My wife and I like to travel. I mean, like outside the U.S. travel. The U.S. is awesome but there’s a lot to see on this rock and we want to see it all. Except Southeast Asia. She could care less. I on the other hand, loved Japan. Anyway, enjoying travel and being very frugal don’t go hand-in-hand. That’s where me lady comes into the picture. She’s a bargain shopper, even when it comes to travel. We are actually going to Maui, for the second time, this fall and are only paying less than $800 for both of us to stay for 6 days at an all-inclusive. That’s good.
We recently took a trip with some close friends of ours to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. We had talked with our friends about taking a trip WITH NO KIDS off and on for a few months. We love our kids and love traveling with them but it’s important for mom and dad to have their time too. This trip was for the “big” kids. The four of us had decided we just wanted to go to the beach at some tropical place with lots of food and drinks. Enter…the all-inclusive. The resort we settled on was an “Adult Only” resort. If you’re taking a trip with your mate I highly recommend these. It’s nice not having kids running around when you’re trying to relax and have grown up time. We decided on the Dominican Republic since we all had heard good reviews about it. I don’t know about my buddy, Chuck, but I didn’t do a lot of looking myself. I was just happy to be going somewhere with my wife and if she picked it, it was sure to be a winner. It was. The girls talked back and forth quite a bit and had settled on a couple different resorts. Chuck and I pitched our 2 cents worth and we all decided on the Excellence Punta Cana. They had quite a few restaurants to choose from, the pictures on their website looked great and the reviews rated it quite well. The weeklong stay for both my wife and I, including airfare, came out to just at $3500. That’s 2 adults, unlimited food and drinks, all gratuity paid, airfare, etc. That’s not a bad deal. So we booked that sucker and locked in our dates.
As the days counted down, the four of us kept reminding each other how many days out we were. The excitement was growing and departure day had finally arrived. My 17 year old son drove us all to the airport at O’Dark Thirty so we wouldn’t have to pay for parking. We prefer to travel on the first thing smokin’ the day of departure so we get our money’s worth on that first day. My wife and I usually go diving when we go to tropical places but had decided to opt out this trip and put our “dive funds” towards something else all four of us could enjoy. Good choice. When my wife and I travel, we always rent a car. Yes, even if we stay at an all-inclusive and don’t plan to leave the resort because it’s nice to have that option if the interest pops up. In Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, we took a day trip down to Tulum. We were glad we went cause that area is pretty cool. In Punta Cana, however, our car stayed in the parking lot the entire time. The taxi from the airport for all four of us plus the return trip would’ve ended up costing us more than the price for the rental car. Remember, my wife is a bargain shopper.
The flight from home to Atlanta was less than 2 hours and the flight from Atlanta to DR was just at 3. There’s the whole language barrier thing traveling to other countries but most of them spoke English and we all spoke a little Spanglish so customs was a breeze but getting the rental car took a little longer than planned. Regardless, we were on the road about an hour after landing. The drive to the resort took 45 minutes, which was OK since we wanted to see some countryside and the mountains are nice. Upon arrival to the resort they greeted us at the gate and signed us in. We left our car with the valet and were given beer or champagne from the welcome party guy in the lobby. Check in went smoothly then we were off to our rooms. Our initial impression of the place was more than I expected. I mean, we’re in Republica Dominicana. I wasn’t expecting much but it was VERY nice. The lobby was all open for the ocean breeze to blow thru. My wife always takes pics and/or video of our room which greatly exceeded our expectations. So far, so good!!! Shortly after a quick unpacking, the four of us headed to one of the many restaurants for some chow. We ate at the first restaurant we walked to, The Grille, and then headed over to the “Lobster House” for another small dinner. Gotta love the all-inclusive! Drinks began to flows and the smiles were poppin’!!
The weather was a little overcast the first evening and morning but it cleared off for us the rest of the week. Every night the resort had some sort of show or activity for the guests to attend. I woke up at 6am every morning to catch the sunrise since we were on the Atlantic side. The beach was barren and the air was peaceful. I love sunrises. After the sunrise I’d read a bit and do some meditation. My wife and the other couple would usually get around about 7:30 or so. We had breakfast in the same restaurant every morning. The coffee was awesome as well as the buffet. They had plenty of food to choose from or you could have food made to order. Our days consisted of lounging around on the beach or around the enormous pool drinking all the free fruity drinks they had to offer. The gym and yoga room were top notch. I had good intentions for work out but yeeeeeaaah, that didn’t happen. Chuck and I played a couple games of “life size” Chess while the girls had their spa treatments. We were in heaven.
On Wednesday, we went on a day long excursion into the hills and surrounding area. I HIGHLY recommend this trip. We rode horses at a small farm, viewed a cigar making process, sugar cane harvesting, toured a local’s home and farming operation, had lunch, toured Higuey and went to another beach. The day started at 8:30am and we returned about 4:45pm. TOTALLY worth it. I think we paid $90/person for that trip. Our guide, Jonathan, was OUTSTANDING!! We went with another couple we had met at the pool from Ohio. Very cool people who’d I’d like to see again. Maybe we will. That’s the cool thing about these resorts; you meet some great people. One evening we even snuck into that big ole hot tub to soak and visit for a while.
The last couple days consisted of pretty much the same as the others. More lounging around, eating, enjoying each other’s company and having some tasty drinks. They had a “Drink of the Day” every day. The Bora Bora was my favorite. They also had the Coco Loco drink they make in a coconut and you drop the straw in and suck away. The shops they had were plentiful and offered some decent shopping for souvenirs. It wasn’t until the last day that we found the natural garden with flamingos, ducks, fish and giant iguanas. That was cool. I think we all decided that our favorite place to eat was The Grille. The Asian restaurant was very good as well as the Tapas Flavor Market. OH!!! They also have a casino. I usually like casinos but didn’t even step foot into this one. It looked nice when I looked through the windows but this trip was a budget trip. No wiggle room for gambling funds.
Some notes I took while at the resort so I could share on this review.
- Employees appear to be happy and really enjoy their job.
- Sunrises are perfect.
- Lobster House was not very good.
- Tapas was second best place to eat. Asian was close third.
- The Grille had the best food.
- Toscana breakfast and lunch buffet was very good.
- The desserts were pretty awesome.
- No swimming in ocean due to undertow but the beach is beautiful. Can go down the beach to enter ocean.
- Drinks were NOT weak.
- Rented car but didn’t use.
- Lots of activities for people to take part in.
- Entertainment was NOT cheesy. Michael Jackson show was very good.
- Pool was best attribute to resort.
- Large, clean and spacious rooms.
- Internet was spotty near the ends of the resort when I needed to get on it.
- I liked the incense they left in the room every day.
- Beds were AMAZING!!!
- Didn’t turn the TV on one time.
- Sales for activities can be a bit pushy. Stand your ground.
I think I can speak for the other three when I say we’d all go back. There are many other places we’d like to see first but we unanimously decided that we really enjoyed our time. I hope this review helps for someone looking for a honeymoon destination or just a little getaway.
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment in the section below. Oh, and give me a big ole thumbs up!!!