Recently, my extended family and I took a nine day vacation to the beautiful Dominican Republic- more specifically, Puerto Plata. There were twelve of us in total: me, my mother and father, my younger sister, my aunt and uncle, my grandmother, three cousins, and two friends. This trip was filled with laughter and fun filled days in the sun! From lounging on the beach to jumping off waterfalls, we managed to do it all.
We stayed at the Lifestyles Holiday Vacation Club in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, which is an all inclusive resort. There, we rented two villas- a four bedroom and a three bedroom- each with their own pool. Because we booked through a shareholder in the company, we received gold bracelets and many additional benefits! We got a golf cart, day passes to Ocean World (the smaller Dominican version of Sea World), and we even got a private beach! The villas we stayed in were beautiful and were so much fun to hang out in after a long day at the beach or exploring the jungle.
At night, we would hang around and play Cards Against Humanity on one of the balconies before going out to dinner. There were so many restaurants in the resort. No matter where we went, the food was absolutely DELICIOUS and we left feeling so stuffed we could barely make our way back to the golf cart. Later at night, the kinds would go out to “The Spot”, which is a Vodka and Hookah bar (when I say “kids”, that is what the adults called us, we are all between the ages of 15-21). The drinking age is eighteen in the Dominican, so my older cousins happily partook. We would lounge around on the swinging beds they had on the rooftop and smelled the sweet flavors of the Hookah. Around midnight when the bar closed, we would make a late night snack trip to a buffet called Casablanca. I don’t know why, but everynight we got soft serve ice cream and mounds of rice (why rice? I don’t know.) Eventually we- slowly and clumsily, for some- made our way back to the villas to get some sleep before we woke up at five for the sunrise on the beach.
The sunrises were beautiful and the beach beds and hammocks were incredible. Most of our time was spent either at the beach or at the pools. The water was warm and crystal clear. Honestly, it looked like something out of a celebrity Instagram post. There was even a crepe restaurant ON THE BEACH. That’s right- a crepe restaurant steps from the ocean. I probably had four crepes a day that were washed down by a cup of ice cream.
We went on many adventures during this trip, two of which was “waterfalling” and swimming with the dolphins. During “Waterfalling”, we were taken on an hour long hike into the jungle to the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua. We took turns jumping off of tall waterfalls and sliding down naturally carved watersides. This was one of the highlights of the trip for me. I was also able to cross swimming with dolphins off of my bucket list! In Ocean World, we swam with Poncho (or banjo as some of my cousins called him) for about half an hour. Ever since I was little, I had wanted to swim with dolphins but I never did until now.
Overall, this was the vacation of a lifetime and surely one that I will never forget. If you ever have the opportunity, I HIGHLY recommend visiting the Dominican Republic. The culture is so different from here in America, and it is an absolutely gorgeous country. We are already planning our next extended family vacation. We have decided to rent one big eight bedroom villa in Orlando, Florida with the same group and all go to Disney together!! Until our next big adventure!
Have you ever been to the Dominican Republic before? Let me know below!