Sometimes it’s good to pick a place just to relax and enjoy yourself at the beach, without any crazy schedule or rush to get anywhere. A vacation doesn’t always have to be a non stop adventure, sometimes you want to do as little as possible and avoid hectic schedules. The Caribbean has numerous islands with beautiful beaches and relaxing resort options. Punta Cana is an amazing place in Dominican Republic, and one of the lesser expensive options in the area. This was the perfect place for a short getaway and chance to chill out and enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches mother nature has to offer.
When planning a vacation of this kind, in tourist heavy destinations, it’s good to do a little research and plan accordingly. Taking a vacation just outside of peak season, either in April or November can save a lot of money with very little difference in the weather. There are dozens of hotels and resorts to choose from, so where do you start? If there are “all inclusive” options, they are worth looking into. Most Caribbean vacation destinations offer some form of inclusive resort and we’ve found that it’s another great way to save money and take the hassle out of dining and drinking. Most of these locations have become resort cities, so there’s not much opportunity to explore outside the tourist areas anyway without renting a car. For weekend trips, exploring may not be on your agenda anyway. We were planning to rest a lot, spend a lot of time by the beach or pool, eating, drinking and enjoying the sun and water. Having unlimited food and drink was a great plus.
We picked Majestic Resorts, a very beautiful place with great food and wonderfully maintained grounds that complimented the natural beauty of the island. First thing that we did when we got there was have some nice, cold mimosas and a bite to eat by the beach. A great way to get the mind and body reformatted to relax. After we ate we had a long walk and began to explore this wonderful resort. During off peak season, it feels a little like a semi-private oasis. We went in April when they were just starting to gear up for peak season, so we got to benefit less crowds with almost no downside (unless you prefer more people and activity).
You can venture along the beach in any direction and find nothing but white sand, blue ocean and alternating resorts that are maintained like gardens or parks. Most of the time the more expensive, ornate resort grounds are open to the public. In some cases, it’s worth looking around as there are some pretty spectacular sights and benefits of discounted shows or events, in hopes of luring customers who might want to try out another resort on their next visit. For some of us, it’s difficult to break out of the mindset that you should be doing something productive at all times, but on a Caribbean island, everything seems geared to forget the hustle and bustle of life and learn to appreciate doing almost nothing. In only a couple days on a resort, we were able to find bliss in the midst of an ideal, peaceful, accommodating environment that makes stress nearly impossible.
Of course, there are plenty of opportunities to leave the resort and get some adventure in, and the hotels are ready with plenty of suggestions to accommodate tourists in this regard too. The front desk area will undoubtedly offer brochures for all types of activities, many related to the water, like jet skiing, para-sailing, etc. often with some sort of discount attached. With the tourist industry supporting a big part of the economy in these areas, it’s mutually beneficial for resorts and off sight industries to work together. It’s still at an extra cost, so by no means is it mandatory to venture off the resort.
We try to get out and try something new and local when we visit a new country or culture and this trip was no different. Horseback riding is something the Dominican Republic has become famous for, especially on the beach. Through our concierge, we arranged to have a bus take us out to a local ranch with some other guests to give it a try. It was one of the least expensive off sight activities we could find at around $50 per person. These types of trips have become pretty familiar to us. At first you get on a bus with a bunch of strangers, not sure what to expect from the adventure in an unfamiliar location and culture. As the activity unfolds though, we find ourselves swept up in the fun and glad we tried something new. Since these businesses rely on word of mouth and good feedback from the guests, it’s mutually beneficial for the resort and off sight business to be courteous and respectful to it’s guest. Although it was a little intimidating at first, driving up to a genuine ranch in the jungle of an unfamiliar country, the ranchers were professional in every respect and it turned out to be a really great experience.
I was scared at first, trying something new is a big challenge and my anxiety started to kick in as soon as we left the resort. It was even more apparent when they showed us the animals we’d be riding. The fear for me comes partially from the danger of the activity and also from the possible embarrassment of failing in front of a bunch of strangers. I was able to take on the challenge however, in large part from being granted one of the smallest horses on the ranch. The guides were real pro’s at teaching newbies like myself and my husband how to handle the reigns and by the end of the day, we got to actually gallop in the ocean. It turned out to be a really inspiring side trip and made our short, relaxing vacation even more memorable. If you do wind up in Punta Cana, I’d highly recommend trying it out, instead of doing a water sport that is available at pretty much any other beach vacation area.
So, for a quick getaway, and a little taste of island paradise, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic was a great investment. It runs a little cheaper than a lot of the other resort locations in the Caribbean, but has everything you’d want. From white sands, blue oceans to palm trees and cold drinks, if you really want to unwind, consider planning a trip to Punta Cana.