Looking out through the wet windscreen on an early December morning, crawling along the motorway counting the cones to pass the time. A quick look on the phone and the TC app says only 3 hours until our flight and then a check of the weather, 30°c with slight chance of a shower (warm rain!) The Dominican Republic is only 8 hours away. The same amount of time as a normal working day but with a better ending!
Landing in Punta Cana at sunset was wonderful, as the doors opened and the topical heat filled the cabin, we knew we were not Kent! There are some excellent resorts on the south of the island, but we had a 4-hour transfer to Samana in the north east of the island. The private transfer gave an opportunity to see island life, well their road skills at least! The numerous motor bikes dotted in and out of the traffic and people. The traffic soon subsided as we drove away from the capital Santo Domingo and headed into the mountains and the national park. Industry was all around us on the journey, the vast sugar cane fields on the south of the island and as we exited the national park, we were surrounded by the flooded rice fields of the north.
It was now dark as we drove through Samana, which was lit up for Christmas with a statue of a humpback whale forming the centre piece along the promenade. The Samana bay hosts thousands of Humpback whales during their winter’s mating season.
As morning of day two dawns and we opened the curtains to what was truly paradise, the warm morning sun, the palm trees swaying gently in the breeze and the turquoise ocean tumbling onto the sandy beach.
With the all-inclusive holiday, the choice from the buffet breakfast and the other a la carte dining options was excellent. Whether you wished to fill your plate and go back for seconds or have a healthy smoothie shake, there was something for every taste.
The hotel staff couldn’t have been more helpful whether it be arranging an excursion or just bringing you a cocktail by the pool. Then there was the entertainment team who could fill your time with daily bingo, golf, beach games, traditional craft making sessions or relaxing sessions learning Tai chi, Pilates, Yoga and if you wanted something more energetic Zumba, Aqua spin (in the pool), Martial fitness, TRX, GAP, which all helped to stretch those forgotten muscles and of course how could you go to the Caribbean and not have a go at Salsa or Merengue!
The evenings slipped into a relaxed routine of a cocktail at the sunset bar listening to a piano and saxophone playing Arthur’s Theme, then an excellent meal either at the themed buffet or one of the three a la carte restaurants, followed by a show, whether it be traditional dancing, singing or an amazing circus act. To finish it was then time to practice our newly learnt moves on the dance floor. As usual, when you are having fun, time flies and it was soon time to fly home, relaxed and ready for Christmas.