Punta Cana Experience

nexx

Member
Jul 11, 2014
58
4
8
Im just sharing my experience of visiting Punta Cana from the US for those who are browsing this site and are on the fence about traveling.

I just stayed a week at the Catalonia Royal Punta Cana.

Prior to arrival
No covid test required to enter DR. I booked a hotel that offered free covid testing prior to departure. A negative test prior to entry into the US is required.

Flew with Delta. Was fantastic as they blocked a seat in between passengers and they don’t have the bullshit policy of charging for carryons like United and Jetblue. I would rather a little pay more to fly with delta than supporting JetBlue in this nickel and dime for everything crap.


Arrival
Beautiful weather, smooth entry through immigration and customs, was able to buy a beer right at the airport before exiting the building.

Transport to hotel
My great deal of planning went to hell. I forgot to book a taxi.

We took a chance on one of this airport taxi fellas. It worked out really well. Very nice guys. He also set us up with a day tour to Isla Saona at a good price. Happy to share his contact info and the price I paid for comparison for anyone flying into PUJ.

He also does pickup in sdq, sti, pop if it’s worth it. He gave me a copy of his license, tourism card, and ID. Don’t know if there is a thread for list of recommended independent taxi drivers but I’m happy to post it there too if someone can respond with a link.

Hotel
Workers at the hotel took covid seriously (at least while working there). The restaurants require you to wear your mask while getting food and to put on a glove to grab utensils at the buffet. People without a mask were promptly told to return to their table and put it back on. The rooms were cleaned but could have been better. The rest of the grounds were impeccable.

The capacity was probably at 50-60% at worst. Dinner on most nights was very comfortable as it was not crowded at all.


Beach/Pool
Guests took off their masks outdoor but remain distant from others or didn’t talk near each other.

People walking about the city didn’t take it seriously at all. Quite infuriating. I just hoped the hotel staff werent the same way once they were outside.

Covid Testing
Was pretty easy. Long line of people who were taking the test was completed in 20-25 min. Results were negative.

Summary
Had a great trip since the hotel wasn’t too crowded.
Did I take a risk? Yes. Did I protect myself and wear a mask in the heat? Hell yes! Would I do it again? Yes. Especially now that the numbers of visitors is relatively low.
 
Feb 7, 2007
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I am interested in the food experience. Is it anything like this? A long queue to get your food, with food being served by employees behind plexiglass ?

 

nexx

Member
Jul 11, 2014
58
4
8
Food at the Catalonia was good.

As soon as you walked indoors you had to wear your mask. They had hand sanitizer when you checked in with the maitre d. They gave you a disposable glove that you use to pick up plates and utensils at Buffett table. They had a buffet food with under the sneeze guard glass (nothing special).

The made to order food (eggs in the AM; Meat and pasta in the evening) was prepared by cooks/chefs who wore masks the entire time. The lines were not long. It sometimes got a bit busy because the made to order station was really close to the buffet but I usually just waited a minute or two and then it was clear. The dinning was never full except today for breakfast (the locals are off this week). I’m sure it will be calm once again by Tuesday.

The a la carte restaurants were never at max capacity; neither was the beach/poolside bar. We called ahead and asked if they were at full capacity and they told us about 30%. I’d say call the hotels before you book.
 

PICHARDO

One Dominican at a time, please!
May 15, 2003
13,004
663
113
Santiago de Los 30 Caballeros
Beach/Pool
Guests took off their masks outdoor but remain distant from others or didn’t talk near each other.

People walking about the city didn’t take it seriously at all. Quite infuriating. I just hoped the hotel staff werent the same way once they were outside.



Summary
Had a great trip since the hotel wasn’t too crowded.
Did I take a risk? Yes. Did I protect myself and wear a mask in the heat? Hell yes! Would I do it again? Yes. Especially now that the numbers of visitors is relatively low.

