The boyfriend and I decided we desperately needed a vacation this last November. We chose to take our adventure on the island of Dominican Republic. First off I want to say, we had the time of our lives! Our first major trip together was a success.
Chicago was our take-off destination. We live in Iowa, so a 4 hour drive there wasn’t too bad. We made sure to have a mixed CD made for the roadtrip. Coffee in hand, we were on our way! The cost of parking at this particular airport is $50+ dollars a day to park your car. We found that doing a park & fly was the cheapest way to go. Plus you get a one night hotel stay as well. We decided we wanted to take that one night hotel stay before the departure date. We relaxed, went out to eat, and got prepared to leave bright and early in the morning!
We took a chance on going on a Apple Vacation 5 Star Square Deal. What this meant was that we paid a much lower rate on going on this vacation. There were 12 different 5 star hotels they could have chose for us. They would let us know where we were staying once we got to the airport before take off. We really didn’t care too much about where we were staying, so thought this would be a great steal for us. We knew that all the 5 star All Inclusive Resorts would be nice anyways. We got selected to stay at RIU Bambu in Punta Cana.
We fell in love with the resort. We loved the beach, the staff, the room, and of course the drinks! The RIU is a chain of hotels along the Domincan Republic beach line. If you stay at one, you are free to go to others and enjoy their drinks as well. It was nice to go and see the other resorts and see what they had to offer. We went on a couple of excursions while we were there for the week. We went on an outback safari, which included going to a local school, touring a common home in the Domincan community, and having an authentic meal prepared for us.
We heard that taking an excursion over to the other side of the island to see the gigantic star fish was a must – so we did that as well. It definitely didn’t disappoint! Long day for sure, but well worth it.
A couple things we learned on this trip:
*Never underestimate how hot the sun is – it was cloudy, very cloudy one day and thought – “oh well, we don’t need as much sunscreen.” Definitely wrong. I tan pretty easily, but always needed to have some sunscreen on at all times when outside. I burned of course on the day it was cloudy.
* The bartenders know who the tippers are – They take note and pay attention to the ones who tip them. They won’t forget you! We tipped one of the bartenders from the get-go. The drinks were stronger and were made a whole heck of a lot better! It was well worth it to us. I feel like they really skimp on the alcohol otherwise.
* Bartering – we went shopping on a mini strip mall a little ways from our hotel. The Dominicans will come off very forceful trying to sell you anything and everything from their store. There wasn’t one thing we bought that we didn’t end up bartering down. At one point, I had walked away saying no thanks, but they came back and went down on the price even more.
*Make sure you have extra room in your suitcase – taking back souvenirs would be impossible without allowing some extra space in your suitcase. We brought back a couple of handpainted canvases, a couple sculptures, and some odd and ends things. Between some space in my carry on and some room in the suitcase, everything fit!
*Sign up for your meal reservations as soon as possible – Usually at all-inclusives, they will have specialty restaurants to choose from. The only way to eat at those will be to sign up during the day. You will usually have the option to sign up for a couple days in advance (RIU Bambu does it this way). They fill up fast, so getting down there towards the beginning of the day will be best to get the time slot you want.
*Make sure the men in your life bring along long pants – Some of the specialty restaurants at these resorts will have strict rules on dress code. They sometimes require that men wear long pants (no jeans) to dinner.
*50 lb weight limit on checked bags – On the way home, my bag was overweight. I had to rearrange some of my stuff over to my boyfriends bag and some into my carry on. It was quite the hassle, so next time I will make it a point to make sure it is under that 50 lb mark.
I have and will always book through Resort Web Deals. Yes they are my parents! They own a business together and have been doing this for the last 15 years. They have so graciously offered to give Uniquely Women Readers a discount on their vacation. Once on their website, just enter in the promo code – “loyal123” – after you have chosen the destination of your choice!
Would love to discuss our trip with you & would love to hear about your vacation experiences! We are always looking for our next vacation spot! Just comment at the bottom of this page and I will be sure to get back to you!