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Old 01-15-2014, 12:29 PM   #1
skudr248
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So a few friends and I are trying to decide on a place to go for my birthday (week around Feb 16 - 22), and their quite set on the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana area. Anyone gone here before? What's there to do, what resorts do you recommend, things to see, any particular excursions to do / avoid, nightlife? Any other place you suggest to go to during this time? We are all still in University and single if that helps. I tried searching through the forums but did not get any hits really. Any information is greatly appreciated.

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Old 01-15-2014, 12:35 PM   #2
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Great beaches. Food is not so great.

If you are adventurous, the capital Santo Domingo is only 3-4 hours from Punta Cana. There is a monument to Columbus there, and they claim his remains are buried there (but that is the subject of great debate).

My cousin got stabbed on a beach on the North Shore near Sosua.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/dominica...and-punta-cana

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/dominica...-santo-domingo

http://latinamericanhistory.about.co...busremains.htm

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/526
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Old 01-15-2014, 12:46 PM   #3
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Great beaches. Food is not so great.

If you are adventurous, the capital Santo Domingo is only 3-4 hours from Punta Cana. There is a monument to Columbus there, and they claim his remains are buried there (but that is the subject of great debate).

My cousin got stabbed on a beach on the North Shore near Sosua.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/dominica...and-punta-cana

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/dominica...-santo-domingo

http://latinamericanhistory.about.co...busremains.htm

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/526
This is awesome
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Old 01-15-2014, 01:16 PM   #4
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Yep, Dominican has great resorts, fantastic beaches, but it's a very poor country so some of the issues that can come along with that are present off the resorts.

I had a awesome time there.
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Old 01-15-2014, 01:24 PM   #5
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Went in Feb 2013 and stayed at a beach resort in Punta Cana. Overall I enjoyed myself but it was a different kind of trip then it sounds like you're doing. Didn't get much into the cities or towns but drove through a pretty big looking street festival in Punta Cana that looked like fun. Resort beach was good but if you venture out beyond be prepared to be peddled tours, souveniers, etc (and possible stabbing attempts apparently ). Did some fun (and interesting...) tours through some resort backed companies.

Honestly though, I was left with the opinion you could probably get a very smiliar experience just going to Mexico and saving yourself the extra flight time and possible cost. I got the impression the Dominican Republic was to Eastern Canada what Mexico is to us in the West, as far as getting there is concerned. Easy flight south for them anyways whereas we have to bounce around a bit more to get there. That was just me though.

Either way I think you'd have fun if you do end up there. Probably lots of fun stuff to do through whichever resort you end up at.
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Old 01-15-2014, 01:24 PM   #6
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Nice sand on the beach, but I found the snorkeling to suck. They don't protect their reefs.

I didn't feel safe walking around the resort at night by myself.

Likely wouldn't go back.
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:42 PM   #7
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http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunde...sort-1.2497223

I read this the other day-not sure what the outcome might be, but I think it probably happens more than you might think...
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:48 PM   #8
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I've been to 3 weddings down there including my own. Dominican is great, Santo Domingo is pretty sketchy in some areas so I don't usually take the drive although there is a new highway that will get you there from Punta Cana in an 1h 30m. First time I stayed at Grand Bahia Principe, HUGE resort, almost too big and we would get sand flies if you left any sort of coffee out. You have to book the adult only side to get top shelf booze, resteraunts were limited to 3 bookings for the week and you have to make reservations. Not the best location as it is still 20 min to the town.

The last two times we went we stayed at Dreams Palm Beach which was much better. The party director is epic there and has all the hook ups ;-). All top shelf liquor and unlimited a la carte resteraunts, even have a coffee shop with amazing coffee. The resort is not as big as Grand Bahia Principe but it is cleaner and IMO better as you don't constantly lose track of the people you are going with. Easy to get around the resort and right next to the marina/dolphins. You can also walk to the flea market/town and it is only a 5 minute walk from the resort.

Pretty much every resort has the same activities;

Horseback rides, snorkling, swim with dolphins, dune buggys, cultural tours, Casino, nightly shows, ect.

I reccomend you take the party boat to the lagoon and get hammered in the ocean, great times.

the only thing about Dreams Palm Beach is it is not topless like the north end of Bavaro near the Bahia Principe.

Just be carefull you don't start grinding up against some local girl if you go to the cave nightclub as those girls are prostitutes and their pimps will expect payment. Even in some the towns (higuey) there are many unmarked body houses.

DRINK LOTS OF PRESIDENTE!

