Written by globewriter on 12 Apr, 2007
The seven pools at Sun Village were incredible and ranged from kid hangouts to topless to spa-like. My favorite was the upper pool by the lobby, for its view. Lounging in a chair, drink in hand, you get a spectacular look at the surrounding mountain…Read More
The seven pools at Sun Village were incredible and ranged from kid hangouts to topless to spa-like. My favorite was the upper pool by the lobby, for its view. Lounging in a chair, drink in hand, you get a spectacular look at the surrounding mountain range, the ocean, and a majority of the resort. The pools were kept at a slightly chilly temperature, but that didn’t stop them from being used.Aside from the view, the lobby pool is adults-only. It’s the only pool with a swim-up alcoholic bar. The servers at this bar were great and since I took my own (larger!) cups with me, I made fewer trips. Since this pool is right by the lobby and theatre, I could always run right inside whenever it rained. The Topless pool, just below the lobby pool was empty every time I walked past it. This pool is the deepest at 8 feet, but was very small and lacked a view.The pool just below the Topless one was the shallow children’s pool, which always seemed to have a few kids on the water slide, or wading around. There was a tent right next to it which parents used as a little camp and as a shady spot for the times when the sun emerged. The Spa pool was extremely calm. There was a nice hot tub next to it, which was never crowded or noisy.Just below the Spa pool was the Serenity pool, which was a great spot for reading or sleeping. Quiet music gave it a surreal effect and the little huts surrounding the water held out the rain. A swim-up juice bar was a nice addition.The last two (adult/child) pools are located just above the beach at the bottom of the resort. These Activities pools were host to multiple water sports and lessons, and were right by the Sonora Mexican restaurant, which was a buffet lunch spot during the day.On the beach, by the Lovewrecked Bar, is a bustling spot with another hot tub. The ocean was murky and not good for snorkeling, so if that’s what you want, don’t come here! The beach is very clean, so I would have gone swimming here a lot more if the weather was better. The only topless woman I saw the entire trip was on the beach. A good thing to know about using the pools (beach) is that when you check in, you will receive a pool pass. This pool pass gets you a towel for the day, which must be exchanged by 6pm for a towel pass for the following day. If on no other day, make sure to return your towel the evening before you leave or you will be asked to pay $10. The only thing harder than paying $10 is leaving this amazing pool environment! Close
Written by sylvia13 on 05 Sep, 2006
We leave the hotel, and in town it was interesting to see election posters for candidates I used to know well before. We soon start driving towards Santo Domingo, and I realise that even though it feels as if I had been there for weeks,…Read More
We leave the hotel, and in town it was interesting to see election posters for candidates I used to know well before. We soon start driving towards Santo Domingo, and I realise that even though it feels as if I had been there for weeks, it hasn’t even been 48 hours yet! I noticed the look of the highway has changed, and I think how different it is that it doesn't go so close to dwellings anymore, as well as avoiding little villages on the way, which was a pity, in a way, I thought.
We soon arrive in the city, and I notice how much it has changed, and it is almost unrecognisable in parts. In the evening, Susie and I go to a huge supermarket near her home to get some supplies and to the bank (7pm) to get some money. I notice the supermarket is plagued by trolley traffic jams inside. I count the number of cashiers, and they have 45, with four people working on each! Part of the problem might be the pin-code reading machines, as most of the time they don’t work and cashiers need to type the code themselves. I also count the number of shopping bags, and the two of us got 20. For dinner we had pan de agua with tomato, cheese, and avocado, all a treat for me. There was an earthquake close to midnight, but, as I haven't had much experience with earthquakes lately, I thought it was just my bed moving!
On the way back, I discover that Puerto Plata was an area affected by the earthquake and even the airport had some damage. We look for news of yesterday’s earthquake in the local papers on Internet, but find nothing, only in the Miami Herald. I spend a few days in Santo Domingo visiting friends and Ariel volunteers to bring me back to the Puerto Plata airport. On the way, we stop at a Cibao restaurant and enjoy having what I cant have anywhere else, a typical Chivo con Yuca (goat with yucca), which we drank with some beer and I found delicious.
