We are a mid 20's couple traveling to DR for the first time, was not my first time all inclusive though.
IFA is a great, well maintained and lively resort, I will break my review down in categories of what we liked best and least.
Food: The buffet dinner/lunch is very mediocre, not very much selection. The a la cartes were AMAZING though so if you can wake up every morning to book those that is your best bet. Our fave was Mexican and least fave was the Caribbean. PS save yourself the trouble of going to the lobby to book every morning, we would call at like 8:05- 8:10 and always got though no problem.
PIKALO PIZZERIA was one of our favourite parts of this resort. Awesome for lunch or a late night snack of the best pizza EVER and great fries and chicken fingers etc and delicious drinks.
The breakfast buffet was really good especially the omlette station.
Grounds: well kept, always clean, we saw them washing the ground every single day with soap and water. This is a very small resort, you can get from the lobby to the beach in about 10 minutes. we did not take a trolly the entire trip. The VILLAGE and OCEAN area are much nicer, newer and closer to everything than the Villas. We were lucky enough to stay in the Ocean area right beside the theatre and loved the spot. this is the superior rooms 4000 block, the 3000 block looked good as well.
Beach: sooo pretty, IFA is pretty small but you can walk onto any other part of the beach as well. If you walk left you will get harassed by locals trying to sell to you, to the right is Barcelo resort.
Entertainment: not the greatest, have seen better shows in Mayan Riviera, the Disco was mostly 19 year old kids so not the greatest for the rest of us/
Cafe Dominicano: amazing spot for the BEST drinks, bananamama is made with a whole banana in every drink! just make sure you say with rum or they do not put any in it. This was our fave place to meet other travellers, relax, play cards, etc.
Cigar shop: Amazing cigars and good prices. Better to buy here for quality than on the beach where they try to inflate the prices. Also a hidden gem spot to sit on the comfy chairs outside of the shop overlooking the pool to relax and enjoy some drinks or play cards etc.
Excursions: the first one we did we found on the beach a local Canadian guy named Gringo who now lives in the Dominican claiming he would take us out to snorkle and swim with the sharks and dolphins. We did snorkle but only drove BY the shark area....so misleading and such a rip off. We only paid 30 bucks each for this but definitely taught us the lesson that it is better to spend more and book through the resort. The second excursion we did was the Polaris (similiar to ATV) called "1 adevnture" and we LOVED this excursion...it was 4 hours long and we got a lot of driving time got to go through mud and rough terrain and also went to the caribean sea and to see local cigar and coffee/chocolate makers where we bought a few things.
People: well you better like the people you are traveling with because you will not get much interaction with other travellers. We met a few Americans and english speaking Canadians but for the most part was mainly French Canadians who were mostly rude and obnoxious and loud. We didnt really care too much because we wanted to just have our romantic trip but they definitely did get annoying.
All in all i would rate this an 8 out of 10...perfect sized resort, staff work really hard and the food is much better than people have given IFA credit for and I myself am a pretty picky eater. Barcelo next door may be "fancier" but I would be overwelmed at a resort that large where you have to shuttle to get anywhere. I would recommend this resort for sure!
TIP: bring your own pillow if you can, theirs are basically unbearable how lumpy they are, and bring bug spray as I got bit the first night before I had a chance to spray myself!
and BE SURE to try the local drink the mamawana!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- IFA Villas Bavaro Resort & SPA is situated on the fine, white sands of Playa Bavaro. Bordered by a fabulous coral reef and surrounded by turquoise-colored waters this extraordinary vacation complex offers its guests a friendly, luxurious environment for sports & cuisine with its 6 charming restaurants and 7 spectacular bars, colorful tropical shows, a wide range of facilities and services especially designed to ensure an unforgettable stay right in heart of the Caribbean. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Ifa Hotel Punta Cana
- Ifa Hotel Bavaro
- Ifa Bavaro Villas
- Ifa Villas Bavaro Beach Resort & Spa
- Villas Bavaro
- Ifa Villas Bavaro Punta Cana