orderly. Check-in was uneventful, the front desk staff were fluent in English, French and Spanish. Rooms – We stayed in room 902 in a newly renovated building. You can tell because the corners of the building roof is not thatched unlike the unrenovated ones. I can’t say if their is much improvements over the older buildings. The rooms smelled fresh and clean, as were the linens. The fridge in the room was a little worn, but it kept the cola cold. The only complaints were that the toilet "ran". I didn’t want to deal with the hassell of having it fixed, so I just turned the water off at night (it really wasn’t a big deal). Also, the room was fairly sparsley furnished. The walls were bare and the room could have used a desk and some more drawers. I think the state of the furniture had something to do with the new renovations. Restaurants – We ate at every restaurant for dinner. The goat at the Dominican restaurant was good, the pork wasn’t. We ate the lobster dinner one night, I liked it, it was also the first time I had lobster (I hate seafood, so that must be saying something). I had the Chimichanga at the Mexican restaurant, it was trancedant with bites of jalepeneo. Most of the food is at the resort unspiced (bland) and the mexican restaurants is the only place to find some spice on the resort. The Italian restaurant was the biggest problem. The staff were fairly inexperienced and there were many service delays. If you plan of eating there, arrive when it opens (6:30 – 7:00pm) for the best service. We had the prime rib one night, they mixed up my steak with my girlfriends. Bars – We patroned the pool bar mostly. I found the quality of the juices in the drinks to be poor, so I mostly stuck to the beer and rum (rum with a little water tastes alot better than coke). But, its my first time at a resort so what do i know? I tipped a $1 US almost every time I went to the bar, $5 when I was a little tipsy. The bartenders remembered my face pretty fast. I found the Europeans not to tip when the ordered drinks, I don’t think it is their custom, which helps when you want to enhance your own service. Beach and Pools – Beach was clean, water was warm. I didn’t like the watersports guy, he was combative and didn’t understand "customer service". The beach towel guy was extrondinarily rude to me when he thought I was exchanging my towels too frequently (1 week – 2 times – too much?). When I explained to him I had only been there once before he served me with suspicion. Grounds – Grounds were well maintained. Tours Jeep Safari – Awesome, worth every penny. The Domincan lunch was an order of magnitude better than the dominican food served on the resort. Our guide was Daniel (Danieleto?), he was amazing. Daniel was funny engaging, accomadating and knowledgable. I saw some dude tip Daniel $2 at the end of the tour and I wanted to punch him. Daniel spent the entire day telling jokes and stories and lifting morale when need be. Consider how much you paid for the tour and hard the guide works and tip appropriatley. Saona Island. Worth it. Won’t say too much, just do it. (Don’t get your picture taken on the dock by the mystery man). Santo Domingo – DO NOT DO THIS TOUR. We went with a tour agency that Sunwing had set up with us. Our tour guide was crap, he’s the one who speaks 6 languages. The "authentic shopping experience" was a couple of tourist shops that the guide took us too. They were akin to spending a couple of hours shopping at the Niagara Falls gift shop. Our guide was a little too chummy with the shop people as well, the whole thing felt like I was being hustled. I tipped the guide $2. Conclusion – Awesome trip. Great Resort.
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February 2008

The resort was average..nothing bad, but nothing spectacular. The food was okay..fair selection, and you could always find something to eat. The rooms were standard..the housekeeping was basic..the minibar was not refilled daily, and the towels arrived at about 4 pm, daily. Some staff were friendlier than others..the front desk staff were slow with any request , the waiters and bar staff looked like you were bothering them when you asked for something . The animation staff were great, as was one waiter in the TexMex restaurant ( Simon).. We avoided the check in with the bus crowd ( as we took a cab)..but they were in line for over 1 1/2 hours..there were 2 people at the desk at the time. The beach is nice, but palapas on the beach, but large palms..which are good for shade. The pool was icy cold, but very refreshing.. one had to be out by 7 am securing a shade spot for the day around poolside.. For 5 out of the 7 days, the Cruise Ship people are brought to the resort for the morning ( 9 to 12)..and it is very crowded..

The is a no reservation system for the a la just show up..we usually were in line by 7 pm, and got in..but once you are in, they do not kick you out..and expect your meal to last at least 2 hours..

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   Oasis Canoa    Rodica and Silviu ~ Mississauga , Ontario

January 2008 Arrival – We spent two weeks in December at this resort, including Christmas. It was our fifth time in this amazing country and the third time in this area. We had arrived to Punta Cana airport and we were taken to our hotel by bus, which was 2.5 hours away. We never figured out why we haven’t landed in La Romana, which had the airport only 20 minutes from our place. But, it was no big deal. This hotel used to be a Hilton (the Hilton logo is still present on the room and towel cards) and was just purchased by Oasis hotels in November 2007. Room – The room was good, clean and with no defects, pretty standard for a 4-4.5 star hotel in the Dominican Republic . The service was good as well. When we needed extra towels or new batteries for the remote we were quickly served.
Do not forget to leave a couple bucks on your pillow each day. Restaurants – The food was really good and we went most of the time to the buffet restaurant. There are an Italian, a Mexican and a Dominican restaurants a la carte (no reservation is required). We had tried the Italian and the Mexican restaurants. Both were good, but one has to wait in line for 15-30 minutes to get a table. So, we stick with the buffet restaurant, which was perfect. Beach and Pool – There were a lot of tourists from Europe and most of them preferred the beach, which is nice. We spent only one day by the pool side. Both are well maintained. Grounds – The resort has a unique architecture – it is not symmetrical (like most of hotels from the islands) – and has the feeling of a park, with benches and alleys. Activities – There are many activities – beach volleyball, pentague, beach soccer, aerobics on the sand and in water, etc. I enjoyed playing beach volleyball everyday. There were 3-6 volleyball teams and we had a mini-championship daily. Always seems to be something going on in the beach and pool area so if you’re looking for activities, there are plenty to choose from. The animators do a good job trying to get people involved. Conclusion – the resort was perfect for us and we’ll always recommend it to our friends. One of our best vacations ever!
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   Oasis Canoa   Craig ~ Canada

January 2008 Arrival – To start out, this was the first vacation my fiance and I have ever been on (I actually just proposed on the beach in the Dominican). So we don’t have alot to compare it to. We only decided to go away early in December and kept checking the last minute deals for a good price as we were on a pretty tight budget. I thought we were going to have to settle for a 3 star resort for what we could afford, but a couple of days before we planned on leaving we visited a travel agent and they found us our trip to Oasis Canoa for only about $200 pp more so we took it. We left on Dec. 22/07 and returned on Dec. 29/07. It was possibly the best week of our lives! We flew skyservice, and I’ve flown a number of different airlines for business and NEVER been as squished on a plane as with this flight. The airport was a nightmare being the Christmas week (as we expected), but just knowing in a few hours we would be in the sun made it all tolerable. I just think for our next trip, I’ll try to find any other airline available. We flew into Punta Cana airport and it too was busy and hectic, but we had no problems figuring out where to go, and what bus to get on for the hour and half drive to the resort. Even though it was around 11:30pm, it was really interesting driving through the towns and seeing how people live (the bus ride back at the end of the week was in daylight so even better). We checked into the resort without any problems, checked into the room and then made our way over to the snack bar for a bite to eat before getting to bed (it was about 2am at this point).Rooms – The room was OK. Similar to other reviews here, it was nothing special. We would have prefered a King bed, but had 2 doubles. Sometimes water would leak on the floor after a shower, but we didn’t spend alot of time in the room so it didn’t make a lot of difference to us. The shower was just terrible…virtually no water pressure at all, and at best luke warm water…but again, we were just so happy to be laying in the sun at Christmas time it was all pretty minor inconveniences. The one complaint we did have was with the maid service. Despite leaving a couple bucks and a present or two on our pillows each day, we constantly had to either chase down the maid or go to the front desk to ask for things like towels, coffee, creamer or sugar. They would take away the towels each day and usually forget to give us new ones. The other thing that was kind of odd, was we had no "do not disturb" sign or lock on the door. There was a couple times we were in the room changing or showering, and there would be a knock on the door and within a couple seconds someone would use their employee card (maid or beer fridge guy) and pop the door open. A couple times I was almost literally caught with my pants down!Restaurants – I think the food was a pretty big disappointment for us. My fiance is a vegetarian, and while there is plenty of choices at the buffet there wasn’t a whole lot of it that was very good. We’re not huge eaters anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal, but everything looks really good…just doesn’t seem to taste as good as it looks. We usually always managed to find something we liked though and certainly never went hungry. We tried all 3 a la carte restaurants, and we just really had no luck there. The first we tried was the italian. We were hungry and went pretty much right at 6:30pm when it opened and there was a bit of a line up. It was a beautiful place, and we an excellent waiter, but when we got the food is was pretty dried out and barely warm. The Mexican the next night was our biggest disappointment. We ordered and waited over an hour for our food. Another family who came in after us and sat close by received their food relatively quickly, and at this point we got fed up and got up to leave. The server noticed this and said our meals were ready and he was just going back to grab them for us. Both of our meals were cold and virtually inedible. After a few bites each we left and headed over to the buffet for desert and coffee (the coffee by the way is amazing!). Finally, dying for a hot meal, we thought we’d try the Dominican restaurant. This was by far the best of the 3 for us. Our food came quickly and was piping hot. It wasn’t great by any means, but we did enjoy the meal. I don’t eat alot of meat myself, but it seems all the restuarants and the buffet tend to really overcook everything. Meat is dry and tough. We really enjoyed the breakfasts and lunches though, and a big part of that was our waitress. We found initially, it was really tough to get someone to serve a drink when we sat down. We’d often be almost done our meal before someone would come by and get us a coffee or even water for that matter. I don’t think it is there fault, as the servers have such a huge section to look after they are very busy. On about the 2nd or 3rd day we found Leany…a really sweet girl who’s english wasn’t the best but helped us learn some spanish and made sure we had our morning coffee as soon as we got there. I would tip her a dollar or two each time and after a couple of days she would even reserve a seat for us and call us over as soon as she saw us. On the last day we exchanged emails so hopefully we’ll talk some more.Bars – The pool bar was where we spent most of our time. Always busy, and not always easy to get a drink, but again…we selected out a bartender we liked, tipped her a few times and before you know it she was dropping everything when she saw me coming to get us a drink (amazing what a couple of US dollars, and a smile can do). We were always up at sunrise, so didn’t really check out the "disco" at night…but stopped in a couple times in the early evening for a drink and it was OK. There aren’t supposed to be children under 16 in the Sports Bar, but they don’t enforce it. We’d be playing a game of pool and there was always a couple of little kids standing nearby staring and waiting for us to give up the table…kind of annoying. Other than that, there were other bars around so getting a drink was never much of a problem. Beach and Pools – The first day we went down to the beach it was pretty packed so we didn’t stay long. We also found out that if we didn’t go to the pool early and place our towels on a chair, it didn’t take long until they were all filled either. We got into a nice routine of hitting the pool when we first woke up and did a little reading and sunning before going for breakfast. A couple days later we tried the beach again and this time there was a lot more room and it was a great afternoon. The only downfall of the beach, is it’s much further to the bar than staying near the pool.Grounds – Nothing to complain about here…the grounds were amazing, and we enjoyed just walking around at night checking things out. The resort is big enough that even when fully booked, it never seems overly crowded.Activities – We didn’t do alot of activities. We did try para-sailing and this was a blast. It was $90 for the two of us, and it wasn’t very long but still worth it if you’ve never tried it before. We also went out on a kayak, and we walked to the market one afternoon, and checked out some of the shops. Similar to the beach vendors, the merchants are quite pushy and you have to really haggle with them. One of the beach started off at $108 US for a couple of items, I think we ended up paying about $25, so NEVER take the first price. There always seems to be something going on around the resort, so if you’re looking for activities, there are plenty to choose from. They definitely do a good job of trying to get people involved.Conclusion – Well let’s just say I can’t believe we waited so long to do this. It was worth every cent we paid, and can’t remember a more relaxing and enjoyable week. I would certainly go back to the Oasis Canoa again, but not for a while as we want to try a few other places/countries first. We’re already saving for another vacation next year!
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December 2007

