Every year I like to do a big trip away over summer, often to a place that I’ve never visited before. If you follow me on Instagram (or if you simply read the title of this post), you’ll know my trip this year was to the Dominican Republic.
The Caribbean is one of my favourite places to travel to, and the palm tree-lined beaches of the Dominican Republic has drawn me in for years. It’s such a beautiful place to visit, and I couldn’t wait to write a blog post all about it.
Since I was there for 10 days, I figured I’d split this post up into categories so I don’t forget anything I want to mention. For those of you interested in visiting the Dominican Republic, the flight time from the UK is between 8-9 hours, so definitely not the worst long haul flight.
I’ll have tips for travelling to DR up within the next week, so keep an eye out for that!
I stayed at the Dreams Dominicus La Romana during my trip, and it really is a stunning hotel. It’s located in Bayahibe, the other side to the more well-known Punta Cana, and I’d definitely recommend this location if you’re travelling to DR.
Bayahibe is on the Caribbean Sea – one of the most beautiful and calmest seas in the world, and definitely my favourite – whereas Punta Cana is on the Atlantic, which is a much rougher ocean. For the cleanest beaches (Punta Cana often has a lot of seaweed problems) and the gentlest waters, I’d definitely recommend the Caribbean Sea side.
This hotel is designed to look like the Mediterranean set in the Caribbean, which I definitely think it achieves. The white buildings with red roofs completely remind me of Spain or Greece, but the lush plant life makes it obvious that you’re in the Caribbean.
It’s an all inclusive resort – which is pretty essential in a place like DR which isn’t completely safe for tourists outside of resort grounds – but you can pay a little more to be a part of the ‘Preferred Club’. I did and I totally think it was worth it, Club members have their own private section of the beach with palapas – which are essential in the harsh sun – as well as an extra bar, pool, lounge and some dining options. You also get an upgraded mini bar with extra drinks and snacks, which I definitely enjoyed.
Our rooms were amazing, I had the hugest balcony (which I showed on my Insta story) that overlooked the ocean, and the decor had a beachy, tropical vibe.
I do wish the resort was a little bigger as we couldn’t leave the resort to walk around, and there weren’t a lot of places to walk around the resort. There are excursions which you can do to get out and about, but they’re insanely expensive so we only did snorkelling. One of the excursions I really wanted to do was either Saona or Catalina island, where you can take a boat out and spend the day around a little island, but we never got around to booking it.
Another excursion you can do is a trip to a monkey forest, but since I had a lot of experience with wild monkeys in Mexico, I didn’t feel the need to do that.
The food there is all seasoned so well, and although the options are a little limited, I never had anything that wasn’t delicious. Even the buffet was pretty decent, so I was pleasantly surprised for an all inclusive. A lot of the food is a little sweet though, which didn’t always sate my savoury cravings. The rice and beans, however, was always incredible, and I’m trying to figure out how to replicate it at home because I became obsessed.
The drinks were all really good too – although some were weirdly salty (‘food is sweet, drinks are salty’ became my tagline of the trip). My favourites were the Daisy Flower, which tasted like a combination of a margarita and a mojito minus the mint, and the Bayahibe Flower, which was champagne and passionfruit juice!
The pools were stunning, and as a pisces I love nothing more than spending all of my time in the water. I do wish there was more shade in the pools because I definitely didn’t spend as long in them as I would have liked to, but I can’t complain about the size or amount.
This resort has four pools: the main pool with a swim-up bar, the water sports pool, the relaxing pool and the preferred club pool. I never used the water sports pool because it was always crowded, or the preferred club because it was mainly for kids, but the other two were awesome.
The main pool had a performance every Saturday which was basically a bunch of movie characters trying to save J-Lo from Jaws (I don’t understand it either, but it was damn funny), as well as music playing all day long. The relaxing pool was my favourite; it had a lot of ledge areas where you could sunbathe in the pool, and it played spa-like music which really made you feel like you were in paradise.
I can’t really fault the hotel other than limited dining options, but if I was to go back to DR again (which I don’t think I will because there are so many other places to see in the world, but never say never), I probably would find a slightly bigger resort with a little more shade options.
As I said earlier, the beaches in DR (specifically La Romana or Bayahibe) are absolutely incredible. They probably have my second favourite beaches, with Cayman beaches just beating them – which is why Cayman is one of my favourite places in the world.
The golden sand is so soft and smooth, but it’s also pretty dense so it’s not quite as messy. It also doesn’t get so hot that it burns your feet, which is always a good thing.
They have built a man-made reef deeper in the sea, which is amazing for snorkelling around. It’s attracted so much wildlife, and already has coral growing on it!
This is definitely one of my favourite places I’ve ever snorkelled – you’re absolutely surrounded by tropical fish, starfish and sea urchins (which I, annoyingly, stepped on). I’ve heard that you can also see jellyfish, sea turtles, stingrays and octopus, but unfortunately I didn’t see any of those this time. I still think the snorkelling in Cayman is the best ever, but this was pretty close.
I’m honestly really annoyed I don’t have a waterproof camera so I could take pictures of the amazing ocean life, but hopefully I’ll get one for my next trip!
The best part about the ocean is it’s so calm so the visibility was really great, the water was definitely some of the clearest I’ve ever seen.
The waves did kick up a little bit on a few of the windier/stormier days, but they were never as intense as Mexico and it was actually a lot of fun to let yourself be carried by the waves – literally everybody in the water was just waiting for another wave to hit them.
The water in DR is so turquoise, and it definitely makes for some beautiful photos. We also had a pier off of our beach which was perfect for watching the sunset, or just listening to the calm, crashing waves.
The palapas on the beach were absolutely necessary; the DR sun is one of the harshest I’ve ever experienced, and I was grateful to be able to spend a lot of time in the shade (which is very rare for me).
Since the temperature during the day never dropped lower than 32ºC, the ocean breeze really came in handy when I couldn’t be in the water.
My resort also had a swing on the beach which was a lot of fun to sit on with a cocktail, and it made for a great photo op – the amount of people taking photos on it were ridiculous, so obviously I had to get one myself.
FLORA AND FAUNA
There are so many beautiful plants around DR, and some might say I took too many photos of palm trees – although they’d be wrong. I loved that the beaches were dotted with them, because it made me feel like I was on a deserted island and allowed me to live out my LOST fantasy.
They had the cutest, tiniest little lizards dotted all over the resort, and I desperately wanted to take one home with me. I react to lizards the way most people react to dogs (I also react to dogs this way, don’t worry), so cue me squealing in delight pretty much every five minutes.
I also had this crab (who I aptly named ‘Mr Krabs’) who visited me for the past two days of my trip, and its cute little puppy eyes instantly made me fall in love.
I really wanted to hold it, but in order to not distress it (and get pinched) I decided against it.
The towering palms really made for some great sunset shots, and I was not disappointed with the amount scattered all over the resort. It truly looked like something straight off of a postcard.
The plants set against the white buildings were incredibly aesthetically pleasing, and gave me that stereotypical, pinterest-worthy plant pic.
I could have walked around the entire resort photographing every plant, but in an attempt to not look like a complete weirdo and annoy my entire family, I managed to control myself.
Dom Rep is a really beautiful place to visit, and I’d highly recommend it if you’re a Caribbean lover like myself. I had a beautiful 10-day trip to paradise, and it definitely made coming home very difficult.
If you managed to get to the end of this then you deserve a huge congratulations – my travel posts tend to get a little wordy.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post, let me know in the comments whether you’ve been to DR, or maybe this post has made you want to visit! Also, make sure to leave me some recommendations on where I should travel to next (not that I need a longer list!). See you next time,