be careful what you eat at the buffet
My friend and I went to Club Carabela Bavaro on november 28 to december 5 2004. We enjoyed the grounds and the beach. The service was ok but nobody spoke english which made it hard to communicate. The second night there i had diaherra extremely bad through the night. The next day i got up and felt very weak. We had a tour booked for that day but had to cancel it for 4 days. By noon that day I was so sick and weak and still had diaherra , so my friend took me to the doctor on the resort. I had intervenous in my arm for 8 hours that day and continued to take medication for 3 days after that. The doctor put antibiotics, electrolytes, and vitamins through my intervenous that day. About 3 days after that i started feeling abit better but not 100%. I only ate bread and rice for the remaining time. I've been home now for a little over a month and I am still not feeling the way I should. I've been to my doctor on a regular basis since i've been home. When we arrived in Toronto, there was alot of talk about a Malaria outbreak where we were. I wish we would have known about that before we left. The resort is beautiful but be very careful what you eat. I don't think i would go back to that same resort again.
Only if you get a very good deal
We (married couple mid 30s) stayed at the Carabela from 13 - 27 oct 2004 in room 7110 near the quiet pool. This was our 2nd time in DR. Last year we stayed at the Jack Tar Resort (Occidental Allegro resort) in Peurta Plata. We also have experience with All Inclusive resorts (Riu Tequila and Royal Decameron) in Mexico.
Price/Quality ratio: This was by far the cheapest trip we made to an All In resort (€820/$960 for 2 weeks per person with flight & all extra cost included). This was a very good deal.
Food: Selection at the buffet was small, all the basic stuff were present. The a la cart restaurant were very good. The Mexican (El Mariachi) was the best. We really enjoy mexican food. The French (El Amirante) was also very good. The Italian (Mama Mia) comes in third. All the main courses were very good. Only the desserts did not do it for us.
Staff: We have mixed emotions on this. The entertainment was good and the staff at the restaurant were great, but the guys at the bar near the lobby were a bit cranky.
Rooms: The bathroom was very out of date. Room was spacious and clean. ok, but some problems. Rooms 7117-7124, 7217-7224, 7317-7324 have sea view balcony. We did not have that.
Grounds: very beautifull. Above average.
Beach: Under Average. If you are on the beach and facing the sea, to the left there are other resorts with very beautifull beaches. White sand, broad and with lots of palm trees, unlike the Carabela beach.
Overall we had a very good time. The weather is great. We had some rain showers, but no show stoppers. We loved the walk along the beach. It went for hours on end. The drinks (cocktails) were very good (strong). Excellent. We met some beautifull people. Population is 95% european.
Recommendation: only if you get a very good deal. If you have a larger budget, I would recommend you do some more reseach and compare the Carabela with the other resorts.
Never Ever Again
I arrived Sunday Oct 3/04 for a week, a family of 4 (kids 5 &10yrs). Door lock didn't work and after 4hrs of calling and walking to the Reception, they finally came to change the lock. Same day at 11PM door lock not working again. Insisted on a room change. Got room 3103 with no A/C and I slept on a mattrass and pillow without sheets as housekeepers already left for the day. We changed 4 rooms in 5nights. Hotel has problems with all his A/C systems due to the hurricane but still is talking our money. They shold had shut it down for repairs before accepting guests. MOre than 50% of thier rooms were shut down. Finally we checked out and stayed at the LTI which was excellent. A real 4 Stars Resort ! Service at Carabela was terrable and so was the beach. This is not a 4 stars hotel. It's less that 1 star. Pls email if you would like more detials. I asked for the General Manager 5 times but to no avail. BAD BAD BAD!
Our Second time there and we would return for a third
Wow, I was just reading some of the reviews and I can't believe what some people will say!!! I just returned from Punta Cana, from August 10th to the 17th. Let me say that it's our second time there with the same resort. And let me tell you that we had no problems both times with "insects, bugs" or whatever you want to call them inside the room. But do bring bug spray cause there are insects outside, lol. Our stay was pleasant and even better then the last time we stayed there and it was also cheaper. We paid $1750 for two with airfare include with TNT Vacations from travelzoo
We recommend putting in a request by email (---------------------------------------) or via the telephone (-----------) for your room choice, the 6000's are the best rooms. They face the ocean and you are located by the pool which the call the "quite pool." This pool in not the pool with the swim bar. The rooms are clean and we got new towels everyday. You must put ur dirty towels in the tub in order to get your new towels which is stated in bold letters in the bathroom broucher. It also helps leaving a tip on ur pillow or counter to help the maids out. Hint: Make sure to get a safe key for $10 bucks in order to use the safe.
The food was great and there is something for everyone and it's far from "disgusting." Now there are 3 restuarants that one can go to instead of two. There is the Italian restuarant, the Mexican and the A-la-Carte. Both the Italian and Mexican restuarants are not enclosed, however the A-la-Carte restuarant which is located right next to the buffet is air-conditioned, also at this restuarant you can order seafood at an extra cost or pick from the all- inclusive menu.
