Emily: One of my best friends lives in Arlington, Virginia, so I don’t see her very often. We met in college and have been friends ever since. The first (and last) time we took a vacation together was to Barcelona, Spain in 2007.
I thought it would be super fun to celebrate my 30th birthday with her in the Dominican Republic. So we planned a trip to 3 locations, including Santo Domingo, Bayahibe, and Bavaro (near Punta Cana) over the course of one week.
Emily’s Birthday Trip to the Dominican Republic Index:
- Trip to the Dominican Republic – Introduction and Planning
- Santo Domingo Hotel – Sofitel Nicolas de Ovando
- Activities in Santo Domingo – Zona Colonial and Latin Dancing
- Activities in Santo Domingo – Casa de Orientacion y Desarrollo Real (CODR)
- Eating in Santo Domingo
- Bayahibe – Isla Saona and Hotel Bayahibe
- Bavaro Hotel – Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe
- Activities in and Around Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe
- Eating in and Around Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe
- Return Delta Flight from Punta Cana
- Conclusion and Blog Giveaway
Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe Activities
There are lots of planned activities at the resort.
We didn’t go to any of the planned activities, but we did go to the:
- Night club
- Adventure Boogie
Kristen: I was impressed with the amount of activities listed throughout the day. I was tempted to try yoga on the beach, Spanish lessons, and dancing classes.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe Spa
Emily: We booked two deep tissue massages at the spa, and we arrived about 20 minutes early to relax and enjoy the services.
The outdoor pools were very pretty.
These facilities could only be used with a spa appointment, or were an extra $40 charge.
There were massaging jets…
and semi-submerged lounge chairs to relax in.
I thought it was beautiful and inviting.
Inside the spa, there was a Turkish bath (sauna)…
a dry sauna…
various showers, a hot and cold plunge, and a pool with different fountains and pressurized showers.
The spa gave you a robe, but no slippers or sandals to walk around in. The massages started on time and lasted 50 minutes. There was soft music playing, and the masseuse was very good.
It was a full body massage that including hands, feet, legs, arms, and back. I was extremely relaxed after my massage and wanted to stay sleeping on the massage table! Afterwards, there were a relaxation room where I drank water and relaxed in a low lit room.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe Theatre and Club
When we returned to the hotel, we caught a few minutes of a “Broadway mix” theatre show, which included songs from famous shows like Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and Mamma Mia. The dancers were very good.
Kristen said that these shows are popular on cruise ships, but that this one was bigger and better. The other guests also seemed to enjoy the show.
Afterwards, we went dancing at the club. There were two large bars.
The club played mostly top 40 and reggaeton (Spanish language hip hop), with a little bachata and merengue mixed in. Kristen and I came from Santo Domingo, which has amazing dancers, and were a little disappointed with the club.
After breakfast, we went to the beach for some kayaking.
It was my first time doing this and it was very easy! My arms didn’t get as tired as much as I thought they would, and it was enjoyable to float in the water.
After that, we went to the pool and had a drink at the pool bar.
The pool bar is huge—a full sized bar—and you can have just about any drink under the sun – literally!
We had a SeaBreeze and a Banana Daiquiri. I really liked the banana daiquiri because it was made with fresh bananas!
We swam around a little, and when Latin music started playing, we danced a bit in the pool.
Kristen: We tried out one of the pools adjacent to the where lunch was and found one of the best parts of the resort. The blue tiled pools are vast and connected under small bridges. They expand into other areas with different attractions from lap lanes or a volley ball court to massaging water jets and partially submerged lounging colonnades, or bar stools that were all sorts of fun to play with while we enjoyed the music.
After lunch, we went on an Adventure Boogie tour. We wanted to go on a snorkeling tour but it was booked up.
There are lots of tours you can go on, including trips to La Saona, a dolphin excursion, an ATV tour, a speedboat tour where you drive the speedboat, and lots more. We booked a boogie tour, which is like an ATV but lower to the ground.
We wanted to go on the speedboat tour, but it was all booked up. I would recommend booking these as soon as possible because some activities had a waiting time of at least 2 to 3 days.
Kristen: A note on booking excursions – book early. Even though the first thing we did after checking in was booking the excursion, the ones we wanted were filled 2 to 3 days out.
We were given helmets to wear.
The tour involved driving on the road so check to make sure your helmet fits properly.
We drove 4 wheelers to the beach.
It was a public beach and we stayed just a few minutes, long enough to take some pictures.
Then we went to a shop that sold coffee, chocolate, and rum. There was a brief demonstration on how each of these was made, and we could sample all of them as well.
Our last stop was a cave with a natural swimming pool. The cave was small and it took some time to go down and see them since there were so many people.
Before we went home, we stopped at Wal-Mart. Their rival Costco was located right behind it.
It was fun and easy to drive the four wheelers, but there were at least 100 other people on the tour. All the people made it too busy to really enjoy the tour.
Kristen: I would estimate a good 100+ people showed up and it made for quite a production getting going. It took us 1 hour to get to the Adventure Boogie location and 1 hour to return. We were one of the first resorts to be picked up and the last to be dropped off. However, that said, the buggy adventure was fun! I enjoyed driving the buggy, taking a dip inside a beautiful cave, practicing my Spanish with the locals, and seeing the countryside.
Also, we were told the tour would take four hours and that we would return at 6:00 pm, but we finally got back at 7:15 pm.
This was a problem because we were dirty and sweaty from the tour and needed to shower and get ready in 15 minutes for our 7:30 pm dinner reservation! We asked the restaurant for a later reservation, but nothing was available.