Over the week of Thanksgiving, I got the opportunity to cross something big off my bucket list...
My sisters and I finally got the chance to surprise my mom with an all expenses paid trip for her 60th birthday. She had been mentioning how much she wanted a week of fun in the sun and to go to a place she had never been before. After looking at a few different destinations, we decided to fly to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic for a week of fun in the sun! Puerto Plata is a beautiful city filled with beautiful culture, rich history and breathtaking views of the Dominican Republic's beach and mountainside about 250 miles from Punta Cana. We knew this would be the perfect spot.
We researched flights for about six weeks and the price kept fluctuating but we found the average costs around that time of year was $600. However, because we were going the week of Thanksgiving, the best we found was a flight on American Airlines for about $980 per person round trip with a connecting flight. It was a bit costly and I would have loved to find a direct flight but, I just kept telling myself, at least I'm earning airline miles and it will all be worth it in the end.
We left early Monday morning out of DFW around 7am and had a short layover before the connecting flight in Miami. When we got to Miami we turned the celebration up a notch and surprised my mom with her best friend from college, our Aunt Nike and her family. After the surprise, we quickly boarded the flight to Puerto Plata and landed around 3:30 PM their time (12:30 PM Dallas time).
The resort had arranged for transportation to pick us up making it extremely hassle free. It took about fifteen to twenty minutes to get to our all inclusive beachfront resort, Presidential Lifestyle Cabarete and when we got there it was absolutely breathtaking. As we checked in the resort explained to us, the Dominican Republic government has set up a military branch to oversee the safety and wellness of tourists. We had military personnel that watched over our resort and if we ever felt unsafe, contact them immediately and they can handle anything that may occur. We all took about 45min to an hour to get freshened up and change into something casual for dinner at the Resort's buffet and of course, we went down to the beach.
Tuesday was our first actual day in the Dominican Republic so we decided to use it as a beach day/lounging around the resort property. We spent pretty much the entire day laying out listening to the waves crash along Playa Cabarete, playing in the ocean, drinking margaritas and frozen mojitos while trying to truly embrace the meaning of rest and relaxation. This was easy enough after taking a dip in the clear blue water with a gradual incline that at 5' 4" I could walk at least a quarter mile or so into the ocean without it going above my neck. That night, we had dinner at the Italian restaurant on the 2nd floor of Lifestyle Cabarete. I opted for the Spaghetti Bolognese - my favorite. I'm happy to report, it did not disappoint.
Wednesday, we got up early for breakfast and ventured out to explore the city starting with an 8 AM tour of the Macorix Rum Factory where we learned how rum was made, the history of the Macorix brand and sampled eight types of their rum. Thank God we had breakfast first - LOL!
After the Rum Factory tour, we took in sights of Downtown Puerto Plata where we toured a Jewelry Factory and Cigar Shop before heading to the main town square. This was my favorite because it gave us a chance to see the heart of Dominican Republic in it's natural element. The people, culture and lifestyle were beautiful. I was also grateful because I needed something to eat after all that drinking so we got empanadas and ice cream from a local shop.
It was a good thing we ate because our next stop was to see the Statue of Christ Our Lord similar to Brazil's at the peak of Mt. Isabel de Torres. The fastest and most daring way to arrive is by using the Teleferico Puerto Plata Cable Car where we took a cable car that held about 15-20 people, rode up to top and landed in a Botancial garden that surrounded the statue. If you decide to go, bring plenty of bug spray because the mosquitos were out!
We got back to the resort around 4:00 PM. We spent some time in the pool area that overlooked the beach and decided to have dinner at one of the local restaurants along the beach front.
Thursday was another beach day where I took the opportunity to get a massage on the beach and watch the Cowboys game after in our room. The resort made dinner special for those visiting by throwing a Thanksgiving dinner. After, we had a hilarious karaoke night and went to bed. If you watch the highlight on my insta-story, you can catch a clip of the shenanigans.
Friday a few of group members left but for Christ and I it was our last full day in the Dominican Republic and we all decided to take advantage. The remaining few of us spent the day on the beach, reading poolside and decided to look for any additional trinkets or souvenirs.
Saturday, we were leaving and had to be out of our rooms by 11 and on the road for the airport by 2. We decided not to do much since the time really wasn't there. Chris and I spent the morning sleeping in until about 9:30 AM, taking showers, getting dressed, double checking the room and checking out. The resort was kind enough to let us stay on property until our airport shuttle came so we decided to use that time to grab a beachside lunch and one last drink while we took in the view.
Overall, the entire trip I felt so safe and relaxed. If you are looking to visit Dominican Republic but don't want to go to Punta Cana, I highly recommend visiting Puerto Plata.