Travel Journal: Punta Cana

Leaving Italy and heading to the Dominican Republic for this week’s Travel Tuesday

I’m what you call an “active traveler.”  When I go on a trip, I like to see the sights, hike the hikes, and meet the people.  I’m not one to sit on a beach and do nothing.  I suppose I’m that way because I was raised in a family of active travelers – we don’t love sitting still on vacation.

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However, when my parents generously decided to take the entire family on a vacation in celebration of their 40th anniversary, they realized the original plan to go to Europe was out of the question if they wanted my nephews to join.  There was no way my parents were going to celebrate without their grandsons, and there was also no way two boys aged 1.5 and 3 could handle Europe.  And that’s how I found myself on my first ever sit-on-a-beach-and-do-nothing vacation.

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Since we had just returned from our very active honeymoon 6 weeks before, this ultra relaxing vacation turned out to be very nice and just what the doctor ordered.  Because this was truly a do-nothing vacation, each day was basically the same so I won’t give you a day-by-day breakdown.  Essentially we repeated the pattern of wake up, eat breakfast, work out, sit on beach, eat lunch, sit by pool, shower, eat supper, go to sleep.  I’ve come to realize that after months of running around, that’s not a bad way to spend several days.  It’s not “exciting”, but it is nice.  Here’s how I recommend spending your time:

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  1. Sit by the pool with a book.  While I didn’t get as much reading done as I thought (the result of running after a 3 year old allllll day), I did get several long chunks of time where I could sit by the pool and read.  Whatever resort you go to, make sure you pick one that has beds/lounge chairs in the pool.  It’s amazing.  punta cana paradisus3
  2. Enjoy the beauty of the beach.  The water is warmer and the colors are brighter.  It’s simply gorgeous.  Sit and marvel at it all.  Maybe go parasailing if you feel the need to do some sort of activity.  punta cana paradisus5
  3. Order room service.  Room service is typically so expensive that I avoid it, but it’s one of those super amazing luxurious vacation experiences.  I feel like a queen when I’m eating room service on my bed in a plush hotel bathrobe.  The beauty of these all-inclusive resorts is that room service is also included so you don’t have to feel bad about ordering it!  punta cana paradisus2
  4. Take photos.  In addition to taking your own photos, get some professional ones taken.  My brother and sister-in-law’s anniversary gift to my parents was professional pics on the beach of the fam.  Yes, they can turn cheesy real quick, but we simply scrapped the prom poses and  wound up with some lovely photos of the whole fam.  It’s rare to have such breathtaking backgrounds and all of the family in front of the camera at the same time.  punta cana paradisus6
  5. Eat the seafood.  Use common sense when it comes to choosing food at the buffet and restaurants.  Eat the food they have the most experience preparing in the country.  Island nations are going to be real good at cooking seafood so load up on that.  I ate tons of seafood salad and grilled lobster tails.  When it comes to meat, the best stuff is highly marinated and cooked for a while.  Hanger steak is going to be better than the filet, for instance.  Also, plantains and tropical fruits are sure to be delicious.  punta cana paradisus7
  6. Exercise.  I loved waking up, getting a leisurely breakfast at the buffet (maybe with some fresh watermelon juice), and then hitting the gym.  I actually worked out every day of the trip.  I knew I’d be exhibiting slug-like behavior for the rest of the day, so it was nice to get out and feel like I accomplished something.  It also made me feel better about eating and drinking the rest of the day.  I opted for the gym most workouts, but it’s also nice to run through the island paths or on the beach.  punta cana paradisus4


We stayed at one of the Paradisus resorts and loved it.  The staff was attentive but not suffocating.  There was a wonderful concierge service for the kiddos with babysitting and plenty of activities for them to enjoy, which made our lives much easier.  It was also nice that it never felt too packed.  There were definitely people around at all times, but we never had to fight for a cabana or restaurant reservation.

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