When you look at images of far and distant places and say to yourself ‘it can’t be that picturesque in real life’, and then you imagine what it would be like to see it for yourself. Well, my latest adventure took me right to one of those places and I couldn’t quite believe my eyes; The Dominican Republic.
It was only around a month or so before flying that I even knew I was going. Never before have I had such a quick turn-around for travel plans than this! But it only added something extra special, to what will always be known to me as an adventure of a lifetime. Honestly didn’t think that I would ever go to such a place, as it is the stuff dreams are made of. But this was really happening. This was happening in my life.
The Dominican Republic is one of the Carribean’s most diverse nations, with some of the most breathtaking views to be seen from the high mountains, tropical jungles, and spectacular white sand beaches.
There is a lot of amazing things to discover about this part of the Carribean that make this such a fascinating and wonderful place to visit. One of the first things you learn is how welcoming the people are. Their laid back and friendly nature quickly rub off on you, which only adds to the relaxing surroundings you find yourself in.
We were staying in Punta Cana, which is in the north-east and one of the very popular places to visit (for very obvious reasons!). The resort was called Iberostar, that is home to three sister hotels Punta Cana, Dominica and Grand Bavaro. My sister and I were at Punta Cana, whilst my parents were really living the ultimate life of luxury staying in one of the best suites that the Bavaro has to offer, right on the seafront overlooking the Carribean sea. It was rather nice to have this separation because after all this holiday was in celebration of my parent’s 25th anniversary and they truly deserve to go all out for this occasion.
My room had quite the view too. Landed very lucky with the location with it being so last minute, as I had a lovely view looking through the coconut trees on the beach and onto the horizon. The best thing about the room was that I had a king sized bed all to myself, but I won’t go rubbing that in too much because the rest of my family got jealous!
The first time I went on to the beach and looked to my left it finally sunk in. It remained my favourite view throughout the entire holiday (see photo below) because to me it encapsulates the Carribean in one glimpse. It was at that moment that I realised where I was in the world. I will never forget that glorious feeling I had inside of me that beamed out through my smile.
Not going to deny it, we only ever left the resort once for the entire two weeks! Though with access to a private beach area for the resorts guests, unlimited food/drink, spectacular poolside and sea views, amazing entertainment all day every day, what else could you ask for?! There were even several shops to purchase bits and bobs from if ran out of any of the holiday essentials!
Now on the topic of facilities, the variety of food on offer at the Iberostar was hands down the best I have ever had. Not only was the food cooked freshly in front of you, there were themed nights from around the world. What was even more of a surprise was that each week, guests are entitled to make reservations at the gourmet restaurants that are also at the complex! Naturally, we tried every single one we could. My personal favourite was the Mexican as there was a vast array of tapas available and the spices were divine!
Due to hurricane Irma hitting parts of the country, it was dangerous to go on certain excursions that I was planning on taking up, which was a real shame. However, it just gives me an even greater reason to return back one day. One of the trips I wanted to go on was to see the Hoyo Azul at Scape Park, located in the Cap Cana Resort. This natural cenote is hidden away at the foot of a cliff, filled with the clearest natural water. As well as these, the surrounding parkland has zip lining, cave expeditions, and much more.
Another must do would have been to venture to the capital Santo Domingo, allows you to see the true heritage of this beautiful country and the amazing architecture that is still standing hundreds of years on.
Though thankfully the main place I really wanted us all to visit was able to go ahead, and that was to go and visit Saona Island. This place really is the definition of paradise. It lies off the south-east coast and is known for the coral reefs, mangroves and glorious palmed beaches. The main one that most excursions go to is called Palmilla Beach. I literally felt like I had stepped into a picture, it was that unbelievable.
We traveled to the island by catamaran, with a lively crew who entertained us all the whole way there and supplied us with drinks. Though it took around two hours to get there, which made me very unwell. Let’s just say the first thing I did when I stepped foot on the island was not to take a photo (I will leave it there!).
After I had recovered, there was nothing at all to say that would describe the beauty I was surrounded by. You can instantly see why this island is an attraction, and why many films have been shot here (including Pirates of the Carribean). We spent around two hours on the island, though it felt like 20 minutes.
Thankfully the trip back was by speedboat so I didn’t feel the waves rocking beneath unless we made a stop off. Heading back we were taken to a natural bathing pool in the Atlantic ocean where we could snorkel and hold starfish. It was a moment to treasure, as I couldn’t believe that I was stood in the Carribean sea, holding starfish and drinking rum & coke.
Nothing will ever take that day away from us. It was unforgettable.
In fact, nothing or nobody could take away any of the memories away from us. This really was us as a family living out our dreams together. Celebrating the 25 years that my mum and dad have shared together in paradise could not have been more perfect.
I will forever be grateful for this opportunity.
I have finally learned to embrace life’s simplicity, and nourish myself with it.
Love is at the center of our internal happiness.
That should always be our focus.