Why would anyone want to go to Punta Cana?

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beeza

Guest
This piece is based purely on my own observations and is only an opinion based on them.

My company has asked me to go down to Punta Cana to cover the absence of a couple of my colleagues who are away on courses. I am an aircraft engineer and our company provides maintenance support for all of the European airlines into the DR.

I’ve lived and worked at POP for the last thirteen years and I find it so sad to see the decline of the European tourism market on the North Coast. I only have to go back two years ago, when we had six flights a week from Germany alone. By Oct this year we will be down to only one flight a week. The Brits, French, Dutch, Scandinavian, Spanish, have all gone from POP. But the flights continue in PUJ.

But why PUJ? I’ve been working here for a week now, and I can honestly say I hate it here. The locals are horrible! They are so miserable and grumpy. Go to a supermarket. You won’t be greeted with a ‘How are you, do you need any help?” You certainly won’t get a smile, even if you smile at them first. Everyone here acts like robots. They keep their head down, do their work and that’s it.

I see the army of airport workers. No one is smiling, laughing or making a joke. I’m used to hearing the aircraft cleaners singing in the cabin as they do their job. They tell stories and mess around like the way many Dominican do in a group, but they get the job done efficiently. Not at PUJ. Everyone has a straight face. They are covered with sweat because an airport ramp is an extremely hot place to work. You won’t hear them complaining. You will hear the supervisor barking at them to work faster, and then the supervisor’s radio will blare out from their supervisor, telling them to get the job done quicker. If any of them are caught snacking on any leftover food left behind by a passenger, they will be swiftly reprimanded. These cleaners are predominately women in their thirties. They work six days a week and a typical shift is 12 to 14 hours a day. They earn around 10,000 pesos a month. Most of them come from Higuey, so a large chunk of their time and income is consumed with their daily commute.

A dispatcher is someone who probably has a university degree. They will work out the load distribution of the passengers and cargo and tell the pilot where his center of gravity is. Quite an important job. He might make 15,000 pesos a month and probably covers five or six flights a day.

Today I needed to park my car at the airport. I was told by a security staff that I needed a sticker to be able to enter the staff car park. I found out that to get one of these stickers, it will cost 4000 pesos a month. The airport owners don’t want their workers to come by car.

And that is the main point of Punta Cana. Most of it is owned by Grupo Punta Cana. A conglomerate of extremely wealthy and powerful people. Their security staff in the khaki uniforms actually appear to have more authority than the local police. And everyone is terrified by anyone of the rank above them. A genuine fear culture.

No wonder everyone is grumpy!

As a customer, you get to your resort. The beaches are full of brown smelly seaweed. It’s just mile upon mile of unshaded beach, with resort after resort full of tourists filling their faces with all-inclusive food and drinks. Walk outside of your resort and you will see groups of Haitians on every street corner, just hanging around, doing apparently nothing. Give it long enough as a single white male walking along the street and a motoconcho will approach you asking you if you want drugs or a prostitute.

You want to change money on street or even at the airport. You might be lucky if you get 30 pesos to the dollar! Taxis are stupid prices. Restaurants are expensive. The whole area is designed to extract every dime out of every unsuspecting tourist.

You know what? I don’t get it. Give me Puerto Plata any time! The people are happier and more genuine and the beaches have trees and no seaweed!

I would happily start a campaign to smear Punta Cana in favour of Puerto Plata
 
C

chico bill

Guest
Looks like you just did.
30 pesos on the dollar. That's when you lost credibility
 
D

Derfish

Guest
Looks like you just did.
30 pesos on the dollar. That's when you lost credibility
Not really. Ask near any airport about changing money. You'll get some phony price like that.
Come on home beeza. We are waiting for you at home in POP!
Derfish
 
W

william webster

Guest
Looks like FLA - to me... a poor cousin
weak imitation...just me sayin'

I disliked it
 
L

ljmesg

Guest
I love PC. All you have to do is live anywhere else in the DR and you will understand.

The Sargassum, well, not so much.
 
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Ecoman1949

Guest
It’s the scale of a Punta Cana that bothers me. Massive condo developments combined with copycat resorts. No DR cultural variety compared the variety you find from Costambar to POP to Cabarete. No social scenes like the POP Malecon on the weekend.
 
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franco1111

Guest
You make some very good points. The airport is owned and operated by Grupo Punta Cana. And, their corporate culture is certainly reflected in how the airport operates.

On the other hand, I don't understand this: "Walk outside of your resort and you will see groups of Haitians on every street corner, just hanging around, doing apparently nothing." It sounds like you were in Veron. (Which strictly speaking is part of Punta Cana, but it is not the place people mean when they talk about tourist Punta Cana.) I would have said "walk outside of your resort and you will see swarms of white tourists walking and driving like they think they are in Kansas." In the primary tourist areas there are not Haitians on every street corner doing nothing. Maybe you were in Friusa : ) El Hoyo, for sure is what you say.

This part is absolutely true, you nailed it: "The whole area is designed to extract every dime out of every unsuspecting tourist." It is run like a machine.

Thanks for your perspective. Always interesting to see people who know the country react to the way Punta Cana operates.
 
M

Michele Jimenez D

Guest
Not quite Vegas, more like a tropical Myrtle Beach

Las Vegas with a beach!
Lived in Sosua, Puerto Plata, las Terrenas, Bavaro, Cap Cana, and Jarabacoa, all totally different and unique.
It really depends what you enjoy doing and how. Your finances may determine how well you like Punta Cana because it is a tourist town, prices are in dollars, good restaurants and shopping malls are expensive, but there are unique attractions and miles of gorgeous beaches, including those in Cap Cana and Punta Cana Resort. Seaweed is not a Punta Cana problem, it's all over the ocean at different times, and I saw most Haitians mingling in Las Terrenas, not in Bavaro, where they can't afford to live or eat.

