5 Tips for visiting the Dominican Republic

punta-cana-1808462__340

The Dominican Republic is one of the top destinations in the Caribbean.  The temperatures in the Dominican average 70-88 degrees making it a perfect place to visit for that mid-winter break.  Dominican Republic is home to a thousand miles of gorgeous beaches, world class golf courses, great sporting adventures, and an incredible rich history.  It definitely has something for everyone.  My 5 best tips for visiting the Dominican Republic are below.

atlantic-2139159_960_720

Where to stay?  The most developed area is the area of Punta Cana.  It’s here you will find your incredible beaches and some of the most amazing resorts.  This is where you will find everything from boutique hotels to mega resorts.  Punta Cana is home to many of the Islands top restaurants, numerous bars, and night clubs.  A few hotels that stand out are the Sanctuary Cap Cana is a great 5 star property in Punta Cana a 331 room all inclusive resort catering to adults and couples who are looking to relax and lavish in luxury.   A little adventurous? You can try the Pineapple Room at Nickelodeon Resort.  This is definitely not for kids only as they also cater to adults.  With 9 pools, a luxury spa, waterslides and 9 restaurants it’s perfect for active couples and families.  Now with 7000 acres and world class golf head to Casa de Campo a 5 star property featuring a full service marina, 16-century styled village, full service spa, equestrian facilities, and a shooting center.  To get around easier book a suite and you will have your own golf cart to visit those 7000 acres.

dominican-republic-2828634__340

Getting around the Island is easy and I would recommend driving around the Dominican Republic while you are there.  It is one of the best ways to see the different areas of the Island.  There are 3 airports on DR and sometimes flying into Santo Domingo can save you a little money.   You can rent a car and drive to your resort if you so choose.

dR carnival 1

All Inclusives are one of the ways to go in the DR as they are plentiful and the pricing over all is great.   People think of all inclusives as just food and beverage but all inclusives even include things like entertainment and water sports.  Every all inclusive hotel is different in their offerings as some can even offer you a round of gold.  So when you think all inclusive don’t just think food and beverage.

golf-462323__340

What to bring?  Yes you are going to have to pack your own sun screen and your own bug spray.  These things on the Island are expensive and for some reason at times hard to come by.  So definitely check the bag and pack both of these to save yourself some headaches.

palm-trees-3496017__340 DR

Direct Flights are available to the Dominican Republic from places like Minneapolis, Detroit, New York, Boston,  and Atlanta on Delta Airlines.  Perfect for those cold winter climates to get a way for that mid-winter break.  There are also various connecting cities available and of course other airlines.  Santa Domingo can often have better pricing depending on the time of year you are traveling.

So if you have the Dominican Republic on your mind and are looking for that amazing Caribbean vacation I think you will be satisfied.  With ideal weather, gorgeous beaches, world class golf, amazing restaurants, and easily navigable it’s ideal for that mid-winter or anytime getaway.   As always if you find you would love to plan that next trip give me a call or drop an email and I would love to help you plan.

You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.  Follow me for all of my travel.

wedding-1612703__340 DR

Punta Cana


5 Tips For Visiting the Domincan Repulic

Top things to do with a day in Bonaire

Bonaire is a small little Island in the Caribbean down towards South America.  It is one of the Dutch Islands known as the ABC Islands.  We happened to stop there on a Southern Caribbean Princess Cruise.   It is situated right outside the Hurricane belt so no worries about weather.  The island is pretty small and at first most might not even take notice of it as a cruise stop or a vacation destination.

Bonaire Island 2

The little Island delivers though!!!   It has some of the most amazing snorkeling and is a well known dive site.  The waters are crystal clear which make it great for any underwater adventures.  As you cruise around the Island you will see divers everywhere.  They are on every stop you see.  They dive everywhere along the Island no special drop off necessary.  I chatted with a couple and they told me it’s the best diving in the Caribbean.

bonaire scuba

We have not acquired our PADI yet so we usually snorkel.   This stop though we chose to go with a golf cart and cruise the Island.  Wow!  What a great choice we made.   Sometimes getting of the ship with a huge amount of people all waiting to do the same thing is a little bit of a drag.  So we opted to just get off the ship at our leisure and see what we could.  After a bit of a back and forth over a scooter. Neither of us have ever drove one.    The woman way “come on it will be fun”, the man way “are you kidding you just had your hip replaced”.  We ended up with the golf cart.  It was the best decision ever.

Bonaire clouds

We ended up with a cart for the full day and we were able to see basically the whole Island on our own time and stopping where we wanted.  We did one half of the island first.  Bonaire is home to many nature reserves one being the Flamingos.

pexels-photo-584498.jpeg

Bonaire is home to salt flats.  It’s a unique sight and you see the various stages of salt as it goes through different processes.  This is pink beach and yes that is all salt.  We picked up a few different packages from cooking to bathing on the way back to the ship.

Bonaire Salt Flats

There are many slave huts throughout the island.  It’s a sad but vivid portrait of the history of the island.