We just returned last night from this resort and had a really good time, however will never return to an oasis hotel again. I will tell you the good first and then explain the rest. Arrived with skyservice out of Toronto and it was the usual squished flight…no big deal. We arrived at the resort and were pleasantly surprised to see that they had honoured our request of main floor room with king bed. They also put a fruit basket in our room, I assume because we were returning guests. The beach at this resort was just as beautiful as I remembered it to be. My husband and friend snorkeled at the “fake” reef at the resort and saw blue, orange, yellow fish as well as little swordfish and a manta ray and an eel. This was great! The water was clean and beautiful. Yes there was some seaweed, but that is the beauty of the sea! Without it you would not find many fish. That being said I am a non swimmer and I found lots of nice sandy shallow areas to wade in! The food was very good. The buffet had a lot of choice and always fresh. The Italian was very good just like I remembered and we were lucky enough to have Omar, who was our waiter 2 years ago. Last time we went to canoa we hated the Mexican restaurant. We agreed to try it again as our travelling pals wanted to. I am so glad we did. It was very good this time. Didn’t try the Dominican restaurant as it was a lot of fish and my husband hates fish as did our friends. Beach snack bar had great chicken, burgers hotdogs ect. Cheers to Vergilleo…fantastic bartender The service in the main buffet was also BEYOND excellent. Narciso had our table set with flowers every day that he was working. Gardy was also fantastic as was Randy. There is an excellent female waitress there (I believe she is a supervisor) who also was very attentive. The bartenders at the pool bar were also excellent..if we didn’t go for a drink for a while, they would make up 4 drinks and yell at us to come get them! Our room was very dated but clean. The beds seem to be newer than last time. We remembered them as very hard and uncomfortable and were happy to see that they had been changed. I would say that at this resort it is the average worker that makes it a memorable holiday. They are all excellent. The management of this resort is where we had trouble. 1)
I had called the resort when I was getting ready to book (just a few weeks prior to going) and enquired about the construction. I was told that it was not at a disruptive stage..the buildings that were under construction were basically done, just needing paint and trim. Well that was the biggest lie. I took photos that show these rooms don’t even have light fixures or bathroom fittings in them. They are basically retiled and that is it…a few patio doors and window were installed but most didn’t have them yet, nor the thatch roofs (just the metal framework) We were a little shocked considering our room looked directly at them. We were assured that the work did not start until after 9 am and was over by five. By 8 am most mornings the power tools started, and continued on until sometimes close to 8 pm. We didn’t mind it during the day, but it would have been nice to be able to have a nap before dinner after being in the sun all day. This alone would not have jaded my views on this resort. 2)
The worst part of our holiday (the one that has made me decide never to visit any oasis again) was our second day there, Mike (vienemo) and his girlfriend Carmen came to visit us. We paid 100 dollars for them to have a few hours with us. When they got to the resort they let them in…no problem,,but they were very busy up front so no bracelets. They found us having lunch at the buffet and sat and drank with us…they then hit the pool bar with us..and went back to our room where mike borrowed a pair of pants from Greg so we could go to the Italian restaurant. After the main course was on the table greg got up to go to the washroom where he was approached by a waiter demanding a 40 dollar payment for Mike and Carmen to have dinner. Greg asked not to be embarrassed and immediately gave our mastercard. He explained that they were actually already paid for at the front desk..The waiter said we could work that out later. WELL. I get up a few minutes after greg returned to the table,,as I enter the ladies room another waiter tells me that "certain" types were not welcome. He ASSUMED that Carmen was a call girl!! Just because she is a dominican woman!! Carmen is a Pharmacist!! Anyway we caused a stink at the front desk, as my payment of 100 had "disappeared" and the ignorant young man at the desk told me I was lying! At this point 4 air transat reps were in the lobby (not sure why so many) and they intervened and calmed things down…As Mike and Carmen were escorted off the property. By some Fluke…all of a sudden my 100 payment reappeared?? As soon as the reps got involved. We have NEVER had an incident with ANY member of ANY resort before. Two nights before we left we were in the sports bar and I left to use the washroom and there was a lovely british girl in there,,so angry and crying at the same time. Some ignorant jerk on staff had approached her and asked her if she had purchased her wristband or a guest had…as they did not allow resorts to bring "those types of guests in" Well if the idiot had just listened to her talk for a minute before accosting her he would have heard her VERY british accent, but that is not the POINT. So. Management stinks at this resort…but I must say the buffet staff and the bartenders and even housekeepers are fantastic.. So next trip it will be back to Punta Cana for us…but not an oasis… Also we also went off resort a few times, with Mike and Carmen. We went to a baseball game in La Romana and it was a blast! I HATE sports but I have to say that this game was one of my best experiences ever in the Dominican Republic! People dancing in the seats,,Playing drums,,banging empty water bottles, all in perfect tune with each other. UNBELIEVEABLE. Another day Mike and Carmen took us in to Bayahibe to a Cuban bar mike discovered…really nice afternoon on the beach having some drinks and catching up with Mike (and trying to learn Spanish with Carmen as she was trying to learn English!) Although we did not know too many words that each other both understood, we were able to communicate very well. Have warned Mike not to screw this up or I will kill him LOL. So as you can see, we did not let this situation ruin our holiday! If you are already booked here, I am sure that you will have a great time…
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Oasis Canoa Don ~ Chilliwack B.C. Canada

November 2007 Arrival – 7 days Nov 9-16. 2 hr bus ride from Santo Domingo to resort. Booking in went smooth. Safe rental only $14 for the week. Staff very friendly and helpful Rooms – Rooms tidy and clean. Our ac/ leaked a little even after we had turned it down, however it did work. bathroom door needed resetting. Beds comfortable. Fridge stocked each day by maid. Usual tip of $2.00 per day will ensure that. Towels were changed frequent enoughRestaurants – Buffet was good. I liked breakfast the best. Omelette made in front of you. Good selection of pasta, salads and deserts. Ham, beef,pork, fish common. Mexican resturant very good. Nice atmospehere. We were very disappointed with the Italian restuarant. Very bland Bars – Bars were all good throughout the resort. Waiters had quick service and remembered what you had to drink. Beach and Pools – Beach good in front of the the hotel where the roped off area is. Just to the right there were rocks. Went snorkeling twice just past the buoys and there were many fish to see. Water was not too clear but not bad. Pools very nice and pool bar stools present to enjoy your drink. Grounds – Grounds are in good condition and staff were working on cleaning and trimming up vegetation. A few of the suites were also being worked on by staff Activities – Snorkeling, botchi ball, volley ball on beach and water. Tours – Saona island tour was good. $68 per person. Bring mosquito repellant and your snorkelling gear they did not supply it. Lots of beer and rum on the tour. Snorkeling tour to Bayahibe was very good. Water about 12 ft deep and clear. Tour worth the twenty bucks for an hour and half Conclusion – Very good value for the dollar. Second time to the Dominican and my wife and I can’t wait to go back. I would go back to this resort a second time.
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April 2007

We went to Coral Canoa in April 2007, for our first beach vacation. The best part about this resort is the grounds. They are really nicely landscaped & well laid out, with accommodations grouped in 12 separate buildings. The pleasant, pastel-coloured exteriors & the ponds and wooden bridges give this resort an almost intimate feel. Though it is a mid-sized resort, it never feels too busy. We enjoyed taking short walks at sunrise or in the evening.

There are a lot of activities being offered. If you are an outgoing person, you can definitely take advantage of the many sporting activities and competitions that staff organize throughout the day. However, if you prefer keeping to yourselves, like we did, there is also a lot you can do on your own. We played tennis, bocce, horseshoe, badminton, lots of ping-pong, pool and had a great time. The resort offers dancing classes and aerobics on the sand twice a day.

The pool is quite large, much larger than that of other resorts we saw in the area. It has 4 separate sections that converge on a swim-up bar in the middle. It tends to be more popular than the beach, but usually we had no problem finding a seat. Those who want a thatch hut can’t linger too long in bed in the morning though.

The beach is the best in the area, though you do find some rocks and reeds in the water. It usually has big waves, which are tons of fun to skip, but if you are someone who is looking for a flawless beach experience, this is not the place for you. We spent most of our time at the beach, not the pool, so we woke up early to get a hut. We enjoyed the refreshing ocean breeze & the waves. If you’re not looking for a lot of shade, then you can always find plenty of lounge chairs, at any time of day. There are lots of trees on the beach, so you can usually get a little shade.

The service was pleasant everywhere, but it certainly helps not to have exceedingly high expectations. It’s good to be able to make your requests in Spanish or French, but English is widely spoken too. Everyone tries to be helpful even if sometimes there is a language gap.

The food was good. We enjoyed the Dominican-themed buffet restaurant above the a la carte options. We found the most tender meat to be chicken. We also enjoyed the fish and the plentiful fresh fruit and ice-cream. You can easily be a vegetarian at this buffet as well.

The only drawback to this holiday was the room. It was very very humid, despite the air-conditioning blowing in a cool breeze and the maid making every effort to keep it clean. The pillows initially had a musty smell, but we left a note for the maid and she replaced them the next day. The bed however continued to be a little musty and wet. I’m not sure if this was the case with all rooms in the resort; we didn’t ask for another room since it didn’t impact our vacation overall too much. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, the room might be a bit of a problem.

I would recommend tipping the maid a dollar a day. We tipped servers at the a la carte restaurants up to 5 dollars depending on the level of service, but did not tip at the buffet. If you plan on taking any tours, which we did, and really really enjoyed, bring pencils and candy for the kids.

Something to keep in mind when buying souvenirs. If you plan on going to the merchants on the beach, just at the edge of the resort, visit the souvenir shop on the resort first. The vendors quote outrageous prices, so it’s really good to know what the item costs at the resort shop, so you can bargain appropriately. You might be better off just buying what you need at the resort shop anyway.

