Key Details About The Dominican Republic & Our Trip To La Romana, DR:
Location: There are many great areas to explore in the Dominican Republic. We were in La Romana on the Dominican Republic’s Caribbean coast and a gateway to nearby resort areas, including Dreams Dominicus.
When to go: The Dominican Republic is great to visit year around, however, the best time to visit is between December and March when sunshine and temperatures are at their best and rainfall is lowest. The hottest month of the year is August.
Weather: The DR enjoys a tropical climate with the typical year-round warm and humid conditions associated with the Tropics. Seasonal mean temperatures range from 68-77F in the winter months (December to February), to 77-80F in the warmer months of June to August and September to November.
Closest airport: Punta Cana International Airport
Getting around: If you’re not familiar with the country, I would suggest booking your transfers ahead of time. Dominican Spanish (and Spanish) is the native language of the Dominican Republic. While most drivers and other tourism partners do speak English as well, you shouldn’t rely on this. Other options for transportation are to grab a taxi or check the area to see if Uber is available. We booked our transfers through Amstar before arrival. From the Punta Cana Airport to our resort, Dreams Dominicus, it took about 50 minutes.
In collaboration with @Dreamsdominicus through Beach Bound, partnership with Nikki Tomlin.
Where We Stayed -
Dreams Dominicus La Romana is an all-inclusive luxury resort perfect for family getaways, friendcations, or romantic retreats. The resort is set on a beautiful beachfront with ten restaurants, eight bars, two main swimming pools, a separate kids’ pool, various activities throughout the day, and a different activity each night for the guest to join in on.
We chose this hotel for our friendcation getaway because of the incredible beaches and, since we were traveling during spring break, we wanted to be at a resort that was a little further away from the craziness but still close enough to the fun so that we could relax a little during the gaps when we weren’t working. While here, we partnered with Dreams Dominicus to create new content for their social media platforms.
Our Experience -
We got spoiled during our stay at Dreams. We were hosted in a gorgeous beach-facing room with a walkout pool and a fantastic sunset view. The Dreams resort has 488 spacious guestrooms and suites with Italian-inspired architecture, private pools, and enchanting lights throughout the property.
Images taken by me, Faith Calhoun (@prettyliltraveler), outside of our suite in the walk out pool at the Dreams Dominicus.
As travel content creators, vacations aren’t ever really a vacation – but somehow on this trip, we were able to make it work! Maybe it was because of the hospitality of the resort, or the remarkable beach only steps away, but Nikki Tomlin and I somehow allowed ourselves the entire day to just enjoy.
We spent the entire day from sunrise to sunset just drinking champagne, swimming in the crystal blue ocean, and trying out all of the best on-site restaurants, including their room service.
We had a fabulous cabana booked for the day, with access to a preferred bar and the rentals. The water was so breathtaking, it was hard to not spend the entire day in it! If you swim out about 15 meters, you’d find man-made coral reefs that host thousands of beautiful fish. Nikki was prepared and brought her own snorkel equipment, but you could also just rent equipment at the beach, including standup paddle boards and kayaks if you want to go out a bit further!
Drone image taken by me, Faith Calhoun (@prettyliltraveler), of kayak onsite at the Dreams Dominicus.
Ilsa Saona & Natural Pools -
While on the Eastern side of the Dominican Republic, we had to check out Isla Saona, one of the Dominican Republic’s National Parks. Shallow water, beautiful beaches, swaying palm trees – yes, please.
We booked our guided tour through Amstar in the lobby of our resort. There were a few different options to see the island, but we decided to go with the Saona Reserve package because we wanted a little more private island time.
Drone image taken by me, Faith Calhoun (@prettyliltraveler) at the natural pools, before cruising over to Isla Soana.
Saona Reserve Tour Information Through Amstar:
Included in the excursion:
- Round-trip A/C transportation – From Dreams Dominicus to Bayahibe was only about a 10-minute drive.
