Punta Cana is a favorite for many a resort goer. Why wouldn’t it be? The all-inclusive scene at the eastern edge of the island is always well appointed and almost no amenity is ever overlooked. Travelers deplane at an airport built specifically for the resort industry and those staying at Punta Cana – it is its own self-contained resort – reach their rooms via small trains that run around the clock to get people from, say, the hotel to the golf course. All other visitors are whisked from the airport to various resorts 20 minutes north in the town of Bávaro.
Larina and I have never been to an all-inclusive resort, usually opting for settings more immersed in local culture. However, when the chance to experience the all-inclusive life at the jaw-dropping price of only $250 per couple appeared, we pounced. That the offer coincided nicely with a planned visit from our latest guests, Roberto and Leslie, made it even more appealing because itinerary planning became easy.
Roberto is one of our classmates from Bologna. He and Leslie met at a wedding. They are of Salvadoran descent, so in addition to being strikingly attractive people, their Spanish is on point. Whether exploring the Zona Colonial or asking for directions, they effortlessly jumped between languages. It was impressive, if not a humbling reminder of our limited capabilities despite years of practice. Having them along for the drive to the resort was comforting. Although the Dominican Republic is building connecting infrastructure to move visitors easily between the capital and the resorts, it is currently far from finished. In fact, the day Larina and I flew in, our plane followed the muddy scar carved in the landscape between the east and existing highway infrastructure closer to Santo Domingo. The project is inching along, but a decent stretch of our drive comprised navigating small, turbulent, unmarked roads winding through parts of the country that are a stark reminder of the difficulty of daily life here. Having our superbly fluent friends with us saw us through some of challenging conversations where the local accent sounded like no Spanish I ever learned.
And that is the most of what I have to report about that. Once inside the resort confines, we did little beyond pass the time on the beach and sample the various restaurants. Rinse. Repeat. In fact, we took things so leisurely, we forgot to take pictures, which is an oddity in this growing age of (anti-) social media. Suffice it to say, we enjoyed it. And you will too when you come visit.