Some say – great to go away – but better to get home – however when home weather looks like this – the statement doesn’t ring true for me. Lovely to be sleeping in my own bed with my own pillow but waking up this morning and looking out our windows at the frozen tundra just doesn’t feel inviting. *sigh* See below for my final words on our trip.
To recap. Christmas is the most expensive time of the year to travel. Our vacation was from Dec.24.16 to Jan.7.17 – encompassing both Christmas and New Year’s Eve. As a result prices were high and we elected to stay in a hotel rated 3 star by expedia – 4 star by trip advisor. Stars relate to amenities available, quality of service, rooms etc. There was a time in my life I was a hotel snob and would only stay in high end boutique hotels. However, when travelling south I have never felt the need to go for broke. South is all about the great outdoors, fresh air, sand, sun & surf. OK…I do admit that higher end hotels tend to provide better food with more selection, but honestly you can pay less for a hotel and then go for dinners out from time to time for a change. That way you can experience off resort culture and new food.
We stayed at Whala Bavaro – a self-described ‘low key’ hotel. What I liked most about it is that it doesn’t have nightly entertainment or many organized things. A few nights of guitar players (Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve & weekly BBQ night). Once daily you can find aerobics on the beach. The food is acceptable with little variety. Probably the biggest complaint most people had was the food. I did encounter some people complaining of a bit of ‘stomach issues’ – not necessarily linked to the hotel. I’m a firm believer in Dukarol before travel, a daily traveller’s probiotic to keep the good bacteria up and metamucil as a binding agent (too much information? 🙂 I always have a bad tummy at least once every trip and in the old days it was worse, lasted longer and even into my trip home – I no longer have that issue with my daily regimen of the above! (hey, this is VERY important travel info for those with weak constitutions or bad eating habits abroad 🙂 !!
So…Whala Bavaro – casual, don’t have to dress up for dinner (although you can if you like) – no long pants necessary kind of place. We did buffet every night we stayed in the hotel, they have one small a la carte that we didn’t go to. It has 3 pools – 2 of which always seemed a bit off colour. We stayed in the highest priced suite section with our own pool. It’s a new section and well worth the few dollars extra. We aren’t pool users – we went in once, it was clean and only people from our section seemed to use it. The rooms are very clean, the staff friendly and helpful (english is a challenge for them). Whala isn’t actually on the beach, but has a small beach area a 2 minute walk. The beach area could have been maintained a little better. For our purposes, there was a bit of shade (we never sit in full sun for long), we were able to put our chairs steps from the water, there was a beach bar & snack bar (which we rarely used). The best thing about Whala Bavaro is it’s location – in the El Corticito area of Bavaro Beach it is smack dab in the middle of a wonderful long, great for walking sandy beach and a block away from local restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacy etc. Would we stay there again – maybe – but since we rarely go the same place twice – probably not. Is it for everyone – absolutely not – but if you are ok with ‘nothing special’ but clean and less expensive, this might work for you.
I wasn’t fussy about my last trip to the Dominican. We stayed in the Bayhibe area in a more remote hotel, filled with mostly Italians so it felt a bit more like Italy 🙂 There was little opportunity to mix with the locals. This trip we came home with a far more pleasant ‘feel’ for the Dominican Republic. All the Dominicans we spoke with and encountered were happy, pleasant people. We didn’t encounter one situation that we felt might be dangerous, we felt safe at all times. We are always ‘searching’ for places we might like to spend extended periods of time once we retire and we do feel that if we could find an area in the Dominican Republic that met our criteria that it would be a pleasant country to spend extended periods in. Our criteria being a bustling little town on the sea close to amenities such as grocery stores, pharmacies with a great beach. Of course, #1 is that it needs to be affordable on a limited budget and I think you can do that in most places in the D.R. Let us know if you have any suggestions (in D.R. or anywhere warm 🙂 !!
48 sleeps until we leave for The Corn Islands, Nicaragua!!!