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Beach and warm weather were calling so hopped on a plane to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller

- Ibn Battuta

Caribbean islands are a league of its own with the white sand turquoise waters, swaying palm trees, luxurious all-inclusive beach side resorts for an affordable cost and so on. The South East (SE) dwellers of the United States (US) such as myself nestled in the state of Georgia are only a few hours away by flight to one of these paradise islands. Literally, one can plan and execute a quick 3-4 days getaway to one of the Caribbean islands from the SE USA to recharge or rejuvenate at an all-inclusive resort [an all-inclusive resort is one where costs of accommodation, food, beverages (with the exception of non-alcoholic drinks), room-service (resort dependent), entertainment and activities are all included in the nightly cost and often times are very price-effective].

Therefore, I spent my Thanksgiving 2022 for 6 days and 5 nights in Majestic Mirage, an all-inclusive 4-star Costco (the popular wholesale retailer in the USA) rated resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (DR). In this blog, I intend to elaborate my experiences in this luxury resort in addition to the beaches and some sight-seeing I did while in Punta Cana. So, here we go.

Caribbean Islands - a bird's eye view in the World Map

DR is often loosely cited as a Caribbean Island on the internet, while this is partially correct the absolute fact is that DR is one of the 2 countries on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean region (Dominican Republic), and the 2nd country is Haiti. Punta Cana is the Easternmost tip of the DR abutting the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean known for its long stretch of white sand beaches with turquoise waters.

On November 23rd, the day before the Thanksgiving of 2022 I landed in Punta Cana after a 3-hour non-stop flight from Atlanta.

Immigration which was followed by a shuttle ride to the picturesque Majestic Mirage resort and checking in to the resort were all seamless. I am aware that the US dollar (USD) could be stretched for a combination of luxury and value in the all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean islands. However, it was a pleasant shock when a butler was assigned to me at check-in for the length of my stay. Truly, that was a royal treatment for me, a full-time employed woman who is accustomed to doing all the hard physical work with little to no help such as cooking, cleaning, home maintenance, shopping, gardening, driving and you name it. It took me a minute to sink in this fact – a resourceful, prompt, helpful, amicable butler at my call for the duration of my stay (of course NOT a 24/7 butler, he was available to help me during his working hours from 11 AM to 7 PM), is this even for real and oh yes it was real. And as always feelings of gratitude started pouring out of my heart. Needless to say, the butler was super helpful during my stay at this resort.

Majestic Mirage, an all-inclusive resort well resonated with its name – Majestic in a lot of ways

This post is NOT a paid marketing write-up for Majestic Mirage as I am not remotely connected with the resort employer by employment or for any other monetary purposes. My intent though is to share my experience at this resort so that the blog readers can make an informed decision when they plan their vacation to Punta Cana. Neither too large nor too small this was a moderately sized, luxury resort with hardworking and affable resort workers. The resort comprised of a coffee shop (one of my favorite hangout spots in the resort), restaurants inclusive of Italian, Japanese, French, a Marketplace buffet, a Seaside beach facing restaurant, a Sports bar, and a couple of family lounges with varieties of to-go or ala carte food, a few swimming pools, jacuzzies, a center stage for nightly performances, a plaza like open area for entertainment/relaxation, a state of the art spa and of course the popular and long Bavaro beach just a few hundred steps away from this resort. Its turquoise waters under the bright sun was an alluring sight to take in, meditate, assimilate and transition to a blissful state.

As soon as I arrived in my room with my butler, I was informed that I was offered a free upgrade to a sky-roof Jacuzzi situated on the 2nd level of my room. And wowww… was a perfect romantic open space with a jacuzzi, a floor bed with comfortable pillows next to it, a couple of chairs with a coffee table, and a beautiful decorative floor light to illuminate this space at nights. I lifted my head to view the limitless clear skies above me and was enthralled. This space alone was worth every cent I spent for my stay at this resort. Felt surreal yet very real, I leveraged every opportunity to use this space during my stay. Laying on the mattress meditating or reading under the canvas of clear skies sparkling with stars (and I knew MY MOM was one of those stars in the sky watching over me) were some of the beautiful memories that I would cherish forever.