One last thing to be aware of. If you fly into Punta Cana airport, you will have a bus ride of about an hour and a half to the hotel. We enjoyed that because we got to see some of the towns, but if you’re not up for that, then make sure your tour operator flies to La Romana, which is only 20 minutes away.

In summary, I would recommend this resort as great value for money. The weather is glorious, the resort clean and pleasant, the beach lots of fun. Whether you’re an extrovert and like getting dragged out of your seat to do some impromptu dancing, or an introvert who enjoys the calm sounds of the ocean, there is something for everyone to enjoy here.

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March 2007

We travelled to the Canoa Coral in the middle of January 2006 for my first carribbean vacation. We purchased our tickets off of the web for about 800$ pp/ double occupancy.

Here’s the lowdown on the trip:

Big enough to hold us and our stuff, clean and comfortable. We did have a problem with water leaking from the toilet, but we didn’t even bother to get it fixed, we did not feel like it was a big deal. Our room was on the main floor, and we really liked being able to hang out on the balcony/patio. We were right near the pool too, which was nice for jumping in first thing in the morning to clear my rum-filled head!

The maid was great and left flowers and creatively folded towels everyday for us. The mini bar was always stocked and we were able to call for refills if we needed them.

We found the service to be friendly and prompt. The resturants we well staffed, the place was clean and well kept and the entertainment group worked really hard to keep the activities going all day long

I’m not a big buffet fan, but the food was decent and I can’t say anythign bad about it. I am a food microbiologist, so I tend to pay attention of holding tempeatures etc. They appreared to be very responsible with food safety from what I could tell, which was a relief for me. The bread was amazing and I loved the assortment of fresh fruits and cheeses too.We ate most of our dinners at the a al carte restaurants, with the Italian being the favourite. The food was good and the service was great. However we did find that if we went too late ( like 9 pm or so) that they would often have run out of the soup for the day. Otherwise we were very impressed. In comparison to and East Side Marios type place in Canada, the food was a million times better! The mexican restaurant didn’t amaze us, and the bathrooms weer a bit less maintained that what I expected in that building. The drink service was good, but there seemed to be about 5 different recipes for margaritas- depending on your server. There is a large selection of mixed drinks. The domestic beer wasn’t our favourite ( we work for a brewery in Canada and so are a bit picky about our brews) so we opted to buy Heinekens for about 1.50 US a piece on the nights where we wanted beer. We also bought Heineken from the small town down the road for something like 1$ a bottle. By Canadian standards, even that was cheap, although we did pay the money for " all inclusive"

We were able to snorkel from shore for a few days and there was lots to see around the flower pots which they placed to attract fish near shore. Otherwise, the water was too stirred up and murky to see much for the rest of the trip. The beach itself was really nice and well maintained. No problem finding beach chairs or places to sit with enough space between neighbours that you didn’t really notice them too much. Lots of semi nude bathing ( topless women ), which we didn’t partake in , but don’t have a problem with either. There didn’t appear to be many other canadians at the resort, mostly europeans. Plenty of speedos on the beach!

Outside Excursions:
There is a small town that you can walk to in about 20 minutes from the beach. We found that the vendors were a bit hassling at times, but there were a few little shops and such that made the trip worthwhile- especially if you want to bring back grocery items like vanilla and coffee like we did. My only regret was that I didn’t buy more of the unground coffee beans at the time- we couldn’t try it until we got home, and it made for a really great ( and cheap) cuppa joe!

We took some outside excursion by a group called "Something ( name I forget) Runners"- they had this jeep that they took you around in. It was a bit pricey, but you at least got to see what the Domincan is really like outside of the resort. The trip to the sugar cane fields was interesting and I appreciated being able to see more of the country. We went for a horseback ride too, but it was pathetic. It was supposed ot be like a 1 hour ride, but it would have taken a horse that was in decent shape about 10 minutes! For someone who rides a lot, that was a big dissapointment, but the novice riders seemed to enjoy the novelty of it. Ithe whole trio did take up a full day though, so be prepared to give up a day if you go on this trip. We didn’t attempt any other outings so I can’t say whether or not it was good value compared to other offerings.

Not that the resort has any control over the weather, but we had a fantastic week, it rained very briefly in the afternoon most days, a light mist- basically enough to cool us down from laying on the beach for 4 hours straight.

I felt like we got value for our money at this resort. If I went back, I wouldn’t go on the same outside excursion, but I would probably pay the extra money to go snorkelling at Saona island.

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Coral Canoa Maureen ~ Canada

February 2007

My husband and I returned from a one week stay (Jan.26-Feb.2/07) at the Canoa Coral in La Romana. It was the first time we have booked a sell-off, and we were more than pleased with the results! The weather was 80 to 90F every day, and I didn’t even need a sweater in the evenings. (Hard to imagine, with it about minus 30C here in Canada)

We flew with Sunwing, and chose to pay the $25 extra for the 6” extra legroom in our pre-booked seats. Worth every penny!

La Romana Airport is new, efficient and a mere 20 minutes from the resort. With several stops at other hotels, it still took us less than an hour to get to the resort.

Our room was kept spotlessly clean, we had plenty of clean towels, a restocked mini-fridge every day, and lots of hot water for showers. We were on the top floor (3rd) so there was no one above us, and we heard nothing from any adjoining rooms.

We were thrilled with the food! The a la carte restaurants did not require reservations, and we never had any problem getting into any of them between 7:00 and 8:00.( Most of the guests were European and they had their main meal of the day at our lunch time, so they were not ready to dine that early). The quality and presentation of the food was one of the best we’ve had in the Caribbean, and without having to line up early in the day to make a reservation was a bonus! The buffet restaurant never seemed to be busy, and the sevice was always prompt and pleasant. My wine glass was never allowed to be empty! There was always a vast variety of food to choose from—-lots of different meats and fish for my husband, and different salads and incredible desserts for me. The staff all seemed to enjoy their jobs, and acted like they wanted to be there to serve you with a smile.

The beach was small, but had more than enough room and lots of comfy lounges for everyone. The water tended to be a bit murky for snorkelling while we were there, but was great for swimming. There are cement pilings placed off shore, just outside the swimming marker buoys to attract the fish for the snorkellers. We took the snorkel trip from our beach (US $18 each) to get into some deeper, clearer water. It was a short excursion (3-4:30) and a good value.

We found the Coral Canoa to be a quiet, well-run resort. Not a lot of small children (yay), and not a lot of young party-animals. (We’re in our 50’s). Probably not the best hotel for younger singles looking for some action.

We did not need to use bug spray or Imodium the whole week! We just wish we could have stayed longer……

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December 2006

Good, Great & Fantastic *****

Wow! What a brilliant resort this truly is. You will not be disappointed with everything this resort & country has to offer.

I flew with Thomson for 14 nights (good deal from London to Dom. Rep) and they did a pretty fair job of everything. I could not find a complaint other than a really really dull agent.

Weather = 10/10
Hot, sunny and steamy for 14 days – I tanned until I could tan no more. Absolutely memorable!

Accommodation = 7/10
Tip the cleaners a few bucks each day and it will make their days and you may get a few surprises!

Food = 8/10
Buffet was terrific for all 3 meals a day. Italian restaurant was nice (request Andres as your waiter), Mexican was pretty good (you want Ludwig here) and the Caribbean restaurant/snack bar was good.

Entertainment = 9/10
Chocolate Friends are outstanding! All the sports you could want, wonderful shows in the evening. This team works their backsides off and they have a great time doing it. Sensational stuff Bars are all cool – Sports Bar has pool, table soccer & table tennis

Beach = 9/10
What more could you want? Beautiful water, weather and European ladies

Pool = 9/10
Massive pool with Bar and plenty of atmosphere!

Shops = 4/10

Average – there just in case you need anything urgently

Hotel Facilities/Grounds = 9/10
Place is constantly kept in great nick. Plenty of room to walk around, very spacial

Hotel internet/ATM = 2/10 ATM didn’t work for 3 days and couldn’t get an answer to when it may be working.

Internet is US$8 an hour to use – this is a bit of a joke quite frankly, but do you need the net on holiday?

Outside excursions = 7/10 I did horseback riding which I thought was great fun – 2 & ½ hours and a trip to a secluded cave for US$50 Casino (very average) but if you like a flutter it may be worth the 2 hour drive there (this is every Tuesday night)

Saona Island – apparently very nice

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July 2006

Canoa Coral by Hilton is an embarrassment for the Hilton Family. If I were them I would demand they change the name of this resort and stop misleading people into thinking that the resort has anything to do with the Hilton chain of hotels and resorts, because it is just disgraceful. Let me start by saying that this is the WORST RESORT I’ve ever visited.

My husband and I had planned a vacation for the weekend beginning July 13 and ending July 16, 2006. We were looking forward to this trip, but we had no idea what we were in for. The last time we went to La Romana, we stayed at Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus and anything I can say about this resort will fall short because Iberostar is a fantastic resort and you have to actually go there to see how good it really is. In this occasion we decided to go to Canoa Coral by Hilton because when we called Iberostar to make our reservations they informed us that the resort was sold out for that specific weekend. We looked around for another resort and when we heard the name of this one, mentioning Hilton we thought it would be as good as Iberostar or maybe even better. Finally, it was time to go to La Romana, and when we arrived it was about 6:00 p.m., and everything seemed to look normal. We walked up to the check-in area and gave the clerk our reservation number. It took him about 20 minutes to find our reservation and assign us a room. He informed us that our bags would be taken up to our room and that we could start enjoying the resort as of that moment. We decided to take a walk around the resort, so that we could get familiar with it and than grab something to eat before heading to our room. The resort looked very nice and the people were very friendly. We headed to the Italian Restaurant and our food was very good. After about three hours we headed to our room to take a shower and rest for a while. When we reached our door, the key to our door was not working. We called the check-in area from a telephone in the hallway, to see if they could send us another key because we were so far that we didn’t want to have to walk all that way again. Their answer was NO. They said that we would have to walk back to get another key and so we did. By the time we got back, my husband was soaked in sweat and as soon as we walked into the room he turned on the air conditioner and took off all of his clothes to take a shower. The room felt like an oven, as if that room had not been opened in months. The air conditioner didn’t seem to be working and there was no ceiling fan to help the situation. All of the sudden my husband bursts out of the bathroom and tells me that there are no towels in the room. At this point I start to get very upset and I tell him to get up on a chair to check if the air conditioner is working properly. When my husband put his hand in front of the A/C he notices that it is not blowing out any air at all. I decided that it was time to call the reception area again and let them know about all of the inconveniences that we were having since we got to the resort, but while I’m speaking with the clerk I notice that our luggage is not in the room and since I already had the clerk on the phone I told him about this also. I would have never guessed what he responded to all of this…his response was “Anything else?”. I was trying to take it easy, but when I heard this man say “Anything else?”, I just felt like I was going to explode. At this point I told my husband, let’s walk to the reception area again to see what they are going to do. When we get there, everyone in the reception area was acting like this is not something uncommon, but instead like this goes on a lot at that resort. What worried me the most is that we had left our luggage with them three hours ago and they seemed to have no idea where our bags were. They asked us to sit while they track down our luggage and see of they can place us in another room, but obviously we were so upset that we couldn’t even walk away from the reception area. While we were waiting, someone walks up to the clerk and in a very uncomfortable tone informs him that when he walked into his room he found the bathroom in construction. It is unbelievable that they could assign a room with the bathroom in construction, but since I was worried about my own situation I didn’t pay that much attention to what happened afterwards. All I know is that after about 30 minutes waiting for another room, that man walked away from the reception area and I thought to myself that his issues had been solved. I was in for another surprise, because about 10 minutes later, the same man comes back to the reception area and this time he was very upset because they had given him the key to a room that was already occupied. He started to argue with the clerk and with all his reason because he must have felt very embarrassed when he walked into this room and the people in there probably looked at him as if he were a burglar or something. After hearing all of this and my luggage still not showing up after 1 hour, I turned to my husband and told him that I was seriously thinking about moving to another resort nearby and he agreed with me. We walked up to the clerk again and told him that we were very upset with the whole situation we were going through and that after hearing what had happened to that other person we wanted to know if they would have any type of decent accommodation for us in that resort, and if not, we would appreciate it if he could recommend a resort nearby that did. This is definitely the most shocking part of our whole experience, instead of trying to convince us to stay, the clerk pulled out a piece of paper and a pen and wrote down a few nearby resorts with their numbers. Luckily I was traveling with my cell phone and was able to call the Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus. When I explained to them what we were going through, they seemed to not be surprised as if this is something that goes on a lot there. They very kindly made a reservation for us and even asked us if we needed transportation. At this point I start to feel better because we were finally going to get out of that disaster area. All we needed was our luggage and a refund of our money. We walked up to the cashier and asked for a refund and she proceeded to return us our money. After almost two hours waiting, we were finally able to leave and begin our fabulous vacation in the Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus, I would say the best resort in La Romana.

