At the end of May, my boyfriend and I decided to treat ourselves to a week in paradise.
We booked all-inclusive vacation to the Dominican Republic.
Neither of us had been to the DR before and we were both in desperate need of some rest and relaxation.
We decided on Punta Cana and without much research or planning, booked the trip.
About a week after booking we realized that our vacation fell right in the middle of Punta Cana’s hurricane season. Oops.
Lesson #1: do some research into weather patterns before booking trips abroad.
We arrived in Punta Cana around noon on Friday, August 23 not knowing what to expect but from the second we stepped foot off the plane we knew we had made the right decision; it was truly paradise.
We had a private car, courtesy of Jet Blue, drive us to the resort we were staying at: The Melia Caribe Tropical.
Upon arrival, we were offered the option to upgrade to “Royal Service” (Servicio Real) which gave us access to top-shelf drinks, a private restaurant and pool, free room service and priority treatment for restaurant reservations and shuttles around the resort.
Being a “VIP” member also meant that our room was upgraded to a mini-apartment with a kitchen, living room, balcony, and jacuzzi …yea, it was truly royal service.
Lesson #2: when offered an upgrade at an all-inclusive resort, you should probably take it. The amenities received are usually well-worth the price of the upgrade.
Upon entering our villa, we felt like we had died and gone to heaven. It was spacious and luxurious.
It was also located right across from the royal service pool and the GABi, the royal service restaurant.
We spent our five nights at the Melia doing what most do on vacation: relaxing, reading, eating, lounging by the water, drinking, swimming and napping.
During our time in Punta Cana we truly immersed ourselves into the Dominican mentality.
Everyone at the resort was extremely laid back, friendly and easy-going.
The ‘island time’ mentality was contagious.
Within 24 hours of being there we had lost all sense of time.
It was refreshing to not follow a schedule or keep eye on a clock.
We truly got to sit back, relax and enjoy ourselves.
In addition to island time, there were a few other things which epitomized Punta Cana (and the Melia) for us:
- peacocks – big peacocks, baby peacocks, peacock families or singleton peacocks… they were everywhere.
- mamajuana – the classic Dominican drink which they refer to as a “baby-maker” for it’s reported aphrodisiac effect.
- beach beds – one of the greatest inventions I have yet to come across. They seemed to be a staple at every beach we saw.
The five nights at the Melia flew by incredibly fast. The resort was the epitome of paradise, the staff was extremely friendly and the service blew us away.
During our time in Punta Cana we practiced (and beefed up) our Spanish, tried new drinks and foods, kayaked, went snorkeling with sharks and sting rays, got massages and met people from around the world who we won’t soon forget.
Places like Punta Cana make you realize how beautiful the world is.
It is typical in American culture to get caught up in the stresses of life and lose sight of what is truly important.
Going on vacation and getting away helps us to take a step back and put things in perspective.
Lesson #3: take a vacation, or at least a weekend trip, once a year if possible. Recharging one’s batteries is highly underrated.