The Dominican Republic
3rd July 2015
White pristine beaches, a crystal clear turquoise sea and lots and lots and lots of palmtrees. I didn’t have to overthink it when Club Med asked me to join them to the Dominican Republic for some days.
I’ve been to an all-inclusive resort twice in my life. First when I was a six-year-old and became loca when my mum told me there were pancakes at breakfast, soft ice at 4 and a mini club where I could dance all day long. Afterwards, when I was 18, I booked an all-inclusive holiday myself when I decided to go on a cheap Turkey getaway with my friends. It were the free cocktails that made me happy back then. But these days – I thought – you would never see me again in an all-inclusive resort. I love to travel around (even when I’m squeezed in a dodgy van for 18 hours), to discover restaurants and bars and get to know the locals and their culture. Rather than lying at the beach for a week. But .. I was wrong. I forgot how relaxing a beach holiday can be. Before I could blink I got already used to the heavenly feeling of doing nothing but sunbathing, swimming, having ocean front massages and doing some sports. For the first time since a very long time I didn’t come home more tired than I left.
I can’t ignore the feeling though that I was quite curious about what was going on outside of the Club Med resort. As I was only in Punta Cana for 3,5 days I didn’t have time to try one of the excursions Club Med offered. If you have the time don’t hesitate to book one of their day trips or – and this looks the most appealing to me – combine your backpack holiday with a week of doing absolutely nothing at Club Med. I’m sure this is the exact definition of best of both worlds. Because besides amazing beaches, this Caribbean island (or part of an island, the DR shares Hispaniola island with Haiti to the west) has lots of other things to offer.
The DR is geographically one of the most diverse countries in the Caribbean. Apart from beaches you’ll find beautiful mountain scenery, colonial architecture, stunning waterfalls and lush jungle.
// TO DO //
Get to know Santo Domingo‘s colonial history and get lost in its cobblestone streets.
Travel to Samaná Peninsula in the northeastern part of the island. Expect amazing nature, a paradise island accessible by boat (Cayo Levantado), breathtaking waterfalls, beautiful bays and friendly Dominicans enjoying Merengue music. Explore Parque Nacional Los Haitises by kayak and go for whale watching between January and March.
Bahía de Las Águilas (in the southwestern corner of the DR close to the Haiti border) is the best option if you’re looking for amazing, nearly deserted beaches next to rocky cliffs. Due to its remoteness few tourists find their way here. Sounds like heaven, n’est-ce-pas?
Hike to the top of Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s highest mountain. You’ll need a few days to reach the 3087m top, but the view from above seems to be breathtaking.
If you are into adventure you can descend the 27 waterfalls of Damajagua or go for hardcore mountainbiking in the central highlands.
Lots of people love the Punta Cana resort as there is happening so much at the moment. The perfect period to visit the resort is from December on according to me. As the weather in Europe is cold, this is the perfect destination to recover from your winter blues, to get rid of your pale skin, to put dreamy paradise island pictures on your Instagram account and to escape the Christmas chaos at home.
By then everything they are working on so hard will be finished. They are building a brand new adults only zone with a superquiet beach area, yoga classes and the most beautiful design rooms ever just next to their L’Occitane Spa. Their new aqua center will be finished where you can do all kind of watersports: kite surfing, paddle surfing, wind surfing, kayaking, sailing, snorkling, … And for the foodies there will be an new oceanfront restaurant, Céleste, where you can enjoy à la carte food.
I’ve got the opportunity to test already one of their new activities; their collaboration with the well-known circus company Cirque du Soleil. They’ve trained 15 artists during 4 months in Montréal to build this unique circus area at Club Med Punta Cuna. Once a week the artists perform at night (a real spectacle, I assure you). During the day you will be able to learn all their tricks. Flying on a trapeze (scary as hell!), learning how to do saltos on the bungee, getting some acting and dancing classes, …
I was invited by Club Med (www.clubmed.be)