Dominican Republic: Part 1

Hello from the land of humidity, heat, and sand!

I’m enjoying a gorgeous Punta Cana morning – sitting out on our private terrace with my shaker cup of protein powder and coconut milk. If I’m lucky I’ll stay awake to see the sunrise in an hour or so.

I can’t promise anything, though. I’m sure I’ve spent more time napping in the past 24 hours than I have in the last 2 months.

Meh, what are vacations for, right?

Our journey started in Calgary with a very, very early flight.

We got some tea at Tim Hortons, hung out in the lounge, and Kevin admitted to having one too many mini croissants.

We boarded the plane to Montreal with full bellies and heavy eyelids – a perfect combination to make the 4 hour flight somewhat bearable.

Montreal was a breeze – a couple hours’ layover gave us a chance to find some lunch for Kevin, connect to the internet one last time, and line up for our next flight.

It’s hard to sit still for 4 hours when you’re anticipating white sandy beaches and warm sun.

We arrived quite late in the evening, but from what we could see, Dominican was beautiful! We got to walk out on the tarmac from the plane (something about this experience always makes me feel like a movie star). The lady at the customs desk was sweet, getting our luggage was a breeze, and finding our shuttle couldn’t have been easier.

A quick 20 minute scary, winding, death defying drive through Punta Cana, and we were at the resort.

Being the adventurers we are, we checked in, dropped off our luggage, grabbed our cameras and went out into the darkness to explore the massive property.

The place is so big you need to use a map to find your way around. The best idea Kevin’s had on this trip was taking a picture of our villa before we went exploring. I don’t think we could have ever found it again had we not taken that picture.

We stopped for some tea, Kevin drew me a heart in the sand, and then we passed out the minute we got back to our room.

Day 2 began as any all-inclusive resort day should. Reserving beach chairs. It’s imperative that you reserve your spot early or you will be that person stuck lying in the sand all day.

After that, we had a spot of breakfast and decided to take our cameras for a daytime stroll through the property.

Overall, we’ve had a pretty enjoyable time so far. The resort we are staying at – the Iberostar Bavaro, is a large property, great for walking and exploring. All of the guests are spread out so it’s never crowded anywhere. Other than the beautiful beach, this is my favorite part.

Other pros so far:

  • Many restaurants, bars, and clubs to visit.
  • Not many bugs, but still taking our malaria pills just in case.
  • The beach and sand is really beautiful.
  • The bathrooms are all very clean.
  • PADI diving certification and excursions available.
  • The customer service desk will prepare a diet card for you if you have allergies.

Some cons:

  • The kitchen has a hard time coordinating and understanding the diet card which has made our meals quite stressful and not at all what a dining experience should be!
  • There is a major language barrier. Not many of the staff speaks English, which is a challenge when you have allergies, or need your internet to be fixed.
  • There are no bug screens on the doors or windows so you are forced to sleep with no fresh air.
  • The pools are really small.
  • The gym is shared with 3 resorts. It’s small, has very old and broken equipment, and is only open until 7pm.

Our first of 3 PADI certification dives begin today and we couldn’t be more excited to get out on the water.

Given the lazy day we had yesterday, we decided to spice things up a bit by booking some additional excursions on top of our open water dives – a trip to the Caribbean sea on Tuesday for an all-day dive, a cacao farm tour on Wednesday, followed by a ship wreck dive on Friday.

Should be an exciting couple of days!

I hope you’re all enjoying the holidays and baking up some festive treats to enjoy with your loved ones.

Tata for now!

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  1. It always blows my mind how no other country has screens on their windows. I have yet to be in one outside of the U.S. where they do! Isn’t it a no brainer/genius concept? or is that the self centered American in me? ;)
    Gorgeous photos!

    • Australia… we all have them in Australia :) Not only to keep flies and mosquitoes out, but spiders too! :D

  2. Ahh that’s so awesome that you’re doing a diving course!! That’s one thing I’d love to complete but my fear of somehow not being able to breathe and being a billion feet under water always changes my mind (irrational, I know!) Can’t wait to hear more about it!

    • Oh I have that fear too… totally not irrational at all!

  3. hi Leanne!

    glad you are having a fantastic start! :)

    we are on the last few days of our trip, we’ve been backpacking through Mexico since after Thanksgiving… much of what you’re talking about sounds the same here, although Jason does speak great Spanish and I know a little! most of the places we’ve been staying have kitchens, and it has been great to buy produce each morning from a truck! the rest of the time, it has been fairly easy for me to find veggie tacos and… I’ve eaten a lot of guacamole. also, tequila MUST have some nutritional benefit, right? ;)

    enjoy your stay, have fun with the diving certs!

    • I didn’t know you were vacationing. How fun! I’ve never done a backpacking trip, but have always wanted to. Glad to hear that Jason speaks Spanish. My gosh, I wish we were in the same boat! Have a great Christmas, Kristina!