The Dominican Republic

I survived the DR.

Less than a week after I booked the trip, reports of mysterious deaths of American tourists staying in Punta Cana was all I kept reading about in the headlines.  I'll be honest, I keep a 10-foot distance between myself and the news because it's pure sensationalism, but these stupid news stories were all the hype in June, 2019 and even in my anti-news hole, it still somehow seeped in with its pineapple-scented smoke.

When I say I "survived" the DR, I'm being quite sarcastic and cynical.  Even though there were daily stories about American deaths, group illnesses and a report of someone who died (if you actually read the article and not just the headline) a few years prior, I'm not one to subscribe to fear tactics; especially when it threatens my wanderlust.  Here's my advice - be a smart traveler.  Don't walk down any dark alleys alone in a foreign city at night.  Don't accept rides from strangers.  If the bottle is already open, don't drink from it.  Don't flash your money to people you don't know.  If you refrain from these practices, you'll likely survive a trip to an island that, in 2018, welcomed approximately 6.5 million tourists (the majority of which were American).  OK, continuing on...

Because we had never been to the Dominican Republic before and because we found a good deal, my husband and I booked a long 4th of July weekend trip to Punta Cana and stayed at the adults-only Melia Punta Cana Beach Resort.  I booked the trip through Costco Travel which I highly recommend because you get complimentary room upgrades, airport transfers and a shiny Costco gift card just by being a member.  Thanks, Costco!  A friend of ours has stayed at the Melia resorts in Punta Cana, so it came recommended and seeing that the price was right, I clicked "PURCHASE."

Playo Bavaro

We visited the island for three days, stayed on the resort property for that duration and did not book any outside excursions.  Contrary to our usual "let's do 50 things in one day" travel regimen, we opted to relax by the pool, soak up the Caribbean sun, read, listen to the loud bachata music playing at the bar and drink the local beer - Presidente.  Melia is an all-inclusive experience, so everything was at our fingertips.  Some might say this type of vacation is that of a "lazy tourist," and I wouldn't disagree with that philosophy, but being a lazy tourist every now and again is a fucking breath of  fresh tropical air.  There was a platform in the middle of the pool that I would lay on, Presidente in hand in perfect view of my husband, happily reading his jazz music theory books in a lounge chair.  Life was good.  That July, the DR experienced inordinate amounts of seaweed on the beach, so I swam in the sea for a hot minute, but quickly grew tired of freaking out every time something touched my leg, shoulder, ear, hand, back, foot, get the picture.

Sitting atop my Caribbean pool throne

Returning from the pool bar double-fisting some Presidentes

July in the DR is a time of low tourism, so the majority of the resorts in Punta Cana are populated by the locals and their families.  It might have also been the news articles which were instilling fear in  tourists to cancel their trips, but the resort was virtually bare.  I have no complaints in this regard.  I hate crowds, so I loved having the bar area to myself, sipping my Mojito and listening to the sounds of music that should be on a Putamayo CD.  The same was true with the restaurants; there was no wait, we were seated immediately and finished our meals in less than an hour which allowed us time to get buzzed on Presidentes in the resort's swanky candle-filled lobby in a swinging lounge chair or pillow-filled cabana.  Again, life was good.  I don't usually like to critique places because I'm really not offering a review, but there was nothing I ate at the resort that left me salivating for more.  Most of the food was fairly generic - grilled chicken, black beans, assortments of breads, paella, etc.  I always love and appreciate the array of tropical fruits which are my usual go-tos at the breakfast and lunch buffets, paired with unknown cookies.  Melia's employees were friendly, but didn't speak the best English, so it was tough to keep a conversation going past "Presidente, por favor."  My bad.  Not theirs.  #lazytourist

Melia's Lobby

The Hubs <3

Melia's beach-side buffet restaurant

Overall, our quickie tripie to the DR-ie was fabuloso!  It was relaxing.  The pool water was refreshing.  It wasn't overly crowded.  I had as much Presidente as I desired.  I got some sun.  I ate a lot of passion fruit.  Life was good.  Life is good.  Go to the DR.  There's a high chance you'll come back alive.

<3 B

Mojito to Drinko


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