Beach was clean and of course beautiful. The water was also clean and we recommend renting the free snorkling equipment and going snorkling right off the beach in front of the suites. You see as many fish as you would see going on a snorkling trip. There is also a really nice reef near the fiesta hotel which is left of carabela. To rent any of the free equipment one needs there credit card or $50 as a deposit. There are also kayaks, windsurfs etc.
the beach also has a snack bar between the mexican and italian resturantes. There is also a self serving bar near the suites on the beach and another near the water sports. So they are pretty spread out.
For our second time back we had an amazing time. The Club Carabel Bavaro Hotel is a great hotel for a great price and surpassed our expectations for a second time. We also booked with TNT vacations and took Coco-tours. By the way "Coco-tours" is just a "transportation company, not a travel company". So its impossiable for them to take care of problems regarding your hotel. These problems should be taken up with your travel company :)
What we expected!
We just got back from a weeks vacation from the Carabela (Nov. 4th through 11th) and would like to assure you that all of the previous reviews have their merits. This is why this site works so well.
We found that with reading the reviews, we got exactly what we expected; a no frills vacation in a very nice location. The best things were the beach and colourful (Canadian spelling!) caribbean water. We walked to the North (left) past many other resorts, and found that many were in various states of repair from the heavy winds and rain from the edge of the Hurricanes that passed by. These other resorts offered no better beach, trees, pools, or activities.
The shopping was as previously described (go to see Pedro at Los Pinos Plaza on the street to the left (North) of the resort. He has the shop with the sand floor and broken signs. Paintings are the same and are mucho cheapo). We bought a very nice painting for $30 that was 40"x32".
The rooms were clean but not fancy. We stayed in 6106 & 6107 (we took our three boys 13, 11, & 8). TV is small, but works well, shower/tub was clean with lots of hot water. Others we met had hot water for only one day!? Locks were of the key variety, and we took the tags off so if they got lost, no one would know which room we were in. Ask for the safe key ($10 USD), and if you use more than one room, get it for a different room # and take off the tag as well. Our only complaint would be that the AC just keeps up with the temperature, so it runs all the time. This isn't the problem, the problem is that the noise is hard to put out of your mind as you sleep. We always take ear plugs when we camp or vacation, so we survived well. we only used them for two nights as we got used to the white noise.
The food was average. The buffet was geared to Europeans, so it had a very flat taste with not many spices. We found that we could always find enough to eat, and our one picky eater son was even happy with the food. We especially enjoyed the 3 A la Carte restaurants. The best was probably the mexican, with a close tie to the Admirale (have the flaming Shish Kabobs. Make reservations at lunch for that evening. When we went, they never had more than 6 or 7 couples at one time?!
The bar was also average with the Pina Coladas and Daquiris coming from slurpee machines and tasting too sweet. We cut them with soda water to our liking. We ended up liking the coco loco and marguaritas the best. Try them all!
The nightly entertainment was very poor at the theater. Trust me and avoid wasting your time, and sit in the hotel lobby bar area, or adjacent courtyard seating, and enjoy the crowd. This is also the best bar for blended drinks.
Our younger boys enjoyed feeding bread to the peacocks, ducks, and fish at the lobby ponds. It was a ritual after each meal.
We didn't venture out on any tours, but would have selected the glass bottom boat tour and snorkel for $20 USD each adult / $10 USD each child, but our kids weren't interested enough. We met two couples who went on the Safari tour (or something like it) and were quite disappointed. Poor weather, transportation, didn't stop at locations as promised, some poorly selected stops and activities, and they went on from there.
We experienced no bugs during the day, but my wife and 8 year old got mosquito bitten on a couple of nights. we wore no repelent, and found that if you kept your doors shut, and a towel under the door when you were in your room, this seemed to solve the problem. We didn't see one cockroach, nor hear of anybody else seeing any.
We did hear of one other party having dramatic stomach problems and their 8 month old spent some time in the hospital for dehydration. We were all told NOT to drink the water, but the bar used it to rinse the blenders all the time. Three out of us five experience a slight problem with our downstairs plumbing (hint hint), but this didn't cause us to not have an active day, or feel ill. Truthfully it wasn't a big deal.
Our only disappointment was with the couple of times the other guests acted rudely (non english speaking people can be absolute pigs at times). My wife grabbed my arm several times as I was going to rip someones head off if she didn't (imagine this from a Canuck?!).
Overall, we got exactly what we expected, and for a lot less than similar vacation spots in the past. Would we go back? Maybe if we went with friends next time, but we want to see other places too. We have been to Maui, Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, as well as two cruises through the Caribbean, and this location has as good a beach as we have ever seen anywhere. The waves aren't as good as Cancun or Maui, but that's not for everybody.
You'll get a great location, somewhat average food and bar, but spend a lot less (20 - 25%) than comparible resort areas.
