When you get off the Plane in Punta Cana it is on the tarmac. You de-plane and are immediately herded into the scam that is known in the Dominican as the “tourist pass”. What this means is that you have to pay $10 to enter the country while the immigration folks yell at you in Spanish to move faster. After immigration you get the fun part. Now admittedly I speak quite a bit of gringo Spanish, so I had a bit easier time than other folks, especially Boris and Natasha who are just waking up from their 14 hour Ambien fueled flight. Your bags will be waiting for you behind some gentleman dressed in khaki shirts who would love to carry your bags for you. Here is the first spicy tid bit: let them help you. If you can, talk to them and find out who knows someone that works in customs and can also get you a cab if you don’t have transport set up, it also helps if you are American. Our fine porter knew the customs official, told him we were American and then we bypassed customs all together! Bypassing all the non-sense and getting a cab only cost us $5. Well worth it. Boris and Natasha?, not so lucky. We were out of the airport within 5 minutes and in a cab headed to our hotel at Gran Bahia Principe Bavaro. The drive to Gran Bahia Principe Bavaro was about 30 minutes and cost $40. Spend the money, don’t share transportation. You will thank me later. The drive doesn’t get weird until you hit the actual down of Bavaro. Dirty, sketchy, stray dogs and tons of dirt bikes, that sums it up.
Once you get to the hotel, you are met by porters from Gran Bahia who set your bags aside while you check-in. Check-in was hilarious in my book. The front desk staff hardly spoke English, moved quickly and was loud. In addition there were no less than 3 million other guests trying to do something at the front desks in a variety of languages. Jose was brash and macho but got us checked in and we were on our way to the room via a tram with other guests.
The room was 80’s Caribbean in nature with lots of pastel colors and tile floor. FYI, make sure you always have two room keys, one to take with you and one to leave in the room. What is the reason to leave it in the room? It controls the electricity for the room and you will want to have the A/C for when you come back to the room hot and drunk. Here is the water part; don’t drink it. You can brush your teeth with it, but use the bottled water in the room to make coffee and cure hangovers. Spicy tid bit #2: tip the cleaning staff. If you tip them, they will clean your room first, give you extra water/beer for the fridge and do a great job. $2 or 3 a day is sufficient, but I’d imagine the more you give the more control you will have. Have you ever slept on cinder blocks? If not, you are in for a treat!
Drinking at the resort is fun, duh. Make sure you bring plenty of singles to tip the bar tenders and make sure all the workers see it. Don’t be a jerk about it, but don’t hide it either. If you do this, they will make your drinks strong and have them ready for you. It’s pretty straight forward; it’s drinking with a strategy.
The food at the resort is average to above average. I didn’t spit anything out, but I wasn’t going back because my taste buds were forcing me to either. This is where your expectations need to be calibrated correctly. Remember how much you paid and how much you are getting for that money. It is kind of amazing when you think about it. On that note, you will get a minimum of 3 reservations at the restaurants on the resort with your package.
How much money to bring? Bring at least $100 in singles if you will be there a week. This is the easiest way to turn your 3 star vacations into a 5 star service vacation. Remember, even though virtually none of the employees on the resort will speak your language, money talks. Everywhere and loudly.
The grounds were immaculate on the resort and the pools were nice. We did a zip lining excursion and got massages which were fun but mainly enjoyed the resort and what it had to offer. Enjoy your trip and message me with any questions!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Facilities and services 2 lake-style pools Large sun terrace New relaxation zone with Bali beds, sun umbrellas and loungers Pool and beach towels BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, 3 tennis courts (floodlit for an additional charge), multi-sports court Water activity centre WiFi access in the lobby (1h per day free of charge) and in rooms (additional charge) Entertainment theatre Wedding gazebo 1 buffet restaurant and 17 speciality restaurants Japanese restaurant 10 bars 3 Snack Bars Cocktail Lounge Punta Blanca Golf Club: 18 hole Golf Punta Blanca Golf Club designed by Nick Price (additional charge) Pueblo Principe: Shopping and Leisure Mall with local craft stores, live music, shows, stores, bars, karaoke, disco and casino Rooms 816 rooms including two types: Superior Junior Suite and Club Hacienda Junior Suite Room facilities: King size bed or two full size beds Fully-equipped bathroom with hydromassage bath tub, hair dryer and magnifying mirror Sitting area with sofa Air conditioning Ceiling fan Telephone Alarm clock Satellite TV Minibar Coffee-making facilities Safe (additional charge) Ironing set Wifi (additional charge) Club Hacienda Junior Suite (See page 18 Club Golden, Club Hacienda) Children Bahia Scouts The hotel is perfect for families, offering a range of facilities tailored especially for children, including the following: Mini Club for children aged 4 to 12 Evening Mini Disco Babysitting service (additional charge) Bahia Scouts Water Park Fun Area and Adventure Park (additional charge) Teens' Club (11-16 years) Other services 24 hour medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Bus stop opposite the hotel Meeting and convention room Personalised menus (for celiacs, diabetics, etc.) Available on request and subject to circumstances Specialised service for organising weddings, incentive trips, events and anniversaries ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Punta Cana
- Grand Bahia Principe Punta Cana
- Bahia Principe Dominican Republic
- Gran Bahia Principe Bavaro Resort
- Punta Cana Bahia Principe
- Gran Bahia Principe Bavaro Punta Cana
- Principe Punta Cana
- Bahia Punta Cana
- Bahia Resort Principe
- Gran Bahia Principe Dominican Republic