Ola, mi amor – such a greeting is often heard in the Dominican Republic, where my husband and I went for our wedding anniversary. Arriving in the country, we seemed to have got inside the photo wallpaper: tall palm trees, turquoise ocean, snow-white sand, smiling people. Isn't this a paradise in the middle of winter?
Below I will talk about the weather and service, write why you should choose a vacation in the Dominican Republic in 2022, and give the main prices for everything from excursions to mobile communications.< /p>
Why choose the Dominican Republic? My vacation in Punta Cana
We chose the country for a romantic vacation according to several criteria:
- a prerequisite was an all-inclusive hotel and 1 line;
- it was important to tan and swim in the winter at an affordable price (our budget is up to 200 thousand rubles for two weeks with a flight);
- loyal entry rules for Russians and open borders in a pandemic.
The Dominican Republic and Cuba, which are currently available, most corresponded to these points – tourists from Russia do not need visas for both countries. After reading millions of fresh reviews, we settled on the first one, because here the hotels are newer and the service is higher. And of the main popular resorts, we liked Punta Cana the most with the 4 * Barcelo Occidental Caribe hotel.
- I would like to note that the Dominican Republic is now that rare, distant and hot country where charters fly (which means tours are available) not only from Moscow, but also from Kazan, Ufa, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Rostov-on-Don and Novosibirsk.
Rules entry and stay in 2022 due to the pandemic are loyal: nothing is needed for arrival, except for a passport. All covid restrictions – masks, codes – have been canceled since February 17!
I’ll note right away that our expectations from the Dominican Republic were justified on the first vacation morning: this is an incredible country where latina and positive are in the air. And even despite some disadvantages, which I will discuss below, we liked it so much that we wanted to return before leaving.
Is it worth going to the Dominican Republic on your own?
You can relax in the Dominican Republic not only with a tour, but also on your own. True, for a short time it will be more expensive, but for wintering in a couple of months – why not? So did my neighbor, who flew to the sunny coast in all the cold.
How to get to the Dominican Republic, if package tours to Punta Cana and other resorts are not your option?
- Regular Aeroflot flights fly directly from Sheremetyevo to the island.
- Also from Moscow and other Russian cities on Skyscanner you can buy a ticket for Pegasus or Azura charter flights, but with these guys it's always a lottery. For example, they can delay a flight for 15 hours, as happened to us, get ready.
On average, the price of a ticket for a direct round-trip flight from Moscow to Punta Cana per passenger starts from 65,000 rubles.
The weather in the Dominican Republic – when is the best time to relax?
I can say (not without a bit of white envy) that Dominicans are real lucky people , because the season in the Dominican Republic lasts all year round. Yes, there are times when the coast is attacked by tons of Sargasso seaweed or a hurricane and storm rises. This mainly happens in summer and autumn – the months from June to November are considered the low season, when the demand for tours drops.
- The most comfortable water and air temperature in the Dominican Republic occurs in winter and spring. From December to May, the island is in high season, and on the beaches you can hear chatter in all languages of the world.
The season in the Dominican Republic and the water temperature by month , °C:
Transition period, maybe good
Hurricanes and terrible heat
We published more detailed weather reviews in the Dominican Republic in this article, and I will share my own experience about the trip at the end of December 2021.
< p> During the day, the air temperature was stable around + 30 ° C, the water is 4-5 degrees lower. Sunbathing and swimming were comfortable. At night, the street dropped to +22°C and the wind picked up, so in the evening, freezing people like me, it would be better to stock up on light clothing with long sleeves.
And we were also lucky, because by our arrival, the invasion of algae, which had been a nightmare for tourists, had just ended. But another trouble happened: a cyclone hit the resort of Punta Cana, so two of the 14 days of vacation fell out when it rained hopelessly.
Where is it better to go on vacation to the Dominican Republic? Resorts
We explained in detail about the resorts of the Dominican Republic and their features in this article. In short, the main beaches in the Dominican Republic are located in the north, east and south, and here is how they differ:
- North– This is the resort of Puerto Plata and small villages nearby. Washed by the Atlantic, so lovers of the waves – here. Tourists from Russia have not tried it yet, although the prices for tours to Puerto Plata in hotels on all inclusive are the lowest. For example, in 4 * Casa Marina Beach & Reef. Apparently, because the transfer from the airport takes 7 hours by bus, if the arrival is not at the local airport. But the neighbors of the Dominicans – with American and Canadian passports – come here, like residents of the Krasnodar Territory, to Anapa for the weekend.