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Coral Canoa Beach – Bayahibe Tim

May 2006

I just came back from a great weekend in the Dominican Republic. I have to say the weather was perfect and the water was great.

I booked the trip on Priceline, assuming they would provide a good hotel + flight combination. I should have done more research, because when I flew in to Punta Cana, I found out that the hotel was in La Romana which was 90 mins (and a $90 cab ride) away.

The hotel and beach was beautiful. Although our room was not ready until about 2-3 hours after we tried to check in. This seemed to be happening to many of the guests.

I would definitely brush up on some spanish, because although the front desk (who were all fluent in English, Spanish, French, and Italian) were very helpful, many of the other hotel employees barely spoke english. Being an all inclusive resort, we sometimes had to make the extra effort to grab a drink at the bar.

The clientele was mostly French. We were 2 of about maybe 10 americans, which did make for a nice laid back vacation.

Watch out for any non-resort vendors, they are very persistent and try to charge more money for the same thing you can get in the resort shops. But i did have to pay $15 for a small bottle of sunscreen, and I ran out of contact solution, which they didn’t carry at all.

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Coral Canoa Beach – Bayahibe Alf ~ Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

March 2006

We returned from the Coral Canoa in mid March of this year. Overall we had a great time and made our own way around this large resort. We booked last minute with Air Transat and based upon reviews I felt comfortable with our decision.

Our initial room had a big negative issue with a very soft and sinking king bed. Upon my further investigation i discovered the bed frame was bent and weak. They tried to correct this but could not. They offered to put us in an upgraded room but it was near the pool bar which was unacceptable. The other choice we had was to occupy one of their 4 luxury villas with a private jacuzzi and sitting area larger than most rooms. Well you know where we stayed; the villa was like a little cottage mostly surrounded by water.

Although we soon had mosquitos with us at night, I had taken insect repellant and wipes and all went very well. Aside from having to tell them to top up the air Conditioning unit with more freon,everything was handled very well by the hotel.

The hotel was very happy to accomodate us and everyone was very helpfull and pleasant. At no time was there any suggestion of any supplemented costs.

They were only concerned with our comfort and that we were happy. A big thank you to Silverio, Room Division Manager on the front reception desk and all his support staff and the Housekeeping manager.

This is the best choice for anyones vacation in the LaRomana area. The grounds, pool, beach and meals in all restaurants are excellent.

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Coral Canoa Beach – Bayahibe Tim and Richelle ~ Rochester New York

November 2005

My wife and I, and our 16 year old son and his friend stayed at the Coral Canoa from November 18, 2005 to November 25, 2005. This was my fifth trip to the DR, my wife’s sixth trip to the DR., and out second stay at the Canoa, as we stayed at the Canoa last year during the same week (Thanksgiving week in the US). On both occasions, our stay was enjoyable and we were very pleased with the resort. The Canoa is a solid 4 star resort. The weather was sunny and warm, while nighttime was very comfortable. It rained during the afternoon of our getaway day, and it may have been cloudy for an hour or two on a couple of afternoons, but otherwise the weather was perfect.

Our departing and returning flights from Toronto with Sky Service were relatively on time and the service was good. The airline check in for both flights was quick and easy, while customs and baggage check in the DR. and Canada was also fast and easy. The resorts in LaRomana are all near to the airport, so the bus ride, with two other resort stops, was only about twenty minutes. My only complaint was that the seating in the Sky Service charter was cramped.

Our check in at the Canoa was fast and we given rooms in the building we requested, on line, a few days before we left. (Building 4) Building 4 is near the beach and right by the pool. The Canoa is a medium size resort where everything is a relatively short walk away. When we arrived at our room at about 10:30 p.m., our air conditioning did not work, and the room was very musty. Consequently, the comforter and pillows on our bed also were musty. However, our complaints were promptly addressed, and within 15 minutes from our call to the front desk, the air conditioner was fixed, and we were given new linens and pillows, which was a pleasant surprise to have prompt service at such a late hour. (Especially in the D.R.) By the middle of the next day, the musty smell was gone. I suspect that the room was musty because it was the end of low season, and the room was probably vacant for a while. The air conditioning worked great as we only had to keep it on low at night, which was more than comfortable. Rosa, our maid for the week, was excellent. On our first day we gave her a nice tip since she had to take care of our room and the boy’s room. A few dollars went a long way as her service was great. Every day we received in our refrigerator, two bottles of Dominican Beer, and bottles of water and soda. We were always given extra towels when we requested them.

Since our stay a year ago, we immediately noticed that the plants, flowers, and foliage on the resort grounds were much improved, and grew a lot in a year. The beach was clean and well maintained as was the pool, which was cleaned every morning and evening. My wife’s legs were bitten up; however myself and the boys did not have any problems with bugs. The resort fogged the beach twice during our visit. The beaches in LaRomana are some of the nicest in the D.R., and rank only behind Bavaro, with white sand, and aqua blue, calm, Caribbean water. There were plenty of palapas and beach chairs available as the resort was not at capacity, and there was really no need to wake up early to reserve chairs, unless you wanted a specific "prime" spot. The resort has placed a couple rows of cement buoys on the ocean floor about 50 meters from shore, below the rope that marks the edge of the resort swimming area. The buoys act as an artificial reef, attracting tropical fish, which provides decent snorkeling for being so close to the resort. The resort provides free snorkeling equipment, along with kayaks and use of catamarans, also provided free of charge. We did not do any of the excursions as we found enough to do at the resort. Last year I did an $18 snorkeling trip, through the resort, which was great and that I would recommend. Also since last year, the Gym has received new weight and cardio machine equipment. The gym is open air, under a big thatched roof, which may cause a problem with heat from June through September, but was not a problem at this time of year. The equipment was new, well maintained, and the attendant was very helpful but not to pushy. The entertainment staff, the "Chocolate Friends", is very positive and they work hard to entertain throughout the day. They also do the nightly stage shows at the outdoor theatre. Although they are not professional singers and dancers, they work hard and are very entertaining. I laugh out loud when I read negative reviews about the quality of the nightly shows at all-inclusive resorts. If you want top notch professional Broadway singing and dancing, instead take a trip to Toronto, Montreal, or NYC, and pay $250 for two tickets to a musical. The daily activities are only posted near the front lobby and on the activity part of the beach. It would be helpful and easier to plan your day if the daily activities were posted near the entrance of each building. Additionally, on our last visit, payment was required to play pool and foosball at the sports bar, where this year all these games were free. The boys really enjoyed their trip, met other teenagers, and more importantly never complained they were bored.

The food in general was very good. We have never been sick on any of our visits to the Dominican. We ate breakfast at the main buffet, lunch at the beach snack bar, and dinner at the three ala-carte restaurants, and enjoyed our meals at each place. The breakfast at the main buffet offered a good variety of selections each day, and most everything I tried, I enjoyed. There are plenty of selections to have a large elaborate meal or to have just bread, yogurt, and fresh fruit. I especially enjoyed the mashed Yucca and Plantains, both served with red onion. The made to order omelet and egg station, and the fresh fruit juice bar are common features at most all-inclusive hotels. The two hostesses, Josse and Marte were very friendly and warm. Our coffee servers were also very attentive as they almost always refilled our coffee cups when they were only half full.

The lunch food at the beach café was basic but good. There were usually four hot stations consisting of fish, pasta, fries, and a rice dish, and a cold station with salad, cold cuts, and fresh fruit. The grill served hot dogs, sausage, pork, and chicken. The grilled chicken was excellent, a favorite with my wife. The Pizza is a little different than we have back home, but the crust was very tasty. The garlic focaccia was out of this world, as with each meal the breads and rolls served at the resort were very good. The grill cooks were very attentive and gladly cooked special requests. Rosa, a waitress, and the bartenders were very friendly and helpful.

The Mexican alacate, the Santa Fe restaurant was my favorite, while the Italian was my wife’s choice. At night, the Beach café was turned into a more formal Dominican Restaurant that was also very good. At each ala-carte, some appetizers, the main dish, and desserts are ordered from a menu, while most of the appetizers and soups are at self serve buffet stations. The hot and cold appetizers at the buffet, at the Mexican restaurant, were very good. I could have had my entire dinner at the appetizer buffet. However, the best part of the Mexican restaurant was the excellent service. Wilson and Ludwig were our servers, and they were very attentive and friendly. The Margaritas were plentiful and our glasses were never empty. The coconut pie was also very good. The Mexican restaurant is open air, and is located on the second floor of resort offices that are right on the beach. Next to the Mex. Restaurant is an open air/outdoor café/bar that serves coffee, cappuccino and espresso throughout the day. Here, my wife and I would usually enjoy a late afternoon coffee drink or margarita before dinner, where we could watch volley ball games, bocce, or a partial sunset as seen through the beach palm trees. The Hostess at the Italian restaurant, Dominique, was also very friendly and remembered our names from our last visit. The service from our waiters, William and Juan was also very good. The fillet mignon at the Italian was as good as any restaurant back home. The food at the Dominican restaurant is very good as we both enjoyed the "Boca Chica" fish. However, as we experienced from our previous trip at the Canoa, the service at the Dominican was slower than the other two restaurants.

