Next stop…Punta Cana

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The airport is built in the traditional style, thatched buildings with no glass or windows. When it rains, an elaborate system or points and overhangs channel the water down to the ground.The palm trees swayed and the sun warmed us. Welcome to the Caribbean! Our journey had been long, more than 24 hours, with three stop overs, delays, compensation vouchers and finally although we had arrived, our bags had not. Somehow however, this was all forgotten as the warm sun kissed our faces and we disembarked from the plane.

The hotel was magnificent. After driving through tropical gardens, we pulled up in front of the hotel. Don’t forget to book your taxi from and to the airport through a local company like we did. Email and talk prices with jennymelob@hotmail.com  for a local service, at more than two thirds off the hotel price.The staff were awaiting our arrival. The dark black wood sparkled, inner fountains trickled away relaxingly. We were whisked into the VIP lounge, where our coconut bracelets were sealed around our wrists. This gave us access to all the seven restaurants, the pool, the spa, all the on site bars, sports facilities…Our week would clearly be very busy.

The campus was huge. I personally loved the walk through the tropical gardens, passed the white buildings housing. Our suite was on the sea front, it was paradise and everything felt very safe.

The perks of jet lag – after room service breakfast, I popped onto the beach to capture the sunrise.

The hotel at night turned into a fairy wonderland, with lights, music and performances.

If you are not planning on spending most of your time in an all inclusive resort, then Punta Cana isn’t the place to go. The activities offered, although enjoyable are very much for tourists. We chose to do the tour of the surrounding countryside in a motorized quad-bike/buggy. The fun part was driving through muddy, pot holed roads, and watching others and ourselves get soaked in mud! Yes, it was that sort of trip! If you don’t like dirt, avoid this one, or else opt for the VIP Buggy like we did, and come out relatively clean – i.e. you won’t have to throw your clothes away on return to the hotel.

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The trip to the plantation, although interesting, was fairly staged, and had clearly been built for the purpose of the tour. I was disappointed, as I had done a similar tour in Cuba which had been far more authentic, interesting and where we had visited an actual working farm. The stop off for the swim in the cave was short and lots of time was spent waiting and on sales.  The surrounding towns and countryside very poor. I hope that some of the money that was spent on the coffee, hot chocolate and flavored cigars managed to make its way to the children and local school as promised. The Dominicans had tried their best to show us the region, and what we had seen was very beautiful, but it just seemed that there just wasn’t a lot for them to work with. Needless to say the final stop, Macau Beach, was my favorite part, and very beautiful. The whole trip was really made 100% better by the great Dominican guides humor, fun, laughter and interesting information about the island and its people.

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