- East– a favorite destination for most vacationers, because at the junction of the ocean and the Caribbean Sea is the popular resort of Punta Cana. Thanks to this, the infrastructure is developed, and the choice of tours is solid: you can find both an inexpensive city hotel and a luxury hotel. Of the minuses: nasty algae, which are prescribed here for the summer and autumn and can suddenly appear at the beginning of winter. Plus, it is important to understand that the Atlantic Ocean is ALWAYS waves, although the Punta Cana resort itself is surrounded by reefs from the water. One day, our hotel even hung a red flag forbidding swimming.
- Southis the emerald coast of the Caribbean Sea, where starfish meet, and the picture from the Bounty advertisement becomes a reality. In La Romana and Boca Chica, there are almost no waves, a gentle sunset, which is ideal for families with kids. There are few hotels here, and there are a couple of budget gems, like 3 * Whala! Boca Chica, dropping out at the top of any tour search engine. But if we compare hotels of equal filling, the rest is more expensive than in Punta Cana.
The cost of tours to the Dominican Republic is 2022
Charters to the Dominican Republic fill up like minibuses in the morning. Thank you for at least a seat guaranteed. Accordingly, the prices for tours do not wait – they change every other day. You can arrange a vacation here and now – quickly, conveniently and with complete information about the hotel and flight – on any tour aggregator. You will also find out the current prices for the Dominican Republic and the overall situation with places in hotels:
I think this is the best tool for a tourist, along with Skyscanner and Booking.
How much does a tour to the Dominican Republic cost for two for 10 days? Six-figure, five-figure amounts can only happen in the lowest season:
- The minimum ticket with a departure from Moscow costs from 170,000 rubles.
— from Kazan from 170,000 rubles
— from Novosibirsk from 185,000 rubles
– from St. Petersburg from 180,000 rubles
- In the summer, when the Dominican Republic is hot and waves, the tour costs from 150,000 rubles. But this, so to speak, ahead of time – the closer the off-season, the better.
- You can fly to the Caribbean even cheaper by choosing a city hotel. But there is already without “all inclusive”, it’s good if there are breakfasts, but prices in the high season start from 135,000 rubles.
Good hotels for a holiday in the Dominican Republic – where is it better to stay?
Before traveling to the Dominican Republic, I want to give you one piece of advice that will save your nerves: almost all hotels are tired, and the workers are slow and careless about cleanliness. Just brace yourself that it's perfect and nothing will click. However, the Dominicans can be understood: after a couple of days of rest in this paradise, I stopped worrying about the dust and rushing somewhere.
As I mentioned above, there are three main holiday destinations on the island, and I have selected for you the best hotels in Punta Cana, Puerto Plata and La Romana – while not for a million and comparing the reviews of tourists about the Dominican Republic in recent months. Our hotel will also be here, because I was satisfied with the rest and would recommend it with pleasure.
Prices for holidays in the Dominican Republic in a particular hotel are calculated for 10 days, includes a flight from Moscow, a transfer and an all-inclusive ”.
So, among the hotels in 4 stars, I will highlight the following:
- Barcelo Occidental Caribe (Punta Cana) – we rested here. A spacious hotel in the village of Bavaro (Dominican Republic), reviews of which are full of compliments to the beach. The level of food for moderate money was also important, which, like us, was satisfied with many vacationers.
Tour price: from 200,000 rubles for two < /li>
- VH Gran Ventana (Puerto Plata) is a secluded hotel on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by mountains. There are almost no Russian tourists here, clean sea and beach, friendly staff and varied food.
Tour price: from 170,000 rubles for two
- Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach (La Romana) is a cozy hotel for a relaxing holiday in the suburbs. Delicious food, great selection of meats. But the main charm is access to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Tour price: from 230,000 rubles for two
< p>In the category 5 stars, these hotels are the most delightful for tourists:
- Barcelo Bavaro Palace (Punta Cana) – due to the proximity of the coral reef, the hotel boasts a calm sea, which is convenient for families with children. The green area, where peacocks and flamingos live, deserves special attention.
