Punta Cana Stories and Tips

Flying into the DR - A three hour tour?

First Look Photo, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The flight to Punta Cana from Baltimore took about 3.5 hours. We departed BWI early, a little before 8:30am and had a very nice flight. This trip package, booked through Apple Vacations, included a round-trip charter flight on USA 3000 airlines. The A320 aircraft was comfortable and we had plenty of room to spread out as the flight was not full. The airline offers a movie during the flight, but you will need to purchase headsets at a cost of $3.00 per set to hear the audio. Before beginning the standard beverage service, the flight attendants distributed mimosas (a cocktail of orange juice and champange) so that we could all toast our vacation. Mmm. Next came beverage service and breakfast. The breakfast far surpassed the usual airline munchies. We were given a choice of a cheese omelette or apple cinnamon pancakes. We both opted for the omelette and found it quite tasty. The meal was served with home fries, a full-size apple cinnamon muffin, orange juice, and grapefruit and pineapple salad. The portion was plenty to satisfy us, and tasty as well.

Landing in Punta Cana is a different experience than you will have in a major U.S. airport. The runway is rather short and they really put on the brakes. We deplaned right onto the tarmack and were more or less on our own to filter into the terminal. We found that no one really gives any direction once you get off the plane -- you just have to wander in the right direction. The terminal is straight out of Gilligan's Island and I kept expecting to turn a corner and bump right into The Professor or Mary Ann. It's all open-air with a pretty thatched roof, a wonderful way to take advantage of the island breeze. Be sure that you can peel down to a light layer of clothing because you will be warm as soon as you get off the plane. We wandered into the airport, stood with the other lost souls in the baggage claim area, and waited for familiar bags to appear on one of the two carousels. Once we had collected our things, we stood in a moment of "Now what?" before deciding that we were meant to just keep going into the next area, Customs.

The Customs desk is where you purchase your tourist card, necessary to enter the country. My advice is to have a US$10 ready before leaving home so that it's handy while carrying all of your luggage. You don't have to fill the card out right away. We tried, but were hurried along by the man at the desk. We filled ours out on the bus to the resort to pass the time, but I have heard that you don't have to fill it out at all. Be sure to put the card someplace safe, as you will need to surrender it upon your departure.

Once through with Customs, we went out to the other side of the terminal and found our Apple rep. We filed onto the appropriate resort bus and were on our way.

Personally, I love the Punta Cana airport. The thatched roof and open-air atmosphere really put me in the vacation mode. I had an instant feeling of being "elsewhere". I also have a wonderful memory of the lady who cleaned the ladies' restroom. She was so cheerful and she had a pleasant smile on her face. I said "hola" to her and she gave me a big smile back -- it really started my vacation off right.

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