My last vacation to Vietnam and Bali was taken over a year ago. You can only imagine how excited I was to visit Punta Cana and see a few things like the beach, the ocean, actual sunshine (New Jersey winters are not chic.)
Punta Cana International Airport
Let’s start with the flight. Aside from the fact that I am terrified of flying (traveling in an air bus is not natural), the flight from Philadelphia was quick and easy. I arrived to the Punta Cana International Airport heavily medicated and ready for a cocktail when we were greeted with complete disorder and massive lines. Forms needed to be filled out that were never distributed and air conditioning did not exist. But once we were outdoors, the nightmare of our arrival was far away. The trip home was a different story; I was detained for additional security checks, lines were literally out the door/entrance/mezzanine? There really weren’t any doors, which was cute. Note for future, arrive early for your departing flight.
Sanctuary Cap Cana Resort
Arriving at Sanctuary Cap Cana was like arriving at the tropical version of The Plaza: palm trees whispering, bright flowers, modern furnishings and interiors that felt luxurious, yet cozy. We headed straight for the ocean, where the beach-side chef said hello and placed an entire fish (head, tail, everything) in front of me and insisted I try it. After my initial thoughts of WTF passed, I tried the fish and it was incredible despite the offensive presentation. We then proceeded to eat, drink, sleep and basically live on that beach for the next week. At night, we dined at The Steakhouse (which had amazing apple pie), Blue Marlin (the Sancocho is made from a local recipe and is delicious), and the Love Bar for cocktails.
I couldn’t leave Punta Cana without a massage, and my morning appointment at Babor Spa turned into a full day of pampering. I opted for a 90 minute Swedish massage and, after receiving a blissful scalp massage that almost made me cry an actual tear, I wished I had opted for one of those as well. The facility was beautiful and amenities were plenty: jacuzzis, saunas, steam rooms, and a secluded outdoor pool that felt entirely private. There were also at least 5 different crostini and butter cookies for snacking. Just throwing that out there……..
I had my eyes set on exploring Juanillo Beach, so we booked a day through Scape Park. At 9AM, we went to the local marina and boarded a boat, drank champagne, and made our way out for snorkeling, which ultimately was a shit show of flailing limbs, half-drowning tourists, and a constant fear of being stabbed by needlenose fish. I almost wish I had enjoyed the mayhem from the boat. We then made our way to a sandbar where we waded alongside a floating cooler distributing large amounts of Mama Juana (Google it). And FINALLY, we went to the beach…
Juanillo Beach was the sole reason I booked the above excursion (note: I had no idea it is accessible from Sanctuary Cap Cana, oops.) Scape Park provided lunch, which was incredible chicken and fish cooked al fresco. There were paddleboards and kayaks (life vests, swimming ability and sobriety not required), but the soft texture of the sand, gentle sound of the palm trees, and stunning color of the ocean is all so incredible, I preferred to wade in the water and walk along the shore while taking in the natural beauty.
There were so many incredible details around my stay in Punta Cana, it’s impossible to list them all. If you want more info or just want to talk about how completely amazing Punta Cana is, leave a comment below!