Cherylcan's Blog

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Archive for January, 2013

Winter Getaway

I surprised my husband on his 30th birthday with a trip to Peurto Plata in the Dominican Republic. We loved it. Just getting away to be a couple again was revitalizing. In the years since, we’ve visited the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba, and Jamaica. I love getting a little bit of summer in the winter and have favourite aspects of each. We get better knowing what we want to splurge on and what I would not pay extra for.

Dominican Republic will always have a place in my heart. It was the first spot we went. The people were so amazing, and the food was good.I will always remember learning to barter. Of course, it was after I paid way too much for a sarong. Our first two years (2003 & 2004), we stayed at Peurto Plata Village. It is a small resort in the Playa Dorando complex. I loved the entertainment team, the pizza at night, and the beach shuttle. We were so relaxed there. In 2008, we returned to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic but stayed at Rio Mambo. It was a nice resort with a casino included. Although the staff was very friendly, it did not give the cosy atmosphere of Peurto Plata Village, but there were many more amenities and ratings were higher there.

I love the Cuban people, especially the well trained staff. Their cigars, and rum aren’t bad either. However, I find their food is not as spicy as I would like. In 2005, we tagged along on Mark & Cathy’s honeymoon at the Iberostar Daiquiri, on Cayo Guillermo. This is a little island with just a couple of resorts on it. It was a very quiet relaxing place to get away. Many of my group walked to the local bowling alley one night, they had a blast. But by far the best deal of the trip was $20 US paid for VIP service in the airport on the way back. We got food and drink in the airport while we waited for our flights. There was a private lounge with couches, and we walked onto the plane before the rest of the flight. In 2006, we went to Club Amigo Atlantico Guardalavaca. I loved the late night bar and the pool bar, especially the bartenders. They really made you feel at home. In 2011, we stayed at the Breezes Bella Costa in Varadero, Cuba. I was amazed at the service, and their food was much better than anywhere else we were in Cuba.  We got upgraded to a suite with a sitting area, and our every need was anticipated. You have to go for the pizza at lunch, you get to choose your own toppings and watch it bake. I still drool a little thinking about it.

Mexico is great. It is more americanized than the other countries. You see familiar chains when you go to town. We have only ever stayed in the Yucatan. You must go to some of the Mayan ruins. I did love Tulum and Coba (especially seeing where the jungle still covers some of the ruins). In 2007, we went to the Mayan Riveria to stay at the Grand Bahia Principe Coba. It is one of three Bahia Principe resorts grouped together on site. I loved the three-story villas where our rooms were. It was such a clean hotel, and staff were amazing. I loved the shuttles. It only took a short time to get figure out where to go. Our most amazing meal was at the Mikado restaurant. The Hacienda Doña Isabel was great at night, especially the Fiesta Mexicana. It was situated away from the villas, so those of us who wanted to stay up late did not disturb people who wanted to sleep. In 2009, we stayed at Grand Bahia Principe Coba, again, this time for a wedding. They really know how to do things up for a special event. I was so impressed.

To date our favourite escape is Jamaica. I love that there is no language barrier, the laid back attitude, and of course their jerk chicken. In 2010, we stayed at the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton. I absolutely loved their steam room and spa. The adults only section was great for those of us who left our children at home. Their food was amazing, especially the jerk chicken at lunch. This year we are flying with West Jet and staying at the Bahia Principe. We have stayed a couple of times at Grand Bahia Principe Coba (in Mexico), and really enjoyed it. I hope that the Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica can live up to my expectations. I know that the Bahia Principe chain is great too. I am so excited to be returning to them. I think there will be lots of fun things to choose from.