Iberostar Grand Bavaro in Punta Cana.

posted 3 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 3
Hostess
30313 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2011

@FutureMrsOfficer:  That sounds amazing! I just wanted to say have a great time! 🙂

Post # 4
Member
357 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I stayed at Excellence, but just wanted to recommend the ziplining excursion. It is really fun (and I believe all the resorts do it). We loved our resort and I’m sure you’ll love yours!

 

Post # 5
Member
300 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Commenting to follow – we are also looking at resorts in Punta Cana and this is one of the ones I have narrowed it down to 🙂 

Post # 7
Member
357 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@FutureMrsOfficer:  husband hadn’t either – I had been, once, to Europe many years ago, and on several cruises. We found the DR easy to communicate for the most part (most people speak English and Spanish). We didn’t leave the resort except for the airport and the excursion though – nothing is near Excellence! But we just wanted to lay out all day and be lazy and drink!

Just so you know, there is a $10 tax (per person) when you enter the country that you must pay in cash at Immigration. So be prepared! You’ll want cash anyway to tip the porters at baggage claim and drivers. They take your bags and wont let you carry them. Just tell them who your transportation is through and they’ll guide you! Enjoy!

Post # 9
Member
357 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@FutureMrsOfficer:  They are airport employees/porters that take your bags. I was worried too because he just said “this is yours? Let’s go!” and led us out of the airport. They aren’t trying to steal your bags but it does feel that way – I was worried about the same thing! Just tell them who your transport to the resort is booked through if you paid for that ahead of time and they will lead you (for me it was AMstar (cheapcarribbean) but there are a few companies with kiosks right past customs. They do expect a tip though. I tried REALLY HARD to take our bags ourselves but they insist. If you only have carryons you’ll be fine, but if you check anything (we had to to get all our liquids down there!) they will be waiting with your bags. They’ll do the same when you come back to the airport and grab bags out of your van or taxi, then lead you to check in. They are wearing Airport shirts though, so you can tell they are okay. Just stay with them as they know where they’re going. Of course, if they ARENT wearing an airport shirt, don’t let them take your bags, but you’ll see that everyone else has one of these guys with them and their bags as well. But it’s definitely disarming and I mentioned it to cheapcaribbean in my review, that they should warn people about it and that it is okay.

Post # 10
Member
1091 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

@FutureMrsOfficer:  I have stayed there before, but it was 11-12 years ago! The only thing I firmly recall (as I’ve been to many resorts over the years and they start to blur together) is a delicious drink from the pool bar called a Banana Mama! Oh, and that the beach was awful for snorkeling – very wavy, with water you can’t see through because of the stirred-up silt. But if you aren’t a snorkel-fanatic then I’m sure you’ll have a good time 🙂

Post # 11
Member
3084 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@FutureMrsOfficer:  Iberostar Resorts are wonderful! I haven’t stayed at this particular one, but the chain in general is really good.

For your stay in Punta Cana, I would definitely suggest the Stingray/Shark snorkel exursion. There’s two different ones, but the one where you take the boat out to this floating dock in the middle of the ocean is so amazing. It’s really relaxing and you can kayak and get a massage on there. The food on there was pretty good too. Plus, it was so cool swimming with the stingrays & the nurse sharks. My fiance and I both loved it.

Post # 13
Member
357 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@FutureMrsOfficer:  Yep, American currency is fine. We mostly tipped people outside the resort – drivers for transportation, porters, our ziplining transportation/guides, ziplining trainers rather than on the resort (as gratuitity is usually included). But, they will all appreciate a couple bucks here or there, especially bartenders. I think $5-10 is good, we did $20 for the ziplining guys and our ziplining trasportation (two diff things- so $40 total) and $10 for airport transport, and then a 5-10 here and there otherwise. So depending on the number of days you are there and how much you like to tip, guess accordingly. A lot of people would throw out $1-2 every couple drinks or something like that, so it’s up to you and your comfort level. Another friend said at her resort (not sure which one) when they left tips, employees would chase after them to tell them they forgot their money!!

Post # 14
Member
1428 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rosehill Community Center

We stayed there last August!  It was really nice for the most part.  We got a swim up room, but the beach is gorgeous, and the pools are great (especially since you’re never without a drink!).

The only negative was the food.  I mean, it was okay, but not AMAZING.  The buffets were kind of dissapointing (and we ate a lot of fried food, thinking it would be safest…).  The fancy restaurant, though, was AWESOME.  Make sure to send in reservations ahead of time, it was slow when we went so when the reservations we made online earlier didn’t go through (who knows…) it wasn’t hard for our butler to make some for each restaurant.  But the fancy one was seriously the best food.  The Italian was a little… weird.  Their interpretation of a caprese salad was pretty off…  Oh, and make sure they know it’s your honeymoon, they decorate your table up all cute (I really regret not having them do that!).

Um, the butlers are great, super nice and accomodating.  The beer there is El Presidente, and was actually pretty good, so we had them stock our mini fridge with that and some minis.  Look out for Oscar, too!  He served wine to us the second night, and we kept seeing him everywhere, and he’d recognize us and call us “Seattle!” every time.  

Tips are definitely a thing and expected…  You can get dominican pesos if you want, but really a $1 bill is decent.  Make sure to tip the guys walking around taking drink orders, and you’ll have amazing service.  

We went to 1 of the nightly entertainment shows, and it was okay, but a little weird…  Oh, and if you go right on the beach, there are a ton of little shops selling souviniers!  Super pushy, but if that’s something you want, they have a lot of stuff (Mama Juana, which is not, in fact, marijuana, but a drink made with rum, wine, bark, leaves, and other stuff…  Some of the places will give you a taste, but it kind of freaked me out!).  

I never wrote a trip advisor review, but totally meant to…  if you have any questions, definitely PM me or something!

Post # 16
Member
1421 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

That resort was just down the beach from the place I was at.  It looked nice when I walked by.  The beach is amazing — you can walk for miles and miles.  The sand is not hot!

One other thing about the DR is that it can help to do your research on stuff you want to do before you get there.  Whichever resort will try to steer you into doing things with their preferred vendors, and will warn you against doing anything with anyone else.   We took a trip with Seavis Tours that was great (highly recommended on Trip Advisor).  We got off the resort and got to see a bit of the real DR on the way.  Then we did some seriously killer snorkling on a reef in the national park.  The reefs right by the resorts are can be in rough shape.  Of course, they weren’t a preferred vendor, and the resort folks tried to talk us out of going, as if we were about to be carried off by a pack of wild banchees.  Anyway, if I hadn’t done my reseach I might have been scared off of doing the one thing I really enjoyed in the DR (I’m not a resort person, it turns out.  I need activity, exploration and adventure on vacation!!)

Do a booze cruise, too!  No Carribbean vactation is complete without one.

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