Next to the Hotel property, on the beach, are about 10 vendor huts that sell rum, coffee, cigars, Dominican paintings and other souvenirs. Also, further down the beach, between the IberioStar resort, and the Windom Viva Dominicas, is a short dirt road that leads into the village of Bayahibe, which has a few restaurants and more stores and shops. The village is perfectly safe to go into, and in general based upon my experience, I have never had a problem leaving a resort property (in Juan Dolio, Punta Cana, or LaRomana) and walking into a nearby Dominican Village or town. Again, based on my experience, the Dominican people are generally very warm, friendly and peaceful, and I have always felt safe when I have left the resort properties that I have stayed at. However, as in any foreign country, use your common sense. The vendors, at times, can be a little aggressive, but they will leave you alone with a polite no. Keep in mind that the vendors and shop owners are just trying to make a living like the rest of us, and depend on our tourist dollars. However, unlike in Mexico, the vendors are not allowed to sell on the resort beaches.

If you are a first time traveler to the DR, it helps to learn a few basic Spanish words and terms, as you are obviously in a Spanish speaking country. The restaurant wait staff, bartenders, and front desk employees usually have a working use of English, while the maid staff usually does not. Even if your are dealing with a Spanish only speaking person, with a few basic Spanish words and some pointing and hand signals, all with a positive and light attitude, you should be able to somewhat communicate and get what you want, with a good laugh from both parties. In the DR, the Caribbean, and even in the deep southern US, life is a lot more laid back and slower, where the people take their time and are a lot less stressed. Consequently, just because you may want something immediately, they will not drop everything and come running at the snap of your fingers. The term, "the wheel the squeaks the loudest gets the most oil", does not apply in the Dominican, as the loud squeaky wheel is considered to be obnoxious, offensive, and rude, and accordingly will get no oil. I have found that a polite and patient request for service or for a resolution to a problem is much more effective and successful than an impatient and demanding attitude. If you take things in stride and go with the flow, your vacation will be much more enjoyable as opposed to complaining about every little inconvenience.

In conclusion, I have stayed at a 5 star all inclusive in the Dominican, and obviously there is a difference between the 4 and 5 star resorts. Although the Canoa is not a 5 star, I highly recommend this resort and look forward to going back.

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Coral Canoa Beach – Bayahibe Sherri ~ New Brunswick, Canada

September 2005

Just returned from a 2 week stay at Canoa Coral in Bayahibe.

Flight: Flew from Montreal to Punta Cana with Air Transat. We upgraded to Club Class for $100 each way and would do it again in a heartbeat!

Transfer from Punta Cana to Bayahibe took about 1 hr and 15 minutes and it was interesting to see the different villages.

The Hotel:

Reception: We were greeted by very friendly staff! They went over the resort map and showed us where our room was and then we were given a welcome drink. Our room wasn’t quite ready so we headed to the buffet for some lunch.

Room: Our room was very nice. A little old but nothing that we could complain about. We did bring higher wattage light bulbs and that seemed to help some but they need to have better lighting in the rooms and around the resort at night.

Pool: The pool was huge! We spent a lot of time there as we are pool people. Took part in the aqua size which was always fun. The activity staff was always around trying to get you involved in the different activities they offered but you can say no if you don’t want to participate.

Beach: Beautiful! White sand and blue/green water. There was a little seaweed and a few rocks but not too bad. I went snorkeling and saw some different fish and coral. There was no problem to find chairs but the resort was not even half full.

Staff: I cannot say enough about the staff. Especially the Animation Staff or Chocolate Friends! They are amazing. At work at around 7 am then work all day and then put on shows at night, then onto the disco. We have to say a special word for “Junior” who was our Spanish teacher for 2 weeks. He is unbelievably smart and had a lot of patience with the 2 girls from Canada who could only speak English! Sometimes our lessons went 1 hr and 1/2 because he would get so involved in teaching us. The restaurant staff we also very friendly. I have no complaints about the staff at all!

Shows: We loved the shows! We were there for 14 nights and did not see a repeat show. The dancing was amazing as were the sets and the costumes. They had a couple of shows where the audience got involved and it was hilarious!

The resort itself: For the most part we had no complaints about the resort. It is a fairly big resort but well maintained. There was staff all around cleaning and fixing the roofs on different buildings. We found at night it was very hard to see your way around the paths. We would probably bring flashlights with us next time. We also found there were a lot of birds flying in and out of the restaurants; maybe a bird net might be helpful?

Food: The food was good for the most part. We did find that by the end of the second week, we were craving some good Canadian food. Breakfast was always good at the main buffet. We ate at the beach restaurant for lunch a lot of times. They had really good pizza and fries. My friend got a hamburger that wasn’t cooked one day though. We usually ate at the a la carts for supper. The Pasta restaurant was good, they had very good chicken pizza. We only ate at the Dominican once because the flies were really bad there. We ate Mexican quite a bit because the food was really good and we had a lot of fun with the staff there! One too many tequila boom booms! I don’t think they’ll forget us for awhile.

Overall: We loved the resort but we were the only Canadians there! I think we were the only English speaking people there too. I would go back again, if only because the animation staff were soo amazing! But we need more Canadians there to share in the fun!

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Coral Canoa Beach – Bayahibe Robert

July 2005

My wife and I spent a very enjoyable week at the Canoa Coral by Hilton from July 4 through 11, 2005. We are both 38 and travel often (I have been to 58 countries now). We usually travel on a tight to moderate budget and rarely splurge. Here is my review.

We flew into the La Romana airport. We arrived just after a jumbo jet from Italy arrived, so it took at least 45 minutes to clear immigration and customs. We pre-arranged a transfer with Expedia and the driver was waiting to take us to the hotel. The trip was about 20 minutes. Check in at the hotel was very quick and easy and a welcome drink was given to us within a minute of arriving. Our room was not ready so we went to the snake bar and took a quick look around the resort.

The Resort
The grounds were clean and well maintained. The pool was huge and always clean. The pool is 4 feet deep for the entire pool. A swim up bar was located in the pool and was well used. There were always chairs available around the pool and never a need to save chairs. The pool closed at 6 pm, although often people would stay in until 7 pm or so. The disco was well attended on one night but not on another.

The Beach
The beach was nice, although a little narrow. There were not that many people using chairs at the beach for some reason. The waves were rough about half the days (Tropical Storm Dennis was off-shore) so that may be the reason. Sea grass was being washed up onto the beach on days when there were waves, but there was always a crew cleaning it up. The beach to the east is part of a national park and is nice but the beach narrows farther from the resort. There is a lot of driftwood and sea grass on the national park beach. To the west is an area with very aggressive venders. It is a good idea to walk behind the shacks to keep from getting bothered. On the other side of the venders is the Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus resort. Their beach is nicer than the Canoa Coral beach. It is no problem walking along that beach as I did it three times during my stay.

We were in room 1224 in building 12, second floor. The room was fine for the most part. The bathroom tile was installed sloppy but the room looked fine other than that. It could use a new coat of paint but it was clean. There were water pressure problems on some days, especially with hot water. The toilet did not flush well and sometimes needed 10 flushes to get the job done. The air conditioning did not work well on arrival, but they fixed it right away and then the room was always cool (maybe even too cold). The mini-bar is confusing. You are allowed 2 sodas and 2 beers a day – but only the bottled soda and beer are free. Any of the cans, anything other than the bottles of beer and soda, and even the water in the mini-bar cost money. The bottled water outside of the mini bar is free, however. The bed was very comfortable, although the pillows are terrible. The room was also quite dark and we took advise of some reviews we read before the trip and brought higher wattage light bulbs, which was a great idea.

The Food
Breakfast and lunch were buffet style. Dinner was served in either the buffet or in three other restaurants (Italian, Mexican and Dominican). Overall, the food was good to very good – although it was rarely great. Presentation was always good. Only the Italian is air conditioned and the other restaurants are open air on the sides. Both my wife and I had minor to moderate stomach problems starting on the last day. It may have been from a lunch we ate in Santo Domingo, however. We were careful not to drink or brush our teeth with the tap water.

The staff
Everyone was friendly and helpful. No complaints. There are some people from a vacation club that will try to get you to go to a presentation. Just show no interest (don’t even talk to them) and they will leave you alone.

Off-site activities
I went scuba diving with Scuba Fun in Bayahibe. I called them on the phone and they picked me up at no charge. They charge $65 per 2 tank trip (the resort charges $90). If you book on the internet before you go, they charge $60 per trip. There is a $35 surcharge for the trip to Catalina Island. The quality of the coral and sponges is excellent here, although there are very few large fish. Overall I was happy with the diving. Scuba Fun uses very small boats (uncovered). We only had only 4 divers on the boat on each trip, which was nice.

My wife went horseback riding ($55) to a cave with a pool at the bottom. She enjoyed the trip. She did get several mosquito bites on the trip though (we never saw a mosquito at the resort despite complaints in reviews posted for trips only a couple weeks before ours).

We took a taxi to La Romana and Altos de Chavon one afternoon. The total charge was $65 for the taxi. We also took a taxi to Santo Domingo for a full day for a charge of $125. We thought both trips were worthwhile.

We had a couple very sunny days and several mostly cloudy days. Tropical Storm Dennis was just off the coast and we had about 12-14 hours of very heavy rain from the late afternoon until morning.

Other thoughts
Check out was fine. We had an 8 am flight so we had to leave at 5:30 am – although nobody from the airline showed up at the airport until 6:30. Our connection in San Juan was an hour and 20 minutes and we missed our connecting flight. I would make sure you allow at least 2 hours to make this connection since you have to get your bag and clear immigration and customs in San Juan before rechecking your bag.

The hotel had mostly Europeans. I would say it was about 30% French, 30% Italians, 20% Americans, and the other 20% mixed (British, Polish, German and even Dominican). Mostly couples and families – not many singles. Most of the guests were also fairly young.

Overall, we had a great time. We rarely go back anywhere we’ve already been, so I’m not sure that we will return. However, I would consider going back here if I wanted to go back to the Bayahibe area. The price is right and I feel we did get our money’s worth.

If you would like to see my photos from the trip, you can find them in the Caribbean section of my website at Feel free to contact me by e-mail at the address in the profile of my website if you have any questions.

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Coral Canoa Beach – Bayahibe PurrrrRN

March 2005

My husband and I stayed at the coral canoa for 10 days in Feb. 2005, We had an amazing vacation! We had a great poolfront room in building 10. Rooms are large and immaculate, but nothing fancy (bring higher wattage lightbulbs… lots of lamps but the room was really dark!I know there have been poor reviews of the food but thats really not why we go on vacation…Plenty of dining options: Food fair at best in buffet, Italian resturant is very pretty but food not so great (and not itallian!) mexican food was pretty good, I loved the dominican resturant…very good food, & fun to try different things. There is also a grill open for lunch (either this or buffet) by the pool(becomes the dominican resturant at night.)

