Just forewarning; I didn’t get too many pictures on this trip, the humidity kept condensing on my lenses.
Everyone who has been following my blog knows that I’m not a “relaxing” explorer. Its not very often I go somewhere to relax on a beach, I’m usually out exploring a city; but this trip I took a weekend to get some rest and relaxation. (Well it was my mom’s choice, it was her Birthday so I let her choose what she wanted to do.
I flew into Santiago, arrived at about 11:50pm so customs was pretty empty. One thing I didn’t know what that they charge a “visitor fee”, it’s US $10 per person for every person who isn’t a resident of the Dominican Republic, and its cash only (thank goodness my mom had cash on her). Once we made it through customs it was like a party at the airport, all the Dominicans were outside waiting on their friends to arrive with beers in their hands and music blasting from their car stereos.
It was time for us to start our 1.5 hour journey to Puerto Plata. We got in the car and head on our way. First thing I noticed was that dogs roam the street, so you have to be very careful and keep your eyes open. Also, no one stops at red lights (at least not during the night), eventually I followed the locals lead and just went through them.
At about 1am we arrived at the hotel (VH Gran Ventana), it was down a guarded road with all other resorts in the guarded area. The first thing we were greeted with at our resort was the security guard lifting the gate and saying “Welcome Home”. For it being 1am the front desk that checked us in was very friendly, and they also exchanged money for us. It was time to go to sleep and get rested for a beach day in the morning.
We woke up in the morning and made our way to the breakfast buffet. There was an omelet station, a pancake/crepe station, and then so much variety in the buffet section. After finished stuffing our faces we walked over to the beach. The beach was beautiful, and had a private umbrella for everyone. The water was a little cloudy due to the fact that Hurricane Matthew was on his way, but still so beautiful. The weather was perfect, about 86 degrees Fahrenheit and the slightest breeze to keep you cool. The water was calm enough for my 2 year old to handle, but wasn’t flat.
Around 1pm my two year old started to hint that he was getting hungry. So we stopped at the “Ocean Grill”. As the name suggests this is a restaurant right on the beach. For lunch they serve a buffet of burgers, pizza, and many different kinds of chicken.
When we finished with lunch we decided to switch it up and go to the pool. This pool remained pretty empty for the total duration of our stay, but based on the reviews on TripAdvisor it isn’t always that way. It was so nice to have the pool area basically to ourselves. We got some drinks from the swim up bar, and had a good time.
After the pool it was time for dinner, and there was so much to choose from. They have a salad bar, a pasta station, a healthy station, a grill station, a large variety at the buffet. There was really too many options to list here, we will be here all day. Safe to say, I enjoyed dinner.
When dinner ended my mom and son were exhausted, my son actually fell asleep at the dinner table. So we headed back to the room, they went to bed and I went to explore the hotel to see what entertainment they had going on during the night.
Entertainment started with a kids talent show, kids got to sign up and show their talents. After the talent show a live band came in and the staff of the hotel would grab random guests and dance with them for a whole song, after the song ended they’d go grab another guest. I got grabbed on the second song in while trying to record a “Facebook Live” video. Haha.
After about an hour of the live band it was time for the “Dominican Show”. This show consisted of about 8 dancers. These dancers performed many dances native to their country and it was very interesting to watch. They were also very passionate about their dances and this many the event even more entertaining.
When we woke up the next morning we went back to the beach. This time there was hotel staff doing entertainment. It started with the Olympics, which consisted of two teams of guests from the hotel, each had to complete three tasks to determine a winner. After the guest Olympics were completed and fitness instructor came to the beach and started doing some serious cardio, almost like a Zumba. People got up from their lounge chairs to join in and people who were in the water started dancing from the water. It was really cool to watch everyone on the beach doing the same dance. Once the workout was complete we went to the pool then made our way to lunch. On this day we decided to do the lunch buffet instead of the Ocean Grill, and there were so much more options at the buffet.
Eventually the rest and relaxation time came to an end. It was time to journey back to the airport. The bellhop places my son on the cart and rolled our bags to our rental car. It was sad to leave, and my mom is already talking about heading back to that same resort in February. It was so much different driving during the day than at night. You got to see all the local stores open, everyone on their motorcycles (including families of four all crammed on to one bike), and some people even stopped for the red lights. It was a lot of fun driving back and looking at all the beautiful sights there were to take in.
It was really such a good trip even though it was so short. The hotel was beautiful, and the staff took good care of us. The only things I would change is the choices in alcohol. They need to stock their bars with a lot more variety. Other than that I loved this hotel and would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice, stay in Puerto Plata. You can click here for the link to the VH Gran Ventana website.
Did you have a good trip to the Dominican Republic? Where did you stay? I’d love to hear about it, leave your experience in the comments section below!
Until Next Time,