Dominican Republic 1/13/11 – 1/20/11
Having a full week at an all-inclusive does wonders to your figure. I made sure to take advantage of eating all the delicious food they had to offer while not forgetting about my much-needed tan (according to Amber). Personally I enjoy the relaxation of a beach but need some excursions included to keep me going. We didn’t have any planned before but knew we would be buying some on the beach (by random people who come up and ask you if you want to do tours) or at the hotel.
Our first purchase for excursions was the speedboat to snorkeling to natural pool adventure. Yes all of that in one tour. I was very excited about this one particular, because I could drive a two-person speed boat without any sort of license. Something you couldn’t really do in the US. Speed boating to a snorkeling spot and the natural swimming pool was a bonus.
We walked to a “pickup” spot on the beach. An eight-person speedboat showed up and we were told he was going to take us to the speed boats. After a short ride down the beach line, we arrived at the speedboat location. They go over the basics of how to drive the speedboat, give you your snorkeling gear and you hop in the boat. Your cameras and personal items are stored inside the boat (like actually inside the boats structure) you’re driving. I drove first to see how hard it would be and to assess if Amber could do it. I know that sounds pretentious, but the boats were old and the throttle was hard to move. It was such a great feeling. I felt like I was in a James Bond movie with the beautiful girl next to me, the speedboat flying across the clear blue water, and following the leader speedboat.
Snorkeling was up first in the speedboat adventure. The group turned off their engines right next to the snorkel spot. We got our snorkel gear on and I got my camera with the underwater casing ready. Quickly everyone hopped into the water and got used to the snorkel gear. The group leaders let us know that we could go around ourselves and we would meet up after we were all done. I got some pretty cool shots underwater was well as some video.
Next up was the natural swimming pool. The ride to the swimming pool I decided to give Amber a shot driving… It was a very interesting adventure in itself. We started to go very slow and we couldn’t figure out why. Everyone else in the group was getting farther and farther away from us and there was nothing that was making the boat go faster! The last boat in the group was watching our failure and quickly drove up next to us. It was two guys we met at the speedboat location. They asked us what was wrong and we had no idea. Their boat driver pulled up next to our boat (while we were still moving) and the second man jumped into our boat. This is getting more like a James Bond movie every minute!
He showed us the issue was Amber wasn’t pushing the throttle hard enough. It was very tough to do I just didn’t think about that as the cause (maybe because this is my first time in a two person speed boat?). The boat jumper put us into high gear and we started flying! He took control for a minute or two. I thought “great now he’s going to take the rest of our adventure away from us and drive for us”. I was blown away by his next move. The boat he came from caught up to us (probably going 30mph+) and he said to Amber take control. Amber took control and we watched him signal to his other boat driver to come closer. The other boat came right next to our boat and he jumped from our boat into his! The driver pulled away and signaled us to keep going.
We arrived at the natural swimming pool in one piece and had to shut down our engines. I helped Amber this time shut down the engine and we both had an “ah ha! Moment” there was a red button behind the throttle you had to push down while moving the throttle. That was defiantly one of the reasons we had trouble going fast but it was still tough to move.
After completely shutting down the engine we hopped out into the water and swam around for a bit. Nothing too crazy about this natural swimming pool just a pretty view and shallow water. Finally we headed back to the speedboat location and went back to our resort. I would highly recommend that for any person who likes speed (not the drug), snorkeling, and a nice getaway from the resort.
We got back to our resort and decided to take a walk along the beach for pictures. From our emo (emotional) pictures that we laugh about, to our jumping pictures, Amber and I love taking pictures. The question we have everywhere we go is who will take our jumping picture? We look for a couple or people who look like they are having an enjoyable vacation (laughing, joking around). We walked along the beach decided who would be our person of choice to take this memorable picture. We found a young couple that was happy to take our picture. After a few tries, we got the official jumping picture of DR !
The couple was extremely friendly and just seemed like people we would like to hang out with. Of all the resorts along the beach they could be staying at…they happened to be staying at the same one as us! We continued to see them around the resort and saw them during our later excursions. Lisa and Patrick became our Canadian friends.
