> Destinations > Dominican Republic > Trip Reports > Trip Report
We've been to the Puerto Plata area 3 times now, 1st in 2000 to the Grand Flamenco, in 2003 to Jack Tar and this year we went to the Riu Merengue leaving on Jan.24/05 (for 14 days). For this report we are comparing the Merengue to the other two resorts.
The Beach area : Riu Merengue has the best beach area by far. It is beautiful, with loads of shade from the trees and plenty of comfy loungers (you don't have to worry about reserving a spot).
The beach is shared with the other 2 Riu resorts, with Bachata (pronounced Ba- sha- ta) on the west of Merengue, and Mambo on the right. There are no other resorts in the area, so the entire beach is yours. The water is usually rough, so snorkelling is limited.
The Pool: It is on the small side and you must put a towel on the lounger of your choice to get a good spot.
The bars: Numerous throughout the complex. Getting a drink was never a problem with terrific service. However, the alcohol content seemed very low in all their drinks. The wine was poor at all bars and restaurants. As wine drinkers, this was a disappointment.
The rooms are very nice and well maintained by the staff. There is a free mini bar in each room that is kept well stocked with liquor, beer and bottled water. The in room safe is at no extra charge (unlike most other resorts).
The grounds are beautiful and well maintained, with palms trees everywhere. Coconuts and bananas growing right outside your room.
The lobby is huge with extremely friendly staff (the Dominicans are a happy people). The front desk staff handle the currency exchange.
The food: This was the biggest disappointment of all (as compared with the 2 previous visits to the country). The 2 a la carte restaurants shared the same locale and they were discernable only by the tablecloths. The food was what I would only call 2 star at best. Both restaurants were never crowded as a result. The buffet would only rate 3 star. The restaurant at Merengue was extremely dark, even with all the lights on.
An interesting fact: The vast majority of the guests are from France, followed by Germany, with English speaking people a distant third.
We took one excursion, the Outback Jeep Safari. It was well worth it, and we really enjoyed it. I would take with you a large bag of candies (or buy it at the resort) to hand out to the children you will see on this trip.
A word of advice for anyone visiting the country from Canada, do not tip using Canadian coins, as they cannot exchange it. We learned that one fellow countryman tipped using Cdn Tire money, very embarrassing for the rest of us.
We had a good time, but because of the food, which is a major factor to us, we would not return to Riu Merengue.
Thanks to John for this trip report ...