My husband & I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary at Secrets from 12/28 to 1/4/2004. Main rule #1 - don't sweat the small stuff -- yes, the food isn't the greatest, etc, but you are in another country, and you need to respect that; it is easy to forget that fact, when you are staying at a beautiful resort like Secrets. We encountered no bugs. It was extremely windy all week. One thing the travel agent didn't tell me, was that you are located at the Atlantic Ocean side of Punta Cana, therefore, you will not have the calm Carribean waters, like at other islands. The red flag was up on our beach all week; no one was allowed in the water - that was a downer!
Main Positive Factors - the resort is extremely Zen-oriented as mentioned previously on this site, and very peaceful and soothing. The Outback Safari Tour was the greatest -- excellent tour guides who took us all over the northern side of the island -- lunch at a ranch, visiting a typical middle income family's home, stopping at a sugar cane field and having a sample, visiting a cocoa bean family's home in the mountains and learning about cocoa (I purchased ground cocoa, cinnamon sticks, and ground sugar cane there for US$12). Kon Tiki Tour (snorkeling & partying on a boat) wasn't the best; in fact, the snorkeling was terrible; 50 people (kids included) on top of one another in the water, unable to see anything except some fish swimming up to the guide's chum bag; however, the local guys on the boat on the way back (5 minute ride from shore) did one heck of an entertainment show and got everyone clapping and dancing to the oldies! Do the professional photo session at the resort, if you can - excellent quality photos. Also, as mentioned previously on this site, do the helicopter ride back to the airport - very, very cool - just like Hawaii Five-O for those who can remember the series!! We had plenty of towels, turndown nighttime service, and mini-bar stocked daily. Tipped the maid and the minibar guy, and got just about anything we needed or wanted -- these are a great people who appreciate the little things -- had a great time! By the way, horseback riding is included in the resort fee; although you don't go too far for much more than 30 minutes, it's still worth doing if you normally don't get to do that at home!
Also, regarding school supplies for the underprivileged schools. I brought 4 bags of supplies (from Walmart) along to give to the school along the Outback Safari Tour. We were told by the tour guides that they no longer let you give the supplies directly to the kids, as they were waiting for tour trucks and tourists to come down the road(s), and choosing not to go to school months' back, so the tour guide people said they now accept any and all supplies and donations directly, and will see that the principal(s) get the supplies. We had no reason to doubt them, as they supposedly also give 45 cents on every dollar they make off of T shirts and hats to the schools; it's a good thing! Just wish I would have known in advance.
Negatives -- the resort is on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island; we had strong high waves and were unable (all week) to swim in the ocean.
If you want to do anything off-site, it will take at least 60 to 90 minutes drive one way to do anything; after a few days of traveling back and forth on the same pot-hole road(s) that gets trying......
Also, there are no "white sugary beaches" as mentioned in the brochure; sand is tan, just like at the shore.
I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. Just remember, those going in Dec-Jan-Feb should expect lower temps (high 70s low 80s) and lots and lots of wind!! If you want the Carribean waters, you've got to travel about 90 minutes south.
All in all, a beautiful 30th anniversary for Greg & I; our pics show our happiness! Enjoy your vacation!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This quaint, colonial-style resort is the ideal destination for couples seeking secluded romantic getaways. Nestled among palms on a perfect white-sand beach on a remote stretch of Punta Cana's Caribbean shoreline, Excellence Punta Cana provides the perfect All-Inclusive playground for adults only and is also home to a world-class spa, state-of-the-art fitness center and an exceptional range of activities and services. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Secrets Excellence Punta Cana
- Excellence Resort Punta Cana
- Excellence Punta Cana Resort
- Secrets Punta Cana
- Excellence Punta Cana Dominican Republic
- Excellence Dominican Republic
- Punta Cana Excellence Hotel
- Excellence Punta Cana Hotel
- Secret Excellence Resort Punta Cana
- Punta Cana Secrets Excellence