We stayed for three nights and four days. Many positives about the place. Very clean, the staff tries hard to please and the hotel is right on the beach. The problems: the beach is public and the locals are on it until 4:00 a.m. playing their music VERY LOUD until they finally go to sleep. It (the loud music) begins again at 9:00 a.m. If you walk to town, you are beset by every possible merchant practically forcing you to buy their wares. (pay exactly 1/3 of what they are asking and you'll get what you're paying for). The various restaurants available by taxi (don't walk - dangerous and merchants constantly after you) are quite nice and the food is very good.
We had a wonderful taxi driver, George, who was not only knowledgeable but honest and very interesting. He took us to Santo Domingo where we went to the "Three Eyes" caves that were incredibly beautiful and mysterious. Santo Domingo also had some of the best food we've ever had and we have travelled quite a bit and are pretty picky! S. D. is beautifully laid out and has gorgeous ancient buildings and it is a great place to visit WITH a guide. George kept the merchants at bay and told us so much about this beautiful city. The drivers in S.D. are crazy - driving scooters on the wrong side of the highway, stopping without warning, passing fast and furious. DO NOT RENT A CAR unless you are very experienced with Santo Domingo driving. Also, trash is a big problem in S.D. People throw their plastic bottles, diapers, wrappers and everything else out their car windows so trash is everywhere and that is a terrible shame b/c it is a lovely city in many ways.
We also took a snorkeling trip and that was a big disappointment. We went to an island for a buffet after the snorkeling (okay but nothing really unusual or exciting) and the one restroom had a toilet but no t.p. and no running water to wash hands. At the end of the afternoon there, people refused to go in and were relieving themselves in the bushes. The food was not good - my husband got ill from it. I only ate the very well cooked chicken and I was fine.
In all, we had very nice attention from Mario and even Robert (and his brother who picked us up at the airport and drove us back in - both times at 3 a.m.) who was on his laptop the entire time. George, our taxi driver was truly the best thing about our stay. Ask for him personally if you go.
If we do go back to DR we would probably go to Punta Cana or Punta Plata only because of the non stop sellers on the beach (you can not go 5 minutes without being asked to buy something), the loud music day and night and the inability to get money (atm machines not easily accessible at all).
The rooms at the Hotel Zapata were adequate. AC minimal but ok. Bed small (double) but again, ok. It was clean unless you made the mistake of bringing food into the room. Then, we were visited by a giant cockroach. But, until we brought the pastry into the room and dropped a piece on the floor, we didn't see any sign of any of the critters.
In all, if you want to see the real D.R. I think Boca Chica is a decent place to go. The people are very poor but kind and friendly. We did see many people who had serious health issues (permanently crippled by something or serious eye issues) and George told us that medical care is very expensive there. Poor people can't access it easily.
So, good luck. We liked it there but probably won't go back. It was a little too third world for us.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Zapata is located in Boca Chica on the South Coast of the Dominican Republic. It is a small, family-run hotel that sits directly on one of the best beaches in the Carribbean. Customer service and enabling of a true Dominican experience are the hotel's hallmarks. Features: Las Americas Airport pickup, private balconies, apartments, wireless internet access, on-site restaurant with complimentary breakfast, beach bar, private beach area with loungers, cabanas & food & beverage service. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Zapata Hotel Santo Domingo
- Zapata Santo Domingo
- Hotel Zapata Dominican Republic/Boca Chica