I just returned from Ocean Blue. We stayed March 11th - 18th and wish we had booked an additional week! You are charged $10 for a tourist card upon arrival in the airport. When we arrived the airport was not crowded. We bought the transfer from the airport to the hotel through Cheap Caribbean. There was only another group of people with us so we only had to stop at one other hotel. I had read some reviews that the drivers were a little scary to drive with. Here is my take on it: I'm from Boston and people that come here freak out when they see how we drive. But we know what we're doing and we don't get killed. Same thing down there. They do drive crazy, but you never see any accidents or anything so relax and enjoy the fun! Ok, so about the resort...We arrived about 7:30 at night, there were not welcome drinks but I know that people who arrived earlier got them. No big deal. We did smell the sewer smell around the lobby area, however, about midweek it was gone and we never smelt it again. We were in Villa 3 and on the 3rd floor. We had to water issues but we heard about some with people on the 2nd and 3rd floor. Villa 3 was a little bit of a walk to the beach, but it was right near the main buffet where you have to go to get reservations in the morning, so it worked out well. I've been to Mexico 3 times so that is all I have to compare this to as far as tropical vacations. The 1st day I was a bit surprised by the service. In Mexico I had people bringing me drinks on the beach and it was as if they couldn't do enough for you. This is not the case here. In fact, service is pretty slow, but once you figure out to kick back and go with their pace, it is awesome. Everyone I spoke to said that is the way that the Dominicans are, if you look at them working, there are 5 workers - 2 are working and 3 are sitting there talking. The people are awesome. I thought the locals in Mexico were awesome (and they are) but I think the Dominicans are even friendlier - if that is possible! I went with my cousin and we are 20 & 22 so the guys loved us. They are so funny and friendly I wanted to stay forever just because of the people. The pools are huge and they are fairly warm and amazingly clean. The beach was beautiful and the water in the ocean I thought was warm also. You have to remember that you are sitting in 90 degree weather, so the water is going to feel cooler than it actually is. We went in both a lot though. There are huts right next to the resort that sell goods. We bought a lot of paintings and jewelery. You can get things for at least 1/2 of what they say to begin with. The guys will drop the price a few extra bucks if you bring them a beer or Bahama Mama. The grounds of the hotel are not up to par yet. There are many plants that look as if they've seen their last day, but I can only imagine how hard it is to grow things in that weather. They were planting additional things while we were there and had the sprinklers going in the wee hours of the morning so I'm sure that it will look beautiful soon enough. The food I thought was good for an all inclusive. As with many all inclusives, by the end of a week, you look forward to going back to your home for a good steak or something. I fould that for lunch we liked the beach buffet better than the regular. But we also spent all day on the beach so it was annoying to walk to the regular just to eat (we only did it once). The beach buffet you don't need cover-ups (although I always threw on bottoms but no top) where as the main buffet you need to be fully covered. The casino, spa and boweling alley weren't done yet but it looks as though the casino will be done soon. The internet cafe is up and working: $4 - 15 minutes; $7 - 30 minutes. The shops look as though they will be done soon. They have someone who brings around a monkey - and some other animals I think, we got pictures with the monkey. They display the pictures in the shop next to the internet cafe. They cost $8 each. The restaurants are pretty good. I did not find the service to be slow here. The Dominican is very good, if you like different kinds of food (goat, etc). I got the steak and didn't like it but my cousin got the chicken and that was great. The American is good - reminds me of Johnny Rockets. Italian was pretty good. Mexican was pretty good but they didn't have sour cream for fajitas! The Caribbean was good, but very hard to get in to. I had to get up at 6:30 and wait in line till 7 when the reservation table opened. If you want to eat on the beach, you have to request that. We didn't realize this and ended up sitting inside - you can still see the ocean but it's not on the beach. The buffet for dinner I didn't think was that great. It seems as though the male waiters at the buffets are much quicker than the woman. The language barrier is there, but it is fun. Every resort that I've stayed at, everyone can speak like 5 languages, not so here. I do think that one day they will, but as of now they can't. They do speak some English and I speak a little Spanish so we got the point across. We just basically laughed at eachother and after a bit figured out what we were saying. The coffee house is awesome. We were there every night. The sports bar I didn't go to but one night - we are in our early 20's and the crowd was either 15 year olds or couples in the 30's and 40's. We went to the casino that is like 2 minutes away and that was a lot of fun. Most nights we just hung outside and drank hot chocolate & tea and ate desserts. When we ate at the Caribbean restaurant we saw flamingos walking on the beach at night. The rock wall was open, it is pretty hard. Johnny the guy that runs it is so funny! A lot of people were playing volleyball and the trampoline was closed. They have top shelf alcohol and will but as much in you drinks as you ask for. If you are young pretty girls, no need to ask. Mama Juana - the "Dominican Viagra" as I was informed after I took a shot...is strong and pretty gross, but an experience. We did the horseback riding which was AWESOME! You do gallop so you might want to have a little experience. We also did a 1/2 day snorkeling excursion which was really fun too. Drinks are free and after snorkeling you dance on the boat and go to a deserted beach. The guys were great, I loved Papo - the bartender. I also did waterskiing, really fun to have waterskiied in the Caribbean but harder than on a lake. The banana boat was fun also, but we had crazy guys on with us and my cousin pulled a muscle in her neck. Well, I think this is about all. We had an incredible time and wish I could have stayed for a month. For the price, it was truely amazing. If you have any problems go see Sandra or Christain (he also works in her office). They are both great. We got all of our excursions for free. Here is the link of my photos:
Feel free to ask questions about anything!