Hotels, International, TravelCelebrating Friendships in the Dominican Republic

I’m pretty certain there’s no better way to unwind, relax, and celebrate a decade-old friendship than with a beach vacation. While we’d ALL love to be able to splurge on top-notch accommodations, food, and service, sometimes it’s just not possible (grad school? Boston rent?! Eeek!) However, ever since we were in sixth grade, my best friend Karen and I have always talked about going away to tropical destination together. Well, a few weeks ago, we finally made our fantasy a reality with a week-long, all-inclusive stay at the Majestic Colonial in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic!

I’m a girl who speaks the truth, so I’m going to be honest; this was not my ideal vacation. Typically when I visit foreign countries, I like to immerse myself in the local culture as much as possible. Obviously, staying at an all-inclusive isn’t really conducive to my desire of hanging out at corner bodegas, learning salsa and the meringue late-night in local discos, and chowing on authentic, well-made Dominican food. But for $1000 each including airfare, this was a great budget friendly, worry-free beach vacation.

The Majestic Colonial is rated as a five star hotel, but our experience says otherwise. I learned not to let the little things, like an un-stocked minibar, or lack of towels bother me too much.

The resort certainly covered all the bases in terms of dining options; with 8 different restaurants to choose from, one is sure to find something they like. By far, our favorite restaurant was Taino, which specialized in Dominican and Mexican food. However, a word of warning; be careful with the buffets, especially outdoor buffets, as the warm weather makes it easy for the food to spoil quickly. Also, resorts may wash their produce in unfiltered water, so choose wisely at salad bars. Bring some stomach medicine with you as a precaution- I’m glad I did, as I was sick for two days (don’t eat the iceberg lettuce!)

“All-inclusive” typically means “all-you-can-drink,” which is fabulous, but also dangerous! Combine local alcohol with the hot Caribbean sun and sugary mixes they use to make Dirty Banana’s, Miami Vice’s, and Majestics, and you may not be feeling so hot after a few. So please, from someone who learned her lesson the hard way- pace yourself!

The beaches in the Dominican Republic are beautiful. Punta Cana, where we stayed, faces the Atlantic, so the sea is a bit choppy. It’s also important to remember that Punta Cana is ALL about tourism, and the beach is filled with visitors. It’s not secluded like Anguilla, Nevis, or other teeny-tiny islands I’ve vacationed to in the past. We seemed to split our time under the blazing sun or under the shelter of a palm tree while people watching, reading, napping, or gossiping. There’s a lot of activity on the beach like banana boat rides, para sailing, kayaking, and speedboats, so if you like beach sports, you’re sure to get your fill!

Despite a few setbacks, Karen and I had a great trip. We decided that there are so many places in the world we want to see, that we probably won’t return to the Dominican Republic. However, we’ll always treasure our memories we made there and the “DR” will always hold a special place in our hearts.


  1. Nina  |  24 August 2009 at 8:26 AM

    Beautiful pictures! I’m glad you guys had a good time, despite the hotel not being the most ideal. Sometimes it’s worth it just for the beautiful beach and relaxation, especially when you get a great deal on the price 🙂

  2. Bekki  |  24 August 2009 at 9:27 AM

    Great Choice! We went and were married in Punta Cana at Excellence in January! Great Spot-I didn’t feel comfortable exploring off the resort
    Glad to see a review on the area

  3. Sara  |  24 August 2009 at 11:12 AM

    Thanks girls! And congrats on your marriage, Bekki!

    PS- that iced coffee in my hand was the most expensive coffee I’ve ever bought in my entire life! $15!!! Probably because of the double shots of Amaretto 🙂

  4. Julie Q  |  24 August 2009 at 1:14 PM

    I hear ya on the all inclusive setbacks. After graduating college and finally being able to afford taking vacations- we were all about the ‘all you can drink/sit on the beach all day’ but now that we got that out of our system, you get to appreciate going to actual places and exploring the culture. But hey- the sun looks gorgeously bright in your pix, and chilling/boozing with a friend still sounds like an amazing time in my book 🙂

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