It was not for nothing that it was called “The most beautiful place on Earth” in 1492, when it was also discovered by Christopher Columbus. Fine white sand, tall palm trees and blue-green ocean water is the picture I enjoyed for a week.
After an 11-hour flight, with a stopover in Paris, I arrived in Punta Cana at La Romana airport. I’ve stayed at the Barcelo Bavaro hotel, which features a huge swimming pool, a 24-hour casino, golf courses, a spa, and an extensive shopping area. You don’t have time to get bored in this place. Lots of restaurants with great food and extremely friendly and smiling staff.
I have to tell you that all the years of watching Spanish soap operas was useful because everyone here speaks Spanish and I could understand them perfectly. The people are cheerful, sociable and always put on a good time.
Latin rhythms of merengue and bachata are heard everywhere. While I was at the beach, I had also the chance to dance and take free bachata classes.
From your first evening here, you learn that the “house drink” in the Dominican Republic is mamajuana, which is delicious. It’s actually a mixture of rum, wine and honey, to which various spices and tree bark are added. It has various curative properties, but the most popular property is that of an aphrodisiac.
After resting at the beach and recharging my batteries to the max, I thought it was time to see some of the sights of this beautiful island. The first trip I purchased was to Santo Domingo, the capital of the Republic.
It was built by the brother of explorer Christopher Columbus in 1496. It is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in Columbus’ New World. The historic center of the town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There, along the cobblestone streets, we visited the first cathedral in America, the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor and many other impressive buildings, including the Alcazar de Colon Palace.
The palace is an old building whose owner was the son of Christopher Columbus – Diego Colon and from where you can see the opposite bank of the Osama River, where the metropolitan residential areas are located.
In order to take in as much of the city’s sights as possible in the remaining time, we took a ride on the Chu Chu Colonial. This is a small, open-air train that runs through Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone for 45 minutes.
The day ended at a terrace called Bucheerico in the center of town, where we chilled with a cold drink and watched a dance performance by local artists.
On the way back to Santo Domingo, we had a stop in Los Tres Ojos National Park, an area made up of a system of caves and lakes and the second most visited protected area in the Dominican Republic. In the caves there are bats, fish, turtles, and lizards found among the plants and vines.
We also stopped at a cigar and cocoa shop from where we purchased gifts for family and friends.
The hours-long drive was quite tiring, but it’s totally worth it to lose a day among the old buildings of this city full of history.
Another trip I will never forget was to Saona Island. One of the most popular day trips from Punta Cana is to this island.
Saona, is a small island nature reserve, about an hour’s boat ride away. Departure is from Bayahibe harbour, from where we took a speedboat to the “natural pool”, where you can see starfish and where the water is shallow, incredibly clear.
It brought tears of joy to my eyes to see what a beautiful place there can be on this Earth and I have the chance to see it. After having my picture taken in every palm tree I came across, I took a dip in the turquoise water and had a delicious lunch, the rest of the time I lazed on the beach.
On the way back, we took the catamaran and until we get to the shore, we admired the scenery that I would never want to forget, drank piña colada and danced for an hour.
Punta Cana is the most popular tourist destination in the Dominican Republic, with over 200 hotels and resorts that can accommodate any budget. The destination offers everything from Caribbean beaches and lush rainforest reserves to casinos and water parks.
The holiday sprinkled with adventures, unreal beautiful places, good rum, beach, palm trees and wonderful people will remain forever etched in my memory and I recommend everyone to see at least once in their life this wonderful Caribbean island.
Travel, live, love…in the exotic spirit of the Caribbean!