Skyroof jacuzzi - one of my favorite hang out spots on this trip

One of the other highlights of this resort is the Majestic Spa – a state of the art facility where spa services also included hydrotherapy – for the most part I don’t avail such services during my vacations because it adds to the cost but since I had a certain $$ credit from Costco that I could use for any paid services at the resort, I chose to use that credit at the Spa. After receiving a fantastic spa service, I was given free access to their hydrotherapy for an hour which I had availed. The hydrotherapy facility within the spa was simply stellar as I had never been to one of such experiences prior to this so I didn’t have anything to compare to. It had sauna, aromatherapy room, cold water pool, water jets, hot water jacuzzi and a swimming pool. I enjoyed water jets the best, as the gush of water from the jet thoroughly massaged my lower and upper backs. Highly recommend visitors to check out this facility during their stay in this resort.

Sight-seeing in and around Punta Cana

A guided day trip to Santo Domingo, the capital city of Dominican Republic; a visit to the stunning Macao beach and a day trip to the Scape Park were the sight-seeing I did during this trip. Founded by Christopher Columbus in 1492, Santo Domingo, is the first Spanish colony, the first colonial city in the Americas brimming with history. After a couple of hours of drive from the Majestic Mirage we reached Santo Domingo, the guide took us on a walking tour of the city from checking out a few cenotes in a park through city walks on the cobblestone streets with historical buildings and ending with a visit to the family home of the son of Christopher Columbus.

During this day trip, I had bonded with a couple of two young Ukrainian women co-passengers, and continue to stay connected with one of them on social media. We chatted a bit about their views on the Ukraine war situation, their predicament in their respective Ukrainian cities due to the war, and their tenacity to carry on with their normal lives with a strong faith that this war would end soon with their motherland winning it without a sliver of doubt. Such engaging conversations and fleeting/sustaining friendships are the intangible perks of traveling that I value immensely and one of the reasons I am so passionate about traveling.

With my Ukranian traveler friends at Santo Domingo - posted in my blog with their complete permissions

As a vegetarian, I discovered little to poor vegetarian food options in the meat heavy Santo Domingo, and DR in general which was a slight disappointment to me. Overall, this wasn’t an enticing day trip for me, though non-vegetarian people interested in Spanish history in the Caribbean islands may get more out of their visit to Santo Domingo.

Macao beach, a short drive fromthe Majestic Mirage is a stunning and picturesque beach with clear blue waters, studded with palm-trees, its beauty accentuated by some stupendous sea cliffs bordering the waters, along with a minimal sea-weed infestation and much lesser crowds than the Bavaro beach. Hands down, it was a beautiful afternoon well-spent sun bathing in this attractive beach by reading a book while listening to the sound of waves, and then allowing the gentle waves to wash over me as I enjoyed the sights, the sounds and the crisp Fall air wishing those moments to be everlasting while saying a prayer of gratitude for manifesting this visit to this stunning beach.

Scape Park at Cap Cana

My final sight-seeing spot during this trip was the Scape Park at Cap Cana, a natural theme park with a variety of activities such as ziplining above the jungle, a small man-made waterfall, monkey park, Hoyo Azul cenote, Iguanaland, and a few other things. Having been on a fantabulous ziplining above the thick cloud forest in Monteverde, Costa Rica in October 2018 the ziplining experience in Scape Park was really basic to the one compared in Costa Rica. There were about 12-14 ziplines in Scape Park, and as I moved through the zipline beginning/ending locations I encountered a risky rock climb of a small hill that the zipliners have to climb to get to the next zipline location. There was no way around this (may be one can turn around and return to the starting point without completing remaining of the ziplines) and I was totally flabbergasted by this rock-climbing because,

1. There was no prior warning about this before we started the ziplining tour, so I was shockingly surprised to go through this part of the tour.

2. Highly accident prone and it can be likely be fatal too if we slip during the climbing.

3. Little to no designated help was in this area, so one is pretty much on their own.

4. The metal steps that were on the rock to enable climbing were a fewer in number and distantly placed as we got to the top of the rock, so that ability or flexibility to lift your legs high enough (especially for shorter people) to place the feet on the metal steps is required.

