A year or so ago my (now) fiancé informed me that one of his close friends was planning a destination wedding in the Dominican Republic. He asked me if I wanted to go with him. “Say less,” I told him, and promptly began planning my tropical beachy wardrobe.
The chosen resort was the Iberostar Selection Suites Bavaro, which is a sprawling all-inclusive oceanfront resort with low-rise bungalows. As the resort is located about 30 minutes from the airport, make sure you make arrangements for transportation from the airport to your hotel. There are a ton of tour companies on site at the airport that can take you — we used Amstar.
The Selections Suites are part of the larger Iberostar Bavaro complex, which includes The Grand Bavaro (the adults only, luxury option), the Selection Suites (including the upgraded Coral Level suites), and the Punta Cana and Dominicana hotels. Depending on where you’re staying, there are places you can and cannot go, but even with some restrictions, there are options aplenty for pools, food, drinks, and entertainment.
As far as the food went, the buffets were just okay, but the restaurant food was pretty good. We had access to a Mexican restaurant, an Italian restaurant, a Japanese hibachi option, a Mediterranean taverna, and a steak house. Make sure to make reservations with the front desk when you arrive, though, because time slots go quickly.
We had an oceanfront room, and for being a beach resort, there really aren’t that many of them. The pros of the ocean front room are obviously proximity to the beach and a little patio with private lounge chairs. The cons include the fact that the patio is right on the main sidewalk used by staff and guests, so it’s really not very private at all. Also be warned that there is LOTS of kelp on the beach, but the pools are nice if you want to swim.
While we spent the majority of our time at the resort, we did choose to go on an off-campus adventure one morning. I chose the ATV and Montana Redondo Excursion, which I booked via TripAdvisor. At $129/person, the cost includes hotel pickup if you’re staying in the resort are, 2 hours of ATV riding, and a trip to the top of Montana Redondo. It was advertised as a 4 hour excursion, but it was about 6 hours round trip for us, so make sure to pack snacks.
For the excursion, you are taken to a ranch in the hills near Lake Limon where you get your ATV. It was about an hour from Iberstar, but will vary depending on where you’re staying. We were outfitted with helmets and ATVs, and cruised around for about 2 hours on the beach and through the palm forest. On the way back, we stopped for a dip in the ocean at a pristine (and kelp-free) beach where a massive wave promptly knocked me on my ass.
This excursion was a really awesome experience, and I can’t recommend it enough. Even though you’re riding with a group, it feels like you’re off the beaten tourist path, and you really get to enjoy unspoiled scenery. The tour guides were great as well. I’d like to give a special shout out to Jerry, who rode the whole way with my fiancé riding behind him because SOMEONE crashed his ATV twice almost immediately and was not allowed to drive it by himself.
After dropping the ATVs back at the ranch, we then headed up Montana Redondo. If you don’t like heights, this is not the excursion for you. You pile into what is essentially a converted flatbed dump truck and they careen up steep and curvaceous roads until you reach the top of the mountain. Once at the summit, there are swings and hammocks galore for you to live your best Instagram influencer life. The panoramic views are excellent, but you probably only need about 15 minutes at the top.
Overall, I really enjoyed our time in the DR and at the resort. Having not traveled internationally since 2019, this was a perfect palette cleanser to get back into the passport-stamping grind. It’s an easy flight from the east coast of the US, the island is gorgeous, and I could have as many strawberry coladas as my little heart desired. Even my fiancé, who is not a “lay on a beach chair all day” kind of guy enjoyed himself. I haven’t fully converted him to an all-inclusive beach vacay person yet, but I am confident that this experience and my consistent harassment will each do their part in convincing him eventually…
In closing, I want to send a big shout out to Amber and Dante for deciding to get married in Punta Cana! Thanks so much for inviting us! It was an incredible stay and an incredible wedding. All the best wishes for the future!
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