LOTS of bars with terrific friendly bar tenders…swim up bar our favorite, the Bar tenders loved to play with the guests. Also the one by the concierge, overlooks the pool and activity area, could grab an expresso there in the evening and just people watch. Just a note…they have these big frozen slushy machines with pina coladas and magaritas BUT you need to ASK for the rum! the first afternoon we had about 3 before we realized that we were still dead sober…(there are also self serve rum bottles on the bar. The staff is wonderful I can’t say enough about them, every single staff member we met was genuine and friendly and seemed to really like their job (and boy do they work hard! PLEASE, remember to tip.) resort grounds are constantly being cared for. I only had complaints about the guys who hound you for time share purchase…When you feel so relaxed and happy it’s kind of a bummer to have to be so forceful about saying "no" Didn’t want to be rude but they don’t get the hint…

Chocolate friends are awsome…go ahead, get involved with the activities…no one will ever see you again and you’ll have great memories! We did dance lessons, aerobics (sometimes) and spanish lessons (ALOT more fun than you’d expect!), soccer, volleyball…plus any silly games that came up, even the "chocolate dance" I had so much fun! By the end of the trip we were doing the chocolate dance all over the resort, and I could actually communicate in spanish! We kayaked, snorkled and sailed catamarans every day.( they do need several more catamarans… to use one you need to be at the scuba shack by 8:30 to sign up for a spot each day, they fill up by 9:15 am Beach long and very clean. never had trouble finding chairs. alot of topless on beach but didn’t feel intimidated…all shapes and sizes! Pool is really beautiful and huge. Plenty of chairs. Try to get room near pool for the most central location. The resort seems to cater mostly to europeans but we met about 12 other couples from the states and speant alot of time with them. Most all staff speaks english-french-spanish-german and itallian really well. I like to try to speak to others in their native language to be polite; no one made me feel silly to do so they were all very encouraging. Atmosphere very low key, not any real night life to speak of just dinner and quiet drinks…tiny disco in sports bar opens after 11-11:30 but we wanted sun, beach pool and relaxation. If you are more college age or party people I think the north coast is better for that. AVOID THE SHOWS! they have a theater and put on bad high school like shows each evening…find something else to do…SAVE YOURSELF!!

We usually don’t stay at the same place twice but I really loved this place, I think we’ll go back again.

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Coral Canoa Beach – Bayahibe

February 2005

Travel: I won’t bore you with our flight details, since we weren’t on a package trip.

Resort: This is an extremely beautiful resort, with 3-story "bohios" spread out through lovely gardens.

Room: Quite pleasant with all the usual conveniences. I have no real complaints, other than the power went off a few times and one day there was no hot water. We had a corner room that came with a terrific wraparound balcony.

Beach: Gorgeous! Spectacular clear water with more shades of blue than I could count. There was a little coral on the bottom and a bit of seaweed here and there. A national park abuts the resort, so if you chose to, you could walk for a long, long way along the beach with nothing but ocean on your right and palm trees on your left.

Pool: Huge! A giant, freeform pool with a swim-up bar in the middle. We never had a problem with finding free chairs either on the beach or at the pool. There are 2 Jacuzzis also, which we didn’t use.

Food: More than you could possibly choose from. Absolutely delicious croissants, flan, fresh fruit etc. There was no need for reservations at the a la carte restaurants.

Staff: Most friendly and helpful. The Chocolate Friends were so much fun!

This was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. The resort guests were 80% French, 10% Italian and German and 10% American. We thought that this international flavor lent more interest to our vacation.

There was no charge for the room safe, no charge for the a la carte restaurants and there no exit tax anymore from the Dominican Republic (Note from Debbie: There is in fact still a $20 US departure tax from the DR – on some vacation packages this may be prepaid as part of the package price).

We took one excursion by ourselves to Altos de Chavon, which is truly a beautiful and amazing place. I highly recommend it ‹ although we were disappointed that the museum was closed for renovation.

The only thing we wish we had brought with us was a clock and more vacation days.

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Coral Canoa Beach – Bayahibe Mindy ~ Pennsylvania

February 2005

Background Information
I am a twenty-five year old teacher from Pennsylvania. All I basically wanted was to get away from the cold Pennsylvania winter. I stayed at the Coral Conoa by Hilton from February 3-7, 2005. I had very mixed feelings about it because off all the reviews. However, I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that it is a nice, comfortable, clean hotel with great amenities.

The trip did not start out very pleasant because US Airways lost our luggage. I learned that there is usually only one flight into Punta Cana Airport from the US daily. I was told that our luggage would arrive the next day at the airport by 4:30 and then it would then be taken to the Canoa Coral in La Romana (which would take an additional two hours to get there). However, the luggage did not end up getting to the hotel until around 11:00 pm the following evening. In learned two things from this experience, 1. make sure to pack a bathing suit and extra underwear and clothing in your carry on and 2. you can not call 1-800 numbers from the resort, which can be frustrating.

Overview of Resort
I found the resort to be very spacious, beautiful and clean. There are constantly people cutting, planting or painting something. We did not have ANY problems with bugs/insects the entire time we were there. The resort has 500 rooms and to accommodate this many rooms, the resort is large. So if you have trouble walking, this may not be the right resort for you.

The rooms at the hotel are in sections (or Bohio). Our room was very close to the pool and the beach on the second floor. We stayed for four nights and never had a problem with noise at night. In fact the resort is a pretty quiet resort at night. If you were trying to sleep during the day, I assume that you would hear a lot of noise coming from the pool. We had a large balcony that contained two plastic chairs and a small table. I believe almost all the rooms had either a patio or a balcony. I has requested a King size bed and a non-smoking room. However, we ended up getting a room that had two doubles beds and was smoking. The good news is that it worked out better this way. I could not smell smoke at all in the room. And the rooms do not have a lot of drawers to put clothing in (maybe four drawers maximum), so I ended up laying my clothes on the spare bed. We left the maid some plastic zip lock bags, pencils and a $1.00 everyday with a thank you note in Spanish. She seemed very grateful and our room was always very clean. She did forget to leave towels the one day and I had to call the “guest services” twice before I could get towels and some beer but that is my only complaint. When we checked in we were given two keys. The room safe is free, unless you lose the key. The air conditioners are European style, however there was already a key in it, so we did not need to use one of our keys. The people at the front desk were not very helpful but we did not have to deal with them that much. The “guest services” lady was pretty helpful.

The beach exceeded my expectations. The sand was very clean and white. There are huts you could lay under if you did not want direct sunlight. We never had any problems getting chairs at the beach. However, one day we did not get beach towels because they were out of them. The beach seemed very populated around 10:00-1:00 but then everyone seemed to leave. There are lifeguards and the water was very calm. I brought an inner tube and it was great to be able to lay in it in the water. I had brought my own snorkeling mask and breathing tube but if did not have them and wanted to go snorkeling, I believe it cost $20.00 to buy the mask and breathing tube but you could keep them. The beach is not very wide but it did not seem to matter. If you are facing the ocean, there are “hut people” (who sell paintings, cigars, etc.) to your right and to your left there are rocks but you can walk around them or through them. If you walk to the left past the rocks in the morning, you can find huge seashells.

I was very impressed with the food, especially at the buffet. I am a very picky eater and if I could eat there, then I honestly think it can not be that bad. The only place that is open for breakfast is the buffet. We usually ate breakfast and lunch there. And then for dinner we would go to one of the restaurants. We always left a dollar and the servers were very grateful and paid much more attention to you. We learned that not many people tip at all. We were there for five days and four nights and probably only spent about $50.00 in tips. Both the Mexican and the Italian restaurants were good. The Italian restaurant is nicer and you get a good selection of choices.

I found the staff to be very friendly, helpful, courteous, and happy. Neither my boyfriend nor I speak very much Spanish. The staff could understand us for the most part and if they could not understand us, then they would find someone could understand English.

Excursions, Activities and Entertainment
The resort has plenty of activities to do; beach soccer, volleyball, aerobics, archery, Spanish lessons, water aerobics, mini-golf tournaments, dance lessons, tennis courts and a full service spa, etc. I did get a relaxing massage and my boyfriend got a deep-tissue massage and we were very happy with the price ($50.00 relaxing massage and $60.00 deep-tissue massage) and the massages. We had planned to take the bus into La Romana on Sunday but we did not know that busses do not run on Sundays. A cab ride to La Romana cost about $45.00 however; the bus only costs $1.00 each. In the evening there were different shows, Lion King, Grease, etc. They were actually very well performed. The only excursion we went on was a speedboat excursion that we booked through the hotel’s concierge. The cost of this excursion was $50.00 (US) a person and it was well worth it. A mini-van picked you up at the hotel in the morning and then drove you to Bayahibe. There someone explained how to drive the speedboat. When we went on the excursion there were four two-person speedboats and a guide in a speedboat. We drove the speed boat for about 45 minutes and got to see the different islands and then we went to a natural pool in the ocean and got to see a sting ray and hold a starfish. They also provided non-alcoholic beverages. Then you drove the speedboat back to the dock (45 minutes). There they served alcoholic beverages. Then everyone from all four speedboats went on a big boat and went snorkeling, they provided the mask and breathing tube. We saw a ton of fish and they had bread there for us to feed the fish. We had a wonderful time and it was well worth it. We took the 8:00 excursion and that seemed to work out well because we were back at the resort by noon. The concierge at the hotel (Fransico) is VERY helpful and can give you great advice and help you plan ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that you would like to do.

In Conclusion:
We had a great time and would definitely recommend this resort to anyone who desires some relaxing fun in the sun. My only advice would be to bring some $1.00 for tipping and to pack a change of clothes and a bathing suit on your carry-on. If you have more questions, please email me at:

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Coral Canoa Beach – Bayahibe Ivona — Canada

November 2004

Country: Dominican Republic
Area: Bayahibe/La Romana
Hotel: Canoa Coral by Hilton
Rating: 4*
Meal Plan: All Inclusive
Wholesaler: Transat Vacations
Airline: WestJet
Date of Visit: November 2004

I was interested in a quiet one week getaway on my own. My criteria were simple, somewhere sunny with a decent beach and water warm enough to swim in during this time of year, with a price tag that wouldn’t require remortgaging the house. The biggest hurdle I faced was the dreaded single supplement levied by most hotels on single travellers. Since I normally travel in a twosome or threesome, this sure was an eye-opener. My sympathies to all you out there who travel solo either by choice or by circumstance, because I think you are surely getting ripped off. While some hotels’ single supplement was miminal, others’ virtually doubled the (double occupancy) price. Cuba fared the best for waiving the single supplement fee, but I find Cuba too chilly to travel this time of year. Therefore La Romana it was!

Airport and Checkin:
Both flights went extremely smoothly without any delays or problems. WestJet has to be one of the best airlines I have ever flown with. They actually make flying fun, if this is even possible these days. Some of the other Canadian airlines, especially the charter companies would do well learning from WestJet’s approach to customer service and their professionalism. I was truly impressed! The checkin at the resort seemed to take longer than seemed necessary given the small number of arrivals. We were not the only group handled this slowly however, as I happened to be in the lobby area one day during another arrival, and the line barely moved. This is definitely an area in which the hotel could stand improvement.

