Trip Recap: Dominican Republic

Don and I just returned home from a weeklong stay in the Dominican Republic located in the Caribbean.  We love taking beach vacations like this every other year or so.   The main purpose of this type of trip for us is relaxation.  It’s really nice to spend a week just lounging about in the shade listening to the ocean, swimming in the sun, and eating delicious food!  We chose the Dominica Republic because it has all of the features we were hoping for, such as luxe resorts, great golf courses, and beautiful beaches.  Plus it’s pretty easy to get to with just a four and a half hour direct flight.  We got stuck between two choices when we were researching places to stay, so we decided to just split the trip in half and spend time at each resort.  While resort hopping mid-vacation can seem like a bit of a nuisance, we ended up very much enjoying experiencing the differences and variety the two places offered.  It was well worth packing up mid-week!

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We flew into the Dominican Republic on Saturday, May 24.  Our first stop was Tortuga Bay in Punta Cana.  Literally just moments from the airport, Tortuga Bay offers the most VIP airport treatment we’ve ever received.  They met us as soon as we walked off the plane and whisked us through a VIP customs line.  Then it was off to pick up the bags after which they swept us right into a private car.  We felt pretty special!  It’s a wonderful extra touch that starts your trip off right.

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know who Bean Bunny is.  This special 2″ tall furry friend who was an Easter gift from my sweetie will be traveling with us this year.  You can follow his adventures at #BeanBunnyWorldTraveler on Instagram if you’re interested!

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Tortuga Bay is a gorgeous boutique hotel that offers beautiful accommodations designed by Oscar de la Renta in either one to two bedroom suites or three to four bedroom villas.  We had a one bedroom suite on the second floor of a villa that looked right out onto the private beach.  My favorite part of the room was the wall of windows that highlighted this feature.  The room was open and airy and smelled delightful!  I wonder if they pipe this signature scent in through the air conditioning.  Tortuga Bay also offered us a couple of unique amenities we very much enjoyed using during our stay.  One was our own golf cart to get around the property in and the other was a little cell phone that dialed directly to the villa manager who helped arrange reservations and special requests for us.

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Even though we were there during the low season and the resort was not fully booked, it is designed to be a quiet and private retreat.  If you’re looking for a happening party scene this is not the place for you.  Don and I very much enjoy this kind of vibe, especially for our beach vacations.  We loved being able to walk right out our suite onto the beach.  There’s no fighting for beach chairs or staff attention on this private strip.  The water is very calm and warm but refreshing.  I brought along my trusty inflatable tube for some quality floating time.

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We’re not the types to participate in lots of activities on our beach vacations, but we do enjoy playing golf together when we go away, especially on oceanside courses.  We played two rounds in Punta Cana; first at La Cana and then at Corales.  La Cana consists of three nine holes designed by P.B. Dye.  Corales is a Tom Fazio course and more of a challenge.  We thoroughly enjoyed playing both!

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I didn’t take many pictures of the food, although I did film quite a few of our meals which you can see in my coordinating videos below if you’re interested.  Tortuga Bay offered a lovely included breakfast buffet spread.  While eggs to order cost more, we found the variety of hot and cold options on the buffet to be more than sufficient.  We ate lunch at Bamboo, the onsite restaurant where breakfast was served, as well at the golf clubs.  We took our golf cart to other restaurants in Punta Cana, including Playa Blanca and La Yola, for dinner.  We enjoyed the food everywhere we went with lots of fresh fish and seafood options, local produce, and imported delicacies.  On our last night in Punta Cana we took a taxi to Passion, one of the highest rated restaurants on the island located in the Paradisus Palma Real Resort.  We opted for the seven course tasting menu which was delectable!

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On Wednesday, May 28, we checked out of Tortuga Bay and headed over to Eden Roc, located in Cap Cana.  This is another boutique style resort that caters to those in search of a private sanctuary.  There are one to two bedroom suites and private villas with three to five bedrooms.  Our one bedroom suite was its own freestanding building!  This is definitely one of the most unique hotels we’ve ever had the pleasure to stay at.  I just loved our villa, complete with a gorgeous bedroom and sitting area, the biggest bathtub I’ve ever seen, outdoor and indoor showers, and a very generously sized private pool and back patio.  We also had our own golf cart, which came in handy since the beach is just about one mile (a quick three minute drive) from the resort.

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We played a round of golf at Punta Espada, a Jack Nicklaus signature course that wraps around the private beach and hugs the rocky coastline.  This was definitely the most challenging of the three courses we played.  The views were breathtaking!  We also very much enjoyed lunch at the clubhouse.

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Guests at Eden Roc are given access to the Caletón Beach Club, a private members only spot located in a gorgeous protected cove.  Again, there was no fighting for beach chairs here!  We loved the soft, white sand and super attentive staff.  There were definitely more waves here than at Tortuga Bay, which made for a nice change and some great swimming.  The club also has an enormous pool located just behind the beach.  We spent half of our days at the beach and the other half up at the Eden Roc main pool, complete with a basketball hoop and swim up bar.  Fun for everyone!