Our next excursion was the Saona Island “Catamaran” Tour. We woke up early and hopped into a mini bus with a group of people to head off to the Catamaran Tour, which was 1hr+ away. We got into one of the two speeds boats that could hold roughly 20 people each and took off at high speed. We stopped at another natural pool area and everyone hopped out to swim around.
The highlight of the excursion was what came next. We arrived at Saona island to one of the most beautiful beaches I have been to thus far with a breathtaking view. I felt like I was looking at a windows background. Of course many pictures were taken here are some highlights.
We had some lunch on the island and headed on the Catamaran. I was expecting this to be the best part of the excursion because the person we booked this through talked up a Catamaran to be this amazing thing. It was not even close. We sat on this uncomfortable rope with a ton of other people. Nothing about that part of the excursion was fun unless you enjoy an uncomfortable seat.
I really want to become a certified scuba diver. Our resort had a free test out scuba diving course you could sign up for. Of course Amber and I did it. It was basically in the pool of our resort with an instructor showing us how to breathe and move around underwater with the equipment. Amber didn’t enjoy it as it was hard for her to breathe but I loved it. I wanted to get my certification but Amber talked sense into me saying, “when are we going to go somewhere tropical again?”…Little did she know at that time..my addiction to traveling was growing fast.
Casinos! Who doesn’t love them? Well I don’t like losing money…and that is what I did. The dealers were making fun of me in their language, which wasn’t too pleasant but it was nice to get off the resort again. Amber and I somehow get ourselves into dance competitions at resorts. Our resort had an international dance competition where we danced to different countries dance styles while other guests watched us and voted on us.
It was like Dancing with the Stars minus the stars. We showed off our moves but in the end didn’t get first place. It still was a good workout for all those calories I was gaining rapidly at the resort.
Last but not least was the ATV tour of beaches, towns, farms, coffee / chocolate farm, cave. The tour picked us up at our hotel and drove us to the ATV location. We were conned into buying bandanas to protect our face from all the debris. Didn’t really need it but okay. So we go on the ATV and went through the practice course. This thing can really get over anything! We headed out to the first spot, a cave you can swim in. As we were on our way there, we passed farms, drove on the street, and at the destination, many children waiting for us. Now as much as I love children…I don’t love children who try to make me buy things or give them money. They had pictures of a house and sun hand drawn that they wanted to give us. “I drew this for you” the child said. In my head it was where’s the catch? The came when they said could I have a dollar or something after they handed the picture over. I said no thanks and gave them the picture back.
The cave was cool to walk down into and swim around but that lasted a whopping 10 minutes max. Next up was another quick tour at the coffee / chocolate farm.
We saw where they picked the beans and got to try some coffee made there.
The ATV tour ended with a drive to the beach where more pictures ensued.
The day we were leaving we got “going away” massages just to relax ourselves before the trip home. That is where I come to the conclusion of Dominican Republic. I am surprised you are still reading this as I do enjoy to rant about my travels. So a special thank you for sticking it out.
To sum up Dominican Republic
Punta Cana Princess All Suites Resort & Spa
– Amazing loved the food, and the resort. The people could have been nicer at the resort.
Speed boat / Snorkeling / Natural Swimming pool excursion – Totally worth the money. Highly recommend if you want to drive a two person speed boat at high speeds. Snorkeling was a good time as well because you were in a small group. Natural swimming pool wasn’t anything special because it was just shallow clear water in the ocean.
Saona Island “Catamaran” Tour – A beach paradise. You only get two hours on the beach the rest of the excursion isn’t worth it. It is also very expensive.
ATV Cave / Town / Beach Tour – Highly recommended. If you like to drive ATV’s and want a small adventure outside of your resort. Watch out for the kids and people trying to sell you stuff at the Caves. They are very annoying and pushy.
Spent most time drinking:
Wes- Jack & Coke, Johnny & Coke, Vodka & Orange, Strawberry Daiquiri.
Amber – Vodka & Lemonade, Vodka & Fruit Punch, Vodka & Orange, Pina Colada, Strawberry Daiquiri.
Chinese, Dominican, Italian, French, Mexican, and American Food all inside the resort.
DR Bandanna, Picture frame