Covering about 1,100 acres, PUNTA CANA is a region in the south-eastern tip of the Dominican Republic, which occupies two thirds of the Island of Hispaniola and lies in the Caribbean Sea between the islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Its western border is shared with Haiti.
Named after a local cape, the region is home to a coastline of beautiful sandy white beaches and borders the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The coastline tends to be mildly windy. I can attest to that, as it was quite windy most of the week we were there.
The Punta Cana La Romana International Airport serves about two million tourists per year. The bus ride from there to our resort was about 35 minutes.
The weather is fairly constant, with an average temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. It was quite hot when we were there, but also very windy and cloudy, with two full days of rain.
Spanish is spoken and the currency is the Dominican Peso (RD) but U.S. dollars are widely accepted. The Hotel was offering 33 RD for one U.S. Dollar.
Electricity is 110 volts AC, 60 Hz with American style two-pin plugs.
Canadians entering the Dominican Republic for tourist purposes must purchase a tourist card, at a cost of $10.00 U.S. which is valid for 30 days. Since we were all-inclusive, this tourist card was prepaid by our tour company.
While in the Dominican Republic, I discovered and fell in love with PASSION FRUIT. Native to South America, it is also grown in the Caribbean. Round to oval, yellow or dark purple at maturity, with a soft, juicy interior filled with numerous seeds. The bright yellow variety which we had at the resort, is also known as Golden Passionfruit. When I asked what they called it in the Dominican Republic, I was told "Chinola". I really can't compare it with anything else that I have ever tasted. It's sort of like pomegranate seeds, only yellow and the taste is sour at first, but you must add a bit of sugar to it. I usually ate three or four at a time. It was usually available at the breakfast buffet, along with pineapple, papaya, mango, oranges and grapefruit.
In the Dominican Republic, passion fruit is used to make juice, jams, and it is also eaten raw sprinkled with sugar. The Chinola flavoured syrup is used on shaved ice.
Passion Fruit is rich in Vitamin A, Potassium and dietary fiber.
The maids that tirelessly clean our hotel rooms normally get the short end of the stick when it comes to making additional money from tips. Also, the Maids normally don't make the kind of money that it costs to purchase make-up or jewelry after feeding their families.
Here's an idea...Before you leave for your trip to the Dominican (or any country that has mass poverty), make a stop at the local dollar store, or your neighborhood Kmart. These stores normally have cheap make-up meant for children. Pick up $10 or $15 worth of this make-up. Leave an item everyday with a dollar and some directions for your maid. If you want additonal water or beer or towels, leave a note asking for it with the gift. I will garauntee that your gift will go a long way.
We always left a couple dollars with the make-up and a note and were never displeased.
One day we came back to 6 extra bath towels, another day we came home to 9 huge bottles of water, and another day we came to see an additional 6-pack of Presidente Beer. This is in addition to all of the towl sculptures that were left everyday in our room.
A little goes a long way in the Dominican, just remember that.
For those who've travelled to the caribean, you'll probably know this but Dominican Republic is also one of these countries where EVERYTHING is expensive for the locals.
You'd be surprised how far some old clothing, shoes, stickers, trinkets and especially old fishing tackle goes.
On our trips we always bring items of the like and exchange goods on the resort or with the vendors. I was able to get a bottle of rum and a bottle of sherry for the exchange of an old pair of nike shoes.
Also, when I showed the locals my fishing tackle (which wasn't the best I had) the locals went CRAZY!! I was able to get some nice art and figurines in exchange for some crankbaits, plastic grubs and 10 pd test fishing line (which doesn't even exist in the country!! - says one local)....
There is not a single thing that makes Punta Cana the great destination --there are many.
The water and the beaches may draw you there, but it will be the people and stress-free environment that will bring you back.
Fondest memory: Simplicity, serenity and a sensible approach to life is what I miss about Punta Cuna. The great water and beaches also play an important influence.
Fondest memory: On our first trip, we arrived around 11 pm. After dropping off our bags in our room, we grabbed a couple of drinks, and wandered down to the beach. It was a full moon, and you could hear the surf roaring over the reef way out. The kids had a blast running in & out of the waves in the moonlight. They still talk about it!!
Even if you booked an all inclusive vacation that includes tips, bring extra funds with you for just that reason anyway. The resort staff work very hard to make you happy and comfortable, for very little money.
Fondest memory: My favorite memory of Punta Cana is getting a bit drunk with my husband on the beach about 11 pm and building a huge sand castle with anything we could find in our hotel room.
I would recommend going to a bank and getting a $100 worth of singles for tips . This way you are prepared for your whole trip , and even a dollar can get you the extra "help" you need.
Fondest memory: My fondest moment of Punta Cana happens now, 6months later. My daughter still talks about it and she was just shy of being 2 years old when we were there.
I just loved feeling carefree and relaxed during our visit
Yes we totally loved our all inclusive resort that we stayed at but after a while we had this weird feeling that the rum they were putting in the drinks wasn't really rum. We had plenty of them and we never get even close to being tipsy and the day after we had absolutely no hangover or headache whatsoever!.. I guess that part isn't something to complain about..
Maybe its a better idea to order the champagne or beer though
This is what you will look like after three wonderfull weeks in this hotel in Punta Cana...if you dont like it well dont look any further, cause you dont want to read all the other good things.
Fondest memory: Every day sun, good food, being with our English friends....and loads more. Enjoy my travelogues and page to see what we have been up to.
For Dominican Republic if you have a residenceip in any EU country then visa can be obtained on arrival in Dominican Rep. by paying 10 US $ in cash.
The Embassy of Dominican Rep. in Switzerland gives visas to those who are resident in Switzerland only. As Switzerland is not in EU so if you are a Swiss Resident you have to get a Visa in adavance.
Address of the Embassy of Dominican Republic in Switzerland is following:
Case postale 22,
Phone number: +41-(0)31-3511585
Punta Cana is what everyone imagines thinking at a tropical heaven. Fabulous beaches, long tracts of white sand adorned with coconut palms that look like bow for invite you to admire them. Beyond the beach there are luxuriant gardens with huge bushes of hibiscus and plants that I try to grow at my home with difficulty.
Fondest memory: This was my first travel to a tropical place. Before I saw those pieces of heaven just in the pictures. I couldn't belive to be really in a place like this! I remember my first tought was: 'Then these places truly exist!!'.
Make sure to bring an activated international calling card with you to make phone calls.
The phones go thru a system called BBG Communications when a credit or debit card is used.
The rates are falsely advertised as $4.99 to $5.99 a minute.
I was charged $252.00 for 2 phone calls of less than 15 minutes each.
An internet search of BBG Communications will reveal many others who have been unknowingly charged these outragious fees for phone calls.
Soaking up the warm sun and feeling the sand in my toes.
Fondest memory: Sharing the vacation with my husband Michael.