Dominican Republic All-Inclusive Vacations (Reviews and Guide)

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Cultural immersion is said to be the best form of escapism. There is nothing quite like flinging yourself into another country’s culture, learning the language and eating food straight from the locals.

Admittedly, this can be quite overwhelming. Constantly having to navigate language barriers, being cautious of getting financially exploited and having to watch your back can weigh on you. Eventually, one will need to retreat into the comfort of a comfortable hotel where the food is familiar and the temperature can be controlled! There is nothing wrong with this. 

In fact, an all-inclusive getaway is a great idea for the less than adventurous traveler. Have you ever had an all-inclusive experience? Have you ever perpetually indulged in whatever you wanted knowing that you wouldn’t get a hefty bill at the end of it all?

Everyone knows that spending before and during the vacation can cost more than the vacation itself. After you have used all this time choosing the perfect hotel, you now have to budget for daily meals and activities for yourself and potentially your family as well. It is a huge relief to get the booking confirmation from a hotel site knowing that all you have to do is await the date and show up.
If you’re sold on the idea of an all-inclusive stay, why not consider the Dominican Republic? And if you’re not sold on the idea quite yet, read on. The Dominican Republic has a strong tourism culture, and could be just the place to convert you.

Tips And Tricks

Best Time to Travel

Purchasing an all-inclusive package is arguably the most cost-effective way to vacation in the Dominican Republic. To save even more, try to book a room in the earlier summer months, as they tend to be cheaper then due to lower demand. The fall seasons will likely be relatively cheaper as well. These are great times to get your feet wet in the all-inclusive culture (literally and figuratively).

Simultaneously, remember that the Dominican Republic is in the Caribbean. The hurricane season will intersect with the above-mentioned months (June to November) and it can be very unpredictable. It’s best to pay keen attention to weather forecasts and the latest date that any deposit paid to these hotels can be refunded.

Food

This one is for the foodies! Your all-inclusive resort will likely have both a great range of authentic local cuisine, and more standard Western food. A resort is a great place to try out many different foods all at once without spending extra money. Since all your meals have already been covered in the initial payment, you can avail yourself to everything offered without having to pick and choose. More options equal a more fulsome experience.

Resorts even offer international cuisine ranging from Japanese, Italian and everywhere in between. It is typical to find restaurants which specialize in strictly Japanese, Italian or Indian food all within the all-inclusive offer. As opposed to the usual buffet setup of these resorts, at these restaurants, a waiter usually takes your order and brings you the food. The façade is completely broken at the end of your meal when you have no check delivered to you by your server. You can have dining experiences with multiple courses in your all-inclusive package! This is a great getaway for couples who want an intimate meal setting away from the usual din of chatter in the dining hall. This is a great way to keep it sexy while the kids rush the buffet table in the main eating area.

Late night munchies? It is not unusual for resorts in the Dominican Republic to have food spots open all day and all night. There is no need to roll out of bed to cook, or leave the hotel in search of food. You are likely to be confronted with the smell of grilled food a couple floors below.

Unlimited Alcohol

If nothing else, all-inclusive resorts include alcohol. Whether this is a pro or con is entirely subjective as this feature is not for the irresponsible.

If you can’t manage your liquor, being inundated with a wide array of options may not be the best setting for you. At an all-inclusive resort, you don’t have to mentally restrain yourself from spending too much because it’s already paid for. Being the master of your own proportions is a huge responsibility! 

Something you should also note is that the liquor being offered is not always high end. Depending on the caliber of resort, you may not see the top shelf liquor that you want. Beer flows freely but that Moet may be a bit more elusive. But for those who are not picky, unlimited liquor is an absolute dream. Bachelorette parties, honeymoons and birthday trips are great settings for the libations only an all-inclusive resort can give.

Of course, other patrons will be there getting in their booze as well. Things might get very, very rowdy and you should consider whether you want to expose your children to some of these scenes.

Entertainment

Since you will be burdened with unlimited liquor, being in a safe environment when partying is absolutely necessary. Good thing all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic will have their own form of entertainment, which means you don’t have to leave the confines of the resort for some nighttime fun. You can feel a bit more safe knowing that the surroundings are familiar. 

You won’t have to be worried about designating a driver to take everyone home after the festivities. Your room will be right there! Send the kids to bed knowing that you’re only downstairs and they are a stone’s throw away.

Don’t Be Wasteful

When some patrons are confronted with a wide array of food, they take it as a challenge to see how much they can eat to get “their money’s worth”. They often fail at their self-imposed challenge and waste a lot of food in the process! As much as possible, resort patrons should try to only take the food that they need. Remember, you have unlimited seconds! There is no need to overload your plate on the first go. You may find that you are satisfied and full long before you’ve even made a dent in that mountain of food.

