Dominican Republic

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One Week in Punta Cana

You can travel to DR a million times and if you don’t leave the all inclusive hotel to venture out and get to know the island you’ll be missing out. The island is more than the 5 star hotel you’ve been staying at.

We started our journey in Punta Cana, traveled to Santo Domingo, visited dunes, made pit stops for great insta photography, explored a cave and swam in many beaches. We ate great food at some wonderful iconic restaurants and travelled to the tip of the island to experience virgin waters so few travel to see.

So if you are looking for a relaxing all inclusive vacation this is probably not the post to read. If you are looking for 7 memorable days around Punta Cana follow along. I’ll tell you where to stay, what beaches to to visit, what to eat and how to travel down to Bahia De Las Aguillas. 

Montaña Redonda

Montaña Redonda is located in Miches. The roads to travel here are safe and in good condition. Feel free to rent a car which was what I did. You can google how to get to this location on your phone or click on the map I’ve provided below to better guide you.

Once you get to the mountain you’ll find…

  • Parking Available
  • Shops
  • 360 degree views
  • 4 Swings
  • Professional Photographers

4 swings available, with the most spectacular views. The area is pretty large and since there are 4 swings available no one is rushing you out. Feel free to enjoy the view for as long as you want (this doesn’t mean stay an hour) 🙂

Beaches to Visit:

  • Miches
  • Saona
  • Bahia de las Augilas

Esmeralda Beach - Miches

Esmeralda Beach, considered the gem of beaches in the Miches area. Super calm waters, not an abundance of people so if you are like me and like beaches all to yourself you’ll definitely enjoy Playa Esmeralda in Miches. One thing I did experience that I disliked which is common in many beaches were the abundance of sand flies. There was no escaping them. Be sure to carry bug spray. 

Saona Beach

The following day we visited #SaonaIsland a gorgeous beach with shallow waters frequently visited by Europeans, also known for  mangroves and coral reefs. One of the things that stood out to me were the yellow leaf palm trees, the shadows they created and the peaceful sounds they made when touched by the wind. 

Expect limited dining and places to buy drinks. I suggest bringing your own food if you are a picky eater. Maybe small snacks and freezing some water bottles the night before if you are able to. We were however able to order some fried fish and beers. The fish was OK and the beers were not as cold as I prefer.

You’ll most likely stay at this beach a few hours since most boat tours give you about 2 to 3 hours to yourself. 

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Bahai de Las Aguilas

aka Eagles Bay – When they said DR has it all they meant it. One of the most impressive beaches I’ve had the pleasure to see, swim and enjoy. I have some detailed information about this beauty. Keep scrolling and get ready to make notes.

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We arrived into the Santo Domingo area before heading out to Bahai de las Aguilas. We decided to book a room at the  Sheraton before the long road trip.

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-photos/sdqds-sheraton-santo-domingo-hotel/ 

We knew it would be a long ride but getting there though worth the trip wasn’t easy. You can take a bus, fly from Haiti (not ideal) or drive. We all agreed on driving roughly 7 hours to reach our virgin beach. You’ll need to make a few stops to stretch, get gas or lunch. I highly recommend leaving early and getting to the hotel with enough daylight. 

I have a thing for booking destinations that take me on sketchy bumpy rides in the unknown. lol Let me explain…

Sometimes visiting untouched virgin beaches means the hotel industry hasn’t had the chance to develop therefore the grounds still need some investing and are currently being managed by smaller property owners. Up until about 30 minutes prior to reaching the hotel our ride was smooth. Most of our travel time was thankfully on  either a major highway and or curvy mountainous roads, sometimes entering and exiting towns which can make the road trip interesting. I really enjoy seeing how people live in other countries. Developing a better understanding of what it’s like to live there by asking questions, visiting residential areas, and socializing with locals. I really enjoyed that we were able to take beautiful photography along the way, we also stopped at a bodega (little corner store) for a soda and snacks you can’t buy at home. None of it would be possible if my time was measured. I take the negative (7 hour drive) and turn it into how can I make this enjoyable and maximize my adventure.

The only negative I can’t turn to a positive is the 1,000 speed bumps in town. You can’t avoid them, just look out for them if you don’t want a flat tire. They suggest you drive there in a 4×4. Not completely necessary but suggested.

 Ok now lets get to the fun part. Our hotel wasn’t a hotel, Eco Del Mar offers a variety of tents. You can really camp it out or glamp it in style. If you decide on the typical tent, you do get a full size bed near the ocean with limited amenities and shared outside showers. But keep in mind, you are in a tent, no lighting, no standing up right b/c you are in a tent lol. Just want to be clear on that part. (see image 1) We decided to upgrade after getting there and seeing the beautiful lodge options we were offered. The images provided on their site would not motivate me to stay there. Instead check out my videos and photos and see for yourself.

Beach Camping
Suite Tent
Junior Suite Tent
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http://ecodelmar.com.do/galeria.php

The staff and grounds were great but they seriously need to invest on a web designer and web hosting company to better market this location.

What are my options you’re asking yourself? First, select your campgrounds. 

  • Suites
  • Jr. Suites
  • VIP
  • Standard

You have 3 suite options. Polaris, Antares and Orion. Each offer a unique style and occupy anywhere from 4 to 6 guest. The suites all offer inside showers and toilets, linens and bath robes.

The Jr. Suites occupy 2 to 4 guest. They also offer personal sinks (his and hers), a toilet but the shower design sealed the deal for me. The neat design makes you feel exposed while still protected. Pretty sexy huh? I’ll explain more in detail since this is the room we selected. The toilet and sink are separated just by a door next to your bed/room, a few steps down and you are in your shower area surrounded by cabin like enclosures. Showering alfresco and under the stars will be something you’ll remember always. It was such a cool experience and a first for me. I always envisioned myself having this experience in Costa Rica. No air conditioning which honestly you’ll be fine at night and during the day you’ll be at the beach. I slept well and comfortable. 

I don’t know much about the VIP and Standard rooms (tents) but I did peak in one of them and they are just not my idea of a good night sleep. We were only there for two days, for me sleeping well before driving back another 7 hours was important. The VIP and Standard tents do have their differences. The VIP isn’t called VIP for no reason. The most noticeable comparison would be that the VIP tent has ocean view. They both offer communal showers and toilets. They do have beds so you are not sleeping on the floor or on a sleeping bag. 

Junior Suite

Suite

After you’ve selected your room, you are greeted with a complimentary drink at the bar to welcome you. We arrived late, therefore after our nightcaps we headed to the rooms for a shower and bed. The next morning we enjoyed a delicious Dominican breakfast which includes, mangu, eggs, salami and a fruity beverage. We then booked and early tour to the private little beach you see under the header Bahia de las Aguilas. There is absolutely NOTHING to do but enjoy the view and this crystal clear water. 

The boat ride was about 25 minutes. The guide will sit and wait around while you swim. I believe we stayed for about 2 1/2 hours. We purchased snacks and drinks to take with us in a styrofoam cooler which was perfect for the amount of time we were there.   

A wonderful week of adventures, smiles among friends, cocktails and tanned skin. I’ll be repeating a similar trip very soon. Follow me on Instagram @myeyeswandering for more about me, my travel and photography tips. Happy Travels!

2 thoughts on “Dominican Republic”

  1. Lily Nuculovic

    Great blog. Always enjoy your pictures and detailed experience along with adventures. Can’t wait to hear about the next trip! Xxo!

    1. Surgey Santiago

      Glad you enjoyed it. I’m trying to now focus on traveling within the USA. I’m finishing up my Arizona blog. I hope you can one day make it out there. IT was stunning. 🙂 Thanks for reading.

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