A February 2002 trip
to Punta Cana by PazMundo
Quote: Highlights of Punta Cana and the Cataloñia Bávaro Resort. Visit Winter 2002. Some love the DR, some don't. As our tour guide said, "you are ready for us, but we are not ready for you".
Hotel | "Cataloñia Bávaro"
The room was large. There was a whirlpool tub and separate shower stall. The bathroom was not easily shared as there was one sink. The tub was not really useful and I would have preferred a bigger sink area or a separate toilet room to this arrangement. There was a sitting area (this room was called a Junior suite). The balcony area was very private and included a hammock for relaxing after a day on the beach and before getting ready for dinner.
We were under the impression that we could eat at any of the specialty restarurants (5) each night, but you could only eat once, at each one. We arrived on a Monday morning, and couldn't get a reservation for any specialty restaurant until Thursday. I was third in line for reservations at 5pm on Monday. Lots of others arrived that day, and the line up for reservations was long. I heard that some people, near the end of the line, couldn't get reservations. The restaurants are 3-star at best, and the buffet maybe 2.5. We ate a lot better in Cancun, at a 3-star place. At the Japanese restaurant, the "chef" used Worcestershire sauce instead of soya sauce to prepare the meal (in front of you). Que extraño. How strange. The best restaurant was the French. Everyone we talked to had booked on a sell-off. Most people were from the USA, but we are Canadian. The staff spoke good English, except the maids. I speak Spanish on an intermediate level, but the girl still couldn't understand that I wanted face cloths every day. Her supervisor was able to translate my Spanish to something the girl could understand. Bring your own face cloths, but don't bring white ones, or they will be unwittingly collected by the maids.
The beach is long and deep and there was no problem getting a lounge chair in sun or partial shade. The ocean swimming wasn't very good; there were lots of weeds and the water wasn't clear. You can borrow snorkelling equipment but there are no fish to see. If you want to snorkel at your resort, go to Cozumel. The pool is crowded and noisy (entertainment staff) and getting a lounger is impossible until after 4pm. I grew to really hate the song, "Who let the dogs out." The sun sets at 6pm. We went to the beach after breakfast, got some lunch around 1:30pm, returned to the beach until 4pm, then joined the crowd at the pool. The dance lessons were fun.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on November 9, 2002
Catalonia Bavaro Resort
Playas de Bavaro
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Restaurant | "Restaurants"
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on November 14, 2002
Bavaro Barcelo Beach Resort
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
At about 8:50 two men joined our tour. However, they were not part of the missing four, but were scheduled for another tour that had been cancelled. To add insult to injury, it started to rain, so we had to attach the removable roof, and we finally were on our way at 9am. Next, instead of starting the tour, we picked up another couple at remote hotel That was not even on the way to our destination, so another promise was broken.
The rain stopped and the tour guide was able to break the ice and people began to warm up and forget the rough start to the day. We first visited a cigar factory owned and operated by a French Canadian. We then visited a fresh water lagoon and some people from our group went for a dip.
Lunch was served in a clearing near the lagoon. We met up with some other groups there and everyone ate together. The food was OK and we didn't suffer any ill effects later. The bathroom facilities here were good. We were able to buy locally grown vanilla here. Next we visited a "typical Dominican house" and learned about how they live. The family was there and I took some photos of them and their pig. He looks dead in the photo, but was really just resting. The house was very small and the kitchen was outside. It was actually a barbeque pit with a roof, located in the backyard. The bathroom was an outhouse with a broken toilet bowl (no seat) placed over an crude opening in the floor. On the way to Boogie Boarding, we stopped at a road side market with very good prices for local rum. . My husband enjoyed Boogie Boarding while took photos and shopped for a sandstone sculpture of a woman typical for this area, as she has a blank face.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 9, 2002
Book at the Hotel
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
We visited a "typical" Dominican house on our Jungle tour, and saw how the people live. Of course, we don't know how authentic these living conditions were, as the house is invaded daily by hundreds of visitors. I assume they receive some monetary compensation for the inconvenience which may mean they live better than the average family--if so, normal conditions are very poor.
The house consisted of a living room, about 10 feet by 14 feet, with some sofas and easy chairs; a dining room, about 8 feet by 9 feet with a wooden table and 6 chairs; two bedrooms with a double bed in one and 3 single beds in the other. The "kitchen" is about 25 yards from the house and is really just an open air structure with a barbecue pit/open fire. The 'bathroom' is in the back yard too--about 10 yards from the "kitchen'. It is an outhouse without running water, so there's no flushing or washing of hands. The facilities consist of one broken toilet bowl (no tank) set over a hole in the floor. Very 3rd world. Not very sanitary. You wash your hands in a rain barrel outside the door (no soap). I brought hand sanitizer, thankfully.
The children were at home because it was a school holiday. There were 14 people living in that house--everyone from the grandparents to grandchildren. Who knows were they all slept as there weren't enough beds for everyone! They must eat in shifts because there were only enough chairs for 6 people at the table. How very sad; it really makes you thankful for the riches we enjoy in Canada and the US.
Despite all that, the children really seem very happy with their big smiles. They were well dressed and clean and appeared healthy. That's the good news!