Tipping 

Now, the all-inclusive arrangement working out in your favor does not mean that it benefits everyone. It has been long suspected that staff members do not benefit from the food left over after each day of mass production for guests. A lot of it is tossed. Because of this, feel free to tip staff members!

As you are already saving on how much you are spending during your time in the Dominican Republic, it doesn’t hurt to show your support to the maid who gave your messy room extra love, and the waiter who over and beyond to get your order just right! Tipping is not mandatory, but it is decent and could really make a huge difference in the quality of service.

The US dollar stretches a far way in the Dominican Republic, and truly makes a difference in the individual lives of the people there.

An Insulated Experience

One drawback is definitely that you will be tempted to never leave the resort. If you have everything you need within the confines of a perfectly curated hotel, why would you need to leave? Not all patrons want a truly authentic experience of the Dominican Republic; the one manufactured by a hotel is sufficient to some.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this. The more adventurous vacationer will just have to make extra time and bring extra funds to spend on the outside of the resort. This would be an excellent way to boost the local economy with foreign currency. Because these hotels tend to include their own gift shops with branded items, guests have the option of getting their souvenirs there.

This significantly limits the earning potential of the locals who make majority of their living during tourist-heavy seasons. In any event, the local crafts are likely handmade and unique. You will likely not return home with a standard souvenir if you make the trip to one of these crafters.

Is “All-Inclusive” A Misnomer?

If we were being honest, we would have to admit that these hotels are not truly all-inclusive. It is not out of the ordinary to make plans to use the gorgeous spa facilities advertised on the hotel website for a manicure or pedicure, only to be told that an extra cost is attached for these services.  

For the patrons who require deep tissue massages and premium facial to really complete a vacation, you may find the all-inclusive experience to be wanting. Additionally, some hotels may exclude certain watersports from the all-inclusive package. It may be a huge letdown to hear that you came to these beautiful waters, where you can paddleboard, but not snorkel and scuba dive.

It is decidedly annoying to peruse a hotel’s activities and amenities and see pesky asterisks at “internet cafe”, “golf” and “spa” leading to a notation that these features require forking out some extra dough. But this is why it is recommended that do your research and have a personal list of what you want out of a hotel.

You will find most of the Dominican Republic resorts in Punta Cana and Puerto Plata. We have included a few spots we thought were more than worthy of your consideration:

The Best All-Inclusive Resorts in the Dominican Republic

Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana

You can bring the kids! Kids love the concept of an all-inclusive hotel. To them, they are getting all they can to eat for “free”. It is somewhat of a challenge to them to see how much food, and how many activities they can stuff into one day.

This is a fairly new resort, so the amenities are likely to feel relatively clean-cut and sturdy. The yoga fanatics will be catered to here, as beach sessions are part of the package. Fancy a cooking class? Why not spare a little time to do one with your partner? It could be a fresh new bonding activity. I’m sure you won’t take it too seriously knowing the food is already paid for, and there is no hourly rate looming over your head.

While you have your fun, banish the kids to either the KidZ or Teen Club to hours of virtual reality gaming and sneak off into their stunning high-end spa. And if you suspected, yes, the spa services will come at an extra cost.

Iberostar Grand Bavaro

Secure the babysitter. This one’s for the grown-ups. Fewer rooms than your average hotel means a more quiet environment, and round the clock room service means you can make you room your own personal love cave. A la carte restaurants are available when you want to come up for air.

Ever heard “you have not because you ask not”? Well that certainly applies here. The high end booze may not be on display, but if you ask, you may get lucky. Perhaps not the best location for young couples, this hotel is a bit too grown and sexy. You may find the nightlife lacking if you are the type to want to let loose.

But if you are a home-body, wrap up in a robe and luxuriate in your marble bathroom with jetted tub.

Conclusion

These examples were just show the wide variety of experiences available to you in the Dominican Republic. The all-inclusive experience can be whatever you make it. Our advice: write down your list of priorities in a vacation. Kid-friendly? Spa? High-end liquor? Nightlife? Scenic views? You may be overwhelmed with choice, but you are actually guaranteed to find a resort suited for you. The Dominican Republic has something for literally every type of person, for every type of event.

Don’t wait any longer! Trick yourself into thinking that money doesn’t count for a couple of days. Make the one-time payment now, so you can kick off your shoes later. Consider it a gift to your future self!

About The Author
Sam
Sam is the founder of EpicCaribbean.com and is a native of Florida. Sam loves the Caribbean with all his heart and wants to share it with everyone he can. He has been traveling in the Caribbean since he was just 18 months old and has seen most of its beautiful beaches and turquoise waters.

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