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Home > Destinations > Dominican Republic > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Dominican Republic - Trip Reports

Ocean Bavaro Beach Resort & Spa Marlene, Punta Cana

August 2003

My daughter and I flew Jetsgo from Toronto for a one week holiday to the Ocean Bavaro. The trip down was very comfortable and Sunwing Vacations of Redseal provided the breakfast and lunch on the flights. Jetsgo advertises that they do not provide meals or entertainment although they do sell sandwiches, pop, chips, beer and liquor at reasonable prices.


Very nicely kept and layed out. We arrived at noon but could not check in until 3 pm. We received our mauve bracelets and went for lunch in the buffet and the orientation briefing at 2 pm in the lobby. At 3 pm, the six of us travelling with Sunwing converged on the desk clerk. He kept us waiting another 30 minutes. I did get the building and floor I requested via email....building 5, 4th floor. There was a partial view of the ocean. The room still wasn't made up but we just changed and put our luggage on the balcony and headed to the beach for a couple of hours of sun. We didn't bother with the safe, just double locked one large suitcase and put it in the closet. It wasn't moved at all during the week and I felt safe up on the 4th floor; otherwise, it was a $20US deposit (returnable) and $20 charge for the week.


Very pretty; very wide; lots of palm trees; cool to the touch, white sand. The Atlantic Ocean does deposit seaweed on the shoreline every day but workers clean it up regularly and it isn't so much, it is annoying. The water is clear and has a sandy bottom. Beach shoes are not necessary at all. The swimming area is roped off for safety. I didn't like so many boats going by pulling tubes, banana boats, snorkling tours, jetskis, etc.............way too many fumes when the wind was down. There is a bit of snorkeling on a dying reef but it is outside the rope to the right and you have to listen for motor boats. That was disappointing.

The beach music is very monotonous and loud if you happened to sit near by the animation hut; the animation team are very energetic and do their best to get people involved. One fellow's sole job all day is to go up and down the beach yelling at the top of his lungs "langosta" and signing people up for lobster suppers they have beside the Brazilian a la carte. It was cute at first but got old after a few days.

If I wasn't an early riser, I wouldn't have had a lounger for shade on the beach. The resort was at full capacity. We didn't go in the pool.

After three days, we met a family from Belgium who spoke English. These were the first people we had a conversation with beside ourselves and we bonded instantly and spent the remainder of the week together. They made our holiday actually. As dinner and beach companions, there was always something to talk about...their country and ours and the similarities and differences. Now, we have a friendship that will continue long past the holiday. Otherwise, if you don't speak Spanish, Italian, French, or German, you will feel very isolated. I found those nationalities wanting to stick to themselves and most of the time wouldn't even respond to you if you smiled and offered a friendly hello. The staff had lots of smiles, however. I found everyone to be pleasant. One man named Pedro who works in the buffet speaks very good english. On the last morning, there was no maple syrup for the pancakes. He spotted me and when I told him what I was looking for, he went right away to get some. He loves to talk about the island and happily answers any question you may have.


We had one stormy day..the 3rd day of the trip. We woke up to violent thunder and lightening at 6 am and it continued throughout the day. It was a fascinating show to watch. When the thunder stopped in the afternoon and only the rain fell, we went in the water and it was as warm as bath water. It was a very different experience. Other days were hot and sunny with the rare rain cloud that dumped its load and moved on within 15 minutes. I'd say it was a good week weather-wise. It was always very humid and only the rooms and a la carte restaurants are air conditioned.


There were a couple of very professional musical shows with elaborate costumes and energetic dancing but for the most part, the shows were audience participation. They began at 9:30 at night after the children's portion and then people crowded into the piano bar at the lobby before the disco opened. It was always hot and humid in there. It was nice to return to your air conditioned room for a good rest. The beds were very comfortable and there was always a good selection of programs in English on TV but without a remote control, we often fell asleep with the TV still on. Asking for one was fruitless.........just not enough to go around so we gave up asking after the 4th day and lived without it.

A La Cartes

Of the 4 (Mexican, Spanish, Italian and Brazilian), we ate at only 3. We couldn't get into the Italian. I found the a la carte meals to be a lot of food personally but the quality was excellent except for the Brazilian. Skewers of various meats brought to your table after you went to the buffet salad bar. I found the pork fatty, the turkey extremely dry but the piece of filet mignon was very tender and tasty. No coffee was offered so we went to the buffet later for coffee.

Theme nights were presented in the main buffet. The decorations were elaborate around the bread table and the fruit and vegetable sculptures are wonderful. The omlette chef is such a nice person. The variety and assortment of food was more than enough. The staff are quick to clean off the table and reset them for the continual flow of people coming and going. There were smoking and non smoking sections plus an outdoor patio.


Vendors arrived Friday and set up their wares outside the buffet or you could walk down the beach to the left for about 10 minutes and go through a number of shops selling the same things...paintings, cigars, nick nacks, T-shirts, etc which you bartered for. There is a bank machine down there. Others took a bus from outside the resort to the Bavaro plaza and found more of the same.

We enjoyed our stay at the Ocean Bavaro because of the friends we made. It is a 4 star resort and does its best to live up to that rating. The spa looked wonderful although I didn't partake of any of the services except to get my hair trimmed. The week we were there, the massages were 50% off and I think a lot of people were taking advantage of that ($10 for an hour or $7.00 for half hour massage). I didn't mention how good the drinks were. The lobby bar goes all out with the fancy drinks. I don't think there is anything you can name that they can't make. We got good service even though we didn't tip this trip. I did leave a gift bag on the pillow on our last day for the cleaning lady with some makeup, scented creams, and a colouring book and crayons. I have no doubt they will be used and appreciated.

Thanks to Lori for this trip report ...
September 2003

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