Dominican Republic

If you adore her , take her to DR or whatever what was said.

I planned a secret solo trip to Punta Cana , Dominican Republic.

I loved it !

With the new travel rule of being tested 3 days before entering the US , I was hesitant but determined to go.

Jetting Away

I flew with JetBlue . This was the emptiest plane I’ve ever been on. Everyone pretty much had their own row unless they were together . There were only about 20 people on board.

Everyone wore their masks unless eating or drinking . It was a relatively quiet and quick flight . Flight attendants will give you forms to fill out for customs and immigration. Instead of walking to the customs area , you’re put on a airport bus for a short ride over. Customs didn’t take long at all . Just make sure every form is filled out completely and have your passport out.

I exchanged about $200 at the airport then proceeded to find my shuttle . Another great thing about Riu is you are given a transportation voucher for FREE ! Make sure to confirm booking. I learned my lesson in Cancún and booked transportation from the airport before I arrived.

One thing I did notice was the drivers waiting were not as “in your face” as they were in Mexico. They stand behind a little fence and wait patiently .

I Keep Calling It Rio

I don’t know why I keep saying Rio but it was funny to catch myself every time I said it .

I originally chose another hotel but decided to change to Riu Palace .

I changed it because Riu offers free COVID testing and I also saved $200 by using my points .

Be sure to sign up for their FREE rewards program so you can start earning points with each stay.

Riu Palace was beautiful. It looks like a castle like White House. The architecture is gorgeous . I stared at the lobby ceiling for a good 5 minutes because of the colorful center piece.

Check in was a bit longer because I decided to pay at the hotel and my card was acting up but a few tries later and I was on my way to my room.

I stayed in a junior suite and it was more than enough room for one person .

There are three swimming pools , five restaurants, spa , gym , casino , and more.

There are other Riu hotels in the complex . You can walk to the other hotels along the beach pathway.

Customer service , as always , was great . The staff actually pay attention to you and want you to enjoy your time. Honestly , this is why I love Riu above all else.

Please note there are two hotels called Riu Palace . I stayed at the Riu Palace Punta Cana not Riu Palace Bavaro.

Be Home By 5

Most places do place a curfew due to COVID. Dominican Republic has a 5 PM curfew during weekdays and 12 PM ( Noon ) curfew on weekends .

Be mindful when planning your trip.

Most nightclubs / shows are closed.

However there are plenty of activities to do in the day.

Testing & Precautions

One of the reasons I chose Riu was the free COVID testing offered to customers. If your hotel doesn’t have free testing , it starts at $89 .

There are certain places with temperature checks . There are many sanitize stations all around. Masks are worn by everyone but not strictly enforced . There are also social distance markers all over .

Outside of the resort , it was pretty much 50/50 with people wearing mask and social distancing.

Zipping Away

I decided to do the horse back riding and zip lining at Bavaro Adventure Park.

Instead of ahead of time , I decided to book at the hotel.

There was a little price difference if you book online or in person .

I loved the exclusive attention I received . There were only a few staff members who kept the whole park running .

The horseback riding was okay . I had a horse who didn’t want to listen and who wanted to run. However , the scenery was stunning and worth the ride. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes .

The zip line was fun and thrilling . You do six lines all at different heights and you cross a bridge high in the air . I wasn’t a big fan of the bridge however I made it. After the first two zip lines , I was happy to do the rest . It was just a bit scary if you keep looking down . The last zip line lands you in water so be prepared .

After your activities , you can cool off by the pool which has an amazing waterfall.

Please note you can’t bring your phone and must pay for a locker . The small locker is only $5. If you want pictures , it is an extra $70. It’s worth it for the memories .

Island Life

Have you ever tried an Airbnb experience?

Let’s paint a picture here !

After booking , you will be contacted to confirm pickup. Pickup is on time so eat a quick breakfast, be dressed , and ready to go. There’s a few stops for other people .

You’ll arrive in Bayahibe to take the boat to Saona Island .

There’s a few vendors around and they get you right at the car .

There is one stop before you get there where you can get off and swim and take pictures .

Another 20 minutes or so , you’re finally at Saona Island .

You have about two hours to do whatever you want . You can swim , take pictures , drink , whatever you please . Lunch is around 1 pm and it is buffet style with a few food selections.