The reports out of La Altagracia Province only indicate 18 cases on last bulletin. All the cases on the City of Higuey. Pretty far from Punta Cana. The last reported case positive in Punta Cana is two months old and it was a single case from a tourist, who arrived with high temperature 🤒
 

ALLOR925

New member
Feb 14, 2021
16
20
3
NorthEast Georgia, United States
My own experience in Bavaro/Punta Cana was fantastic! With the goal of market research and possible real estate purchase. Using 10 days to determine after all our months of research if it's really something we would take a leap of faith on. We wanted the authentic stay to really get a feel for the town and walk the entire area, as nothing can replace being on the ground and experiencing the sights and sounds while interacting with the locals. We walked the streets after dark both with others and by ourselves, of course not too late in the evening, never felt unsafe or was hassled in any way. The extra noise that everyone seems to complain about just didn't materialize itself. Were there lots of motorbikes during the day with beeping and non-existent mufflers, yes but not unbearable. Overall, we found the people to be inviting, hospitable and best of all willing to put up with a Georgian trying to speak broken Spanish using google translate. If you want an authentic stay, consider renting a condo and enjoy the local community outside the all inclusives. If anyone has any specific questions, feel free to message me privately. Hope this helps in some small way if your looking to relocate FT, PT or as a vacation spot.

* Booked Condo through GoPuntaCana @ Estrella Del Mar in El Cortecito, Bavaro (great condo 3/4 floor penthouse with two pools hardly used)
* Flight on American 1 stop in Miami on Friday with short layover no issues and arrived at the airport which was very modern and nicely done
* Really didn't want to leave airport without pesos but it cost us a premium of close to 25% but only changed a small amount (avoid if you can)
* Prepaid Taxi on arrival/departure days (Paid way too much tourist price of $37usd plus tip one way)
* Taxi stopped at Super Pola to grocery shop on our way in for an extra per diem.
* Started looking at properties on Saturday with one of the multiple agents on the ground I had contacted before trip. (most only want to show you their listings)
* Easter Sunday ventured out on our own walking the town and of course down to the beach and enjoying the great weather
* Monday continued search and by Wednesday placed an offer to purchase in a gated/guarded community (Sol Tropical)
* Hired a local Dominican lawyer that spoke good not great English and is charging less than the usually quoted 1.5% (we are paying closer to 1%)
* Also if you purchase property under the (150K approximate) you only pay on the Government accessed value of the property (3%) not the purchase price
* Thursday through Sunday was dedicated to sun and fun in our new part time retirement beachside community
* Met lots of ExPats right away, inviting us into their groups going to local bars and eateries. (can't explain how friendly and low key everyone is)
* Monday left with our flight delayed in Punta Cana which got us to Miami late. (be careful on connecting flights!)
* Miami customs was a hot mess with hardly any agents on duty (had to go back through domestic checkpoint after customs)
* Again Miami International was a disaster and if it weren't for this we would have missed our connecting flight. (Give yourself plenty of time in-between flights)
* Have decided our future flights will have to be non-stops even if there is a premium in pricing, it's just easier and only a 3hr 45 minute flight
 

KyleMackey

Bronze
Apr 20, 2015
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ALLOR925 what is your departure airport?​

"Have decided our future flights will have to be non-stops even if there is a premium in pricing, it's just easier and only a 3hr 45 minute flight"
 

ALLOR925

New member
Feb 14, 2021
16
20
3
NorthEast Georgia, United States

ALLOR925 what is your departure airport?​

"Have decided our future flights will have to be non-stops even if there is a premium in pricing, it's just easier and only a 3hr 45 minute flight"
We normally fly out of Atlanta on both Delta and American, but have found some American non-stop flights out of Charlotte reasonable too. I only wish that the smaller carriers like Allegiant would fly direct out of Greenville-Spartanburg which would be even more convenient.
 
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KyleMackey

Bronze
Apr 20, 2015
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We normally fly out of Atlanta on both Delta and American, but have found some American non-stop flights out of Charlotte reasonable too. I only wish that the smaller carriers like Allegiant would fly direct out of Greenville-Spartanburg which would be even more convenient.
You should have great options with ATL and CLT.
 
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