Before the pandemic changed everything, I was lucky enough to take a week-long trip to the beautiful Dominican Republic in March of 2020. It would have been a special trip regardless of the occasion, but my travel companion made it even more incredible: my cousin and I were able to visit together as a way to celebrate our birthdays because we’re only one day apart.
We decided to travel on a budget so we looked for accommodations that were affordable but still nice. After doing some research we booked a room the Corral Village Suites in Punta Cana. It was a basic one-bedroom apartment with a small kitchen and a pool, in a cute neighborhood with restaurants and close to the beach.
For the first two days of our stay we tried the beach near the hotel. Although it was a nice beach, it didn’t have that magical quality we were looking for. We really wanted to experience the white sand beaches and crystal clear water that the Dominican Republic is famous for. To find that little slice of paradise, we booked a tour to Saona Island. Tickets cost $65 and include the transfer to Bayahibe, the boat trip to Saona, and lunch! Saona beach was amazing. It was everything we were looking for, and more. We also had the chance to stop by some natural pools to swim and take pictures of the countless starfish. It was incredible to see them up close!
The next best part of our trip was the food. One of our favorite places to dine at was La Bruja Chipadora BBQ & Pub. You have to try the Moroccan goat and octopus. That might sound like a strange combination, but trust me – it was delicious! The ambiance here was really cool as well. It was a great place to relax and enjoy Punta Cana.
Another place we liked was Dalia’s Cafe & Bakery. It’s a great breakfast spot located just a few minutes walk from our hotel. We had cappuccinos, smoothies, avocado toast, and some delicious baked goods.
We also were able to fit in a trip to the beautilful and relaxing Juanillo Beach and ate at Little John. Their seafood paella was tasty and was perfect paired with some sweet and refreshing pina coladas. While we were in the area we also went to the Pearl Beach Club. We soaked in the private pools, ate some sushi, and drank more delicious pina coladas!
Visiting the Dominican Republic was incredible and we were able to experience so much. Even so, there’s a lot more to do. I have a feeling I could come back here all the time and I still wouldn’t get tired of it! I miss the beautiful beaches, the delicious food, and the relaxing atmosphere, and I hope I get to go back soon!