Long Weekend in Punta Cana, DR

Last week, I spent a long weekend in Punta Cana for my coworker’s wedding. This was my first time in the Dominican Republic and also my first time staying at an all inclusive resort. Getting to Punta Cana from NYC was pretty easy – it was a quick 4.5 hour flight, so it’s perfect for a long weekend trip. Before I left to the airport, I checked Uber to see how much a ride from the airport in Punta Cana to my hotel would be. When I entered the addresses, I recieved a message “Uber is not available in this location”. I am not sure if or why Uber is not available in Punta Cana, but I decided to book airport transfers with a private company in advance. When you get to the airport, there are tons of taxis and airport shuttles outside with people asking you to go with them. It could be a little overwhelming on who to choose, so I suggest booking airport transfers/ rides in advance. I decided to book a private airport transfer with Sol Cana Tours. It was really easy to book with Sol Cana and when I got out of the airport I just looked for the sign and they were waiting for me. Their private trucks are extremely clean with all leather interior. They were also early on my way back to the airport, making my travel completely hassle free. I would definitely recommend Sol Cana if you go to Punta Cana.

We stayed at Paradisus Punta Cana which was absolutely breathtaking. When we got to the lobby of the hotel, there were live flamingos hanging out in a pond – I was in absolute awe! We checked in and then were brought in a golf car to our room which was a junior suite. It was comparable to a regular hotel room but had a private terrace with a cabana to lay in which was really nice. The resort itself is huge with a ginormous pool, gym, spa and over 5 restaurants. For breakfast and lunch everyone goes to the buffet and then for dinner you had the choice of eating at one of the 5 restaurants. The only thing I didn’t like is that you had to make the reservations in advance and most of the restaurants seemed to be booked already when I tried to make them. If you do go, I suggest booking your dinner reservations the first day or even a few days before you get there if you know there is a restaurant you really want to try.

People love all inclusive resorts for the food, but mostly love it for the unlimited drinks! I’m not a huge drinker but as I was there for a wedding I drank a little. We did not have any proof, but it seems as though the drinks we received were weaker or perhaps watered down because they definitely were not as strong as the drinks we usually get in the US. As they are unlimited, you can always get more drinks if you want!

I took a walk down the beach for about 3 miles and passed dozens of other resorts. I would say Paradisus seemed like the nicest one at least from the outside. Paradisus is super spacious with tons of lounge chairs and beach beds all spread out. The other resorts had a lot less space and everyone on the beaches were on top of each other which is not a relaxing experience at all.

Regarding safety, which I know many people are concerned about with all the news surrounding DR this year – we were perfectly safe. Staying at a resort in the Caribbean is just as safe (if not more safe) as any major city in America. Most resorts have security and do not let anyone in who is not staying at the resort. That being said, I strongly believe you are as safe as you keep yourself while traveling. If you choose to travel with lots of cash, get extremely drunk, pick fights or offend locals you should expect that you are putting yourself in harms way. I am truly not sure what caused the several deaths in the resorts in DR this year but I did not run into any issues at all in DR. 

On our second day we decided to do an excursion. There are tons of options for excursions in Punta Cana but most of them are snorkeling, jet skis or booze cruises. I wanted to try something different so I choose the Buggie Adventures with Wonders Punta Cana. Once you book, they pick you up right from your resort in an open Jeep. They drive you about 30 minutes away from the resort more towards the country side of Punta Cana. Once you get there, you go through the safety briefing and then start your adventure! 

You drive the buggies through the mud to a couple of different stops. You get completely covered in mud and it’s so much fun! The first stop was a coffee and cacao farm where we got to try coffee, fresh coffee and hand rolled cigars. We then drove the buggie to a near by cave where you can jump in and swim in for a while. Finally we drove to the Macao Beach with beautiful soft white sand and crystal clear blue water. The excursion was a blast – I would definitely recommend leaving the resort and trying an excursion to see more of the country you are visiting!

The next day was my colleagues wedding, it was on the beach and absolutely gorgeous. The reception was a lot of fun and we ate, drank and danced a lot! The next day we spent the whole day relaxing which was much needed. At night, a group of us left the resort for an authentic Dominican meal. We went to a restaurant about a mile away which specialized in seafood. I got the shrimp mofongo with a garlic sauce – it was AMAZING and for sure my favorite meal in DR.

The following day was Monday, our time to leave and go back to the cold. I loved DR and would go back to Punta Cana any day, it truly felt like we were in paradise.


Finding Francesca


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