Oh and MAMAJUANA!

p.s dont go skinny dipping at night in the ocean, there are jellyfish

Last edited by northcrunk; 01-15-2014 at 04:49 PM. Reason: one more thought
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:51 PM   #9
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I was just in Dominican in December and it was great. People were really nice, the weather was great and the food was pretty tasty. The resort had a nice layout with lots to do without being too spread out. All the facilities were also very clean. I would definitely go back.

The resort was Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana

http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Hotel_Revi..._Republic.html
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Old 01-15-2014, 05:04 PM   #10
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Just my opinion, but Mexico > Dom. Rep. I found Dominicans to be more aggressive and rude if you don't buy their stuff.
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Old 01-15-2014, 05:06 PM   #11
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My folks got parasites from there that took a couple months to get rid of. Enjoy.
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Old 01-15-2014, 05:46 PM   #12
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People like their cheap vacations!
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:41 PM   #13
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Just my opinion, but Mexico > Dom. Rep. I found Dominicans to be more aggressive and rude if you don't buy their stuff.
I found the exact opposite. I absolutely loved my vacation in the DR. Mexico was nice but not to the same level. I thought the people in the DR were much more friendly and surprisingly relatable. The overall experience comparison was proportional to the quality of the resort too, so maybe it was just that.

I recommend the DR to anyone. It's great.
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:37 PM   #14
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Just be carefull you don't start grinding up against some local girl if you go to the cave nightclub as those girls are prostitutes and their pimps will expect payment. Even in some the towns (higuey) there are many unmarked body houses.
Si, I realized later why the local women were buying me drinks and calling me Guapo.
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:00 PM   #15
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I found the exact opposite. I absolutely loved my vacation in the DR. Mexico was nice but not to the same level. I thought the people in the DR were much more friendly and surprisingly relatable. The overall experience comparison was proportional to the quality of the resort too, so maybe it was just that.

I recommend the DR to anyone. It's great.

Where did you go in Mexico? I found the west coast much more relaxed than say Cancun.

The biggest memory I have from DR is one of the locals bullying me for my sunglasses. He said Canadians were rich and it was nothing for me to give them to him and he got pretty angry when I kept saying no.
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:45 PM   #16
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Where did you go in Mexico? I found the west coast much more relaxed than say Cancun.
Mayan Riviera. So yeah, close to Cancun.
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Old 03-04-2016, 11:21 AM   #17
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Bump from the dead.

The GF and I are thinking of heading to Samana, Specifically the Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado.

Anyone have any experience here? I know Dominican is generally a poorer country, but we don't plan to really leave the resort. Maybe a couple excursions or explore the island its on.
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Old 03-04-2016, 08:51 PM   #18
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Went to Samana in November and stayed at the Grand Bahia Principe. Beautiful place, great beaches and great food(compared to Cuba anyways.)

It is not really a party town. Pretty quiet and laid back but was told November was low season. Few bars on the strip close to the resort. (10 minute tram ride) If you are looking to party, Punta Cana might be more to your liking.

As others have mentioned, when shopping for souvenirs and what not, they really do get pushy and get angry if you do not buy anything. Sometimes even if you do.

I recommend the ATV tour, had a blast even though it rained half the time.
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Old 03-05-2016, 12:38 AM   #19
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Bump from the dead.

The GF and I are thinking of heading to Samana, Specifically the Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado.

Anyone have any experience here? I know Dominican is generally a poorer country, but we don't plan to really leave the resort. Maybe a couple excursions or explore the island its on.
That resort is incredible. I recommend it to most of my clients who are looking for something high end/exclusive in Dominican Republic. It's a popular pick for honeymoons and couples due to its semi-private location. The food is generally very good (and they take complaints very seriously if someone mentions an issue with the food), the beaches are great and the staff are amazing.

The island it is on is somewhat small - it won't take too long to explore it. The downside to the resort is that excursions leaving directly from your hotel are limited compared to the main land. But you can head to the main island for a fee and then get any excursion you want.

It's a pretty relaxing place. Id definitely recommend it. Let me know if you have any specific questions about it.
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Old 03-05-2016, 12:12 PM   #20
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The best suggestion I received was to have US dollars for tipping. I made an order for $50 in ones and another $50 in fives. I found a $2US tip went over better than $4 worth of pesos. It is really hard for them to obtain US currency- they can't just walk into the bank and exchange.

Word seemed to spread and I was treated like royalty. One night at supper I didn't see anything I liked. The cook came out and asked, and then offered me a steak. He gave me the "shush" signal, that this was on the down-low. He gave me my steak- huge steak with onions and mushrooms, and I palmed him two fives. Best steak I ever got for $10.
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