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Would I like Dominican Republic if I liked Mexico?

(21 Posts)
zeebee Fri 22-Jan-16 21:20:02

Just that really. Loved Riveriera Maya last year. First time in AI & big hotel and was amazed that a) I loved it b)the tremendous value for money. It was 4*+, food & drink really good, facilities great. Beach not so picturesque.

While we would happily go back, we now want to explore other options. Apparently, Dominican Republic offers similar standards also for good value for money. Is that right? We (dc from 13-6 yrs) loved the pools, a little exploring, snorkelling. Unfortunately we could never afford this type of holiday in Europe which is madness.

Any thoughts and recommendations very gratefully received. Many thanks.

TotalConfucius Fri 22-Jan-16 21:31:50

I've spent a number of holidays at the Gran Bahia Principe in Mexico and love it there.
Last summer we went to the Dominican Republic and stayed at Dreams La Romana, which is on paper a better quality resort. I found it very disappointing. There weren't that many excursions and there seemed to be much more of a division between the resorts and the locals. The people didn't seem as friendly. The food wasn't as nice (and all of us had tummy upsets, we never have in Mexico). The rooms were rather small and cramped.
However, I had a friend who was staying at a Gran Bahia in the north of the island at the same time and he seemed very impressed. But his beach and ocean were not as nice as ours, down south.
The water temperature was fabulous and the sea crystal clear (not good for snorkelling though, as it is in Mexico).
I won't be going to the DR again.

zeebee Sat 23-Jan-16 19:25:27

That's exactly what I was wondering about. Not based on any fact but more on instinct. Sounds like we were at the same hotel in Mexico! Don't have anything to compare it to but service etc was really good, rooms spacious.

I did find the beach (at sister hotel) disappointing though and the snorkelling not great/interesting due to the inflatable barriers. It was also quite cloudy but maybe that was due to the seaweed problem? Snorkelling at Akumal was in a different league but was a trek out rather than doing it from hotel iyswim. Hhmm, food for thought. Thank you..

mouldycheesefan Sat 23-Jan-16 22:09:29

It's a question I have asked myself I love riviera maya , akumal etc. but I think no, I wouldn't go to DR. The fact it's one of the few Caribbean islands Virgin don't fly to makes me wonder why. the poverty, proximity to Haiti one of the poorest countries in the world and the stomach upsets. I think it's a cut price location for Americans wanting cheap sun and cheap Brits abroad types.

TotalConfucius Mon 25-Jan-16 08:34:24

There was an element of 'boozy Brits' abroad at Dreams in the DR. Very pale men with British accents standing at the swim up bar at 10am, by 2pm they were flinging their dc around the pool 'playing' with them and bumping other people, shouting like a football match - real quality time. By 5pm they were snoring on the sun beds, passed out. Another thing about Dreams - once a week the locals can buy a day ticket to the resort and use all the facilities. In theory this is a nice gesture by the management. In practice suddenly there are massive crowds everywhere, queues for everything and the all inclusive booze clicks in. The pools were a no-go by 2pm, the buffet was traffic central and we had to go back to our rooms every time we wanted a wee as the queue for the toilets was 25 yards long.
Our one venture into town was actually quite intimidating - far from grabbing a taxi to Akumal Bay, hiring some stuff at the dive shop, lunching at the Lol Ha. Although I've been to the GBP during spring break and that ain't pretty!
That's nigh on £11,000 I've never get back (we're a family of 6).

Only1scoop Mon 25-Jan-16 08:40:50

Is stay away from Costa Dorada<POP> ....I always feel DR is just lots of compounds and average beaches.

Used to travel there with work all the time. We used to call it Paupers paradise.

Santa Domingo worth a visit. The beaches in Punta Cana area are much nicer<PUJ>.....

zeebee Mon 25-Jan-16 11:38:30

Thanks. That's what I feared! Interesting about Virgin.

TotalConfucius would you share what other trips you have done from GBP please? Have you ever used the collectivo?

Also family of 6 & holiday of this type a huge outlay so important to get right. DR seems more expensive based on your cost. Many thanks.

TotalConfucius Tue 26-Jan-16 17:18:48

The collectivo is quite safe and runs up and down the main road, you catch it past the Hacienda at GBP. The reason we don't use it is because DS (21) has a touch of cerebral palsy so needs some extra help. If we're going into Akumal Bay (totally different to the Akumal part of the hotel) we usually get a cab direct from the lobby. There is plenty of sea grass there, the snorkelling is great, you can hire all your equipment at the Akumal Dive Centre on the beach but you don't have to use their excursions, you can just go out yourselves. Turtles, rays etc.
We love Xcaret but if you do the secret river really you need 2 days cos that river takes quite some time!
Xel Ha is quite good fun.
If you're all able bodied and can swim, a cenote excursion is good fun - cold water.
Once we went to the Jungle Palace out in the middle of nowhere, which is a refuge for spider monkeys. It's run by a German woman who ended up there by accident about 40 years ago, she's a great character and the house is amazing. You are the only guests there that day. But you need to book far in advance and it is rather £££.
A trip to Playa del Carmen is 'interesting' but can be a bit full on.
If you keep heading left from the hotel beach (looking out to sea) you go around a headland and there is the loveliest bay with good snorkelling.
DR was quite expensive but it was a Dreams resort, supposed 5 star. Not a patch on the 4 star GBP. And I don't rate the Dreamliner either - numb bum all the way across the Atlantic.