OJ_MHWL_06-03-2014_10There’s a lovely restaurant called La Palapa adjacent to the beach, which we ate lunch and dinner at twice.  We were big fans of the excellent sushi on the menu!  We also enjoyed a lovely meal at Mediterraneo, located up at the resort, where the served the included breakfast buffet with a nice selection of made to order items.  The food at both spots was fab and the service spot on!

We very much enjoyed our week in the Dominican Republic.  Don and I both agreed that splitting the trip up between Punta Cana and Cap Cana was a great idea, as it allowed us to experience two very special resorts in two stunning locations.  We did mean to take a boating/snorkeling excursion, which is something we love to do on our beach vacations, but sadly Don came down with an intense ear infection thanks to swimmer’s ear for the bulk of our trip.  He was a trouper though and the medical center in Cap Cana helped him get the right medication so he could enjoy his trip.  

We flew home on Sunday, June 1, feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after a week in paradise.  We both had a wonderfully relaxing stay and would go back in a heartbeat!

If you’d like to see my travel vlogs, they are split into two videos.  The first one documents our stay at Tortuga Bay in Punta Cana:

The second video follows us around Eden Roc in Cap Cana:

I hope you enjoyed this peak into our Caribbean vacation.  We highly recommend both resorts, especially if you’re looking for a very relaxing, romantic, and quiet escape to paradise.

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* This is not a sponsored post.  I am not affiliated with any of the resorts or businesses mentioned.  My husband and I paid for our travel expenses. *

29 comments

29 thoughts on “Trip Recap: Dominican Republic”

  1. Awww, wish I had known. Anyway will come by later to read and view but just in case, there is a stone called Larimar that I think you might love. It’s a sky blue.Not turquoise. And sometimes there are specks of white in it. When I wear it I feel like I am looking at the sky. Bought mine on Etsy. Yayyyy for you. Only glancing at your pictures made me smile. I believe Larimar is only found in the D.R.

  2. Thank you for the wonderful travel blog. My husband and I are planning a trip to the Dominican Republic this winter to visit my daughter in the Peace Corps. It looks like you had a fabulous time!

  3. Yay! I missed your videos, its so nice for you to share these trips with us, I really do appreciate the time and effort you put into them!

  4. Well – your vacation looked amazing! Eden looked out of this world Jen! So nice of you to share it.
    You and Don are just so darn cute – saving that HUGE bug! I wouldn’t have touched it either ……. 🙁

    I’m happy that you had a wonderful time, and I’m glad you had safe travels.

    Snuggles to Miss Winnie, Welcome Home to the sweetest couple!

    Shaunie 🙂

  5. I was SO happy when I saw your new update this afternoon! Your travel vlogs are always so much fun to watch, and your trip looked just FANTASTIC!

  6. So thrilled to see some videos from you! I could never afford such a luxurious vacation so I love that you do these vlogs so I can feel like I am there with you! It looks like you had a wonderful time!

  7. oooohhh, this trip looked sooo relaxing! Yes, its nice when you can travel with no crowds. The resorts and beach looked amazing. Thanks so much for sharing with us 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your summer and hopefully you can continue to share.

  8. Thanks Jen, for letting us “par take” in your chillaxin and relaxin, , golfing and food extravaganza. Looked divine. 😀

  9. Imagine me in my office (even though our offices are located within a 5 star hotel), all tired and sleepy, working 12 hours / day and I had these 30 free minutes to watch your videos. OMG, I am back and alive. I don’t think I’ve seen anything nearly as beautiful as that. Thank you very much for sharing. That was enchanting!

  10. I watched both of your vac videos and the destinations are simply Glorious! Thanks for sharing….. the only neg for me – veal, lamb and baby lobster food choices =(

      1. Yep fondant in french is an adjective that literally means “something that can melt” and it refers to the fact that the center of the cake is like melted chocolate. I loooove les fondants au chocolat 😀

  11. Yay for travel vlogs!! Thank you so much for filming while you and Don were on vacation! And not just one, but two vlogs – yippee!!
    I really enjoyed “coming along” with you guys and getting to see the gorgeous resorts that you stayed at and all of those delicious food choices too! It looks like you two had a wonderfully relaxing and fun vacation!

    It seems May was a good time of year to go too – it doesn’t look like it was very busy there and you often had almost the whole beach/restaurant/pool to yourselves! I’ll have to remember that if I ever go there to go in the off season as everything is so much more enjoyable when it’s not busy (I find anyway) 🙂

  12. I finally find the time to catch up on your videos and this sure looks like a dream holliday. It’s so refreashing to see you and Donald have so much fun 🙂 And I must add that you looked absolutely gorgeous in that fabulous stripy maxidress !!!

  13. Looked like a fab holiday. That bath was to die for! Shame that Don had a poorly ear, hope he made a speedy recovery after getting his medicine. It looked so quiet and I love the dresses you shared, so pretty! Thanks for sharing xx

  14. Love, love, love that you all took this trip. Husband and I are looking into going to the DR within the next year or two but we are first going to Mexico in October and then looking into going to either England or Paris. Though I really want to travel to South Africa. Ahhhh decisions!!! LOL It looks like you all enjoyed your trip and that’s awesome.

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