Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Submitted by Gerry Stack - Bursch Travel St Cloud client

Flights with Sun Country - we treated ourselves by upgrading to first class, able to do that at check-in, first come, first serve, and we lucked out and got it both directions. It will be hard to fly coach again; enjoyed the peace and quiet and the extra room. Coming home we left 45 minutes late, the plane was there but no gates available to unload.  The airport in general was a zoo, very small and congested with people.  Going thru customs/immigration. was a joke, they didn't seem a bit concerned about anything.  Sun Country staff was very nice,

Iberostar Bavaro - it was nice but I am glad I got the package on a sale price. I would have been disappointed if I would have paid full price.

Positive - service was very good every where, random staff always asking us if everything was OK, did we have any problems etc.  Never had that at the Barcelo... The staff seemed sincere and worked very efficiently in the buffet dining room and front desk.

Room - extra space in the junior suite was nice.  Bathroom very small, no counter space but we read about this shortcoming on the internet so were not surprised.  Got a king bed without a hassle. Fresh flowers in room and bathroom every day!  I appreciate flowers and foliage etc. Had all the bottled water we needed everyday. 

Buffet - only one and that was a problem for obtaining the food; very crowded and no plan for people flow around the food displays.  The actual dinning area was large but it was a headache to get in and out of a separate area that had the food.  A plus in the dining area at breakfast was dedicated staff walking around pouring coffee, our cups were never empty!


Cartes - We get tired of the evening buffet after one night so we enjoyed 4 of these, you are able to get additional tickets between 3P and 5P based on cancellations and we scored an additional ala carte! Service in these was very good; we were not rushed in and out either.

Beach - perfect sand!  We could walk in any direction forever, no rocks, no broken coral or shells. I tried to check out the other properties along the way but there were no names on the buildings, I could only tell a change in properties by the chairs and towels changing colors!  All the properties looked pretty full.

The first two days the weather was perfect, and then we had weather issues the remainder of the trip.  Wind and rain squalls ongoing everyday.  The wind kept most people off the beach... which in turn made the pool area jam packed. The pool area in general was very small for the size of the resort.  Again.. I may be spoiled by the size of the endless pools at the Bareclo in the


.  Pool water was very cold, not many in the pools, I think due to the significant rain every night.

Outback Safari Tour- Like you suggested we took in a couple of tours. All day trip to the country, the roads are terrible and it is slow going but it was interesting.  Our guide was excellent - knowledgeable and pleasant. Lunch on the trip so-so... enough to keep you going.  I used my pure coconut oil today!



Tour -  Catamaran trip to a remote island.  A long bus trip to the boat but it was worth it... We love the ocean so this was fun... only to have it rain most of the day at the beach, thankfully the air temps stay warm when it rains. 

Mosquitoes - yes, in the evening in the front lobby, bar/show areas. I have zero tolerance for mosquitoes; react with huge welts so I was prepared with bug repellent for the evenings. Made me feel like I was in MN!  Saw lots of people with bug bites on there legs.  Read about this on the internet also so we were prepared.

General Observation - most vacationers were from


, they tend to be rude when in lines or even walking on the sidewalks among the bungalows on the way to the beach.  They tend to travel in larger groups/families. We really felt like a minority, being just the two of us did not help.

All in all we had a good trip, a mix of relaxation and site seeing. I cannot hold the weather against the DR - there was a tropical storm in the area and we were on the edge of if. I don't think this was typical. I would go back, but I don't think that property due to the small pool and small buffet layout. I have to figure out if the level of service is aligned with particular resort chains or if that is also part of the culture.  Another challenge of DR would be to leave the resort on your own... the roads and traffic are awful.  We have mastered doing this in


but I would not attempt in DR.