There were two excursions we wanted to do but they were not available at the time we were there. We were not able to do the tour of Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic. This was courtesy of Hurricane Jeanne who had taken out the main bridge a month earlier. The bridge had still not been repaired. (UPDATE: We were able to tour Santo Domingo four years later during a cruise stop.)
The other tour we tried to take was the Manati Park excursion. From the description in the brochure, it sounded like a zoo that contained tropical animals and gives you the opportunity to swim with dolphins. We signed up and paid for this excursion with one of the Apple Reps at the resort. After waiting for a half hour for a shuttle bus that never showed up, we finally asked one of the other tour companies about the excursion only to be told that Manati Park is closed on Sundays. Fortunately, we found the Apple Rep who had sold us the excursion. She apologized and refunded our money. The Apple Reps at the resort had not made a good impression with us that week.
Our two attempts at shopping trips didn't go so well. The first trip we took was to a small craft market. We hired a cab from our resort to take us there. Rochelle knew some Spanish so she was our interpreter for this cab ride. She asked the cab driver to drop us off at the craft market and come back in an hour. There wasn't much of anything at this shopping center other than a few typical souvenirs like hats, t-shirts, and other trinkets. The same type of souvenirs were being sold at the resort. However, there was an excellent wood carver there who made some fascinating carvings. We went through the whole place in about ten minutes. I don't think anyone bought anything. Fortunately, our cab driver was still parked out front. I guess he knew it was only going to take us a few minutes to go through that place. He took us back to the resort.
Traci and I did not go on the second shopping trip because we had become too comfortable relaxing on the beach. According to Clarence, Deana, Bryan, and Rochelle it turned out to be a good decision not to go. They went to a bigger market than we did earlier in the week. The four of them were the only shoppers at this market that day. They said they were swarmed by aggressive vendors. Clarence said that one of the vendors got really angry with them because he thought Bryan had agreed on a sale. Things became really tense and uncomfortable at that point so the four of them caught a cab back to the resort.
Before we knew it, our week in the Dominican Republic was over. Debbie, Brandon, Tracey B., and Ms. Pat had departed three days earlier. Monday morning, the rest of us checked out of the resort and rode the psychedelic Apple Vacations shuttle bus to the airport. Departing the country was relatively smooth despite the security search. Security made every passenger open all their luggage so that a search could be performed.
Psychedelic Apple Vacations Shuttle Bus
I enjoyed my vacation in Punta Cana. The things that I will always remember about this trip are the extraordinarily beautiful beaches and the friendly Dominican people. The Iberostar resort was pleasant and clean but the food could use a lot of improvement. Overall, the resort experience combined with the excursions gave me a nice, well-rounded vacation with the opportunity to gain some cultural knowledge as well as have a relaxing experience with no worries. Main Page...
Magnet Purchased on this Trip: (click to enlarge)Entire fridge magnet collection...