Written by rsninvt on 16 May, 2005
We flew into Santo Domingo thinking we would visit SD on one end of the trip or the other. Unfortunately, we never had the time to do this. By the time we got our car, we headed for Puerto Plata. The map…Read More
We flew into Santo Domingo thinking we would visit SD on one end of the trip or the other. Unfortunately, we never had the time to do this. By the time we got our car, we headed for Puerto Plata. The map I purchased before going proved to be of little use other than as a general guide. Very few people spoke enough English to help with directions, and we didn't speak enough Spanish to understand their advice. Road signs are virtually nonexistent, and vehicle standards are minimal, so you will find yourself sharing the roads with pedestrians, bikes, motorcycles, burros, cars, vans, and trucks. Driving is an adventure. Off the main road, you will need a high-carriage, as a regular car will bottom out often. Roads are rough. On each end of the trip, we found ourselves hopelessly lost for an hour or two. Do not attempt to drive across the island if this is not your idea of an adventure!
We used the Villas Jazmin as a home base. We spend the first day relaxing at the beach a block away from the resort. The weekends are wild and fun to experience. Very crowded and loud local music. Day 2 was spent in Sosua at the beach. Nicer beach and interesting shops and food offerings all along the beach. Clean water and beach. Day 3 was spent deep-sea fishing out of Sosua with a captain that spoke fluent Spanish and English. Nice trip, but no luck fishing. Day 4 was a rainy condo day with movies. Day 5 was the best for us. We headed to Imbert and found a hillside cigar maker. Great local experience, but no English was spoken. We then went to the waterfalls or cascades in Imbert. We hooked up with a local guide which was a must. You would never find them on your own, and it would be extremely dangerous if you tried them on your own. There are 28 pools. We tried for the first seven, although it was only the 20-somethings that made all seven. Unlike anything you have ever done--climbing rocks, swimming across pools, swimming up the channels, jumping into pools, sliding down chutes. Like a waterpark, but this was the real thing. 100% nature, no safety features, and not for the faint of heart. Our guide was Augusto, an 18 year old who spoke excellent English and who took very good care of us. He goes to school in the afternoon, but ask for him if you visit in the morning. He only has time to do one trip a day. Takes two to three hours. Excellent experience and worth the fee he charged plus a handsome tip. We then headed to the coast through Luperon to La Isabella. Pretty countryside and quiet beach (we were the only ones there). Day 6 was traveling back to Santo Domingo. We managed to get lost again. The trip from SD to PP is about 150 miles, but took about 6 hours each way due to time spent lost.
The locals were great. English is not a second language for most, but despite that, they do all they can to help out. We never felt threatened in any way, and we enjoyed interacting as much as we could. We took very few pictures as it felt intrusive. The DR is not a wealthy country by any means, and it makes your realize just how lucky you are. Although many live in one- or two-room huts in small barrios, they are happy people who are personally clean and healthy. They have few luxuries, and unless you stay in an all-inclusive-type resort, you won't find luxury either. The litter everywhere is unfortunate. The DR was a great experience for us, but it will not be for everyone. Close
Written by SandyLand on 21 Mar, 2005
A taxi is the best way to go anywhere. You can contact Isaira Tours before you go, and they will give you a set price and be at the airport when you arrive. I found them to be a better price than I was quoted…Read More
A taxi is the best way to go anywhere. You can contact Isaira Tours before you go, and they will give you a set price and be at the airport when you arrive. I found them to be a better price than I was quoted at the resort and more comfortable than trying to negotiate with the cab drivers at the airport.
Phone: 809-320-1433 / 574-0062
We had a two-bedroom lock-off unit - which was great because we went with another couple. The rooms could have used a bit of updating, but everything worked well and was clean and comfortable. If there is anything you need, ask for Abel at the RCI desk. He is awesome and will take care of anything you need.
The food and drinks were great. I would recommend bring large plastic cups with you - they have very small cups, and if you are a beer drinker, you may find this frustrating. Many of the other guests had brought their own larger cups.
The service is above average. We tipped about a dollar for maid service and some of the bartenders and waitstaff. I would recommend bringing about $100 in singles and spreading them around a bit. It will go a long way and is very much appreciated. You certainly don't have to, but it is a poor country, and we feel good doing that.
Written by sterlingzinc on 04 Feb, 2006
The beach was too rough to take our 4-year-old out in January, so we spent most of our time at the pool. The pool was huge. There was a small children's pool attached as well. There were a couple of small water slides into one…Read More
The beach was too rough to take our 4-year-old out in January, so we spent most of our time at the pool. The pool was huge. There was a small children's pool attached as well. There were a couple of small water slides into one portion of the pool. Circling the entire pool was a lazy river that allowed you to float from the pool through some waterfalls and right up to the swim-up bar. The lazy river also provided an island for sunbathing, reached by bridge from the main pool area.