The Resort and Clientele:
This is a lovely resort, with gorgeous, well-maintained, spotless grounds. Gardeners were everywhere trimming, planting and maintaining the lush grounds. The pond in the middle of the resort (where the villas are located) had various resident water birds and lovely landscaping.

The buildings are colorful and cheery, and I do prefer the different sizes and colors of the ‘bohios’ to the bland architecture of some other resorts such as the Casa del Mar for example. The Canoa is a large resort; a bit too large for my tastes (my preference runs towards resorts under 300 rooms), but during low or shoulder season it was manageable and I certainly did not experience any lineups (except at checkin) or crowds. However, I believe that all the resorts in this area are this large, hence not much choice in that respect. This resort is approximately 4-5 years old now, and it is showing some signs of age and need of repair. No show stoppers, but small things such as faded paint, old bed linens, broken doors, loose door handles, broken lounge chairs, etc. I am sure the resort management will attend to these items in time. As it was, I did notice brand new fluffy towels by the end of the week, so I am sure other replacements and renovations are forthcoming.

One word of caution that others have raised in their reviews, and that is the time share ‘sharks’ as I like to call them. They were everywhere. Of course, they completely ignored me due to my solo status (hihi) but they circled and pounced on couples like, well, sharks. You can’t miss them. They wear tan pants with white shirts with ‘Coral Vacation Club’ logos on them. My advice is, unless you are truly interested in a vacation time share, don’t give them the time of day because they will hound you for the duration of your holiday.

The clientele during my stay was made up of visitors mainly from France, followed by UK and Italy and Germany. There were just a handful of us Canadians and fewer still from the USA. Language was not an issue as most hotel staff spoke several languages.

Luckily I did not witness any boorish, drunken or otherwise belligerent behaviour from the guests. Just the usual selfish parents who would drag their toddlers and pre-school children to the a là carte restaurants at 9:00pm and expect them to sit quietly while they ‘dined’.
One other pet peeve that I have is with people who stock up at buffets as if it were their last day on earth. Please remember that the DR is a third world country whose many inhabitants go hungry on a regular basis. If you load up your plate with food, please at least eat what you take. You can always go back for seconds. It broke my heart to see the vast amounts of food that ended up in the garbage. I think this was one of the reasons why I preferred the a là carte’s; I didn’t have to witness that sort of ignorant behaviour.

The Room:
I was given a second storey room in the number 4 ‘bohio’. I was very pleased with the room’s location, as I was close to the pool, beach and restaurants. The room had a comfy king-sized bed, two night tables with lamps, a dresser/TV stand with two drawers and cabinet, two chairs, a small fridge (filled with soda, water and cola), ice bucket (ice machine on main floor), and a coffee maker. The closet had more shelves, plenty of hangers for two people, a (pay) safe, and an ironing board and iron. The bathroom had a tub, hand-held shower, laundry line, hair dryer, makeup/shaving mirror (great!) sink and toilet. You can purchase the safe key from the front desk at a cost of 16us dollars per week. The balcony was a nice size and had two patio chairs and a small table. The rooms seem well soundproofed as I could not hear any of my neighbours, although I could hear people in the hallways especially when they would bang doors in the middle of the night. You may consider bringing a higer wattage lightbulb (regular, not halogen) if you plan on reading in the room. I found the lights very dim, and reading at night presented a bit of a challenge. The maids kept the room spotless, provided lots of bottled water and sufficient coffee packets (without asking) as unlike most North Americans, I do not enjoy watery coffee.

Beach and Water:
Well, the beach is not Cayo Largo, Grand Anse nor even Punta Cana, but it was a nice beach nonetheless. The great thing about the Canoa is its location at the end of the hotel ‘strip’ and hence no neighbouring hotels on the east side. There is a nice stretch of virgin beach which you can walk on towards the national park. The sand is light and soft, and the hotel staff were dilligent in keeping it clean. There was little, if any seaweed to be seen.

You can walk the entire hotel ‘strip’ to the west right up until the Viva Wyndham hotels. This is a nice walk and allows you to see the other hotels and their beach areas.

The sea was a nice temperature. Not the soupy temperature of July or August, but still warm enough to spend time in without turning blue. The sea was very calm with no waves, no undertow, and no jellyfish during my stay. It does get deep very quickly, so people with young children need to be vigilant. The clarity of the water was ever-changing. Some days you could see every detail of the sea floor, and others you could barely see your legs. I brought my snorkelling gear and used it on several occasions when the water was clear. I saw some interesting fish: tangs, sergeant majors, rays, clownfish, porcupine fish, trumpet fish and some weird wacky jumping fish, I even had a ray jump right out of the water in front of me on several occasions. I was up early every morning so finding a shady spot was not problematic. I think this may be an issue when the hotel is at full capacity, which of course in November it is not.

The resort has one lovely, large, free form pool and two round ‘jacuzzi’s’ (one for adults only). These ‘jacuzzis’ were the same temperature as the main pool. The pool water was a pleasant temperature, unlike the freezing cold water I have experienced in Mexico at this time of year. The pools closed around 7:00pm every night for cleaning.

The food was excellent! There is one large buffet style restaurant, and 3 a là carte’s; Mexican, Italian, and Grill. I particularly enjoyed the Grill and Mexican. The Italian is closed-in and airconditioned, so ladies bring a sweater! During my stay, there were no restrictions on a là carte frequency, and reservations were not necessary. This was terrific, as I was able to eat at an a là carte every night except the last evening when I opted for the buffet due to time constraints and the pleasing Dominican theme. The buffet restaurant had a different theme every night (French, Italian, American, Meditarrean, etc.).

Lunch was served at either the buffet or the Grill. Breakfast was at the buffet. I can honestly say that I did not have a single bad meal the entire week, and absolutely no tummy problems (although I stayed away from the tap water, even using bottled to brush my teeth).

The drinks were so/so; I found most to be too sugary. But, since the bars all had serve-yourself soft drinks, lemonade, water, ice and rum, and I always bring my own mug or glass, I simply made my own drinks. This too was a great feature, no waiting around for the busy bartenders, and you get the drink exactly as you like it (provided you like rum, of course!). Most bars also had a bottle of mamajuana available on a serve-yourself basis. If you have not tried this Dominican specialty drink, you must try it! I loved it as my nightly digestif.
I found the house white wine somewhat too sweet as well and I did not try the red.

The Staff:
Lovely people, always smiling and willing to help, including the front desk staff (the usual weak link in hotels). I did my best with my broken Spanish, but most of the staff spoke many languages, so this was never an issue.

Excursions, Activities and Entertainment:
I have visited the D.R. twice before, so I have already done the the Santo Domingo, Altos de Chavon and Saona Island trips; therefore I did not visit these places again. I was also not in the mood to spend the day driving through mud, so I passed on the Bavaro Runners. I also found the organized excursions very expensive, as were the snorkelling/boat excursions from the aquatic centre. 50 bucks US for one hour of snorkelling? So, I did what I normally do, go on my own. I took the local bus to Bayahibe (the village) one day and walked around the waterfront and beach, and on another day, I took the bus to La Romana. I enjoyed this very much. There is good shopping and sightseeing in La Romana and was worth the 1/2 hour bus ride.

The Canoa is a very active hotel, if you so choose. There are activities going on virtually every moment of the day; beach soccer, volleyball, aerobics, archery, Spanish lessons, water aerobics, mini-golf tournaments, dance lessons, and on and on and on. There are also tennis courts and a full service spa.

I cannot comment on the evening entertainment as I did not attend any of the shows. They had kids shows starting around 8:00pm and the adult show was scheduled every night at 9:45pm. They also have a kid’s club complete with supervised playground, a playhouse and a small pool.

Shopping opportunities were everywhere! The hotel has a couple of stores, which actually had some interesting handicrafts, cigars, rum and T-shirts. Walk down the beach and right next door to the Canoa are beach vendor stalls where you can purchase Larimar, amber, oil paintings, mamajuana mix, cigars, pareos, t-shirts, vanilla, coffee and handicrafts. There are more beach vendor stalls down towards the Iberostar and Viva hotels. There are stores around the VentaClub and Viva hotels. There are handicrafts stalls in Bayahibe and lots of shopping in La Romana and Santo Domingo. Artisans also visited the hotel on two evenings during my stay selling everything from silver jewellery to cigars and rum.

There is an ATM right on premises should you run out of cash :- )). I used my debit card and it worked without any problems. The resort also has internet available for 7dollars us for half hour. This was a cost-effective way to stay in touch with family back home. The internet room was open all day, closing at 11:00pm at night.

Just about everything but snow! We had sun, wind, rain, cloud, etc., but even on cloudy days the temperature was pleasant.

Very few. There was the odd horsefly and mosquito, but certainly not a problem.

In Conclusion:
Great value in a resort that has something for everyone. I enjoyed the Bayahibe area of the D.R. and definitely plan on returning some day.

If you still have questions, email me at:

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Coral Canoa Beach – Bayahibe Sue and Marv — PA, USA

September 2004

We recently had the pleasure to stay at the Coral Canoa, 15 minutes from the airport in La Romana, Dominican Republic. You can also fly into Punta Cana – a 90 minute transfer to the resort. From August 26-31, 2004, we were treated to outstanding service and great hospitality. As travel agents we have had the pleasure of staying at dozens of terrific all-inclusives in the Caribbean and this is one of them.

This is an attractive, five year-old, four-star, big resort. It is situated on a beautiful wide beach, one with soft white sand, calm warm clear surf and lots of palm trees for shade along the half mile secluded beach. There are some rocks and coral at the water’s edge but a man-made reef out front is slowly creating a safer area for bathers. Areas of shade abound, created by the gorgeous palm trees and numerous “palapas” (large umbrellas made of wood and palm leaves) with plentiful lounge chairs.

There is an enthusiastic group of activity coordinators called Chocolate Friends. There are no announcements other that those made at the pool mid-morning to late afternoon but the staffers holding the microphone tend to scream a bit when they get excited directing the adult’s activities. The enormous free form pool has a two level swim-up bar. Beach towels are readily available but their quality (as well as the linen in general) could use some upgrading. Lounges in prime locations are grabbed before breakfast by the mostly European guests so stake out your claim early.

The low-rise buildings are grouped into villages making the living areas low key and peaceful. Pathways are well lit and the signage is the best we’ve seen. Many of the well-appointed rooms are the same large size and it’s the luck of the draw as to how close or far you are from the action, centered around the main pool and the dining venues. Fewer than 12 rooms are oceanview but the garden and pool view accommodations are very convenient and wonderfully handicapped accessible.

There is a Kids’ Club, Coralin Kidz Paradise with a supervised program. A full-service spa, a small but adequate fitness center, a PADI Dive Center, and three tennis courts keep active adults in shape. The theater has seats for everyone and offers nightly entertainment and there is a 24-hour sports bar as well. Tour and excursion operators have a large space in the lobby and offer a variety of fun trips and experiences on the east coast of the DR.

