Anyone been to Punta Cana, DR???
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    1. #1

      Anyone been to Punta Cana, DR???

      I am headed to DR next month with my wife for a much needed vacation. ( The baby is staying with her grandparents)

      Plan on doing some SCUBA diving and was thinking about doing a jungle ATV tour.

      Problem is I was talking to a friend who has been there and he said crime is rampant, they hate Americans, and I should not leave my resort. Kind of has me worried a bit. I did some quick research and could not find too much on crime problem there. It is a "3rd world nation" but I still figured I would be relatively safe especially since much of the economy there is boosted by tourism.

      Anyone been there before?

      Any advice?


    2. #2

      Re: Anyone been to Punta Cana, DR??? (esquiR)

      Have you checked with the State Department? Here are a couple of links. There does not appear to be any current travel warnings. Maybe place a call to the consulate in DR to find out the stuff they won't publish.

      http://travel.state.gov/travel....html

      http://travel.state.gov/travel....html


    3. #3
      Thanks for the info.

      I think I am still going to go diving, and I am probably still going to do the jungle tour.

      I will make sure to bring plenty of insect repellent ( did not know dengue fever & malaria were big issues there) and I will of course keep my head about me in case there any sketchy characters around. ( especially dudes on mopeds)


    4. #4

      Re: Anyone been to Punta Cana, DR??? (esquiR)

      Check the Lonely Planet website, they have forums for all regions, read yours up and your gonna get a lot of insights about all aspects of the DR and crime there.
      I'm sure it's not as bad as your friend has told you, just follow general rules, don't look for troubles yourself, don't get piss drunk in the middle of the night outside your hotel, don't carry your expensive jewellery with you. Stuff like that.

    5. #5
      Senior Member 2k2S80t6's Avatar
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      Re: Anyone been to Punta Cana, DR??? (esquiR)

      It's not that bad. They don't hate Americans and it is not much different from Cancun. Like most lesser developed nations, you don't want to stray too far from civilization alone unless you are familiar with the area. I would bemore worried about straying from your resort in Jamaica than DR.

    6. #6
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      Re: Anyone been to Punta Cana, DR??? (2k2S80t6)

      Quote, originally posted by 2k2S80t6 »
      It's not that bad. They don't hate Americans and it is not much different from Cancun. Like most lesser developed nations, you don't want to stray too far from civilization alone unless you are familiar with the area. I would bemore worried about straying from your resort in Jamaica than DR.

      ditto


      I was there this summer. Punta Cana, to be specific. There is a lot of poverty, but there isn't widespread crime or hatred of Americans.

      The ocean is beautiful, but didn't do any diving. The resort was sinky (literally). And the food sucked. Disappointing day, except for the beach, itself.

      Plenty of better places to visit. But the next resort down the beach might have had great food, for all I know. My visit was a one-day, so we didn't get to see much. Would love to go during a time of year when we could see baseball.

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    7. #7
      Member ss60's Avatar
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      Re: (esquiR)

      Quote, originally posted by esquiR »
      Thanks for the info.

      I think I am still going to go diving, and I am probably still going to do the jungle tour.

      I will make sure to bring plenty of insect repellent ( did not know dengue fever & malaria were big issues there) and I will of course keep my head about me in case there any sketchy characters around. ( especially dudes on mopeds)

      Just leave anything valuable locked in your safe at the Hotel. Most excursions are pre paid before you leave on them anyhow and it's not like you are going to buy food (or drink) along the way unless you want to get hepatitis B... so no cash is required.

      Remember to start your malaria pills the day before your leave and continue them for 4 full weeks once you return, you really don't want to have that bug in your system.


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    8. #8

      Re: (ss60)

      I literally just returned from Punta Cana last night.

      We stayed at Paradisus Punta Cana, an all inclusive resort owned by the Melia hotel corporation. This is a very nice resort with well maintained lush tropical grounds, very friendly staff and surprisingly decent food. We are from NYC area and are spoiled by lots of great restaurants...I always have low expectations for dining in AI resorts. This was good.

      I do believe there's plenty of poverty in the DR...we don't speak Spanish so we weren't able to communicate as much or to the level we like to with many of the staff at the resort, but I did bring some "gifty items - small toys, crayons etc for children of the workers" and tipped those along with a couple dollars daily for our service staff. We brought about $100 in singles for the week and tipped a buck or two whenever appropriate. We felt many of the workers were hardworking and friendly. Many live on site at the resort many hours from home and family.

