Posted by: Moni | February 24, 2011

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

First off – Punta Cana, DR has the softest. sand. EVER. I’ve been to many a beach – Hawaii, the USVI, the Philippines, the Mediterranean (France), Mexico, Texas, North Carolina, California… this tops all of them, hands down.

Second off – this is really a review of a hotel since we didn’t really leave the resort the whole time we were there.  That is not at all my travel style, or my husband’s – but that’s how the cards fell for this trip.

Imagine my surprise when my wonderful husband asked me right after we returned from our wedding if I wanted to go to the DR next week.  Uh, YES.. I’d LOVE to! See, his company was having a retreat in the DR, where they go somewhere nice, and spend most of the days holed up in a conference room.  He was going, and since he was going to be stuck there.. there’s no reason why I should be stuck in NC, right?  Right!

One week later, we were on a plane back to the Caribbean.  Since we booked our travel at different times, I got delayed for a few hours (and got stick in Philadelphia for a few hours – but in all honesty, its not a bad place to get stuck at, since its basically a mall with a runway attached to it), but he was a sweetheart and waited for me at the airport while his coworkers went to go live it up at the resort.

We arrived, and made it out to our transportation to drive across Punta Cana towards our resort.  This was one of the only times we really got to see what the country itself looks like.. and what we saw looked AWESOME.  It had way more of that Caribbean feel we were really searching for in the VI – casual, a little less full of tourism and hustle and bustle – and it just had a chill vibe.  Everyone seemed to be having a great time, and I just have to say one more time.. the attitude was SO relaxed.  It was a stark change from the VI, which seemed to have a very ‘go go go’ vibe to it. In other words – Americanized (since it is, of course, a US territory, that should be expected).  We arrived to the Melia Caribe Tropical, and were promptly blown away.

The service was amazing, the resort was gorgeous.. and it was mine for the taking for the rest of the week! Hell. Yes.  Now, I’m not the biggest fan of all inclusive resorts.. but this one does it well.  They had lots of dining options, lots of beach and pool areas – and we were VIP, so we had access to the good stuff.  Our suite?  Amazing.  Seriously, it was about as big as my condo in Austin.  It had this awesome garden tub that was about twice the size of the standard ones you see in the US – and the best part – access to an awesome beach.

The room..

The VIP pool.. so awesome.

My poor husband was stuck working (and so were all his co-workers) for the most part, but I definitely got to enjoy some sun and sand in the middle of January.  In the evenings, we got to go out on excursions to snorkel, or go hang out at the bars and restaurants.  I will say, that the all inclusive restaurant system failed us here and there – but overall, it was a better experience than any other resort I had been in.

Soft sand, beautiful beach and shade? Yes, please!

On the boat/scuba excursion (aka, the rum boat)

And wow, was the rum good.

I even managed to get a few runs in on the beach.  and uh, running on the beach is hard.  The awesome thing was, though, was that there was literally miles of beach for you to run uninterrupted.  It was beautiful, sandy, warm.. gosh. Even though it was hard, I wanted to go anyhow.  Again, the sand was superduper soft, so every chance I got, I was on that beach!

I’d definitely try to make it back there.. after we’ve done our rounds of the other places on our “to travel to” list. 🙂 It was truly a fantastic excursion that fit right into our newlywed lives!

Oh – and for those of you who are hitting up the blog looking for a destination wedding locale – the Melia would be great.. but for reals, go with the beach option, not the gazebo.  The gazebo was quite cheesy looking.  We’re talking painted chubby angels on the ceiling.

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