A note of caution – during daylight hours you will be frequently approached as you walk to the pool area by a group of uniformed vendors from the "Vacation Club." Beware – they are adept in engaging guests in pleasant, casual conversation while leading you towards their office for the purpose of selling you a timeshare. Unless you want to buy one, we suggest that you avoid eye contact, wave politely and say, “Ola” while quickly walking past them. They are not staff from the resort and cannot possibly help you in any way.

The quality of the food and beverages was excellent. There is an elaborate open air buffet with different themes at the “La Piragua” for all three meals. We enjoyed the casual ala carte service at the “Caribbean Grill,” also alfresco but closer to the beach, and a great place for lunch or dinner. The Italian “Rigoletto” restaurant, our favorite, is an air-conditioned, refined, a la carte dining experience with a great antipasto bar and dessert cart. “El Charro” is multi-purpose venue offering excellent a la carte Mexican dinner entrees while serving hors d’Oeuvres throughout the night. No reservations were required at any of the restaurants at this time even though the resort was almost at capacity over the weekend.

Below the upper level El Charro is an activities and entertainment desk. It also houses the towel desk but another towel hut between the beach and nearby main pool would probably be a worthwhile addition here. There is a well-equipped oceanfront activities area with beachside massage services and a quality golf course is a few minutes away, neither of which is included in the tariff.

American tourists and US dollars are welcomed at Canoa and every attempt is made to satisfy guests’ needs. The public areas are imposing and beautiful. There is an abundance of lovely, well-manicured gardens and everyone involved with the resort seemed quite proud of the facility. The place pulses with meringue rhythms and a genuine sense of Dominicana. Coral Canoa is a winner! —————————————————

Sue and Marv Weber, owner/mgrs

Marvelous Travel Plymouth Mtg PA 19462

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Coral Canoa Beach – Bayahibe Shawn & Renee — Indiana, USA

June 2004

We just returned from the Coral June 13, there for 10 days. I have to say I’ve read the reviews for the last 6 months and I have no idea why people complain. We LOVED it from start to finish we had no problems and were treated wonderfully. Yes, the food was different but not bad remember you’re in another Country. Check in & out went smooth, room clean (shower worked) no bug’s. I do recommend reading the tips taking the mugs was so worth it, we never had to use the bug spray? The sun is intense be careful. The resort was very very clean, the beach was very nice a bit rocky but not bad at all. The chocolate friends were great and I’ll miss them, we will be going back next year for sure!!! Don’t get caught up in the weather there it was to rain every day we were there and it rained 3 times for 5 min’s each not a problem. No problems at the La Ramona or the Punta Cana airports or with customs. We also didn’t need to make reservasation for the “nicer” restaurants or be limited to how many times we could go, they told us it changed the first of June! Go and enjoy you will have a GREAT time.

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Coral Canoa Beach – Bayahibe Calin — Canada

March 2004

For me,my wife and our seven years old boy this was our second vacation in the Caribbean after Breezes Costa Verde in Cuba last year.

Air Transat from Toronto to La Romana in less then 4 hours.

We arrived at the hotel at 3 pm,after a 20 minutes bus ride, right in time (hotel day starts at 3 pm) to get our room. Everything was ready so we got the information, our room card and the safe key (included) in about 15 minutes. Our room was in building 6, close to the pool and beach (we e-mailed to the hotel asking for second floor, ocean view and corner room and we got it).

Not very big but equipped with all you need. AC outlets are same like in Canada. We used a Shoppers Drugmart card to keep the Air Cond. running all the time mainly because of a light smell. We left the maid every day one dollar or little things because she was doing a good job. One complain: lights in the room are not strong enough, in fact, the whole resort looks pretty dark at night.

Great: palm trees and other tropical plants everywhere. The resort is big, but everything is close together.

Huge pool and very well maintained. A lot of chairs around, you have no problem finding one. Water is 1.22 m deep all-round the pool. But we didn’t spend too much time here. We came for the beach.

Beautiful beach. Palm trees, white sand, turquoise water. The beach is not very wide so shade or water are close wherever you want to lay. Lot of chairs in the sun or under the threes. There is a small bar on the beach but only our son was able to find something to drink there. The closest bar is the one at the Mexican restaurant but it’s only one minute away. Washrooms are very close too. It’s true, you can find some rocks in the water, especially on the right side of the beach but rocks are definitely NOT something that should define this place (we had mach more rocks in Cuba last year but nobody was complaining). To the left (East) you can walk for miles; Park del Este starts where the resort ends. To the right, after you pass a Dominican boutique area, you have the Iberostar and the Dominicus resorts, after which the sandy beach ends. The sunsets are beautiful -right in front of the beach.

The main restaurant had a great variety of tasty food, different every day. We did like it. The Italian restaurant had a very poor service and below mediocre food. I would not recommend this restaurant. The food at the Mexican restaurant was very good. If you want, you can order any meal to be hot and they will do it for you. And don’t forget the tequila.

We didn’t try the Seafood restaurant but our room was right in front and it didn’t look very popular at night.

El Presidente beer is good. We had our Tim Horton mugs with us so we didn’t had any problem with small glasses. House wine (red or white) is mediocre. And the rum is very good. Say hallo to Marco at the Mexican bar.

Day entertainment
A lot of activities. The Chocolate Friends are doing a really good job around and in the pool or on the beach.

Night entertainment
The resort is pretty dark and quiet at night. There is no real place where you can meet, have a chat, a drink, listen to the music or play. There is nothing going on in the lobby. We didn’t go to the Disco so we can not tell how it was. There is a show starting every night at 9.45 but even though the ‘actors’ were working hard, we didn’t liked the shows: we were expecting to see more about Dominican culture and less Broadway-type shows.

We took the half-day speed boat -$108 US for the 3 of us and we had a great time for the money. One day Saona Island or one day Catalina Island + Altos de Chavon excursion are also available. On the beach you can take catamaran lessons and then go out by yourself. Kayaks, sail boats and windsurfs are also available and we found no problem with booking.

There are Dominican shops right on the beach, to the right but be prepared to be pulled in every store and to bargain until you get at least a quarter of the original price. There are also shops in the resort at good prices (we shopped there).

Other tourists
A lot of Europeans: French, Italians, Spaniards -all very nice people. You can listen them talk and dream that you are in Europe.

We loved the place and we would recommend it.

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Coral Canoa Beach – Bayahibe Scott — Cape Cod, MA

February 2004

We traveled back to the Coral Canoa having been there 2 years ago before Hilton began managing the resort. We arrived on Feb 15th. Check in was troublesome noting that there was clearly an inability to find our name or a room in spite of paying for the room well in advance. It also took nearly 8 hours for our luggage to arrive in our room from reception. The room was satisfactory although the remote for the TV was nonfunctional and there were no wash cloths. We called the desk to request that the TV remote be fixed and to deliver wash cloths. During our stay we never received wash cloths, and we frequently needed to request three bath towels as we only would receive two. The TV remote was repaired on our last day of stay.

The pool was very clean. Be warned that the pool chairs become "spoken for" very early in the morning requiring us to be at pool side by 6:45 AM to mark out our spot with towels. The chairs on the beach are taken by around 8 AM. Also, there was a constant shortage of beach towels so we learned not to turn them in at the end of the day assuming that acquiring clean towels the next day may not happen. During our first stay at the Coral Canoa there was a fellow named "Amelio" who ran the pool bar. He was a riot and seemed to be a professional comedian keeping everyone within earshot in hysterics. The pool bar is much tamer now that Amelio is gone. There is plenty of activities during the day in the pool and around the beach organized by the staff including water polo, volley ball, table tennis, etc. We did not care for the people trying to sell "vacation club" shares (similar to time shares) who would attempt to solicit us while sitting around the pool. This was also something that came with Hilton’s management that was not present when we were at the resort last time. Finally, there is daily snorkeling trips and scuba dives that were enjoyed.

Our 12 year old was disappointed by the condition of the mini golf course which he so enjoyed the last visit. The greens were in horrible condition including one that had all the Astroturf missing so he played on bare cement. He was also denied archery as their policy was restricted to 16 year olds. The Sports Bar remained the same although there is now a divider to prevent families with children from being in the bar area. The evening entertainment was very similar to our last visit with shows beginning around 9:45 PM.

The buffet was plentiful and we eat at two of the restaurants at the resort. The Italian restaurant was so so but the Mexican was much better. There is another seafood restaurant that charges extra that declined. Overall the buffet was fine. We found the process of obtaining reservations in the restaurants awkward and cumbersome. They had lost our reservation at the Mexican restaurant and we were lucky to be seated.

Our overall impression is that we felt disappointed by the resort as compared to our first visit. We won’t be returning to the Coral Canoa.

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Coral Canoa Beach – Bayahibe Linda from New York

February 2004

Just returned from the Coral –

Hotel Property was absolutely spotless

Beach – very nice but must bring water shoes. The first few feet into the water was rocky and you could really scrape up your feet.

Hotel Staff – Extremely friendly and only wanted to please. Most of the staff could not speak english but I did not find this a big problem.

Pool was beautiful and always no problem getting a chair which is most unusual during black out time. Most of the resorts that I went to in the past, you would have to wake up by 6:00AM and throw on a towel on a chair Towels – there was definitely a storage of towels in the hotel – both by the pool and in the rooms. I would leave the cleaning girl a few dollars each day and somehow she would scape up a few more towels. Rooms were clean, nothing special, lighting problem, 2 lamps in the rooms which did not give off much light. No dressers in the rooms so all your cloths have to go in the closet.

As far the the food went – in my opinion – horrible, but I knew this going into the trip. I tolerated the food because the vacation was so inexpensive and everything else you couldn’t complain about.

Tons of activities for the kids and the hotel was very kid friendly.

If you are looking to book a trip with your family during black out time and food is not your main reason for going on vacation – you cannot beat the cost of this trip.

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Coral Canoa Beach – Bayahibe Robert — Courtice, Ontario Canada

May 2003

Just returned from a week stay at the Coral Canoa Beach resort May11th-18th 2003. The biggest disappointment for us was the beach. The beach at the resort is very steep and difficult to walk. If you enjoy walking the beach this is not the resort for you the ocean is also rocky for the first few feet and there is a drop off a few feet out. The pool at the resort is very large and beautiful and almost made up for the poor beach area.

Staff at the resort were very friendly and did there best to assist if required. We did find some confusion at the front desk but this simply may have been a language barrier. The food was fair but the resort did not have the same selection as other resorts that we have stayed at in Punta Cana or Mexico. The entertainment was reasonable. We did find a problem with some sort of biting insects not sure if they were ants but many people were victimized and bug spray would certainly be of benefit.

I certainly would not describe this as the vacation from Hell but if you enjoy long beaches like in Punta Cana this is not the place for you. For my wife and myself we would not return to the Coral Canoa or recommend it to our friends.

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