Tour price: from 250,000 rubles for two
- Iberostar Costa Dorada (Puerto Plata) is a quality hotel for reasonable money with varied food and unobtrusive animation. The main contingent is tourists from the USA and Canada.
Tour price: from 190,000 rubles for two
- Hilton La Romana Adults Only (La Romana) – the name of the resort speaks for itself about the level of service: everything is great! The concept does not involve a trip with children, but adults will definitely not be bored, because animation is most often praised by tourists.
Tour price: from 350,000 rubles for two
Best beaches in Dominican Republic (Punta Cana)
I'll tell you about the beaches of Punta Cana, as the most popular. In general, Punta Cana receives reviews most often of all resorts, there are most tourists here.
The coastline of Punta Cana is calculated in kilometers (lucky!), And the beaches smoothly flow into one another. Almost all are private and owned by hotelswho provide cleanliness and infrastructure. Only guests are allowed to enjoy the benefits of hotel civilization, but everyone can walk along the coast. The sandy beaches in Punta Cana differ only in location, but outwardly they look like twins: there is always an endless ocean, white sand and palm trees.
One of the best in the resort is Bavaro Beach, surrounded from the water by a coral reef, and from the shore by spreading coconut palms that create a natural shade and replace umbrellas. There are always a lot of vacationers here, but there is enough space for everyone, they arrange water activities, there are shops and shops for shopping, and foam parties take place in the evenings. It is worth noting that tourists do not choose vacations in Bavaro (Dominican Republic) in vain: the reviews are full of high marks for the beach. Of the hotels nearby, I will note two fives Barcelo Bavaro Palace and Barcelo Bavaro Beach (this one is only for adults).
I will list other beaches of Punta Cana – they are also the “villages” of the same name – and I will indicate them below on the map:< /p>
- Macao is a public beach with minimal amenities. Despite this, it is clean and not crowded, ideal for a private getaway.
- El Cortecito is a half public, half hotel, lively beach near Bavaro.
- Playa Blanca ( Playa Blanca is a public beach where coral reefs are concentrated, so it is suitable for lovers of snorkeling and diving. The wind is stronger here, which will be appreciated by kite and windsurfers.
- Juanillo is a remote beach for secluded relaxation. Prices are higher than average for the resort, but there are many times fewer people.
- Arena Gorda is another Punta Cana beach with a wide coastline, popular for families with children in the Dominican Republic.
< li> Uvero Alto is the most remote, uncrowded beach of Punta Cana. Undercurrents and strong winds make it ideal for surfing.
In a word, holidays in the Dominican Republic are for every taste, and in Punta Cana, nature has created heavenly conditions. Only one thing can ruin a picture that will be envied on Instagram – sargasso. Algae begin to attack the resort in May, and by the end of summer they turn into a disaster: these brown plants form heaps on the shore, which do not look very good and smell no better. Of course, every morning they are cleaned by hotels, but they are not omnipotent either. This brown-green disgrace goes into decline in the fall, and disappears by the height of winter and the high season.
Prices for holidays in the Dominican Republic – 2022
Dominican local currency The Dominican peso is also called the Dominican dollar, so don't be surprised when you see the $ sign on the price tags. It is best to bring American dollars with you, they are accepted everywhere, except for some wilderness.
The most profitable currency exchange is in special exchangers in shopping centers and banks, the exchange rate in hotels and the airport will be less pleasing. If you don’t want to spend time on this, as we do, you can pay with the dollars you brought, but the change will still be given in pesos. Of course, the Dominicans will not deprive themselves and cheat in their favor, but the difference in the rate is still not so significant. In addition, supermarkets and many stores accept bank cards without any problems – we also practiced this.
- By the way, do not forget the adapter – save a couple of dollars and desperate attempts to remember the word “adapter” in English.
- And if necessary, take a SIM card from the Claro operator (in shopping centers or souvenir shops) – there is a tariff for the Internet at 5GB for $5 for five days, then extended.
Food prices in cafes and bars
Our tour was all inclusive, so there was no need to visit restaurants outside the hotel. The price of the stay includes a mini-bar in the room, stocked with soft drinks, replenished regularly by the maids.
On the territory of almost all hotels there are buffet and a la carte restaurants (on the menu), where you can sign up at least every evening as many times as you like. Scattered here and there are bars where they make delicious coffee, not the burda from the main dining room, and cocktails on local alcohol. All this is free, and for an additional fee ($35 per person) you can order a romantic dinner on the beach. You also have to pay for imported alcohol separately.