There is an free open bar for you so drink up.

There’s vendors around selling jewelry, lobster , coconut drinks , pineapple drinks , and more.

If you want professional pictures , it is $120 but just know I didn’t pay the full price .

After about 2 hours , you head to the catamaran where you drink and dance until you reach Bayahibe again .

It’s a full day experience and definitely worth it .

Don’t be afraid to say no to the vendors . They look so offended when you say no but if you don’t have money , then you simply can’t do it .

If you want to spend , I’ll suggest a minimum of $100.

You can book the experience HERE !

Save $15 when you use my code HERE !

Price Breakdown

Next Time

Next time , I think I will try other activities like swimming with dolphins and head to Santa Domingo . I definitely want to visit Coco Bongo and Imagine Club when opened .

Smoovee Tips

1. Book airport transportation before you go. Also look for excursions that provide transportation. There are Ubers and plenty of taxis but be safe and check license plates.

2. You don’t necessarily need to exchange your money . US dollars are accepted , however you might not get back US money. Exchange about $100 to be on the safe side.

3. Always check requirements entering any country. DR currently does not require testing to enter but check CDC as this rule can change at any time.

4. You are required to test three days before entering the US. Research test costs and result turn around times. Stay at a hotel that has FREE testing .

5. The vendors are pushy on sales but don’t be afraid to say NO.


Part One HERE

Part Two HERE

The post above contains affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no cost to you. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will benefit my readers.

51 thoughts on “Dominican Republic

  1. This looks like a fun trip! I’ve always wanted to go to the Dominican Republic. One day!

  2. I haven’t been to the Dominican Republic yet, but would love to. Gorgeous pics! I’ve stayed at RIU Palace in Mexico so would to stay at this one.

  3. I would love to get to Dominican Republic one day! The beaches there look incredible. It’s awesome to know that Punta Cana is safe for solo female travelers. 🙂

  4. DR looks like so much fun! I don’t think I could do the zipline but the horses and dolphins sound great!

  5. It looks like there are so many awesome things to do in the Dominican Republic! I would love to visit. Thanks for sharing this informative post! 🙂

  6. I haven’t been to the DR in a few years and it’s obviously time to plan a return! I’m curious what resorts will have been affected by the pandemic, compared to when I last visited.

  7. I like the way you do the cost breakdown in your posts. I also like the “next time” and “tips” based on your experience. For those of us starved of travel because of Covid (or some other reason), those ocean photos look so tempting. You’re a wonderful ambassador for solo travel!

  8. Omg.. I’m SO ready for an island trip right now! My country’s borders have been closed for over a year unfortunately, and we can’t even travel interstate. Keeping my fingers crossed that things will improve before the end of 2021

  9. this seemed like a really easy solo trip… and quite economical for a bigger name all-inclusive like Riu. your beach photos are gorgeous, and i’m totally motivated to visit DR now!

  10. This place looks so beautiful! Thanks for including all the covid info too! I can’t wait to travel here

  11. It sounds like you had an amazing solo trip! I went on one to Greece and it was the best! So for anyone thinking of doing a solo vacation they absolutely should!!!

  12. This is a great breakdown of costs of covid travel. Did you find that social distancing at the resort was difficult?

  13. I am loving these photos! I didn’t know the US was now imposing these 3 day testing rules to get back home. I have been gone so long, but that’s super convenient that your hotel took care of the testing for you

  14. This looks like a great trip, and so good to hear the hotel included the COVID test which sounds way easier than organizing yourself. Good tip about the curfew, I wouldn’t have thought about looking into something like that. More reason to book a nicer accommodation if you’re going to be in it more, I guess

  15. Looks like you had an amazing trip! I still haven’t been to the DR, but I’m dying to go!

  16. The Dominican Republic looks like an amazing place to visit! I would love to go there one day. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  17. Interesting to read about your experience travelling to the DR during the pandemic! It’s one place I would really like to see in the near future.

  18. What a beautiful place! It looks like paradise! Zip lining at Bavaro Adventure Park looks like so much fun! I could definitely do with some vitamin sea right now! Thanks for sharing your trip!

  19. That is so fun that you just went a did a solo trip. The DR looks amazing! And it sounds like you had a great time!

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