Adventures in the Dominican Republic
I had the great fortune of visiting the Dominican Republic for 12 days at the very end of my summer break courtesy of my extremely generous boyfriend. It was the perfect way to unwind after the internship so I would be refreshed for the new school year. Keep reading to learn more about our adventures!
We flew into Santo Domingo which actually had Ubers around so we Ubered all the way to a bus stop about 45 minutes away. By the way, this Uber driver took his sweet time driving and my patience was getting the best of me. This slow pace seemed to be a recurring theme among the Dominican people we encountered during the trip. From the bus stop, we took a three-hour ride into Punta Cana. The ride actually went by pretty fast since I slept most of the way. By some miracle, my boyfriend and I woke up in time to catch our stop. From there we got picked up by the people from the AirBnB we rented.
The AirBnB was quite an experience. Haha. It was a really cute one-bedroom setup, and it was the perfect size for two people. The upside is that the area we were staying in, Puntacana Village, was very safe and secure. The downside is that is very secure. Like, secure to the point, that my boyfriend and I were stopped trying to leave, to LEAVE the complex. Yea that was a whole ordeal. The AirBnB also had the worst wi-fi in the history of the world, but somehow we were still able to get a minimal amount of work done. The bug problem was also out of control. They had the most vicious ants I had ever experienced. At least I think they were ants since they looked different compared to the ones back in the states. Any crumb we left they got to with the utmost vigor. I guess it did force us to be super tidy. The AirBnB also ended up being the very back of this housing complex so it took us a good 25-30 minutes to get to the village restaurants, the grocery store, or the Sheraton Hotel which had shuttles to the beaches. On the upside, I got my exercise in every day with an hour worth of walking just in getting to and from our apartment. On the downside, walking an hour in extreme humidity was pretty inconvenient whenever we wanted to get out. One time we even encountered a massive spider on our walks back in the dark. I spotted a thing the size of two basketballs in the middle of the street. My boyfriend threw a rock towards it, and sure enough, it scurried away on all eight of its legs into the jungle. I am still having nightmares about that thing...
During our trip, we went on several excursions around the island. The first was a catamaran boat ride that included snorkeling and an open bar. This was my first experience snorkeling, and it was amazing! Having my body undulating with the waves while floating in the Caribbean Sea looking down upon hundreds of fish was so peaceful. Occasionally I was jolted from this peace by accidentally swallowing a mouthful of the saltiest water I have ever tasted! I was forewarned by another boat passenger who had gone snorkeling the day previous. After snorkeling, we sipped on drinks, including a Dominican Republic staple known as Mamajuana, while dancing along to some music. After a while, the jovial crew parked the boat and let all of the passengers wade around in a shallow part of the ocean. There was Top 40 music playing, drinks flowing, and a solid group of people with nothing but good vibes. It was a party at sea; definitely one of the highlights of the trip.
The second excursion we went on included zip lining and a trip to Hoyo Azul located at Scape Park at Cap Cana. The zip lining was a ton of fun! It was a great mix of zip lining, hiking, and seeing some incredible views. The very last zip line was pretty long and quite high up so I had a few nerves, but it ended up being really thrilling! After ziplining we went to a place called Hoyo Azul which is basically a really deep cenote with clear waters at the bottom of a cliff. The water was freezing so we didn’t stay in for too long, but it was still cool to experience.
The third adventure we did, which wasn’t really an excursion per say, was a trip to a local nightclub called Imagine Punta Cana. We ended up going on a Thursday night, so the club was super poppin or anything. However, they had some really great music and an open bar so we made the best of it and danced the night away. We also met some with some cool people from the Los Angeles as well so it was cool getting to connect with them.
The best part of this trip was the time to just be lazy. I had the opposite of a lazy summer up until this point, so it was great to spend a few days just chillin in the AirBnB or at the gorgeous beaches including Playa Blanca and The Westin Punta Cana. The Westin had a pretty cool setup since there was a large pool with lounge chairs, a bar, a restaurant, and a beach with additional lounge chairs. There were multiple shuttles running between the two beaches and the Sheraton so that was really convenient. We also had multiple dinners and lunches at multiple restaurants and the food was spectacular everywhere we went. Our favorite was a small restaurant featuring Dominican food in the village which we, unfortunately, did not try out until the end of our trip, otherwise, we would have been there for a second time for sure.
Overall, this was a superb trip with a great mix of adventure and relaxation. Best of all, I was able to spend some quality time with one of my most cherished human beings 😃 I would love to come back to the Dominican Republic again, but I would like to visit another maybe less touristy part of the island. Everything in Punta Cana was catered towards tourists, especially the prices for adventures and food. This trip also forced me to be a lot more grateful for certain commodities back home such as more convenient modes of transportation and fast Wi-Fi. However, I got a couple more stamps in my passport, and I got to do it with one of my favorite people! Until the next trip!