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Additional Travel Info

Cancun

Jamaica

Playa Mujeres

Puerto Vallarta

Punta Cana
• Barcelo Bavaro Beach
• Barcelo Bavaro Palace (kids club and bars)
• Barcelo Bavaro Palace (Presidental Suite)
• Barcelo Bavaro Palace (rooms)
• Catalonia Bavaro
• Catalonia Royal Bavaro
• Excellence Punta Cana (facilities)
• Excellence Punta Cana (rooms)
• Gran Bahia Principe Ambar
• Gran Bahia Principe Bavaro
• Gran Bahia Principe Esmerelda
• Hard Rock Punta Cana
• Hard Rock Punta Cana (rooms)
• Iberostar Grand Bavaro
• Majestic Colonial
• Majestic Elegance
• Majestic Elegance (facilites)
• Ocean Blue (facilities)
• Ocean Blue (rooms)
• Paradisus Palma Real
• Paradisus Palma Real (rooms)
• Riu Palace Bavaro
• Riu Palace Punta Cana
• Royal Suites Turquesa

Riviera Maya, Mexico

St. Lucia

Choose a Property for Punta Cana (Click any one on the left)
This is what almost all the beaches look like.
Tour Transport

Punta Cana


 

I have to start this review off my saying a big thank you to FunJet Vacations. I first visited Punta Cana back in 2002. I stayed at the Serenis Cocotal and lost 8 lbs because I refused to eat. The food was bad. On that trip I saw Secrets Excellence Punta Cana (now Excellence Punta Cana) and Breezes Punta Cana (another resort that has changed hands). So really all I knew about the place was there was not much there, if you stay at a below four star resort bring your own canned goods, and the Excellence was awesome. I had asked FunJet to send me out there and educate me on one of my top selling destinations. I wanted to be able to sell the destination with the enthusiasm I have for all the other places I have been to and seen a lot of. They did more than deliver. FunJet gave me airfare, 9 nights at the Riu Palace Bavaro (they gave me a VIP villa junior suite with Jacuzzi) and all the services of Island Sun Experience (their destination management company). Island Sun hooked me up with two tours and my own driver for the duration of my stay. I have to say they made me feel special and I thank them for it.

As you can see by the long list of resorts and the vast amount of photos in the tabs to the left I was not there just for some fun and sun. I was there to work. There were at least 5 days where I worked 11 hours. After a day of seeing hotels I would go back to my room and put all the photos in their separate folder and name them all. I would then start to write the reviews you read here while the info was fresh in my head. Don’t feel too sorry for me. I did have a lot of fun.

I have never had a client come back from Punta Cana and say that a tour was the highlight of their trip. Island Sun Experience sent me on two tours and I have to say I and every person on those tours (a combined number of about 125 people) had a great time. I made it a point to try and talk to as many people as I could and get their thoughts. I went on a zip line tour and it was one of the best I have been on. It takes place about an hour from Bavaro up in the mountains. The longest line is like 6 football fields. On a couple of the lines you are going over a river. It was a lot of fun. The equipment used was professional and the people conducting the tour were very nice, very friendly and funny. This tour has a retail value of $95.

The other tour was called Dr. Fish. For this one they pick up and take you to the a beach where you go for a boat ride and have a spa day. You get broken up into groups because not everyone can do each activity at the same time. I started off with a 20 minute full body message. Then they laid me down in a bed that messaged me. At times it felt as though it was shushing my body by pushing my head down and my tail bone up. Then it would stretch my body by pushing my middle back up. Then I went on for 20 minutes of yoga. This was a new experience for me and many people on the tour. One guy fell asleep. Then it was on to the personal rafts that they tied up to a rope so we wouldn’t float away and just relax and feel the current flow under you. Then it was on to a foot detox. I joked that as soon as my foot hit the solution it would turn black. Then the highlight of it all ….. drum roll….. flesh eating fish. Oh yeah. You go out to the platform off the cost of the Barcelo Bavaro Place and they have these tanks with fish that max out at one inch long. These guys eat the dead skin off your feet. You sit four people per tank and about 50 fish per tank. I was the first to put their feet in and they all went strait to me and it tickled like crazy. Once other people put their feet in there is wasn’t as bad because the fish spread out. After about 2 minutes the ticklish feeling goes away as you get used to 10 of them on a foot at a time. You get up to 20 on there and it is funny all over again. I have to say it was really cool to see a guy a black man about 6’2” and 250 lbs laugh like a 5 year old girl until he cried. The price of this tour is $125 per person and everyone that was on it with me that day felt it was worth it.

