Last week’s family trip to Puntacana was my first visit to the Dominican Republic and I hope not my last. The island is full of beauty, life, color, and joy. The food was incredible, the people were welcoming, and I’ve never seen water so vibrantly turquoise. The flight from New York was only 3.5 hours and ended up being far easier than I could have imagined.
A big thank you to my dad and Jenn, for treating us to an unforgettable 5 days to celebrate his 70th birthday!
Before I get into the details I want to remind anyone reading this that traveling with two small children is challenging and not always sunshine-y. Luca was teething and didn’t nap for the entire trip, everyone was overtired and overstimulated and while it was mostly a wonderful 5 days, we had our moments.
My dad and his wife are members of Inspirato, a luxury vacation membership service which I would 100% join if it were in my budget. Through Inspirato, they rented Villa Las Cocos, a beautiful 6-bedroom villa with a pool, overlooking the golf course. It was beautiful and perfect for our large group. Random but if you have small children you’ll appreciate the fact that the walls were very thick so it was super quiet.
We also loved being on the golf course because after it closed in the afternoons, the kids could run around on the grass which they did for hours.
The house was on the property of Puntacana Resort & Club which also houses Tortuga Bay, multiple restaurants and the Ojos Indígenas Ecological Reserve where you can hike around and swim in more than one Cenote. We spent a lot of time at the beach club there.
Transportation: The house came with golf carts so we were able to get around to the beach and restaurants easily. For our two off-property excursions, we booked a small bus because there were 13 of us.
Turns out there is no such thing as too much ceviche!
Most meals we ate at the house because of the kids’ nap and bedtime schedules. The house came with a chef who was awesome. Every single thing that he cooked us was great. Besides that we did a few lunches at the grill at the beach club which had a nice selection of fresh seafood for the adults and pizzas for the kids.
For my dad’s birthday dinner, we took our golf carts over the La Yola Restaurant on the property. It was beautiful, on the water, and the food was fantastic. My favorite meal, however, was an adults-only lunch we had at La Palapa which is on the Eden Roc Cap Cana property.
If/when we ever go back, I am dying to stay there. The resort is stunning, the pool looked amazing, and it was such a fun vibe. Anel and I actually had it booked for March 14th, 2020. The second day of pandemic lockdown. Now I am committed to making it happen for real!
Because we had six kids and three under three, we tried to make this trip pretty relaxed. We spent most of our time in the pool at our house or at the beach club which also had a pool for the littles. We did have two very fun adventures, however. The first was a visit to the Ojos Indígenas Ecological Reserve where we hiked, saw turtles, and swam in Cenotes. Luca was not a fan of the swimming but Amalia was very excited to be able to look underwater with her goggles and see the beautiful fish and coral.
Fun fact: Kim Kardashian shot her Sports Illustrated cover in the same Cenote we swam in (pictured above).
The other fun activity was a day on a catamaran that we booked through Hispaniola. We went snorkling, pulled up to a food boat (think food truck on the water) for fresh seafood, drank from fresh coconuts on a secluded beach, and had a dance party with the green/blue water all around us. It was a very special day that I’ll never forget.