Around the lazy river there were a number of man-made rock outcroppings that held elevated hot tubs. See photos. Despite the resort having nearly 500 rooms, we never felt crowded at the pool; there were plenty of lounge chairs and plenty of room to find a quiet spot by yourself. There was always a seat at the swim-up bar and plenty of room in the pool and along the river.
Word of caution: the lazy river is close to 6 feet deep, as is most of the adult pool. And the children's pool is very shallow. There isn't much in between for the 4' to 5.5' crowd who don't swim. We had heard rumours that a 9-year-old had drowned recently. Who knows, but without a floaty, it is a long swim around the whole river (you can get out). I consider myself a fairly good swimmer, but I could see how someone could get tired, misjudge the depth of the pool, and get himself in trouble. Having said that, it had the added benefit of keeping most of the kids out and keeping it relatively quiet.
Written by Jillebuck on 26 Apr, 2004
We had an amazing time. The people at this resort we very accommodating. The food was incredible with four specialty restaurants besides the daily buffet. These specialty restaurants have limited seating and require reservations. We tried all four and actually did the…Read More
We had an amazing time. The people at this resort we very accommodating. The food was incredible with four specialty restaurants besides the daily buffet. These specialty restaurants have limited seating and require reservations. We tried all four and actually did the Japanese one twice.
Even though our rooms were not near the beach, we had easy access to everything.
We were a group of seven women travelling (one was a travel agent) and we all agreed that we would return to this particular resort without any hesitation. We all felt very safe even late at night walking going back to our room alone. There was security around all the time.
This resort caters to all. There were families, singles, and an average of three weddings a day took place there.
Written by Flojo on 28 Feb, 2005
To use a travel guide cliché, Villas Jazmin is a "hidden treasure." It’s a small family-run resort just west of Puerto Plata in the upscale suburb called Costámbar (Amber Coast). It consists of a dozen one- and two-bedroom bungalow-style villas, plus apartments in several…Read More
To use a travel guide cliché, Villas Jazmin is a "hidden treasure." It’s a small family-run resort just west of Puerto Plata in the upscale suburb called Costámbar (Amber Coast). It consists of a dozen one- and two-bedroom bungalow-style villas, plus apartments in several buildings down the street, for a total of 30 units. The Canadian owners are gradually expanding the accommodations, but the resort maintains its intimate, cosy atmosphere, in which you very quickly get to know everyone who’s staying there. Many are timeshare owners and return every year.
The resort is some 25 miles from the Puerto Plata airport. The hectic taxi ride ($30 to $35 plus tip) over potholed roads, alongside the chaotic traffic, and through the exhaust pollution are enough to make you want to spend your entire week at the resort, which we did. Many other visitors (mostly Canadians and Americans, plus a few Europeans) went on excursions to visit the amber museum at Puerto Plata, surfed or snorkeled at other beaches on the Atlantic shore, climbed the mountain waterfalls, and toured other parts of the country by jeep or by air-conditioned minibus, but several said they were not worth the $40 to $95 cost. The cable car ride up the nearby Pico Isabel de Torres (2617 feet) was unavailable (as it apparently often is) because of repairs.
A 5-minute walk from the resort brings you to its own tree-shaded beach dotted with thatched umbrellas and kept spotless by Carlos, the "beach boy." At the high-tide mark there is often a rim of crushed seashells – debris from the reef offshore – but once over that, you can luxuriate in the soft sand and enjoy the warm water. The resort has its own pool (21 by 33 feet, plus a Jacuzzi and waterfall), which is great for kids and non-Olympic adults.
The villas are kept spotless by efficient staff members who change linens and towels every day. Some speak a little English, but it helps to know some Spanish. We advise buying the meal plan ($160 pp per week), because, although each unit has its own kitchen, the restaurant food is so extraordinarily good that it’s worth taking a break from cooking to experience its gourmet quality. All food is washed in purified water, so we had no hesitation in sampling the many fresh fruits and vegetables that were offered. They will sell you a 5-gallon container of purified water ($2) to use in your unit; don’t drink or brush your teeth with tap water. For more on this resort’s outstanding food, see the journal by tadpole.
Bill Cushing, the indefatigable RCI rep, hosts the evening’s entertainment on the small stage next to the restaurant. During the week we were serenaded (not all at once) by a singing guitarist, a six-member Caribbean band, and an eight-member troupe of dancers, who got us up dancing and doing a conga line among the tables and chairs.