A lot of people say they do not want to go to Punta Cana due to the poverty. To be honest with you the poverty of the country is not right in your face all the time. You will only see it when you go on a tour that takes you out in to the country side. Even then the area is not that populated so you will not see much of that. Punta Cana is a beautiful place with very nice people. Many people are multilingual. I met many people that spoke 4 or more languages. That is what it takes in order to work in tourism there as they have a lot of people from Europe visiting the destination. When you book a tour (excursion) 16% goes toward education. Destination Management Companies sponsor schools. So by visiting Punta Cana you are helping the country get out of poverty and directly impacting the quality of their education system.

Punta Cana is not a culinary destination. There is no spice that you have to take home like Jerk is to Jamaica. There is no special cuisine for the most part like there is in Mexico. However they do have Mamajuana. Mamajuana is a drink. They take a special wood and put it in a bottle with other ingredients. To cure it you have to fill the bottle (a circular bottle) 2 fingers high with honey. Then three fingers high with red wine. Then fill it up with rum. You shake it and let it sit a week. Some people drink it at this point for the medicinal value. Others will pour it out because it is bitter and repeat the processes. After another week then you can drink and enjoy. Empty and repeat. You can repeat this process for years. I noticed at the resorts they are not doing it right. They just fill it and serve it. I never saw them put the honey in there. Maybe that was just where I was at. This is definitely something you have to try and maybe even take some home.

The beaches are some of the best in the world. Bavaro Beach is a long stretch of perfect beach. After living in Cancun for 6 years I can say the beaches in Punta Cana beat those here and in the Riviera Maya in consistency easily. In Cancun/Riviera Maya there can be a nice beach and then just a 10 minute walk down the beach it turns to not so good or down right bad. In Punta Cana I walked the beach for 30 minutes and from as far as I could see in either direction it was great. I did not see a single beach that was not well above average vs those in other destinations that I have been to. This is not a destination you fight over a spot at the pool at. You go to the beach. The pool is there is you want it but I think the whole flight over a seat will be limited.

Mecao beach has surfing in the fall. We were told it was year round so I went out there one day and there were not any waves. You can just imagine my disappointment. The beach here has a bit more of a brown sand. It is not as good as the beaches in Bavaro. It is about 30 minutes by car from Bavaro. If you are traveling in the fall you might want to have your Island Sun Rep look into it for you before you waste your time going out there. They say a board will run $20 a day and the cab ride is $50 each way.

There are casinos all over Punta Cana. Most are pretty simple. A couple of black jack tables, a roulette wheel, a couple of Caribbean poker tables, a Texas hold em table, and some slot machines. If you want a true casino head over to the Hard Rock. They have it all. They have a huge sports book area, a lot of tables, many different slot machines and a lot more table games. All you have to do is get a ride over there and tell the people at the front you want to go to the casino. The night club is in there as well. All are cash bars unless you are betting. They also have a restaurant so you can either pay for food or bet enough to get a comp.

The bottom line is after this trip I can really help you make the most of your vacation to Punta Cana. I spent just enough time there to know a lot of resorts, do a couple of tours, hang out on a couple of different beaches, eat at a couple of different restaurants in different resorts and locally, and play a lot of volleyball. All it takes is a couple of minutes on the phone for me to make some suggestions to you and then you can come back here to look over the resorts while I get you some quotes. My phone number is at the top of the page. Give me a call.

 

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