Travel

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.

YouTube

Part One HERE

Part Two HERE

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