TotalConfucius Tue 26-Jan-16 17:21:35

The only good thing about the Caribbean in the summer is the water temperature.
Even GBP had massive seaweed problems this year.
I much prefer Xmas/New Year but the DC holidays have fallen awkward for the last couple of years, when I look out the window now blimey I miss my winter jaunt to Mexico!

TotalConfucius Tue 26-Jan-16 17:24:16

No KEEP HEADING RIGHT FROM THE HOTEL BEACH. Don't go left, it's an hour to anything.

venusinscorpio Tue 26-Jan-16 17:31:19

What do you find "full on" about Playa del Carmen? The street vendors? Playa del Carmen is a favourite destination of mine. It has a European feel in comparison to Cancun. It is a resort town, with lots of places to eat, drink and shop and a fairly decent beach. It's a nice break from roughing it elsewhere in Mexico. I've taken my mum there, we stayed in a very pleasant hotel and she loved it. I guess for people who like all inclusive maybe not for you. I've never been to the Dom Rep, I'm happy travelling around in Mexico but think the Dom Rep might be trickier to do under your own steam, as it were.

zeebee Fri 29-Jan-16 18:38:31

Thanks Total. We went to Akumal & the dive centre was great, glad we knew about it with all the hassling touts around.

Is the good snorkelling at GBP at the Akumal hotel part of the beach or past it then? We only went left from the buggy stop towards the Tulum.
Didn't use collectivo only because advised might be tricky for 6 of us to get in the same one!
Really fancy a cenote, maybe need to ask at lobby (if there's a next time!) to arrange a trip.
Also want to go to Tulum ruins and Xel Ha def on list.

roundtable Fri 29-Jan-16 18:55:42

Loved Mexico, disliked Dominican Republic and stayed in a 5 star hotel there.

I have a stomach of steel and spent the flight home dashing backwards and forwards to the loo. They had to make it avaliable to only me, blush mortifying.

It was terrible customer service, tutting and huffing even if you hadn't asked for anything and letching at you sunbathing. Not just taking a peek, full on revolting comments. Had a great holiday because of the people I was with but I wouldn't go back there again.

MyBigFatGreekYoghurt Sun 31-Jan-16 22:05:44

I love the riviera Maya and have never been to DR but I've HEARD it's extremely poor and less safe to be out of the gated compound of the hotel.

I love that in Mexico you can explore a bit and it's safe.

I would stay with Mexico I've been 4 times to that coast and still not seen all I want to.

Go back you won't regret it.

zeebee Thu 04-Feb-16 10:20:15

Yes, decided to go ditch thoughts of DR and go back to Riviera Maya - only to discover it's way more expensive this year for exactly the same thing. sad So having to go elsewhere this year, cue hours trying to find somewhere.
Thanks for all your advice and tips though.

Betaday Fri 05-Feb-16 19:38:59

Did you find somewhere zeebee? We're in a similar boat

TotalConfucius Fri 05-Feb-16 22:22:10

I keep toying with the idea of trying the GBP resorts in the Canaries. But I think having experienced Caribbean all inclusive, I might be disappointed with European all inclusive.

Still, I am putting all thoughts of summer out of mind for the next couple of weeks as am off to Madeira - not all inclusive unfortunately.

Carlywurly Mon 08-Feb-16 20:44:20

Loved Mexico, hated Dominican Republic and loved Cuba and st Lucia if that helps? I have never experienced hassle like the dr, it was horrible and intimidating.
It was nowhere near the standard of the other places either, despite being 4/5,star.

zeebee Mon 08-Feb-16 21:32:03

Yes we did find a holiday but in the Canaries. Not a GBP though and yes, Total I think we will be quite disappointed compared to Mexico AI, service & facilities. We'll need to sort out our expectation levels! Enjoy Madeira.

We found very little availability generally for summer school holidays so if you haven't booked already, really get it done! Let's hope prices come down again for next year.

mummymeister Tue 09-Feb-16 07:37:52

prices for school summer holidays aren't going to come down again or indeed stop going up, until the Gove changes to holidays in term time are reversed. its an inevitable consequence.

Trickydecision Wed 17-Feb-16 23:23:21

We loved Dreams la Romana! We took the family there last summer (ages 10-71) and everyone wanted to return this summer, which is what we are doing. They much preferred it to the Bahia Principe resort in Mexico, ( the Tulum section) , where we were the previous year.
However, I would only stay at DLR if we were in the Family Preferred area. It is a resort within a resort; quiet, peaceful, with its own beach, club house, bar, pool; no day visitors or non-preferred guests. A little more expensive but worth every penny.

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