      We didn't venture outside the resort aside from organized, accompanied excursions and felt very safe. We did lock all valuables in our room safe when we were out...but I wore my regular jewelery and didn't feel any fear that anyone would rob us.

      ATV tours are readily available from the resort, and I believe scuba tours were as well...our resort did not offer on site temporary type scuba certifications.

      We'd definitely go back and are planning to coordinate a trip for family sometime in 2008.

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    9. #9

      Re: (1800girl)

      The Melia Resorts are awesome apparently.. I have a lot of friends who have been to Punta Cana, and other parts of the DR (The local airport in my town has a few flights every season to some destination spot as part of a travel package).

      I stayed at a couple of Melia hotels in Spain, also very nice.


    10. #10
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      Re: (1800girl)

      Quote, originally posted by 1800girl »
      I literally just returned from Punta Cana last night.

      We stayed at Paradisus Punta Cana, .

      that place looks great

      I agree re the people. All my interactions with staff were great, even in the place where the food was lousy.

      I agree re tipping. I am happy to give a guy a buck when he drags a heavy chair across the sand and finds me a spot under some shady trees. And he did it FOUR times for me. He deserved more than $4, as far as I was concerned, and he gave me a big thank you for the $5 bill I handed him.

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    11. #11
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      Re: (ss60)

      Quote, originally posted by ss60 »

      Remember to start your malaria pills the day before your leave and continue them for 4 full weeks once you return, you really don't want to have that bug in your system.


      Not necessary. He's going to DR, not San Salvador or a deep South American region. Watch what you eat and if you eat outside of the resort, ask someone in the know about it first. I'm not sure the water situation, but the safe bet is to use bottled when you're not sure. Last time I was there, I was on business and didn't stay around Punta Cana.


    12. #12
      Thanks for all the insights folks.

      We are staying at Catalonia Bavaro Beach Resort in Punta Cana...it is an all-inclusive. We stayed at an all inclusive in Cancun last year and it was great. Hopefully this will come close.

      Not planning on taking any malaria pills...just going to use plenty of insect repellant.

      I will probably do like 1800girl suggested and book my tours through my resort. I have heard that they charge an arm and a leg vs. what you can find elsewhere but that is the price of convience and safety I guess.


    13. #13
      ps Punta Cana beaches are topless

      just FYI, so you don't get whiplash your first day


    14. #14

      Re: (ADP1)

      Quote, originally posted by esquiR »
      Thanks for all the insights folks.
      We are staying at Catalonia Bavaro Beach Resort in Punta Cana...it is an all-inclusive. We stayed at an all inclusive in Cancun last year and it was great. Hopefully this will come close.

      Not planning on taking any malaria pills...just going to use plenty of insect repellant.

      I will probably do like 1800girl suggested and book my tours through my resort. I have heard that they charge an arm and a leg vs. what you can find elsewhere but that is the price of convience and safety I guess.

      It was quite windy when we were there so no bugs to speak of. Good to be prepared in case though.

      If you speak Spanish it might be worthwhile for you to book your tours directy. I don't speak Spanish and didn't find the $$ on the tours out of range with what I have seen elsewhere for similar activities so didn't find it objectionable.

      Have a great time!!


      Quote, originally posted by ADP1 »
      ps Punta Cana beaches are topless

      just FYI, so you don't get whiplash your first day

      ...Just in case saggy ones do it for you. (National Geographic anyone?) We didn't see much worth a second look on Bavaro...at least not unclad.

      Trish
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    15. #15
      Not a big fan of saggies

      I let you know how it turns out...definitely lookking forward to this vacation I need to get away.


    16. #16
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      Re: (1800girl)

      Quote, originally posted by 1800girl »

      ...Just in case saggy ones do it for you. (National Geographic anyone?) We didn't see much worth a second look on Bavaro...at least not unclad.

      I must have been there on a good day

      but out of the 100 women on the stretch of beach I walked, I only saw 5 that were topless

      but I did not eyeball every woman that was laying down

      and there may be stretches of beach that are not topless. I was at an "end" of it, and 4 of the 5 were toward the end of the end

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