Up until this trip we have never been out of the country together.I studied and lived in Paris during elementary school and Yan never left the country. It is May 2015, perfect time for the beach anywhere. One of our New Year’s resolutions were to travel out of the country this year. Here goes our first trip!
We set off to the airport for our 10 day trip with one check in bag and two carry ons. We left all our valuables home except the cameras because when doing research we were informed there are a lot of thefts, even in your hotel room. It wasn’t until our we switched planes to the international flight that we realized how real life was about to be. The flight attendants were speaking in only Spanish and 99% of the people around us we’re native Spanish speakers. What?!
Puerto plata is a beautiful place. The island life is what we live for! We also live for great deals, all-inclusive resorts with free alcohol, all you can eat anytime and a great time under the sun. Puerto plata dr welcomed us with open arms with its palm trees, warm weather and its hospitality.
As soon as we stepped off the plane into the blazing hot sun early May 2015, we were greeted by a driver that would drive us an hour to our resort. They were more than happy to answer any and all questions we had, and even gave of us a little tour of the island on our way! We saw the beautiful landscape of palm trees, clear blue water and locals doing normal daily activities. When we finally arrived to the resort after our mini tour, we hopped out of the cool A/C and walked up the stairs to our resort. It was a beautiful open layout with marble floors and panoramic views. We could feel the fresh beach breeze brushing upon our faces. There are no actual walls, so you can see the sunlight peeping through from all angles. When we checked-in, we were greeted with chilled fragrance-filled washcloths to cool our faces and sweet mimosas. The staff took our bags and we walked to our room, pass the pool and into this courtyard filled with plants and more palm trees. Everything was very clean and the staff always greeted you with a smile. We made it to our room and we changed into our suits. We grabbed some drinks at the pool ( order whatever you want, anytime for free!) and chilled out. The majority of the time we relaxed and met other people on vacation. We went to the beach and got harassed by the locals selling you things(everything from conches to hair braiding) while you’re trying to enjoy your time, they never give up.
Day 2 we booked an all-day excursion to go zip-lining through the mountains, horseback riding and finally a hike through the forest to jump in waterfalls. It was amazing and easy, we booked through the hotel right on site. The bus picked us up a safari truck and the adventure began! Our tour guides and camera guy “papparazzi” guided us through the countryside where we saw shacks, random animals in the street, people with kids on motorcycles with no helmets and the beautiful scenery. After riding through the bumpy dirt rode we finally arrived to the vast land of mountains. It was absolutely amazing, the air smelled clean and fresh. We geared up to go horseback riding. I swear I got the dumb horse. I got the last pick and this horse was tripping(crazy)! I would control it and it would go somewhere else, do its own thing. It was a little scary going through those rocky mountains, we slipped a few times. That was a fun experience, after that, we toured the garden they had in the mountains where we learned how different fruits and vegetables take to grow. We learned that some bananas take up to two years to grow and there are about 12 types of bananas. We learned all sorts of things about how the Dominican Republic preserves their rainforests and doesn’t cut down its trees or plants. The tour guides were so passionate in telling us about their country it was great! We then had a fresh lunch in this open area with a picturesque view of the mountains. Zip lining was great, very high. Yan is afraid of heights and I was a little afraid to jump off the first time, but it was great being with all of the other people from around the world. After the hour of zip lining over treetops, we hiked through the mountains, up millions of stairs(we took water breaks in between) to get to the beautiful waterfalls. Our friend Katie was up first, but she had to turn back because it was too high, she had the first-time jitters.The first one was about 15 ft it was amazing!(I was so nervous) We swam through the canals with our shoes on and hiked through the water passages where we came to small waterfalls in caves, we saw about 12 waterfalls in total, it was beautiful! We met some really cool people. There was a couple from Canada behind us in the excursion and we cracked jokes the whole time. Yan would always see them in the smoking section and the guys would chat about how to get the best angles with their GoPros. Little did we know these would be our travel buddies and lifelong friends. From this day on, we were all together, all the time.
We ate dinner together and stuffed our bellies, got drunk together, danced on the beach, looked at the stars, chilled in the pool and climbed trees. It was awesome! We rode bikes the resort had for free, through the little resort town and went shopping at the nearby shops. We even did yoga on the beach with Chris, opened our lungs and released tension. This was Yan’s first time out of the country and my first time on an island, it was definitely a memorable one. From this day onward, we couldn’t settle for less. It was official we got the travel bug and now it was time to sice our lives! Go back to work? We need a plan of action to live the life we want. This is when it all started. It was hard to leave that place, but always forever good times.
The Gran Vertana was one of the best resorts we stayed at! The rooms were nice and clean, the staff was amazingly hospitable, the buildings had courtyards filled with greenery, vines of flowers and palm trees. We had fresh fruit smoothies everyday, fresh from the hanging bananas to the amazingly juicy mangos. The food was great and their was a great variety (being is though we don’t eat pork or beef). This resort is family-friendly. The best thing about this resort to us was the all-inclusive amenities. At anytime you can go to the pool bar or any of the restaurants within 70 yards away from each other and order a drink. They will even serve you drinks at your meals. The staff that had a position that worked directly with the guests and spoke enough english to have a regular conversation. They also taught us some Spanish and made any special requests we made, happen, if possible. Throughout the week they also sponsored many free games, meet groups, and activities posted on a board. This was good for some pool games, Dominican dancing, small shows etc. There is also a small gym on site. We highly recommend this hotel for both party-goers and the people who want to relax on vacation. Thank you Living Social for a great experience and vacation package and thank you Gran Vertana for an awesome and warm experience. We will be back!