When it comes to holidays, i’m happy enough to spend time by the pool and be a beach bum for a day or two, but I love exploring too. City breaks aren’t the only way to get a little culture and excitement. That said, as much as I’m sure jumping out of a plane is buckets of fun *eyeroll emoji moment*, I prefer to stay inside the plane until we reach our destination. But when we do arrive, I’m more than ready to get my heart racing. Who said holidays where just for relaxing…
Give water sports a go
Depending on where on the island you’re staying, the sea can be either a little choppy or completely calm. I would recommend the south of the island if sailing and the like are you thing. More than once, we grabbed a kayak from the water sports hut and headed out into the ocean – cue lots of competitive rowing, terrible timing and splashing around. It’s a great way to break up the day if your sticking to the pool or beach.
Explore the local villages
When you’re off on a resort vacation, leaving the resort may not be your first thought, but I’m so glad we did this. Pottering around in the late afternoon, we saw so much that we would have completely missed by staying in the resort. Plus, we stocked up on our fave Dominican rum and coffee as the local shops are much cheaper than resort shops.
Be James Bond
If you fancy yourself as a totally slick spy, you need to try out the ‘James Bond experience’ or Bavaro Splash as it’s actually called. You get to head out to sea then whizz through the waves driving your own speedboat, followed by snorkling and snuba diving sessions. Have tried to scuba before (and failed miserably), I wasn’t sure how my anxiety would cope but snuba was definitely a more successful experience. With the oxygen tank on a flotation raft on the surface and a v.long tube attaching you, I felt a lot less weighed down and after a couple of tries, I managed to get down 20 feet to the ocean floor to explore. This was my favourite part of both trips and a definite must!
Treat yourself in the spa
Do I really need to explain why massages are the bomb.com? You’re hear to relax so treat yo self with a massage or two. Dreams Resorts give out vouchers to spend across the resort when you go ‘preferred club’ and Jamie and I managed to rack up ten massages in two weeks during one trip, which is pretty impressive I think.
Head to a floating island
Holidays, especially the all inclusive variety, tend to involve a little (read: a lot) of over indulging! I’m all about enjoying yourself, but two weeks of endless cocktails and three courses meals every night tend to get a little much. We decided to head to the floating island for a detox day. The food was pretty simple, with sandwiches and fresh fruit, and drinks were limited to fruit juice and water with strictly no alcohol, bare a shot of Mamajuana at the end of the day (the local and really rather strong drink). We enjoyed massages, paddle boarding and snorkling with rays and sharks. It was the perfect break mid-way through our get-away.
Visit Saona Island
Our first ever excursion in the Dom Rep was to Saona Island and whilst it was good, there are definitely others I would recommend first. We took a catamaran to the island which involved dancing, drinking rum and lounging on the nets that sit a few feet above sea level. The island was lovely but if you’re staying on the south of the Dominican, the beaches are pretty beautiful anyway. We had a barbecue for lunch and drank yet more rum, spending the day in the ocean. We headed home on a speed boat and whizzed through a thunder storm which was an adventure in itself.
Try the local cuisine
From curried goat to sancocho (soup made from leftovers), we loved all the local dishes we tried during our trips. I’ve been brought up tasting quirky concoctions from my Dad’s kitchen so I’m always keen to try something new and find new favourites to recreate at home.
Rent a private pool
Feeling particularly swish? Add a little extra luxury to your stay. Lots of resorts have private pools and the preferred club team at Dreams La Roma where only too happy to organise the perfect day for us. We headed down to our secluded little spot with our private waiter who was only ever a phone call away. Celebrating with champagne, we lounged about till lunch when we were served a three course meal before our masseuses turned up to provide an extra dose of relaxation. Read more about the perfect private pool day here.
Inspired? Let me know in the comments. I’m tempted to book another trip myself!
A faux-ginger, gin drinking, digital marketing gal with a thing for food styling. That was basically my old Tinder bio... Living in Leeds, I'm forever heading out for dinner, buying too many clothes, spending 50% of my money on ubers and, as of now, putting my stamp on my new apartment!