Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

A year ago at this time, we were spending a week at the Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.  If you get the chance to travel to the “DR” as it is often called, you should definitely do so.  The beaches were amazing and the resorts are spectacular.  The only downside to our visit was that it wasn’t really close to any local towns, so it was a rare trip where we didn’t get out of the resort.  Needless to say, that didn’t stop us from having a very relaxing and enjoyable stay.

Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana
Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana
View of the Beach from the Resort
View of the Beach from the Resort
View of the Resort from the Beach
View of the Resort from the Beach
The Resort
The Resort

The resort offered royal service, which apparently is quite common in Caribbean resorts.  It entailed us getting a beach front room in a private, all adult, area of the resort, with a private concierge.  We were able to eat at any of the restaurants on the vast compound, which is really three different resorts in different areas of the overall property.  We were given a cell phone with a direct dial number to our concierge who would make reservations for us to any of the restaurants or various shows.  We were quite spoiled.  It was an all-inclusive resort, but based upon the research that we had done prior to choosing this resort, it seems that pretty much all of the resorts in the Caribbean are all-inclusive.

Cell Phone for the Concierge
Cell Phone for the Concierge
Main Resort Area
Main Resort Area
No Kids Allowed :)
No Kids Allowed 🙂
Royal Service Area
Royal Service Area

Probably the best part of getting the royal service was the staff in our private area.  On our first day, we picked out a cabana on the beach where we could sit in the shade and they brought us a couple of lounge chairs for sitting in the sun.  That became “our” cabana and chairs and every morning Pedro would put towels and magazines out so that our spot was reserved.  No reason for us to rush to get a prime spot on the beach.  We had a private, secluded pool and we also had our own pool bar where they took very good care of us.

Cabanas on the Beach
Cabanas on the Beach
Secluded Boardwalk
Secluded Boardwalk
Sitting on the Beach
Sitting on the Beach
Dos Mai Tai's at the Pool Bar
Dos Mai Tai’s at the Pool Bar

We will definitely try some other resorts in the Caribbean, but Punta Cana, with beaches that face both the Atlantic and Caribbean, is definitely worth a visit.  We would also recommend the royal service to anyone who has the opportunity.  It is a bit of a splurge, but truly worth the extra expense, especially if you’re not travelling with children.

Fountain at the Resort
Fountain at the Resort
Beautiful Beaches
Beautiful Beaches
Our Room at the Resort
Our Room at the Resort
Tropical Fruit
Tropical Fruit

All Inclusive – Do You Get Your Money’s Worth?

We’re a week away from flying down to Cabo for a week of sun and relaxation, which is perfect timing since the temperatures in Colorado have decided to tumble.  One of the decisions that we have left to make is whether to purchase an all-inclusive plan for while we’re there.  Fortunately, the resort that we’re staying at offers you the choice of not doing anything or purchasing as many days of all-inclusive plans as you’d like.  Generally speaking, we prefer not to do the all-inclusive plans for several reasons:

  1. We like to eat where the locals eat and not just sit at the resort all day and all night, so we feel like we’re throwing money away if we leave the resort to enjoy a local restaurant.
  2. We’re not big eaters.  Under normal circumstances, we’ll split meals or even just share appetizers rather than sitting down and eating an entire meal to ourselves.
  3. It’s just the two of us, we don’t have to worry about the kids being able to eat whenever they want or worry about a surprise bill at the end of the trip.
  4. You feel the pressure to get your money’s worth, so you end up eating and drinking more than you should or would normally do.  The last thing you want to do while you’re sitting at the beach is to put on a few pounds.
  5. The only activities included are non-motorized activities, which generally don’t cost much anyways.
Sitting on the Beach
Sitting on the Beach

With all that said, we’ve done all-inclusive plans a couple of times.  When we went to the Dominican Republic, we didn’t have a choice, all of the resorts that we looked at were all-inclusive.  On the flip side, there really weren’t any local restaurants near the resort at Punta Cana, so staying at the resort was perfectly fine.  The other thing that is nice about the all-inclusive plans is the alcohol.  When we’re on vacation and don’t have to drive anyplace, we’re going to have a good time and part of that is having a few drinks, so not having to worry about that expense is kind of nice.  Again, though, we don’t want to over-drink, so it is a balancing act of not feeling like you have to have one more because “you’ve already paid for it”.  The other time we did the all-inclusive was actually the last time we went to Cabo a few years ago.  We did three days of all-inclusive and four days on our own.  That allowed us to go to the theme nights, eat and drink at the resort for a few days and then let us hit the restaurants on the beach and in town for the rest of the trip.

Dos Mai Tai's at the Pool Bar
Dos Mai Tai’s at the Pool Bar

We need to make our decision in a couple of days as to what we’re going to do as far as the all-inclusive plans, but quite frankly, we’re not sure.  At the most, we’ll do what we did on our last trip to Cabo and just do the three days.  If any of you have thoughts about the all-inclusive plans, feel free to let us know what you think about them.

Parasailing in Mexico
Parasailing in Mexico