Bonaire Slave huts

Culinary delights abound at Foodies where we had a fantastic lunch with some of the best food we have eaten in the Caribbean.  You definitely need the golf cart to get there or the scooter.    I had the Foodies Bites Surprised Mixed Platter with the Chef surprising you with a mixture of Dutch bites.  It was delicious and the hubby even approved.   They have quite a lot of different Dutch style lunches and dinners and I always love to experience a place with it’s food.  So if you happen to visit enjoy it’s a wonderful place to eat and the ambiance and location fantastic.

Foodies Bonaire1

So if you happen to be in Bonaire and are not diving or snorkeling rent a golf cart at Bonaire Cruises.  Cruise the island at your leisure and make sure to stop at Foodies for lunch or dinner.  If you would allow me I would love to assist you in a cruise to the Southern Caribbean.  Just let me know.

 

You Betta Belize it!! Destination: Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker, Belize 021                                                         In December, 2014, we decided to do a family cruise. We had everyone from grandma to godchild and everything in between. There were 10 of us total. We chose the Carnival Glory for the price really.    Some of the younger ones were on a tighter budget and this was a great fit.  Our cruise would feature an area known as the Western Caribbean and is visited by several different cruise lines.

If you have never been on a Carnival Ship they are known for being fun.  They are called the fun ship and everything is geared towards that aspect.  The Glory is no expection.  You will walk in and the first thing that greats you are the colors.  They are always bright and you will notice that they use a lot of purples, reds, greens and blues, the colors of Carnival.    It was the first week of December and so the ship was decked out in it’s Christmas splendor.                           Christimas Deco on Glory

 

Cruising for someone like me where you are able to see and visit lots of different places for one price is great.   When you cruise you are presented with lots of options to do as much or as little as you want.  You don’t even have to get off this ship if you choose not too.  For this trip our Islands of choice were Cozumel in Mexico, Rotan in Honduras, and Caye Caulker in Belize.  Caye Caulker is only available once you get to Belize City at the port.

Caye Caulker Mangroves

One of the things you can do if you want to experience the local areas and the various ports are excursions   We opted for the non ship excursion ran by Belize Express Tours.  There are various options here when doing excursions.  You can reserve them from the ship, with your travel agent,  and you can use the ships website, and of course you can call the line itself.   You can even wait to the last minute and reserve on ship.  The only issue in waiting until the last minute is if your ship is booked the excursion you want might not be available.  An important feature of booking with the cruise line is you are covered in case something happens which causes you to be late.   They will even fly you to the next port (no charge) if you are really late. You also can go out into the port and find tours.  You have to be careful in choosing and if you are new to cruising your best bet might be to go with what he ship offers.  They usually have a great selection to choose from.

Snorkeling Tour in Caye Caulker, Belize

Belize is an english speaking country with a diverse population. It’s a small country with only a little over 300,000 people.  It’s a prime choice for Americans, Europeans, and Canadians to retire due to its lower cost of living.   The city itself has no natural beaches so if you are expecting to see a tropical beach paradise you might be in for a shock.  This is definitely not your Virgin Islands although it has it’s own charm and beauty.   The port is designed for cruise ships and it has all your standard little shops and venues.   If you want to experience Belize culture and life take a little tour of the city.  The picturesque beauty of Belize can be found in the surrounding areas  within its jungles and especially some of the Islands off the coast.

Our choice for this trip was snorkeling off of Caye Caulker, a mangrove covered Island and we could not have made a better choice.   Our excursion was right from the dock in Belize City and roughly 50 dollars per person. Our tour guide was great and the trip to Caye Caulker is about 45 minutes from the mainland on open water.  The area we chose was Shark and Stingray Alley.  While on the boat you are able to see various smaller Islands and even some of the local aquatic wild life like Tarpon.  We arrived on a small dock on the little Island that is not bigger than 5-7 miles at is longest. You can actually see from one side of the Island to another from the dock. WE LOVED IT!!!! The Island is home to a variety of Islanders and a well loved place for the budget traveler. Backpackers flock here for the laid back atmosphere and the price.  They have quite a number of hostels that offer sun, fun, beach, and a VERY relaxed Island life style. There are no cars on the Island, lots of bikes and of course walking is the mode of travel.

Caye Caulker not mine  Caye Caulker  snorkelling (9)

Belize is home to one of the longest reef’s in the Western Hemisphere with 290 km in length of unspoiled beauty.  Your snorkeling is right off the reef and we  got to swim with nurse sharks and sting rays.   It’s an easy snorkel and although one area has a little bit of a current over all it’s a great area.  Perfect for families and teens too.  You will be able to see, touch, and swim with these magnificent creatures.  They will swim below and around you and you will have to take care not to step on some of the rays as the area is pretty shallow.  Having snorkeled in the Caribbean I was used to seeing various rays, sharks, and other aquatic life so it was not as unnerving to me as it was to some of the others on our trip.  They seemed to find it a little weird to be swimming next to a nurse shark and above a group of sting rays.

After snorkeling you again board the boat back to the mainland where you are treated to fresh fruit and rum punch.  Overall a great trip to Belize, a country with a laid back life style, and beautiful  people.  Belize a place to visit that an be great for a budget travel while visiting some of fantastic Islands and barrier reef’s there are.

If you happen to find your self in Belize make sure to visit this enchanting, little Island  If you have a chance “you betta Belize it”!

Caye CaulkerBelize WelcomeCay Caulker 2