We recently spent five glorious days in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and it was such a beautiful getaway, during these chilly January months in Upstate NY. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort right on Bavaro Beach. I've never stayed at an all-inclusive before, and it was such an interesting experience! I wanted to share some thoughts on Punta Cana, general thoughts on staying at an all-inclusive, and what we learned from our quick vacation.
Punta Cana is so gorgeous, and you will quickly find once you start researching your trip, that it is the land of all-inclusives. I think nearly all of the hotels we found, while we were searching for accommodations were all-inclusive. I can only surmise that this is for a reason, and that Punta Cana is one of the places where they want you to stay on the resort. It is typically okay to venture off for excursions through local companies or your hotel, but for the most part, wandering the streets is likely not a safe option. When we first arrived in Punta Cana, we headed straight for the pool to squeeze in 45 minutes of fun before pool/pool bar closing time. We met this lovely couple from Boston and became fast friends. One of the first things they mentioned to us, was that they frequently stay at all-inclusives, but love to venture out in whatever city they were visiting. They had friends from home that had recommended they stay on resort property. We took that advice as well.
Staying at an all-inclusive
Paul is the type that loves to wander the streets, interact with locals and try local cuisine. I totally love these things too when traveling, and that was the biggest missing aspect of staying at an all-inclusive. Additionally, there are so many things to navigate when staying at an all-inclusive, at the least at the big resorts. Figuring out where to eat, which restaurants need reservations, which restaurants cost extra, which drinks are not too sugary sweet, which drinks are the most value for your money, and where the worthwhile activities are is an enormous job. The resort we stayed at was huge, and there were various hotels within the resort, all with their own restaurants, pools, and activities. Frankly, we found the process of navigating an all-inclusive for the first time, very overwhelming. By the end of our stay, we had started to get the hang of things and figure out what was what. It was definitely fun and a totally new experience. We LOVED being able to order multiple entrees per person at the restaurants and multiple appetizers just to try to everything. I've been on a few cruises in my life and I would equate an all-inclusive resort to a cruise ship on land. What do you guys think about them? Although there were various restaurants (Thai, French, Dominican, Greek, etc) I still love the variety and authenticity of being able to eat Dominican food in restaurants with actual Dominicans.
What we did in punta cana
If you follow along on Instagram, I think you can see my love of swimming, beach time, and pool time. That is where we spent the majority of our time. Unfortunately, we had limited nice weather while we were there (it rained one entire day) so I wanted to maximize our sunlight hours. We finally decided on an excursion that involved snorkeling, swimming, a catamaran and a picnic lunch that sounded perfect, but the company was closed the days we were in Punta Cana due to unpredictable weather. This excursion also came highly recommended from our Boston friends. On the non-stop rainy day, our Boston friends left at 6am for a ziplining excursion that sounded like fun. We hemmed and hawed too long to commit in time to doing this, since I've been ziplining before, but if you never have been, it's definitely a worthwhile experience to try!
We had a really great time in Punta Cana, and we both agreed we wish our stay was just a tad longer! Stay for a week if you can and really try to experience all the beauty, beaches, and activities that Punta Cana has to offer! Anyone been? Do you guys agree about the all-inclusive experience? or are you die-hard all-inclusive stayers? Tell me in the comments! I'd love to hear any new travel recommendations too!
Have you ever stayed at a punta cana all-inclusive? or anywhere?
PS- we got upgraded to first class on our long flight from NYC to Punta Cana! It was the absolute best (and my first time ever in first class)! Paul gets upgraded frequently but since we booked under him, we both did! Definitely got the vacation off to a festive start.