Punta Cana Journals

Our First All-inclusive Resort Experience

Best of IgoUgo

A January 2007 trip to Punta Cana by berky

Bavaro Runners Tour Photo, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic More Photos
Quote: Our first all-inclusive experience — if we do it again, we would choose a different resort or a different location.

Catalonia Bavaro Resort

Hotel | "Hotel Catalonia Bavaro Resort"

Catalonia Bavaro Resort Photo, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Quote:
Twin rows of three story multi-unit villas, lazily arranged on either side of a wandering man made lake, landscaped gardens and free form pool, meander perpendicularly away from the white sand beach and azure water of this self-proclaimed 5 star resort. Our unit was adequate with a king size bed, a wicker loveseat and chair, (very uncomfortable), a small television with a good selection of channels, a coffeemaker, a fridge stocked with beer, water and sodas, and a wicker desk and chair. The shower was so small that if you bent over to wash your feet, you either hit your ass on the cold wall, got it stuck to the curtain or turned off the faucet. There was a large tub which took forever to fill ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 17, 2007

Catalonia Bavaro Resort
Playas de Bavaro
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
(809) 412-0000

Aquatours

Attraction | "Aquatours-Part 1"

Quote:
We wanted to do a half day excursion and little was available except for this. The tour agent sold it to us, but did not seem too enthused. We soon learned why. Only do this if you are in good physical shape and are okay with risking your life and that of others.The tour starts out fairly innocuously with a bus trip to the headquarters on the beach where we were introduced to your guide, outfitted with a life jacket, and were given a brief overview of the excursion. There is a small feeling of trepidation as we see the speed boats are 200 feet out and we are told to swim out to the boats. We all laugh at the joke and are relieved to see a water taxi appear. Feeling safe and confident with our ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 17, 2007

Aquatours

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Aquatours

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Aquatours-Part 2"

Quote:
The next part of the excursion requires a trip along the coast to a reef for snorkeling. Somehow these boats seem to be designed to get the occupants as wet as possible in the minimal amount of time. Again were it sweltering hot, it would possibly be refreshing, but there was so much salt water spray splashing into our eyes, we could not even keep our eyes open. I was the passenger so just kept my eyes closed at all times. If I were to do this trip again, I would be wearing goggles. It is probably not a good trip to go on if you have a bad back or hips as the boat just kept bouncing on the waves. Under my very thin cushion there seemed to be some kind of metal bolt that I landed on very time the boat ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 17, 2007

Aquatours

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Aquatours

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Aquatours-Part 3"

Quote:
“Follow me” back to the boat where he took off my fins, helped me back onto the platform and then filled up two glasses of water. I was thinking I now had to drink these and we were quite far from the bathroom and I was not inclined to “go with the fishes” again as we had been counseled earlier when someone had asked about bathrooms. My worries were for naught as he took the two water glasses and poured them over my head, then handed me some paper napkins. I wish I had been somewhat more prepared, but it was nice to get some of the salt water out of my eyes.Once everyone was back on board, it was time for a quick soda and then back to the big boat and the same procedure as before to get onto o...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 17, 2007

Aquatours

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Bavaro Runners Tour

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Bavarro Runners"

Bavaro Runners Tour Photo, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Quote:
A full day excursion to discover the Dominican countryside. The trucks are open air but covered with a canopy to protect one from the sun or possibly rain. We sat on long benches facing each—seat belts and hand holds are provided and we used them as the roads in the Dominican are way below North American standards. Many times on the roads, the driver would cross over to the opposite site to avoid a large pothole. There are no lines on the road, horns are frequently used, and stop signs and lights seemed to be a suggestion, not a law.Our first stop was a sugar plantation, its location heralded by a sign riddled with bullet holes. Our guide explained the process of cultivating the sugar cane and...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 17, 2007

Bavaro Runners Tour
Punta Cana
Dominican Republic
(809) 455-1135

Playa Bavaro

Attraction | "Beach at Catalonia Resort"

Playa Bavaro Photo, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Quote:
The ocean floor sloped off very, very gradually—you could walk out quite far. There were some areas of sea weed and rocks. A reef about 200 meters out broke the waves long before they came to shore. The beach sand was soft and white. For the most part, it was quite windy at the beach—in fact the first few days, the red flag was flying and none of the non-motorized water craft could be launched. A number of people made wind screens out of lounge chairs by propping them up onto a palapa.Walking north, you pass the Marinarium (a patrolling guard ensured you did not get into the park without paying) and eventually reach the Allegro resorts.Walking south, you quickly come upon local...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 17, 2007

Playa Bavaro
Paradisus
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Making a hat Photo, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Quote:
One evening a week, local people came to put on a market and sell their wares—t-shirts, jewelry, paintings, etc. You could haggle and get a good price, but if you showed any kind of interest, the vendor would hound you until you were out of sight.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 17, 2007

L'Torpedo Cigar Store/Vivians

Attraction | "Vivianne's"

Quote:
Our tour company offered a “free” excursion to Vivianne’s, a cigar manufacturing plant. This turned out to be one old man sitting in a corner of the store making cigars. The store sold quality Dominican larimar (pectolite), amber and a few other pieces of jewelry as well as cigars, vanilla and coffee. The prices were marked and there was no haggling here.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on February 17, 2007

L'Torpedo Cigar Store/Vivians
Los Corales
Bavaro, Punta Cana

Food at the Resort

Story/Tip

The Creperie Photo, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Quote:
There were two buffet style restaurants, a creperie, a fast food pool side service, and four a la carte restaurants for which reservations were required. The desk was only open for limited amounts of time and there was always a line-up—a good idea to make all your reservations as early in your visit as possible. At the a la carte restaurants we enjoyed a more leisurely meal as we were being served. A bonus was that we were given more reasonably sized portions than what we tended to pile on our plates at the buffet. The Japanese restaurant not only had different food, the preparation was done with flair right in front of you. So eating and entertainment were combined. The American restauran...Read More

Resort Activities

Story/Tip

Resort Map Photo, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Quote:
Each day, activities were held by the pool (and some on the beach) by the animations staff. These versatile hosts spoke several languages each and worked tirelessly with enthusiasm, engaging people in archery, aquarobics, volleyball, dance and language lessons, pool games, painting lessons. . . There were competitions at various activities and winners had to show up at the evening show to collect their prized, which could be a hat or t-shirt or mug. We only watched the evening show once and while somewhat entertaining; certainly we have seen more inspiring entertainment at other resorts and on cruise ships. However, it was somewhere to go in the evening. Prior to the show there would be karaok...Read More
Quote:
In every area, there seemed frequently to be a shortage of items—it seemed as if perhaps inventory in general did not keep up with demand. The second night we got back to our room and our water had not been replenished. We had started out with four bottles, which would seem adequate, but we were using it to brush our teeth even so it went fast. We called three times that evening to get more water and each time were told it was on its way. We had to take our medication with beer—there were seven bottles of that in our fridge!Several times on arrival back to our unit, our room was not made up, but our towels were gone. It seems there were not enough towels to go around, so they had to take the t...Read More