I love the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a favourite of British tourists and is probably the cheapest caribbean place to visit.
I visited the Dom Rep in 2006 and would love to go back. My trip was booked with Going Places around 1 and a half months before we travelled and we paid around £450 for 2 weeks all inclusive in half termin October! I was over the moon with this deal offered by My Travel.
The flight was long but the on board entertainment and meals broke the fight up. We had our own personal tv in the back of the chairs infront and we could select from many channels what we wanted to watch. (Great if your travelling with someone with completely different taste in programs to you...which I did). We also had the use of cameras within our TVset which allowed us to view outside view the camera on the front of the Aeroplane, great fun!! We also had a variety of games you coul play against the other people on the aeroplane.
We had a main meal on the flight and a snack later on, the food was really nice.
At the end of your flight you will be asked to complete a Visa form, as this is standard to enter the country along side the tax to enter the Dom Rep.
Upon arriving at the Dominican Republic, the heat hit us! it was scorching hot and it was late evening. We had to walk through the airport and pay the $20 tax (as we were there for 2 weeks)to enter the country, we were aware of this as our Travel Rep had warned us (thankfully! as some people were blissfully unaware).
We were then taken to our Hotel, Occidential Carribean Village (3*) situated within the ever so popular resort of Playa Dorada, probably the most popular part of the Dominican however it is on the north coast and therefore NOT the caribbean sea..the sea here is still lovely (atlantic ocean).
Upon arriving at the hotel we were welcomed by the entertainment staff with cocktails and once we had checked in our luggage was taken to our room (I say room but it was more like a challet or flat). Although we were All Inclusive our room had a massive bedroom with a hugggeee bed, a kitchen!!, patio doors onto the garden where you have a seating area and overlooking the golf course, the pool etc was 2 mins walk away. We also had a walk in wardrobe which you could get to the spacious bathroom from. Unfortinatley our hotel did not provide A minibar, however it was our first holiday of this kind and we were not away you could get these, so we did not feel like we had missed out. The air conditioning in the room was fantastic!!
The food here was good, and there was such a large variety, you could have a snack at the snack bar, mid afternoon, at 2 in the morning if you wanted to which was really handy after your free alcohol binge. wine was available in the dinner room, as was most other drinks. The chef's were really friendly and all cooked infront of you, they would make you omlettes if you picked what you wanted inside of them. As well as this eatery there were several resturants off site (other neighbouring hotels) where you could visit for a served meal, mexican and italian, both absolutley lovely and a three course meal for no extra charge. You do have to book these and you are limited to 2 reservations per
There was another resturant situated within the Hotel and this was brilliant.Every Friday You could take your seat and get you drinks brought to you. Once you were settled you had to go and pick your salad of the plate you were given, once sitting back down (i was majorly suprised) the waitors came around with large skewers full of meat and fish and they served you however must you want. For meat lovers...its heaven! The only drawback is that its outdoor so if it happens to rain...it would be called off and taken inside to the Buffet Area.
Our room was always enptied of rubbish and tidied every day and we even had little shapes made out of towels on the bed...which I liked.
The weather in the dominican was really good, we had a few showers, however It was really nice to cool down as even when it was raining it was warm. My sun tan was really really good and I was really impressed. The heat was around 32 degrees.
The Entertainment at the hotel was average, some nights were good and some were pool, a lot of childrens entertainment. There was dancing nights, Bingo and many other things. Overall the entertainment staff were so friendly.
The Dominican republic people are really friendly and are more than willing to help you if ever you need help. We booked many excursions which were really good value for money and the best thing was that the trips were also All inclusive so you didnt have to pay for food / drink whilst you were on your day out.
The first trip we went on was 'Monster Trucks' - what an absolutley fabulous day out. We started off when we were picked up by a bus to the main pick up point (Monster truck base). The monster trucks were huge and everyone sat in the back. I would advise that you take some odd bits to give the dominican people as they really do apprichiate it. We started off on a trip through the countryside viewing the scenery and the local houses etc. The houses were very basic and its easy to see that these people do not have much money at all. drinks were offered all the way round, bottles of larger , pop spririts etc. We then stopped off at a local house to have a look around.v We met the people who lived here and its amazing to see how these people live with such basic facilities. Once stopping off here we got to look around at the farm near where they live, the food here was purely for survival and could not be sold because of the poor quality. After this, there was a trip to the school and it was fantastic to see the children here, so friendly and kind. And on the way back we visited a river in which we could swim and have our all inclusive lunch close by. At the end of this before returning the whole monster truck drove through the river, where you could take photos of the truck behind. lots of photo opportunities. This trip cost us around $20 and was totally fantastic, I would recommend this to anyone.
The second trip we went on was to the go karts, we done this ourselves and were a little taken aback when at the front of the place there was a sign reading "no firearms allowed" ..needless to say i didnt see any, only by the police officers who carried them as standard. The go karts were fanatastic fun and there was a variety of rides for all ages.
The third trip we went on was my favourite, it was simply breathtaking. We went to the well know Parasise Island which is a secluded tiny island off the caribbean coast. Thers is nothing but a few stacks on this island which is set up daily by the tour operators where you get your snorkelling things, drinks and food. There are two methods of getting to the island, one is a coach trip (quite a long one 2 hours ish) to the other side of the island, then a stop on the caribbean coast sea, then on a speed boat out to the island, and another is a VIP boat trip with champagne. We opted for the first as it was cheaper and i quite fancies the speed boats. The heat was absolutley scorching. There is little shade here and because you are normally in the sea you easilly catch the sun. The water is absolutley clear and you can see for miles. There is a snorkelling tour for free (which I did not go on because i am scared of the sea) which was said to be fantastic, the fish you could see were huge and you could see the coral reef and all the wildlife there. There was quite a few jelly fish here, however I was not stung (thankfully). After a few hours on the island we then left by speedboat and visited a wildlife sanctuary in the middle of the sea, surrounded by see plants. This was really good. At the end you were taken to a tobacco factory and then returning to home. What a brilliant day out!!! This trip cost around $20..fantastic.
Other trips that were available were, a different island tour, a small island where people lived - this time travelled to by plane , swimming with dolphins and many many more.
The prices in the Dominincan were really cheap and you could often get your excursions cheaper if you visted the Plaze (shopping centre), the shops sell lots of things to take back home..but be aware you cannot take the local 80% proof rum back with you on the areoplane as apparently it is classed as an explosive device!
The airport in the Dom Rep is pretty average, there are lots of stalls offering you sales, which can be a bit tiring when you just wanna go home. The airport could get better air con as the heat there is mad!
The only downside of the holiday was the insects - there was quite a lot of Midges, I think this was down to the season though. Also you do need some injections when visiting the this resort. Hepatitis A is recommended for all travelers, Typhoid
is recommended for travelers who may eat or drink outside major restaurants and hotels (best to get this), Hepatitis B
intended For travelers who may have intimate contact with local residents, especially if visiting for more than 6 months (Needed if you go on the monster safari truck as in contact with residents and there are some people with diseases there) , Also Rabies
is recommended for travelers who may have direct contact with animals and may not have access to medical care. Finally Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), Tetanus-diphtheria. Malaria Tablets are also recommended.
Overall my holiday was excellent and I wouldnt hesitate in going back. The Dominican Republic itself is a beautiful place, and has something for everyone. I hope this review helps anyone you plans to visit.