Tell me about the Dominican Republic.

Uncle Sam just gave me my tax refund. My girlfriend has been clamoring to go on vacation with her. She chose the Dominican Republic. The only places that I consider tropical that I have been to are: Australia, Hawaii, Cancun, and the Philippines. How does DR compare to these places? Is one part of DR better than another?

My gf is voting for Punta Cana, but it just looks like one giant beach. Where’s the town? Where’s the culture? Is there a town and a culture to experience? From what I’ve seen on tv and the Travel Channel, I know there is baseball and there is gambling. I like those things, but my gf doesn’t.

I’ve only ever been to one All-Inclusive resort before (her and her family have been to a ton of places). I wasn’t that impressed. I won a trip at work and went to Gran Brahie Principe in Cancun. Though there were 5 stars in their trademark, I was underwhelmed at was to be considered 5 star facilities. I was surprised and annoyed at what I had to pay for in an otherwise All-Inclusive. (My co-workers were only concerned that drinks were free). I thought the food was average Las Vegas at best. I wanted much better for what was considered to be 5 stars.

Anyway, does anyone have any ideas of where to go? Any good sites that are reliable in their reviews? I saw trip advisor, but I was concerned that even though they had a lot of reviews, they seemed to differ in their ratings than other sites. I’ve been blowing a good amount of time at work, so I thought I would turn to the Dope community for help. From what I can see, I like Dreams, Excellence, Iberostar, and Melina. I’m also big on value, and my analysis was more on web pictures than anything. I have no idea what is a good price either. I’m thinking that I don’t want to spend more than $1500 per person per week including air fare and taxes, and I’m sure I can find a better value than that. Any thoughts or ideas are appreciated? Thanks.

You can hit the beach but I wouldn’t recommend swimming. DR allows visiting ships to dump untreated waste.

Bricker is likely one of the best sources of info on DR.

I’m going to Excellence Punta Cana from April 12th to the 19th. Send me a PM on the 19th and I’d be glad to answer any questions you have about the resort. It’s adults-only and is the #1 rated resort in PC on TripAdvisor.

My wife and I went to an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana in 2002. The resort was very nice, if not spectatacular. We spent all of our time at the resort except one brief outing to “town” which was not much more than a string of tourist traps.

I can’t vouch for other parts of the DR, but I’d say, in Punta Cana, stay at the resort.

And MightyGirl, who’s a local.

My sister lived in DR in Santiago for several years. She has visited most of the country and I have gone down there as well. I went to Santiago and also stayed in an all-inclusive, beach resort but in Puerta Plata, not Punta Cana. Most tourists go to Punta Cana, they have the white sand beaches that most people think of when they think tropical vacation.

In Puerta Plata, there were nice beaches but they had trees and not the white sand. It was mostly Europeans there, we were one of the few English speaking couples, which I found nice actually. The resort we stayed in was also called a 5 star, but our travel agent warned us that 5 star was probably more like what we were used to at just a nice hotel in America, not super deluxe accomodations. The hotel was clean and nice, but no better than a good Holiday Inn, IMO. The food was good but nothing spectacular. I had a very nice time, but I admit my stay was enhanced by having my sister there to take us around to all the non-touristy places. We liked relaxing on the beach but went into town to experience more of the local culture.

Here are a couple of threads with advice for visitors to DR resorts:

I’m not a local, but a long-term resident. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the threads. You know, I could’ve sworn I did a search and found very little. My gf is insisting on Punta Cana, and since I still don’t have an opinion either way (is white sand really that more desired than regular sand?), I guess I’ll will plan for that. Thanks for the other responses, too.