This was my life for seven days. So let’s get started…I have a confession to make before you start questing the length of my hair…yes, my hair was longer and no, this was not my most recent trip, but I had to start from somewhere and bringing you, only two years, back to 2014 sounded reasonable to me. Well, back then I did not have the intention of having a blog on which I can share my travelling adventures with you so I had to work with whatever pictures I took back then so please excuse the quality. Anyway, back to the topic…Dominican Republic is among one of the most popular Caribbean’s gems. It occupies two third of the island Hispaniola, the other one third belongs to Haiti. Dominican Republic’s capital is Santo Domingo and the official language is Spanish. Underneath you can see country’s flag along with its location on the map.

Let me start with the fact that the idea of this vacation appeared exactly two weeks before the departure date and it was my least planned trip so far. Coming as a surprise even for myself, I packed my bags as quickly as I could and I was on my way to seek adventures. At that time I had never been neither to the Caribbean nor to an exotic island but it was a dream of mine for a number of years. All I wanted was my expectations to meet the reality and this place to be truly magical so that I wouldn’t be disappointed. My wish was granted! However I will interrupt myself here…since I was not on this vacation by myself, I will change the “I” with “we”. Continuing…it was such a spontaneous decision to go that we did not even have the chance to do a research. I felt so adventures at that point that if I have to be honest, I didn’t even care where I will sleep for the next seven days. The chosen destination was Punta Cana and the all-inclusive hotel we end up staying at, is called Barceló Punta Cana. The hotel itself was decent. Keep in mind that it is a family hotel so children are allowed. We booked an upgraded room which was nice and very clean. However, since then I have visited few other islands in the Caribbean and I realized that the hotels there have different standards than most people’s expectations. If you stay in European five stars hotel, you expect a certain standard regarding your room, service and food. The same class hotels can be found on the Caribbean too for quite an expensive price. The majority of Caribbean’s hotels, which claim to be five stars equal three, sometimes four, stars hotels in Europe, for example. So if you haven’t had the chance to visit the Caribbean, but you are planning to do so, don’t be surprised about that. Those types of destinations have so much beauty to offer outside the resorts that they don’t seem too concern with their hotels. Another reason, presumably, is the fact that this is a developing country and the living standard is pretty modest. Contradictory to our expectations that people might be unhappy or frustrated with their situation, the service was great; everybody was happy and smiley which was a great lesson to me. In the society we live in, we tend to have way more and we are still finding reasons to be unhappy.

Going back to the hotel, what was astonishing about Barceló Punta Cana was its location. There were a number of hotels along the beach which are right next to each other, but our hotel seemed to be the last one. It has a wide, white sand beach on half of which can be found beach sunbeds. Since it was the last hotel it was easy to drag few of the beach sunbeds away from the crowd and to move it to a more secluded place which made the whole experience more private. While we were taking walks along the beach I noticed how the other hotels are too close to one another. There was no sense of privacy whatsoever and the beach was way too narrow.

Punta Cana happens to have an unbelievably beautiful nature, as I imagined it to be. My first island experienced paved the way to many more island adventures and I truly fell in love with the vibe, the beaches, and the turquoise waters. If you end up going there, don’t expect to see too much of historic buildings, but enjoy the palm trees, warm waters, the fine sand and the people.

 

Since I mentioned that this was a vacation based on an impulse rather than a prolonged research, we decided to rely primarily on the activities and tours chosen by the hotel . Luckily, the hotel offered various paid tours to keep us entertained and to familiarize us with the local culture. We took three tours and all of them were worthy. Ok, I will admit it…I was ready to party, so we took the first opportunity available to dive into the local nightlife. After all it was not that “local” since it was a club where only tourists are going but it was an interesting concept. The club was called Imagine and it is located in a real cave. This was an organized trip to the club and there were buses that could take us back to the hotel. Needless to say that we took the very last bus, right? The second one was a half day trip with buggies which showed us more of the real Dominican Republic. We had a few stops in the county side – first stop was at a cave where you can jump in the dark water if you feel extra adventurous that day…I did not; second stop was at a coffee/tobacco plantation where we had the chance to try their production along with hearing some stories about the processes they use to grow them; the third stop was at a beach where locals seemed to be spending their day off with friends, having food and drinks, listening to music. The vibe was very nice.

The experience that we had with the buggies was so much fun and at the same time I have never felt so dirty in my life. One of the best decisions that I have ever made was to buy an oversized T-shirt that I can throw in the garbage afterwards. All of the mud and dirt was pouring over us to the extent that I could swear that I was taking a shower at the moment. As you can see, I might have left my favourite clothing at the hotel but not my style. I had to make this T-shirt a bit more flattering so I put a belt on and voalá I had a dress. Also it seemed like I did not leave my optimism as well because during that whole mud shower, I was holding two coconuts so we can drink from them afterwards. I wish I had a camera to see myself…it would have been priceless.

 

The third trip we took, I would highly recommend to anyone who already placed Punta Cana on their travel wish list. This was a whole day trip; we sailed on a catamaran well-stocked with rum, local music and a good mood. What else do you need to feel like a pirate…rum in the morning…I certainly was a true pirate that day. The end destination was Saona Island…oh my, that was something else…even now the thought of it makes me smile. This place is a real heaven on Earth. If I was thinking that the beach in front of the hotel looked like a postcard, Saona’s beach seemed like a parallel reality. We had the chance to spend the day there. I seriously cannot describe how perfect it was so better take a look at the photos, none of which is retouched.

On the way back we were on a speed boat which stopped in the middle of the sea and the crew invited us to go out of the boat. Our feet were able to touch the bottom of the sea and they handed us over some real starfishes. The whole day was beyond amazing.

And the happiest little store.

The amazing sunsets of Punta Cana.

I think I forgot to mention that the storms there come extremely quickly. I am sure that the saying “when it rains, it pours” is just a description of Dominican Republic’s weather. We were not very close to the hotel so I had to came up with a solution to hide from the rain...don’t laugh. It was a heavy rain for about five minutes after which the weather and we moved on as nothing happened.

Those were the highlights of my Dominican Republic trip. It was a great balance of relax and adventures. Let’s see where my gypsy soul will take me next. 

 

Keep it stylish inside out.

Sofiya


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