My body has been craving another trip, which means I have been reminiscing about my vacation to the Dominican Republic from a few months ago. I have been meaning to share my trip on here, but these last few months have been super busy and—not to mention—have flown by, so creating this post got lost amongst everything else.
Between the photos on our phones, my digital camera, the DSLR and our disposable waterproof camera, I had a ton of photos to go through, edit and organize and I am so happy they are now ready to go and share on the blog here! So, grab a cold drink and listen to me reminisce about my vacation on this #ThrowbackThursday—how fitting!
My boyfriend and I wanted to plan another vacation (we went to Mexico last February, which you can read about here) and decided to book something for the end of my exams, in order to celebrate me being done. My boyfriend’s sister and her boyfriend were also wanting to plan a vacation, so we decided to do a little couples getaway and it was nice having the extra company!
We ended up staying at the Riu Republica in Punta Cana, an adult-only resort, which had just opened in June 2016. This brand new, 5-star resort was a lot bigger than our resort in Mexico, but it wasn’t too large that it felt overwhelming. Along with the delicious cocktails served at the numerous bars and the vast selection of food offered at the main buffet alone (the resort offered four buffets), the resort also offered 24 hour service, free Wi-Fi (which actually worked) and both daytime and nighttime entertainment. The staff were also very friendly and accommodating.
Our rooms were only a few doors down from one another and both were clean and spacious with a modern look and beachy decor. The bathroom was also quite spacious with his and her sinks and a large walk-in shower. We also both had balconies overlooking the grounds, which was so nice to wake up to and sit out on in the morning. The rooms also came with bathrobes, which Jason was all about (until he spilled queso on his).
The resort creates a ‘U’ shape around the grounds and I loved the open concept of it. The grounds themselves were also beautiful—so lush and green with all the palm trees and other tropical plants. Both the building and grounds were well-maintained and kept clean.
At the beginning, we divided our time between the beach and the main pool, which was right beside the swim up bar where we spent a lot of time at. There were constantly games and activities going on here (along with drinking).
And like true Canadians, we all also brought Bubba mugs to keep our drinks nice and cold, and the bigger size meant we didn’t have to constantly go back to the bar for a refill.
PSA: bring a little bottle of dish soap along with you, so you can clean out the mugs, as after a couple of days they were too gross to use (I ran them through the dishwasher twice when we got back).
The Riu Republica is situated on the Arena Gorda beach and it just might be the nicest beach I have ever had the pleasure of digging my toes into. The sand was soft and white, whilst the Caribbean sea—once the rain had passed—was these unreal shades of blue.
There were plenty of loungers for all the guests and also a ton of thatched tiki umbrellas to sit under for shade. We also had two stray dogs that would wander up and down the beach. They were pretty timid and kept to themselves, except when they were seeking some shade to snooze under.
We actually arrived to torrential rain, which kept steady all through Sunday and into Monday morning as well. The picture of Amanda and I and the (not posed) one of myself were taken Monday once the rain had finally stopped and the sun slowly began to peak out from behind the clouds. I remember we were all so happy this day to finally run down to the beach. Luckily, by Tuesday we had clear blue skies and the water was back to its beautiful shades of blue for the rest of the week. I’m so happy the rain didn’t ruin our vacation!
The resort also offered free water sport rentals, so we could rent boogie boards to ride the waves. Which is all fun and games until you swallow a ton of salt water and get it all up your nose and in your eyes. I love the ocean, but I absolutely hate that feeling, so the waves were a little too strong for my liking.
Jason, however, wasn’t fazed by it at all and embraced it with open arms.
Along with the main pool and the beach, another place we frequented on the resort was the ‘Plaza’ bar in the evenings. The staff here always made delicious drinks and it was right by the theatre where the evening shows and live music were (which were all pretty fun).
Though we’re all beer drinkers, mine, Jason’s and Kevin’s drink of choice for most of the trip was Sammy Sosa—the colourful, fruity concoction shown below. Named after the famous Dominican MLB player, this rum-based drink layers piña colada, strawberry daiquiri and blue curacao to represent the colours of the Dominican flag. It tastes like vacation and quickly became our go-to cocktail.
Wednesday after breakfast, we all decided to take the bus to the local market, which we thought would be an authentic market where we could mingle with the locals and find some cool souvenirs. However, it was a total tourist spot—an open air mall (reminded me of Florida) with a ton of name brand stores. It was lovely, but just not what we wanted. However, it did have a grocery store, so we stocked up on snacks and grabbed some beers for our rooms. Thus, it wasn’t a total loss.
However, Thursday I was truly stoked, as we had a snorkeling excursion booked. I went snokeling for the first time in Mexico and absolutely loved it and was super excited to do it again. We booked the Marinarium excursion, which was a half day outing aboard a glass-bottom catamaran. It takes you to snorkel at Punta Cana’s largest coral reef, which is close to an area that is roped off where you get to snorkel with stingrays and nurse sharks. Even though the website says both creatures are harmless and docile, I did read somewhere that the stingrays have their stingers removed and I’m sure the sharks are probably sedated or something in order to ensure a completely safe environment. And now the more that I think about it, the more it makes me upset, but I won’t deny that it was an unreal experience (does that make me a hypocrite…probably).
Once snorkeling was done (which—like Mexico—felt way too short), we came back to the catamaran where the drinks began to flow non-stop. We then stopped at a waist-deep natural swimming pool, which was like one big giant party and I wish we had more time there, but before we knew it our excursion had come to an end. Once we got back to our resort, we beelined to the swim up bar and the rest of Thursday was pretty fuzzy.
After Thursday’s shenanigans, we decided to spend our last two days lounging at the other pool, which was much more quiet than the main pool.
And before we knew it, it was already Saturday and our last day in the Dominican. Jason and I got up early so we could take in the beautiful sunrise on our balcony.
Overall, I am so happy the rain stayed away for the rest of the week and we were able to fully enjoy the beautiful weather here! Even though Jason and I were hoping to learn more about the Dominican culture and history through the day trip offered to Santo Domingo, having lost a day and a half because of rain meant there just was not enough time.
However, I still had an amazing trip and the Riu Republica was an absolutely wonderful resort. I highly recommend it if you are planning a trip to Punta Cana!
Until next time Dominican!