5. If one is not an active person, or inflexible or scared of heights, I am not too sure that they could navigate this part of the ziplining tour.

Since I did not carry my phone with me on this tour, I could not capture pictures of this scary experience.

Next, after crossing a suspension bridge and a short hike past a myriad of flora and fauna I ventured into Hoyo Azul cenote, a natural cool spring turquoise waters pool also referred to as the blue hole’. Surrounded by a lush rainforest, this cenote is approximately 45 feet in depth at the foot of a 246-foot-tall limestone cliff covered in vegetation. The sight of this breathtaking cenote surrounded by verdant vegetation at the foot of a steep cliff made my trip to the Scape Park worth the cost and time despite a not-so-great experience at the zipline. Given that I can only float/swim in waters up to 5 feet in height (I am not a seasoned swimmer and so I only swim in waters without a life-vest up to a height where my legs touch the bottom of the pool), it took me some time to warm up to the idea of getting inside the cenote with a life-vest on. While I was introspecting whether or not I should get in the water, I watched tens of visitors jubilantly dive into the cenote from the top including children under the age of 10 (mostly without their life vests because they were good swimmers), relishing their experiences and going again for repeated dives to get most out of their time in the cenote. To add on to this, a few fellow visitors who noticed my contemplation and interest to get in the water encouraged me to get inside reiterating that I would be safe since I already had a life-vest on.

Finally after several minutes of contemplation, I got into the refreshing freshwater and after a few minutes of staying inside I overcame my fear of sinking and started to thoroughly enjoy the experience. I enjoyed it so much that I swam across the cenote a few times and savored all the moments in the fresh water like it was my last opportunity to swim across a cenote. Such rare experiences, adventures and camaraderie with strangers are the moments I immensely value during and after my travels which makes me want to continue pursuing my travel stories and adventures as feasible for me.

After the cenote visit, I walked past the Iguanaland, home to the Iguanas (giant lizards) inside this park which then concluded the end of my visit to the Scape Park.

Following day (November 28th, 2022) was the departure day from Punta Cana, and I spent my morning sun-bathing at the Bavaro beach enjoying chats with an American couple from Utah who had recently arrived in the resort and were seated next to me while also envying them because they were going to spend the entire next week in this paradise but I was getting ready to leave from this paradise in the next few hours (huh every beautiful beginning has an end). After a few final pictures around this resort, and good byes to my resort friends, I headed to the airport in a shuttle to take off to Atlanta.

Delicious loveable coffee from the resort coffee shop

As I was taking off from Punta Cana, I counted my blessings such as the ability to continue traveling to places in my bucket list, my sense of independence, my good health that has allowed me to go on adventures and explore things as I see them fit, and realized that this list was long, that I had too many blessings to be thankful for. As always, I end this travel story with immense feelings of gratitude, with a desire to visit more of the remaining Caribbean islands in ensuing years.

Thank you Punta Cana for a great time! Look forward to visiting your neighboring islands soon!

Helpful Tips:

  1. Bavaro beach is the longest and popular beach in Punta Cana with an array of resorts by the beach. Due to its popularity, vacationers will likely be distracted by many vendors selling their products on the beach that could be rather annoying.

  2. Given the East facing direction of the resorts on the Bavaro beach, sunrise is a popular and precious thing to do while vacationing in one of these resorts.

  3. Check out the lesser crowded Macao beach for its splendor and dramatically lesser seaweeds on the shore.

  4. Please read my zip-lining experience at the Scape Park (above), do more research if needed before going on the zip-line at this park.

  5. Saona island (, about a 2 hr drive from Punta Cana is a very popular and gorgeous island known for its white sand and transparent turqoise waters and swaying palm trees. I could not visit this island during this trip due to shortage of time but this place is definitely worth prioritizing during a trip to the DR.

  6. Vegetarians or Vegans - please note that DR is a meat-friendly country, kindly research for vegetarian/vegan options in the places of your visit before finalizing your tours/day-trips. However, the tropical fruits and fruit juices in the resort restaurants were super-delicious and were good, healthy vegetarian options.

  7. I exchanged a few USD for the DR currency at the airport, and since I did not do a large/expensive shopping I was able to get by with some local currency and a major international credit card for such purchases.



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