As far as people being unhappy and not smiling, maybe they are just focused on their job instead of gossiping, it is a faster pace with a focus on money, like big cities. People go there to make a living, work hard to take or send money to their families in small towns around the island. Many work 2 and 3 weeks in a row in order to take 4-5 days off to go see their family, so it's not like they go home in the evening w the wife and kids...

Many factors to consider, including whether you like mixing w Dominicans on the Puerto Plata malecon on Sundays or you prefer to go for mountain sports in Jarabacoa. This island has an incredible variety of options for all types of pocketbooks and you just have to find the right one for your lifestyle.
 
Z

zoomzx11

Guest
Majestic Hotel just closed "temporarily" due to low occupancy.
For the DR to depend on tourism so heavily is a mistake.
How about investment in clean industry, jobs and a future.
There will always be economic down turns that kill tourism.
Profits from the hotel biz do not trickle down to the average person.
Just a bad idea.
Then the world wide publicity over the deaths comes along and the DR is utterly incapable of doing anything but making it worse. Dug themselves a hole and did not know when to stop digging.
As far as PC goes I never understood the appeal.
I am a north coaster through and through.
If you want to go to an AI and lay out in the sun it is cheaper and easier to go to Miami. And they speak English.
PC must have something but I never saw found it.
 
K

KyleMackey

Guest
Majestic Hotel just closed "temporarily" due to low occupancy.
For the DR to depend on tourism so heavily is a mistake.
How about investment in clean industry, jobs and a future.
There will always be economic down turns that kill tourism.
Profits from the hotel biz do not trickle down to the average person.
Just a bad idea.
Then the world wide publicity over the deaths comes along and the DR is utterly incapable of doing anything but making it worse. Dug themselves a hole and did not know when to stop digging.
As far as PC goes I never understood the appeal.
I am a north coaster through and through.
If you want to go to an AI and lay out in the sun it is cheaper and easier to go to Miami. And they speak English.
PC must have something but I never saw found it.
Pretty much all of the Caribbean relies on tourism. What is clean industry jobs? It is cheaper to go PC for a vacation than Miami, especially if you include South Beach.
 
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the gorgon

Guest
Pretty much all of the Caribbean relies on tourism. What is clean industry jobs? It is cheaper to go PC for a vacation than Miami, especially if you include South Beach.
pretty much all of the Caribbean depends on tourism. the difference lies in the configuration of the ownership of the assets. when almost all your hotels and equipment are owned by foreigners, tourism does not work in your favor. when a person who is fully fluent in English works in a mid level service position, and takes home 12k pesos per month for 6 grueling days per week, i am hard pressed to understand how well it benefits the average man.
 
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KyleMackey

Guest
pretty much all of the Caribbean depends on tourism. the difference lies in the configuration of the ownership of the assets. when almost all your hotels and equipment are owned by foreigners, tourism does not work in your favor. when a person who is fully fluent in English works in a mid level service position, and takes home 12k pesos per month for 6 grueling days per week, i am hard pressed to understand how well it benefits the average man.
If 5 or 6 Dominican Companies owned all of the resorts in PC what is the difference? Configuration of assets? If I start a company and take significant risks, borrow money and make something successful I reap the benefits (as well as partners who invest). Are you suggesting that the employees should confiscate my company comrade?
 
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the gorgon

Guest
If 5 or 6 Dominican Companies owned all of the resorts in PC what is the difference? Configuration of assets? If I start a company and take significant risks, borrow money and make something successful I reap the benefits (as well as partners who invest). Are you suggesting that the employees should confiscate my company comrade?
i made a simple statement. if you want to dispute it, then learn some common courtesy, and refrain from cheap shot attempts to be rude.

i am not going to even waste my time discussing this with you. apparently the concept of benefit is yet to dawn on you. if the Dominican people own the assets, then the little matter of repatriation of revenues to a core country is reduced. a company like Sandals in Jamaica is owned by Jamaicans. the money made by the hotels does not have to go to Mallorca. the managing directorate, ergo the high paying jobs, are held by Jamaicans. there is a big difference when 90% of the management jobs are held by locals, or when they are held by foreigners, and locals get to cut the grass.
 
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xstew

Guest
Have they ever thought what they would do if some disaster or other medical problem may deter tourism. What do they do with all the billion dollar hotels standing empty. They say a million tourists from china are coming what if they don't come !
 
K

KyleMackey

Guest
i made a simple statement. if you want to dispute it, then learn some common courtesy, and refrain from cheap shot attempts to be rude.

i am not going to even waste my time discussing this with you. apparently the concept of benefit is yet to dawn on you. if the Dominican people own the assets, then the little matter of repatriation of revenues to a core country is reduced. a company like Sandals in Jamaica is owned by Jamaicans. the money made by the hotels does not have to go to Mallorca. the managing directorate, ergo the high paying jobs, are held by Jamaicans. there is a big difference when 90% of the management jobs are held by locals, or when they are held by foreigners, and locals get to cut the grass.
Sandals is owned by 1 family, the Stewarts. Butch Stewart started the company and his son is now the CEO. It isn't owned by 10,000 Jamaicans LOL. It is a closely held private company.