The level of food in our hotel was quite consistent with the Turkish four, similar in terms of stardom. This is not only my point of view: when we studied reviews about holidays in the Dominican Republic before the trip, most tourists were in solidarity in their opinion about the quality of food. I can’t say that everything was licking your fingers, I liked something, and something I didn’t, but a lot was cooked with dignity.
- From delicious: freshly squeezed juices, pastries, pizza, fruits and meat. Fresh seafood and fried fish, which the Dominicans overdry to the level of “shoe sole”, are definitely not worth attention. They know how to cook seafood in exceptional cases.
The Dominican Republic is a country of good rum, so most cocktails are based on it. I liked the tropical coco-loco and pina colada, you can also ask for a non-alcoholic version. Local wine and beer are quite decent here.
At the beach bar you can have a bite to eat at the following rates:
(in US dollars)
- Fresh juice $3.5
- Happy Hour (pizza+pasta) $8
- Main course $7–$10
< li>Cocktail — $5–$8
If you decide to leave a comfortable lounger under a palm tree and go shopping, except for small shops with all sorts of souvenirs, any resort – Punta Cana – in the Dominican Republic will give you the address at least one mall. The most popular are BlueMall and Downtown. In the first one there are well-known Zara, Nike and other brands, but most Russian tourists agree that BlueMall is not worth the time. Downtown is home to small local brands and a Jumbo supermarket, where you can get bargains for presents, for which it is praised. Here you can also buy household chemicals, children's goods, simple clothes, dishes.
Here are the prices in the Dominican Republic in 2022 for the main items that make suitcases twice as heavy:
- pack of natural ground coffee – $5.5
- a bottle of Brugal rum (350 ml) – $4.7
- a bottle of Barcelo rum in a gift box (700 ml) – $16
- a chocolate bar – from $1.5
- mango – $0.6
- pineapple – $1
- magnets – from $2
- cigars – from $2
B In general, prices in supermarkets are lower than in tourist shops and even in duty free, sometimes the difference reaches 50%, take note. At the checkout, bank cards, pesos and dollars are accepted, but change is given only in local currency.
Rent a car in The Dominican Republic is quite popular among independent travelers. I won’t list the pros once again, but I’ll note that there are additional bonuses for Russians:
- a regular driver’s license is enough for rental,
- and right-hand traffic is familiar in the country.< /li>
Car prices start at $40, with RentalCars and EconomyBookings being the most popular international rental services. In addition to spending on gasoline ($1.4 or 90 rubles per liter), you will have to leave a deposit for transport and provide for an amount for toll roads connecting major cities.
You can also travel between the main resorts by public transport: they run around the Dominican Republic intercity buses, one way price per person is not more than $10. If, like us, you do not plan independent trips to Dominican cities and towns, but want to drop by a couple of places nearby, call taxi. Uber works great, payment will be removed from the card, but you can also give cash (dollars or pesos) to the driver. For example, a 16 km trip around Punta Cana cost us $10.
Attractions in the Dominican Republic – what did we see?
In the Dominican Republic, we especially liked that for a good rest you don’t have to leave the hotel. In many, small casinos and a water park operate right on the territory; they offer to play golf, volleyball, tennis, rent a kayak or do other activities. Everything is free, except for gambling bets, which we enjoyed using.
Outside of the hotels in Punta Cana, there is also a lot of interesting things (entertainment prices are valid for 2022 and are indicated for one adult):
- Ride the beaches and jungle on quad bikes or buggies with the breeze – from $119
- 4 hours of fishing in the Atlantic – $75
- Helicopter flights over the verdant island – from $89 for 10 minutes
- Amusement park with zip-lines and funny monkeys — $120
- Coco Bongo – the most famous nightclub in the country – $70-$155 depending on the ticket level
Pay special attention to the last point: tourist reviews of the Dominican Republic in 2022 cannot do without mentioning Coco Bongo! A real carnival is held here every day: the heroes of Moulin Rouge and Masks dance, confetti and balloons fall on the dance floor, and by the end of the show, the travelers who have danced do not feel their legs.
