Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Punta Cana - General Questions

  1. #1
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Punta Cana - General Questions

    First time posting, long time reviewing. Thanks in advance for any help you all might be able to offer.

    My wife, and I are traveling with another couple to Riu Taino this Monday. Late 20's and like some adventure with our vacations. We feel fairly prepared on what to expect and some activities we'd like to enjoy while in Punta Cana. I do have a couple remaining questions that I'm hoping someone can help answer.

    1. How much should we expect to pay for transportation from the airport to the hotel? What is best method - taxi, guagua, etc.?
    2. We've read about the hotels staff "encouraging" safe travel by only booking excursions through their in house reps. I'm wondering what's the best way to find/identify alternate servcie providers? Are there shops set up on the beaches? Roadways?
    3. Cash? Are travelers checks widely accepted? I understand smaller bills are prefered due to making change so small cash is a must but we're curious about payment for excursions.
    4. If you were to make only one trip to Punta Cana what would the one thing we shouldn't miss.

    Thanks again for any help you might offer. We're expecting 4-6 inches of snow today, so the warm beaches of DR sound even that much more appealing.

  2. #2
    Grande Pollo en Boca Chica
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    4,797
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    3. Change US cash to pesos as needed, and pay with pesos. There are cambios everywhere. Avoid the hotel ones as they screw you on the rate.

    The airport cambios unlike here are remarkably fair places to change money. You are in an AI so you probably have not enough money to bother with travelers cheques but you can change them at cambios with your passport as ID.

    Some cambios try to dick you for a % fee. Some don't. If there is a safebox in your room skip the TC's unless you are paranoid.

    4. Just one trip to an all inclusive "town" is a good idea anyway. Go to a real hotel next time.

    As to 2. The excursions in all these places are often the same companies, the resort just fleeces you for more money than you might get by going into town and dealing direct. They are as sterile and boring regardless of vendor. Going to a rain forest or beautiful beach area then needing to tear around on ATV's which you can do at home makes me wonder why not rent ATV's at home.

    What the hotels also do is try to scare you into never leaving the resort at all (except for the aforementioned tours) so you spend money there on optional things. In Haiti or Rwanda or Sierra Leone maybe good advice , in the DR, you are as safe as anywhere else if you don't act daft.

    There are fundamental paradoxes in going to a) Punta Cana, b) an AI and c) arranged tours for people who say they want adventure in their travels.

    PS - PLEASE tip your serving staff and maid, they are poor, get paid nothing to speak of and you are still paying for the meals, just in advance. 50 pesos a day to the maid, and some % of what the meal might be worth to a waitress, four people say at least 100 pesos , or US$3 won't kill you.

    I still seethe at the 6 Frenchies in Boca Chica who had a full Chinese meal with wine and dessert and tipped RD$10 (20 cents US at the time).

  3. #3
    Bronze
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    626
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    "I still seethe at the 6 Frenchies in Boca Chica who had a full Chinese meal with wine and dessert and tipped RD$10 (20 cents US at the time)."

    There is no excuse for Frenchies, but the reason may have been that Frenchies are used to paying one check which has the tip already calculated and added in to the final total. They never have to struggle with the math. Maybe they are just bad at math!

    To the OP - Hand your tips to the maids if possible, so they know that you are meaning to tip them. Or leave the tip in an envelope for them. Get to know their names. That helps! Every day say, "HOLA, MARIA" or whoever she is. Treat them like people and you will be surprised how helpful they can be.

  4. #4
    Gold
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    6,616
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    #4. Although it is a full day trip, I would have to say the Saona Island excursion.

    Enjoy!!!

    Respectfully,
    Playacaribe2





    Quote Originally Posted by scott
    First time posting, long time reviewing. Thanks in advance for any help you all might be able to offer.

    My wife, and I are traveling with another couple to Riu Taino this Monday. Late 20's and like some adventure with our vacations. We feel fairly prepared on what to expect and some activities we'd like to enjoy while in Punta Cana. I do have a couple remaining questions that I'm hoping someone can help answer.

    1. How much should we expect to pay for transportation from the airport to the hotel? What is best method - taxi, guagua, etc.?
    2. We've read about the hotels staff "encouraging" safe travel by only booking excursions through their in house reps. I'm wondering what's the best way to find/identify alternate servcie providers? Are there shops set up on the beaches? Roadways?
    3. Cash? Are travelers checks widely accepted? I understand smaller bills are prefered due to making change so small cash is a must but we're curious about payment for excursions.
    4. If you were to make only one trip to Punta Cana what would the one thing we shouldn't miss.

    Thanks again for any help you might offer. We're expecting 4-6 inches of snow today, so the warm beaches of DR sound even that much more appealing.

  5. #5
    DR1
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Posts
    6,360
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Ask around for public transportation and take the bus that passes by Macao. Once in Macao, get a motoconcho ride to Macao beach. Go early. That beach is slated for big development, but seeing it in the wild is worth it. Your hotel is not too far away.

    If there were one trip, I would rent a car and travel to Altos de Chavon in La Romana, also making a day stop at Dominicus beach (between Dominicus Palace and Iberostar Hacienda). I would leave very early -- no latter than 8 am so you have time to spend at Altos de Chavon and at the beach. There are many restaurants in La Romana town where you could have lunch. Do a search on this board for recommendations.

    If you are a bit more adventurous, I would go north up to Miches and Los Haitises. There have lunch at Caņo Hondo hotel/restaurant. At Miches, ask for the La Mina stop, and drive through to visit Playa Esmeralda, another lovely beach before it is developed. Take mosquito repellent and lots of sun screen with you.

    Along the East Coast, take public transportation (the RD$30 bus that commutes between hotels with the employees) and ask to be dropped off at El Cortecito Beach and visit the beach there. Also at Cabeza de Toro and visit the other public beach there. That trip will take you a whole day, but you will get to see more of the area, for cheap. Again, leave early. The buses leave you at the outside door of the hotel, but it is walkable distance.

  6. #6
    Grande Pollo en Boca Chica
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    4,797
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by samanasuenos
    "I still seethe at the 6 Frenchies in Boca Chica who had a full Chinese meal with wine and dessert and tipped RD$10 (20 cents US at the time)."

    There is no excuse for Frenchies, but the reason may have been that Frenchies are used to paying one check which has the tip already calculated and added in to the final total. They never have to struggle with the math. Maybe they are just bad at math!

    To the OP - Hand your tips to the maids if possible, so they know that you are meaning to tip them. Or leave the tip in an envelope for them. Get to know their names. That helps! Every day say, "HOLA, MARIA" or whoever she is. Treat them like people and you will be surprised how helpful they can be.
    It was an All Inclusive and there is of course no bill at all. Maybe 20 cents is just being cheap. The hostess implied they would toss a loogie in their food if they came back. She also said every lst one of them in this group were equally cheap.

    I agree on the hand the tip to the maid - however if you have any Spanish at all, you can leave in on the unmade bed with a note saying this is a propina for you and thank you for being our maid, etc.

  7. #7
    Silver
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    2,072
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Paid $25 to this resort from the airport last month...no more than $28 for sure is the going rate (this is a common occurence with DR taxis!!). There are safes for use in the Taino at no extra charge so your belongings should be fine. Only change US$ as you need to as you cant change them back into dollars at the end of your trip. As first timers, I wouldnt recommend a rental car...although this is a fun way to explore a new place, stick with public transportation...the buses here run a good service! Enjoy!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •