Punta Cana, October 2018
We got married recently! The first legal ceremony was on August 18, 2018, which we’ll celebrate as our anniversary going forward, but our official celebration and “traditional” wedding with vows, friends, and family was on October 5th. I’ll put up a separate blogpost on our wedding so that all the beautiful photos and videos are immortalized forever, but the reason I mention this is because we planned this short trip to Punta Cana as a “minimoon” immediately following the wedding weekend. We’re taking our honeymoon in January when M has school off and so we can take a longer trip then; this short trip was mainly more for relaxation and rejuvenation after an exhausting (but exciting!) wedding season. Since this trip was mostly to relax, we opted for an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic. This was our very first time on an all-inclusive resort and in the Dominican Republic, and it will not be my last! We will probably not go for an all-inclusive as a couple again though, because we both get very restless and want to explore local culture after a few days. But after testing it out, I completely see the appeal for a group of girlfriends in the future! – and it was the perfect post-wedding trip. As we get closer to the holiday season, we are not planning on going anywhere new the rest of the year as our time will be spent traveling to visit family, work trips, and interviews (me)!, so this will likely be the last travel-related blogpost of 2018!
Since our wedding was in the Lower Hudson Valley, we drove straight to NYC airport after our morning-after wedding breakfast. Having our wedding on a Friday meant that we had more time to enjoy for this trip, although we spent all of Saturday traveling down to NYC with a group of our old friends. We had an extended layover in Miami, and that first night we were COMPLETELY exhausted and went straight to the hotel and ordered Chinese takeout. We appreciated the champagne and chocolates, but while the hotel was quite beautiful, I don’t think it was worth the price. I always forget that heading down to Miami is pretty cheap, but the real estate is extremely expensive, so we were glad to just spend one night and morning there. We did enjoy the delicious breakfast buffet the next morning and took a romantic stroll along the beach.
We flew to Punta Cana that afternoon, and although it was pouring when we got there (October is still part of hurricane season), we were so excited to go straight to our all-inclusive. Our flights were relatively affordable ($400 round trip, partially paid with points), but our all-inclusive was a complete steal! Our premium villa with a private Jacuzzi and all-inclusive meals, drinks, and resort activities was only $100 a night (for BOTH of us!). We only carried a few dollar bills to tip staff, but we were very happy to not have spent any money once we got to the trip after we’d paid for resort and flight upfront! The only expense was a taxi ride, around $35 from the airport to Bavaro Beach.
We spent almost 4 full leisurely days at the resort. There was no wifi included in the villas, but we opted to pay $6 per night to rent a mobile wifi. We also didn’t upgrade to the “honeymoon package”, which would’ve been $75 pp per night, which we felt was the right call. Since we were visiting in October, the resort was not super packed, and we could always get a seat for food and at the beach. There were external vendors milling around the pool and beach trying to sell us trip excursions, which could’ve been a nuisance, but we just firmly said “no thank you” each time and they left us alone.
There were resort activities every hour, including dance classes, beach activities such as kayaking (although we mostly just lazed around), an activity center to check out board games, balls, and novels by the pool, and ample sunloungers by the beach. Our only plans all day were to decide which restaurant to each our meals at. The resort food was just fine, with a mix of buffet-style and a-la-carte options such as a teriyaki place, but we did appreciate how generous the alcohol and drinks were everywhere. I had originally planned a snorkeling trip on our third day to a beautiful island, which would’ve showcased local culture and food, but we decided to cancel and just relax and sleep all day. Much deserved if I do say so myself, and very effective in getting us ready to go back to “real life”!