- Boat Transportation – We felt like there wasn’t clear communication on this. Based on our conversation with the Amstar representative, we understood that we would be on a catamaran until time, so when we boarded our overcrowded motorboat, we thought we were on the wrong tour. It turns out the catamaran was only the second half of the cruise. It picked us up from Ilsa Saona, and we rode the catamaran back to the dock with booze and music.
- Professional bilingual guides
- Snacks on board – Snacks were not to write home about. We were given a piece of bread and some fruit. While we were slightly disappointed in the snack options – lunch definitely made up for it!
- Dominican lunch and beverages – The was a full lunch including fruit, salad, pasta, sides, and bbq meat such as pork, chicken, and shrimp. *Food and drink options may differ for each tour, but I include what we had so you can get an idea of what was provided.
- Wear comfortable clothes
- Bring a swimsuit, hat, towel, sunscreen, and insect repellant
- Don’t forget your camera and sunglasses
- Bring cash for souvenirs, optional massage, and tips (tipping is optional) – Because we booked the Reserve tour, we didn’t need cash for anything but purchasing a fresh pina colada on the island and a tip at the end. There were no options for souvenirs or massages on the island.
Drone image taken by me, Faith Calhoun (@prettyliltraveler) at the Isla Saona.
After leaving Bayahibe, we cruised along the coastline of the Eastern National Park, where we stopped by their famous natural swimming pool. The large sandbank is well-known because the water is shallow, far from the shore, and the watercolors are incredibly turquoise and blue. We had a few drinks and continued onto a protected beach on Saona Island. The island was STUNNING – a beautiful beach lined with palm trees, crystal clear water, and pure white sand. It also included a Dominican-style lunch, and we definitely took them up on their Pina coladas that were hand craved from fresh pineapples.
Overall – we thought the Island was beautiful, and we were thrilled that we went and explored it! Overall the tour was great, but we would have enjoyed it more if there had been more transparency so we knew what to expect.
Drone image taken by me, Nikki Tomlin (@nikkiitomlin) of me on the Isla Saona.
Scuba'ing The Atlantic Princess -
One of the top experiences on Nikki’s and my bucket lists, while we were in the Caribbean was completing our first scuba dive. Some of the best scubas in the world are in the Caribbean, which I’m sure you can imagine due to the color and clarity of the water. And while we didn’t have enough time on this trip to get the full PADI 3-day scuba training, we found a half-day scuba diving course in La Romana through Get Your Guide, conducted by Coral Point Diving!
Drone image taken by me, Faith Calhoun (@prettyliltraveler), from the Coral Point Diving School showing the town of Bayahibe.
Included in the excursion:
- 1 Confined Water Dive
- 1 Open Water Dive
- Multi-lingual instructor
- Hotel pick-up and Drop-off is provided only for those Resorts located in the Bayahibe-Dominicus area (within 7km from the dive shop)
Our experience was one that I think we both will remember for a lifetime. The Atlantic Princess is a wreck located off the coast of the Caribbean. The ship was “supposed” to be intentionally sunk by its owners to create an artificial reef, but somehow before the actual sinking, it sank itself. Now, it has become one of the most popular dive sites in the Caribbean.
Nikki and I were both incredibly nervous about this new experience. Neither of us had any prior scuba training, and the thought of relaying on a device for air underwater kinda had us shaken. Thankfully, with the patience of our fantastic instructor, Paula, we learned the skills we needed to complete the dive.
Before even entering the water, you are required to start with a brief orientation to the program through a theoretical session on Padi. Then it was time to practice our knowledge in a 1-hour confined water dive where we practiced safely, breathing underwater, and how to use our diving gear properly.
Finally, it was time to gear up and head to our dive site!
The wreck is 30 meters long and has plenty of marine life, including eels and other fish species such as grouper, barracuda, and snapper. We were also able to see large colonies of coral growing on the wreck’s surface, which attracts other species of fish, like parrotfish, who feed on them for food.
This was the perfect dive to get us jump-started in scuba. It was just deep enough to allow us to experience changing pressure, get our toes wet into communicating with our partner underwater, and learn how to breathe with supplemented air. Looking back on the day, I couldn’t have asked for it to have gone better than it did, and I am 100% looking forward to trying scuba again!