Last year I was able to visit this beautiful country with my friend. Having been there for two weeks and experiencing so much, I still need to return and visit so many other places as believe it or not we ran out of time. We flew with TUI and managed to get an amazing deal for an all inclusive resort, which included meals; drinks; transport to and from the airport; as well as the flights.
We stayed in Hotel Riu Republica, which is an adults only hotel. If you are up to having a non-stop party style holiday I highly recommend! There was even a mini bar in our room (and it was free!), which meant drinks all day! There were events every single day which always kept us busy. They also offered events in other Riu hotels in Punta Cana, which included free transfer to and from our hotel. These events also included unlimited and free food and alcoholic drinks. The hotel did also cater for others who wanted a relaxing holiday, as each pool had a different vibe. One pool played reggeaton and house music all day, whilst the others did not or played chilled out music. Having these options was great for us as we could alternate between each.
Below I have listed my top 10 reasons why you need to visit the Dominican Republic:
1. The weather
Need I say more?
2. The locals
Being able to speak Spanish gave me a great advantage at speaking to the locals. Once they knew I spoke their language, they were extremely friendly and very welcoming. We even managed to befriend a bartender which became extremely useful!
Unfortunately, I did see the other side to this. Before I continue I just have to say this was not with every single person I met, but I did notice how some people were quite rude towards tourists. There was an incident where a hotel worker was being quite rude and aggressive towards my friend over a misunderstanding, but the moment I butted in and started speaking in Spanish he completely changed his demeanour.
However I also understand that it can be extremely frustrating to have to put up with certain types of tourists who just visit a country and refuse to learn the culture or at least attempt it. Nevertheless, still no excuse to be rude.
3. The white sandy beaches
If you are like me and are a sucker for a beach holiday, this one will not disappoint! The beach was absolutely beautiful and extremely clean! One thing that we absolutely loved was the fact that you could walk out from your hotel onto a stretch of coastline that was connected with other hotels. Along the beach you were able to sign up and do a number of activities, as well as buy some local souvenirs.
4. Great for any type of traveller of any age
One thing that makes me want to revisit Dominican Republic at a later time is the fact that it caters for every type of traveller at any age. By going on a number of excursions we managed to meet loads of different people, some had visited the country with their families, partners, friends and even young children. They all told us what they had been up to and found out there was so many different types of excursions. I also recommend looking at your hotel and seeing what features it has and which one will best suit the type of experience you wish to have (however this should be done whenever you go on holiday!).
5. Isla Saona
One attraction that was a must for us was Isla Saona. My friend and I had seen reviews and photos of the island and knew we needed to make the time for it. Tui offered two different experiences: Saona Island Classic Tour (£65) and Saona Island Cruise and Private Beach (£104). We decided to go for the more expensive option as according to our TUI Rep it was the best excursion TUI has to offer.
The perks of this excursion:
There were limited tickets, so the journey to and from the island would be less packed
We were served lobster for lunch (which the other excursion did not)
Unlimited alcoholic drinks on the speed boat journey to and from the island
We were dropped off at a private beach, so again there were less people
We also got to stop at a natural pool in the middle of the ocean and see starfish and have a mini fiesta
Regardless for which option you go I recommend you visit as it really is a beautiful place. The journey to the island is also breathtaking.
6. Coco Bongos
If you visit the Dominican Republic and are up for a good night, I highly recommend Coco Bongos. Four hours of non stop entertainment, music and dancing. When visiting Coco Bongos there are a number of different options to go for. Inside the venue it is broken down into different sections and depending on the type of ticket you paid for, depends on where you can sit for the entire event.
A basic entry ticket costs you $35 (roughly £28), which only covers the entry into the venue. My friend and I decided to get the Gold Member ticket and it was the best decision we made! Yes it is much more pricey, $140 (roughly £110), but it meant we had unlimited drinks for the entire night, personalised service from the bar staff and a place to sit down and trust me for this event you need to sit down every now and then.
Our hotel as well as on the excursions we went on offered amazing food. Normally, whenever I go on holiday I prefer to eat out as the hotel food is never really nice and you can just taste the little care that was put into it. Thankfully, this was not the case with our hotel and we got to experience authentic local cuisine including habichuelas guisadas (stewed bean), mangu (plantain mash) and Sancocho (7-meat stew).
If you love exploring new cultures, you'll love the Dominican Republic. Our hotel, just like any other offered a number of activities for you to learn about their culture and customs. This included learning the Dominican Merengue, trust, it is not as easy to learn as it looks. There are also many excursions that allows you to learn about their customs, such as visiting Santo Domingo and learning about their colonial past which I also highly recommend visiting!
9. No time limit to stay
By speaking to many other individuals, I noticed how there is no time limit when visiting the Dominican Republic. We stayed for two weeks, which was just right for us as did many other Brits who travelled a long way to get there. However, when speaking to a number of Americans the majority of them were visiting for weekend (how lucky!) or just under a week.
10. Great value for money
As I mentioned earlier, my friend and I managed to get absolute bargain of a deal. We got to experience so much that to this day we still can not believe it. I also know a number of people who have visited the country and have also said the same thing. The country has so many things to offer that it will please even the pickiest of travellers.
If you are thinking of visiting or have visited and wish to add/make any other suggestions let me know!