Make friends with Hélène Bourke, the resort’s efficient manager, and you will enjoy an unforgettable personalized holiday – and want to go back next year!
Written by cindyvt on 26 Aug, 2005
Our group did an excursion to a four-wheeling place from the resort. It was rather pricey, but well worth it if you’re up for a good adventure. The guide picks you up in an open carriage atop a truck and drives you, picking up other…Read More
Our group did an excursion to a four-wheeling place from the resort. It was rather pricey, but well worth it if you’re up for a good adventure. The guide picks you up in an open carriage atop a truck and drives you, picking up other groups from other resorts along the way, through the village and to the site (in the middle of nowhere). On the way there, we only picked up one other group, which was nice, and they were also from the USA. We rode through downtown, and you begin to learn about the poverty the locals live in. Upon our arrival, we get suited up and familiar with the bike and drive across the highway with our guide to a field. Then you drive for about 2 hours through water, rocks, mud, sugar cane, the beach, and the villages the locals live in.
It was sooo much fun. You get dirty and hot, so if that is not your thing, you may not enjoy. My teenagers loved it, even the high-maintenance girls. You get a chance to shop the vendors at the beach and get food in the village at a snack bar. My best experience through the whole vacation was in the tiny village. It was so depressing and mind-blowing seeing what the poor, poor people and little children had to live in: the tiny huts, the dirt roads, the poverty, the starvation, and no education. The little children were so dirty and hungry, yet adorable, and it made my heart break. I wanted to help save them so badly. It was awful, but it made me so thankful for what I had. I strongly suggest the four-wheeling trip.
Written by Shack001 on 15 Apr, 2007
My wife and I visited this all inclusive resort for one week in February. The weather was in the mid-80s F all week. The resort is a short bus or taxi ride from the airport at Puerto Plata, between the towns of Sosua and Cabarete.The…Read More
My wife and I visited this all inclusive resort for one week in February. The weather was in the mid-80s F all week. The resort is a short bus or taxi ride from the airport at Puerto Plata, between the towns of Sosua and Cabarete.The resort is on a large property that is in an unpopulated area surrounded by forest/jungle. There are no other resorts nearby. There is a huge pool and lots of activities for children which makes it a good family resort. The beach is well maintained and very popular, with no shortage of lounge chairs for sunbathing.There is a large buffet and four specialty restaurants, including the popular French and Japanese. The buffet has a weekly seafood night that includes local lobster.Our room was basic. You can book different levels of accommodation. I would recommend more than the basic room. There is a free shuttle bus to the nearby towns of Sosua and Cabarete. Both are known for their beaches and local beach shops where bargaining is the main sport.The staff were very friendly and well trained. There was no shortage of free drinks, with one of the bars open 24 hours. I recommend this resort if you are looking for an all inclusive in the Caribbean. Close
Written by donnaparadise on 20 Nov, 2004
In the Dominican Republic, once the kids are out of school from June to September, Sundays are Dominican Days at the beach. Most of the beaches have been cordoned off in one way or another from regular Dominicans attending. Hotels have set up barricades and…Read More
In the Dominican Republic, once the kids are out of school from June to September, Sundays are Dominican Days at the beach. Most of the beaches have been cordoned off in one way or another from regular Dominicans attending. Hotels have set up barricades and entry systems that discourage them. This is, of course, against the law, but the hotels get around it by saying they are protecting their guests. However, there is a beach just west of Puerto Plata on the north coast that is an exception, and busloads of Dominicans come in on Sunday, as this is usually their only day off of the week. They come by the busloads and truckloads, almost hanging out of cars and sometimes five to a single motorcycle. They come with their own music and food, which is invariably chicken and rice with or without beans mixed in and lots of coke, beer, and rum, sometimes straight from the bottle. They congregate on the beach to swim, play, laugh, scream, sing, eat, argue, flirt, and sometimes dance. I used to sit under my little tree on a lounge chair with a book. However, I seldom read, as it is better than watching TV to pass the time watching the goings on along the beach.
Later in the afternoon, after everyone has eaten and thrown their garbage for the beach dogs to feast on, the teenagers start strolling up and down the beach, posing, preening, and flirting with one another, the boys sometimes doing handstands or shoving and pushing one another, as boys will do, while the girls look back and giggle. It is such a warm, wonderful sight, watching Dominicans at play and enjoying the joie de vivre that is so typical of their culture. Another day at the beach! Could it get any better?