Average to above average holiday
Pluses: Very nice ocean one of the nicest beaches I have seen. The grounds are excellent, very well groomed. Food was overall pretty good a-la-cartes helped that. Staff overall pretty good but with most of guests from Europe english speaking hard to find. Topless women on the beach-Wow!
Minuses: Room air conditioning struggles, it totally quit 2nd night there and they wanted us to wait till morning to find another room(28 degrees I don't think so!). Ocean is great but sounds like Indy 500 with all the power assisted boats going by all day. Pool is unswimmable by mid day because of soup-like temperature and guests who mis use it all day long
Would not recommend
this hotel is rated a 4*. it should be rated a 3*. The food is not varied and not very good. The fish is over cooked. A rat walked out of the kitchen in the mexican restaurant. In the rooms: shower problem, patio door would not lock, we had to ask to have a bath mat. The langouste served at the restaurant El Mirante were burned and they charge 15$ us for it. They do not have huts or umbrella to protect for the sun at the main pool. At our arrival when we pickup the keys they should explain to us what we have to do to get beach towels. The fruit juices are the various bars are not made of fresh fruits. They are very much diluted and not tasty.
Went to this resort in nov. 2004. We were very pleasantly surprised. Beautiful grounds, nice shaded beach, 3 pools, friendly staff. The list goes on. Food was overall very good, 3 ala carte's tried the italian and the mexican, the chicken fajita's were great. Our room was kept very clean, we left small tips for the maid every few days. The rooms are not fancy but the balcony overlooking the beach was great. Our room was not musty, we had a second floor room, I think that helps in this regard.So many staff at the hotel that no-one seems rushed. The bars were all open every day, the staff try to speak english and we tried to speak spanish so we got along fine. There are a great number of european visitors to this hotel, not many english speaking people, so if you are going to meet people it may not be the best place. Overall we were very happy with our vacation, got it for an excellent price, had a woderful relaxing time.
pretty good over-all
This was my first time in the Caribbean (1/8/05-1/15/05) and to start off it is simply beautiful! As for the resort it was OK. Pretty much what I expected for the price. It is probably one of the cheaper resorts in Punta Cana
GOOD THINGS: The resort is very well kept. The staff is very friendly, and the beach is fabulous! anotrher great thing was our leison from TNT vacations who kept regualr hours and was very helpfull
THE OK THINGS: The drinks are Ok. The only beer they have is Presidente which is all right, however it is draft only! and I hate draft, so that was a problem for me. As for the rest of the hard local drinks they were all good. The imported booze is at an additional cost which is reasonable. Also, the market next to the resort. It is well...a market in a 3rd world country. They want to sell you everything. They start the bartering off at prices very very high, but you can get them down to reasonable prices. for example they will ask for $15 for a t-shirt (after haggling for about 25 minutes I got 5 for $20). Also be mind full that they all want you to come into their store which can become frustrating after a while. So, If you do not want to feel like bartering or being harassed to go into a store, then stay away from the market, the people in the market are all nice though and we never felt threatened. Another OK think is the nightly show. It changes from night to night and is interactive with the audience.
THE BAD THINGS: the food!! is horendous!! the meat is tough and gamey especially in the buffet. We also got diarrhea one day, which is always a downer, to say the least. The food in the other restaurants is a little better. Another bad thing is the fact that we could not use the calling cards we bought. We bought one in the market which was legit (Verizon) and they said that the hotel doesnt use them? which seemed like BS to me.
OVERALL: this resort is OK, if you get a good price, becasue when you see the other resorts that have golf courses, tennis courses, and basketball courts, you feel you've been slighted. but overall it was pretty good--feel free to contact me with any questions
WE WILL BE THERE IN OCTOBER ,WITH KIDS AND PROTECTIVE MOM ARE ALL BEACHES CLOTHING OPTIONAL?
Re: Topless Beaches
Bathing topless is a no no in my country, unless it happens in designated areas at your hotel.
Re: Topless Beaches
When I was there the vast majority of the tourists at the beach wore a swimsuit but a small amount of tourist, usually European, chose to sunbathe topless. Again there weren't alot, maybe 10%, but it was noticeable. As the previous post said there aren't any dedicated topless beaches but again some people just choose to go the all natural route.
Re: Topless Beaches
hahahaha...well mom. let me explain you. you could find maybe couple of young girls from Europe doing topless at the beach, it is nomal here in Punta cana. But there are several hotels here in Punta Cana where this amount of people could be less than in another. i.e. if you go to LTI Punta Cana or Carabela those are european resorts with lots of topless but if otherwise you are going to a resort with more americans or canadians this amount could be minimal..which hotel are you going to ?
I hope I can help you more...
Re: Topless Beaches
Are there any resorts that it is not allowed as I wanted to go to Melia Caribe.
Re: Topless Beaches
Maybe a little too late but the best would be contacting the hotel and asking.