We’ve just returned from our family vacation in the Dominican Republic. We had a great time!! Time goes by so fast these days! The little time that we have after coming back from work, driving kids to their activities, doing home chores, and supervising our kids’ school work… The time that we don’t have together is definitely not enough to stay connected with each other. This is why we treasure our family vacations so much. It’s the time to leave behind all must-do’s, forget about paying the mortgage, doing taxes, and fixing the car. It’s our time to see each other, to go places, to hear our kids laugh and experience new things together.
It’s so important that it all works out smoothly and that we do not get strangled in the unfamiliar place, get robbed or taken advantage of, or try to navigate our way in the foreign country with a foreign language, currency, and customs.
This is why I would like to thank Alex for taking his time to plan our vacation to go so smoothly.
It began with non-stop 9AM flight from JFK. We were so glad we did not have to stay in New York’s hotel the night before. As we arrived to the Punta Cana airport, we were greeted by the Apple Vacation’s folks. It took us less than 1 hour to get to our room at the resort, unpack, be briefed about the services, be equipped with the representative’s contact information (in case we needed assistance), and go to the beach.
Alex had arranged that get a family room in a specific cottage that we wanted. It was right near the kid’s corner, merely 100 yards from the beach and the volleyball court, where our kids spent many hours. We were close to the buffet, the entertainment stage, and the reception hall. We could even see the sunrise above the ocean right from our balcony.
We got so lucky with perfect weather. It would heat up to mid-80’s during the day and go down to mid-70’s at night. Every night there would be a brief, but strong, rain. It did not bother us, except for the fact that we couldn’t dry out our swimming suits. One day, we went to ride on a banana boat (what a great splash!). Another day, we walked on the beach to the village of little shops that were right on the shore. On one occasion, during a high tide, a wave even managed to reach the front of the little shops! My teenage daughter was quite surprised when a wave came rushing from her behind her, while she was kneeling to take a look at the bracelets on the stands (it made such a good picture).
We regretted not consulting with Alex about the Marinarium excursion that we decided to buy at the resort. We did not like it. It was advertised as a trip to go snorkeling with the sharks and stingrays. We found it was too short and mostly suited to sell our own pictures to us. The snorkeling equipment was low quality and did not fit us well.
I became a bit worried as the vacation came to an end. We were leaving the resort on Christmas day. This was a big holiday in the Dominican Republic. Many of the agents and representatives were on a day off. But all my worries were in vain. As we came to the reception desk to check out, we were greeted by the driver of our transferring van. After a seamless checkout, we were on our way. The driver spoke little English, but was very friendly. This is where our Spanish- speaking skills came in handy. We found out that he had to travel all the way from Santa Domingo (over 2 hours of driving) just to bring us back to the airport on that holiday. We left him a good tip.
As we were going through the pre-flight instructions, I caught myself in the interesting conundrum. The temperature in Punta Cana at that time was 28 degrees. The temperature in New York where we were heading was the same: 28 degrees. Of course, one was in Celsius and another in Fahrenheit. New York greeted us with a solid grey sky and a whistling wind. It was a huge contrast from a blue and sunny Dominican sky we had left behind. We did not mind at all. We came back filled with warmth and memories of a great family vacation.