Need a beach getaway that won’t break your bank? The Dominican Republic is the place for you. Mexico can be fun at times, but sometimes it’s better to go further than right next door — us Texans basically consider Mexico as part of our home state, am I right? The Dominican Republic is cheaper and just as beautiful, if not more. Plus, it’s an entirely new country to explore!
Groupon and Travelocity are ready to book your tropical vacation to Punta Cana—both sites are filled with various Dominican Republic resort specials. There are so many to choose from—all right on the sandy shore with all-inclusive meals and drinks. What’s not to love?
We stayed at Breathless Resort and Spa, which besides being all-inclusive, is also adults only. That was a nice twist for me—not having any kids around at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids. But after teaching ninth graders all day, it’s a welcome change to not have a single child in sight (splashing water on you from the pool, kicking sand on you at the beach).
Picture walking a few feet from your comfortable, spacious hotel room to one of the many pools and soaking up the sun for a few hours, sipping a piña colada (that the waitress keeps refilling) until it’s time to transition to the gentle waves of the ocean. You’ve already had a complimentary room service breakfast (because, obviously, you were too lazy to walk to the buffet), but you still grab a snack from the beachside bar. Later, you shower and get ready for a delicious dinner at one of the many on-site restaurants. You go to the hotel’s nightly show (we saw dance performances, a hypnosis show, a lingerie show and a Great Gatsby musical). After a couple days of this blissful routine, you decide it’s time to leave the peaceful bubble and sightsee. The Dominican Republic is gorgeous—the countryside, the coasts, the culture—for such a small island, there’s so much to experience!
Zip-lining, fishing, four-wheeling, speed-boating, horseback riding, hiking, swimming with dolphins, snorkeling and adventuring through a cave—you name it, The Dominican Republic’s got it. There’s even an excursion that’s literally just a day of massages and floating in the middle of the sea on giant, padded beds ( I definitely almost booked that one). Your resort will help you book whatever your heart desires—whether you want something a little more physical and active, or just a Dr. Fish pedicure (tons of tiny garra rufa fish nibble on your dead skin—don’t knock it until you try it).
All of this said, however, don’t expect a 5-star European hotel experience. The Dominican Republic, although stunning, is still a struggling third world country. The people are excited to make money from your tourism—so expect the usual haggling over jewelry, t-shirts, and other souvenirs. Plus, while out and about on the island, it’s always a good idea to travel with a tour group of some sort. Close by to the sparkling blue waters is poverty and crime, not unlike some of the most striking spots in the U.S. the Dominican Republic is very similar to the nearby country of Jamaica—beautiful, affordable, but not problem-free. It’s just always good to be aware and safe, no matter where you travel. So next time you’re planning a holiday, consider Punta Cana. Sip a mai tai, reapply sunscreen, and forget your worries.