Tag Archives: dominican republic

The DR: the best budget vacation

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Originally written for and published by Texas Lifestyle Magazine 🙂

Need a beach getaway that won’t break your bank? The Dominican Republic is the place for you. Mexico is overplayed—not to mention, right next door—us Texans basically consider Mexico as part of our home state, am I right? The DR is cheaper and just as beautiful, if not more. Plus, it’s an entirely new country to explore!

Groupon and Travelocity are ready to book your tropical vacation to Punta Cana—both sites are filled with various DR resort specials. There are so many to choose from—all right on the sandy shore with all-inclusive meals and drinks. What’s not to love?

We stayed at Breathless Resort and Spa, which besides being all-inclusive, is also adults only. That was a nice twist for me—not having any kids around at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids. But after teaching ninth graders all day, it’s a welcome change to not have a single child in sight (splashing water on you from the pool, kicking sand on you at the beach).

Picture walking a few feet from your comfortable, spacious hotel room to one of the many pools and soaking up the sun for a few hours, sipping a piña colada (that the waitress keeps refilling) until it’s time to transition to the gentle waves of the ocean. You’ve already had a complimentary room service breakfast (because, obviously, you were too lazy to walk to the buffet), but you still grab a snack from the beachside bar. Later, you shower and get ready for a delicious dinner at one of the many on-site restaurants. You go to the hotel’s nightly show (we saw a couple dance performances, a hypnosis show, a lingerie show, and a Great Gatsby musical). After a couple days of this blissful routine, you decide it’s time to leave the peaceful bubble and sightsee. The DR is gorgeous—the countryside, the coasts, the culture—for such a small island, there’s so much to experience!

Zip-lining, fishing, four-wheeling, speed-boating, horseback riding, hiking, swimming with dolphins, snorkeling, adventuring through a cave—you name it, The DR’s got it. There’s even an excursion that’s literally just a day of massages and floating in the middle of the sea on giant, padded beds (yeah, I definitely almost booked that one). Your resort will help you book whatever your heart desires—whether you want something a little more physical and active, or just a Dr. Fish pedicure (tons of tiny garra rufa fish nibble on your dead skin—don’t knock it until you try it).

All of this said, however, don’t expect a 5-star European hotel experience. The DR, although stunning, is still a struggling third world country. The people are excited to make money from your tourism—so expect the usual haggling over jewelry, t-shirts, and other souvenirs. Plus, while out and about on the island, it’s always a good idea to travel with a tour group of some sort. Close by to the sparkling blue waters is poverty and crime, not unlike some of the most striking spots in the U.S. The DR is very similar to the nearby country of Jamaica—beautiful, affordable, but not problem-free. It’s just always good to be aware and safe—no matter where you travel.

Again, next time you’re planning a holiday, consider Punta Cana. I barely scratched the surface of The Dominican Republic, but I loved everything I saw. It combined my need to relax in a serene, stress-free environment with my need to see a completely unique place on this earth. Sip a mai tai, reapply sunscreen, and forget your worries.

 

 

 

About the author: Alysha Kaye is a high school English teacher in Kyle, TX and recent author—her debut novel The Waiting Room is available on Amazon and at BookPeople. When she’s not wrangling 9th graders, she’s blogging, reading, or exploring Austin.

For more, follow her on Twitter @alyshakaye7 or check out her website: http://www.alyshakaye.com

Travel Mas

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I am constantly reminded of what travel does–the power it holds.

Even if it’s just here in Arizona, a family Christmas trip. The cold night air clings to my cousin’s bleach blonde hair as we all scream Justin Beiber lyrics and drive around like maniacs, searching for a desert bonfire spot. There’s happiness here, a few states away, in my aunt’s “Reindeer Punch” and my uncle getting us Cardinals-Packers tickets and a cheesy cactus photo instead of a cheesy Christmas tree photo. My little cousins are everything and nothing like me, they keep me young, and I love them ferociously. Even if it’s just for a moment, I forget about all the bad and focus on “the official rules of calling shotgun” and “why I should download Snapchat.”

Traveling is my sanity. I would’ve broken into pieces by now if it wasn’t for the saving grace of a plane ride two to three times a year. I wish I could explain it better.

All I know is that in Punta Cana earlier this month, it was like every salty wave and spritz of sunscreen and “Hola, bee-you-tee-ful lay-dees!” was reviving my entire sense of being, my soul (that’s been a little bit crushed lately, to be honest). I read so much more than I’m ever able to read, we swam up to pool bars and ordered icy deliciousness in fancy glasses, and we basked in the sun, feeling like sandy-footed goddesses.

In California for Turkey Day, I felt like a giddy, ridiculous little kid traipsing around Disneyland, Fastpasses and lunchtime my life’s biggest concerns. I could conquer the world easily, I thought, as I walked down Santa Monica Pier and picked out a Thai restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner. Sipping a beer on Venice Beach, walking around Hollywood, driving down Sunset pretending I was in the cast of Entourage–smiling is all there is to do in times like those. Every time I travel, I wish that traveling could be my entire life–that I could just continue from that place to the next.

Coming home is always bittersweet, but I’m feeling more and more like myself, thanks to the three trips I’ve made in the last couple months. It’s fucking hard to get back to your usual, happy self after someone stomps on your heart, it just is.

Seeing new places, meeting new people, exploring, adventuring, tasting, smelling, capturing…travel as often as you can. I’m counting down until my next trip: Egypt in March! I am fully prepared to cruise down the Nile, pretending I am ancient, pyramid-worthy royalty.

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