Excursions in the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana)
See the sights of the Dominican Republic tour agencies will help. Interesting excursions for small groups with a Russian guide are also offered by hotel guides from the tour operator.
I tell you where to go from Punta Cana if you want to warm up:
- Paradise Island Saona– which is not inferior to the beauty of the Maldives. The price is from $55, and if you drop by the City of Artists, then $40 more.
- Trip to the Samana Peninsula – includes Bacardi's Instagram island, Mount Retonda with a swing over the abyss and Lemon Falls. Prices start at $125.
- Santo Domingo – the capital of the state, in which slums and colonial buildings adjoin, from $95.
- Catalina Island< /strong>— another heavenly place where for $75 you can both seal on the beach and admire the underwater world, taking snorkeling or diving equipment.
- And the main thing that you must see in the Dominican Republic is humpback whales , sailing here to breed. You can watch the whale maternity hospital from January to March, the highest probability is given in February. Such a miracle costs from $130, here is a proven option with a Russian-speaking guide ↓
From personal experience I will say that all sea excursions are worthy of attention, and a trip to Santo Domingo did not materialize. Too long and tiring road (7 hours round trip), and the level of boring historical and natural beauties does not pay for it.
Vacations with children in the Dominican Republic – reviews and tips
If you are planning a vacation in the Dominican Republic as a family with children, reviews in 2022 recommend that you clarify in advance which beach adjoins the hotel you like: not all of them can boast of a gentle entrance and lack of stones. It is also worth considering that there will always be waves from the Atlantic Ocean (Punta Cana), but the Caribbean Sea (La Romana) will delight you with complete calm.
Yes, in the minuses of the Dominican Republic – a long twelve-hour flight, but in season-2022 on the positive side outweigh direct charters from 6 cities of Russia, in addition to Moscow.
Many hotels have the infrastructure necessary for small travelers: a shallow pool, a mini-water park, but don’t expect full-fledged children’s animation, it’s better to go to Turkey for it. There should be no problems with food: it seems that Dominican cuisine does not like spices, and specialized products can easily be found in stores.
In our hotel, every second family vacationed with children, even with infants, and In my opinion, they liked it no less than adults. Moreover, many Dominicans, young and old, spend weekends on the coast, and the little ones enjoy playing with each other.
Here are four hotels that families with children most often recommend:
- < li>5* Iberostar Selection Bavaro Suites (Punta Cana)
- 5* Riu Bambu Club Hotel (Punta Cana)
- 5* Be Live Canoa (La Romana)
- 4* Catalonia Gran Dominicus (La Romana)
Why do I recommend hotels in Punta Cana if there can be waves on the coast? The fact is that when choosing a tour to the southern resorts (Boca Chica and La Romana) or the northern ones (Puerto Plata), with a 90% probability you will still arrive … at the Punta Cana airport. Because most of the flights from Russia fall to its share, and only once a week or two – to other resorts. At the same time, the bus transfer takes 1.5–3 hours to the south and 7 hours (!!!) to the north.
Tourist reviews about holidays in the Dominican Republic
The reviews of tourists about the Dominican Republic in 2022 are similar in one thing: this is a beautiful country from the picture, which allows you to find yourself in eternal summer in the middle of winter. Positive people live here, ready to dance or sing a popular Latin song at any second, and this sets you up in the right way. There is also a wonderful opportunity to swim in the stormy Atlantic Ocean, and in the calm and beautiful Caribbean Sea.
I will note only a few of the minuses:
– a long flight (12 hours one way)
— the difference with Moscow time is minus 7 hours, difficult to rebuild
— outdated hotels with dilapidated rooms
I will not write down the peculiar attitude to cleanliness and the slowness of the staff as minuses, it did not seem to me so critical as to spoil the mood. By the way, frequent tips about tips are not superfluous (who doesn’t love money), but they don’t always work. I don’t know why, but an extra dollar often does not affect the quality of service. But a smile and kindness will definitely help you. It was they who solved all our problems with the room for free, and we gave tips just as a thank you.
But you should not forget the safety tips for tourists. On the way to a secluded beach or after sunset, you can stumble upon pirates who do not even remotely resemble the crazy but charming Captain Jack Sparrow. You can easily lose money, expensive things or get into a brawl, which will definitely spoil the experience. Therefore, I recommend that vacationers stay in crowded places, do not leave the hotel at night and leave valuables in the room.