Posts in this series
- Catalina Island: The Best Day Trip From Punta Cana
- The Dominican Republic & its Hidden Gem!
Bonus Vacation Days
When your boss tells you you suddenly have an extra two days off on an already long weekend, the first thing you must do is book a trip. Unfortunately, when that long weekend happens to be Thanksgiving, it is a little harder to find a travel companion. I set off on a mission to find a picturesque Caribbean beach to get a little R&R. After extensive research, I decided on Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
- Friends raved about it (and have returned, so you know they enjoyed it).
- It is picturesque.
- A 4 hour direct flight (and on JetBlue – woo!).
- Rainy season was coming to an end and temps were floating around 80.
- All inclusive Jet Blue Getaway meant the whole thing was booked with one click!
This was my first all inclusive, but I was short on planning time and traveling alone, so I thought it seemed like a safe, easy fit!
Melia Caribe Tropical in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
After a raving review from a Girls Love Travel member and former employee of the hotel, I decided on Melia Caribe Tropical on Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana. It was hard to narrow it down, but this resort had just about everything you could possibly want on a beach vacation.
A beautiful beach:
Bavaro Beach is one of the world’s best according to UNESCO. It has beautiful white sand beaches and clear waters.
Multiple pools and a swim up bar:
And beautiful gardens and architecture:
Great Selection of Food:
I didn’t travel to Punta Cana for the food, and my expectations weren’t high. I’d experienced cruise ship food before, and heard horror stories of the all inclusive. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety or offerings and the quality of food available. Two buffets were available for breakfast and lunch with a wide variety of offerings. Meats, eggs, pancakes, pastries, fruits, yogurts, and more. For lunch they had local dishes, hamburgers & hotdogs, pizzas, a pasta bar, and too many offerings for me to explore them all in my four day stay. For dinner, there were several restaurants onsite. I made it a point to try a different one each night. There were also two premium restaurants you could dine in for an extra fee or if you were staying in the Adults Only Level section of the resort. I didn’t make it to those, but as you can see below I enjoyed a lovely piece of salmon and a moussaka for two of my meals. I believe I also had a BBQ dish one night. All of the dinners were great, and a dessert is included!
In addition to the beach, the pool, the scenery, and various food options the hotel also offered a night club, evening entertainment, tennis, a spa, water sports, arcades, casino, and many other amenities you might be interested in while traveling. I won’t lie, half of my suitcase was packed with tennis and yoga gear, but my only workout on this trip was a few handstands and beach walks!
While I had heard great things about Punta Cana, I was curious about other parts of the Dominican Republic. The resort offered snorkeling, and when I went to inquire, I discovered I could do a half day trip off the shore of the hotel, or a longer day trip to La Romana. I read about La Romana during my initial research, but relied on personal referrals to book Punta Cana instead. I decided to book the full day trip to Catalina Island and La Romana. It was a wonderful day trip from Punta Cana. You can read more about the itinerary and see photos from The Best Day Trip from Punta Cana.
I traveled the last week of November, and it did rain half of every day. I used that time for napping, bathing, eating, and reading. Make sure your hotel has a spa or an in-room bathtub if you’re booking during a rainy season. As soon as the sun started shining, I ran for the beach. Throughout my stay, I had plenty of beach time for a fair skinned Irish girl. The rain didn’t stop me from doing photo shoots either…I mean, isn’t that the point of a water proof camera anyway?!?!
Punta Cana was lovely, but if you are headed to the Dominican Republic, I highly recommend exploring La Romana for a more adventurous excursion. Catalina Island has no residents, so you can’t stay there…which is why it is still so stunning. You can boat over to the island, and I am sure there are other places in the area to round out your trip. I had a wonderful time in the Dominican Republic, and highly recommend it to anyone looking for an affordable, picturesque vacation!
And a special thanks to my Polaroid Cube which allowed me to capture over 700 memories (and many selfies) despite traveling alone. Solo travel has many perks, and I am glad I had the opportunity to relax and recharge on my own this once. Next time, I hope I have a little more planning time and I can find a travel companion to make memories with me.
What is your favorite Caribbean beach?