Monday, November 8, 2010

Leaving Punta Cana

During the last few days of the trip, there was a dark cloud looming over us.  It wasn’t the one bringing us intermittent drops of rain, it was the one that could bring Haiti a massive hurricane.  We tried to go through the last day and think about it as little as possible, but Jaimee was unsure where she would be going when our trip was over.   She was finally able to reach a friend on our final night and found that the damage was nowhere near what had been anticipated.  So, with the help of the wonderful staff (including General Manager Francisco “Paco” Castillo) of both Paradisus resorts, she had arrangements made for a ride to the bus station and a schedule to take two buses back to Les Cayes, Haiti.

Jaimee left Punta Cana at 6:00 am and I lingered a bit for my final day.  The internet was out at Paradisus Palma Real and I kind of enjoyed the chance to play hooky for a few hours.  I had a leisurely breakfast in Gabi Club, walked the grounds and even spent a half hour lying on the lounge chair in my “backyard.”  I got to the airport just before known and got to see it in daylight for the first time.  It was new and fairly modern, with plenty of shops and restaurants.  There are a few things missing, though, that you should keep in mind when heading through Punta Cana Airport.

There is no air conditioning at the airport and I was glad to have kept just a thin skirt and tank top on, with my pants and cardigan packed in my carry-on.  There are also no real “gates” and passengers are basically called to the tarmac when their plane is about ready to go. For us, it meant waiting outside between planes as other passengers came and went off theirs.  Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of security and it was organized, but be prepared to be standing in the hot sun and then walking the stairs to your plane.

My flight on American Airlines was great, as I got upgraded on a 757 international plane with flat bed seats and individual entertainment consoles.  The four hours to New York (where I was making a stop for a few days) went without a hitch and I was already thinking about when my next Punta Cana trip would be.  I’ve been asked a lot about my favorites from the trip, so I decided to compile a list:

Beach-Paradisus Punta Cana, plenty of room for everyone, but not too big.
Drink-Passion Fruit Bellini.  Great for a hot day because the Passion Fruit puree is frozen.
Restaurant-Vento at both Paradisus Punta Cana and Paradisus Palm Real, even though they were different in their menus and style.
Meal-My last supper, at Gabi Club in The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real.
Spa Treatment-The Orchid Journey at YHI, Paradisus Punta Cana.
Spa-YHI at The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real, for the relaxing Hydrotherapy/Jacuzzi/Snack area (above) that I could spend a day in.
Activity-(tie) Segway along the beach and Yoga at the beach, both at Paradisus Punta Cana.
Pool-The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real, with a swim-up entrance from my suite.
Biggest Surprise-A mask carved out of chocolate waiting for us on our final night.

In the coming days, look for a guest blog from Jaimee about the trip, as well as additional photos.  In case you missed any of my Punta Cana stories, they are below in order, from beginning to end.  Hasta Luego, Dominican Republic

Starting Paradisus Paradise in Punta Cana

Sushi and Beds in Paradisus Punta Cana

Spa, Adventure and Suite Surprise at Paradisus

Playful Day at Paradisus Palma Real

Punta Cana Horseback Riding, Freshwater Lagoons & Paradisus Treats

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