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Greetings From Punta Cana

August 31, 2009
Stories and photos by PHYLLIS R. SIGAL Design Editor

As I discovered some time ago in Mexico, an all-inclusive resort is the way to go. Book your trip, pay for it, get there. Enjoy.

That's it.

It's an easy way to experience a tropical paradise.

Article Photos

But, what I found just recently, it's really the way to go with your adult children.

Travel always has been an experience we've shared with our children. Once, when one of our kids asked us why we didn't get new carpet, I told them they'd probably cherish memories of their trip to Europe, a week at Chautauqua Institution, a vacation at Disney World, and visits to California and assorted beaches more than they'd remember new carpet.

So saving money for a vacation was more of a priority than saving money for new carpeting. (We still live with the same ugly, brown carpet that was in our house when we moved in 15 years ago.)

Over the years, even though we've taken many vacations, we've always taken advantage of budget-saving methods, cheap flights or driveable destinations, off-season rates, efficiency apartments in order to eat some meals in, one really nice dinner out, instead of five or six, etc.

I decided an all-inclusive trip to the Dominican Republic would be a great way to treat the kids (now 23 and 21) to a family vacation. They wouldn't have to hear me counting pennies from here to the Dominican and back.

I wanted them to experience the special luxury of not worrying about money - even if it was just for five days. Freedom from that particular concern seems to make a vacation truly a vacation. (I told them not to get too used to it, but to enjoy the feeling!)

We didn't have to dissuade them from ordering the most expensive thing on the menu; we didn't have to say, "How much is that?"

Steak? Lobster? Two desserts? Sure, no problem. The waiter would even bring two entrees, if the request was made. After all, what's a little gluttony among friends?

We decided on Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. The tourist destination faces the Caribbean Sea, and is well known for its beaches.

Punta Cana is a quick and easy trip; a bit less than four hours in the air, and only a 35-minute bus ride to the resort from the airport.

More than 50 resorts dot the coastal region of Punta Cana, which is called the "coconut coast."

An interesting fact is that hotels in Punta Cana cannot be built higher than the tallest palm tree.

Our resort, Dreams Palm Beach in Punta Cana, was beautiful. Five restaurants, two pools, lots of bars, an open lobby (oh, to live in a place where temperature does not necessitate walls!), several shops, a fitness center, entertainment, a casino, a wedding pavilion and a children's area.

When one is not eating or drinking at an all-inclusive, there are plenty of other things to do. A copy of the next day's "Sundial," was provided each night at turn-down time, with all the activities listed.

Some of the day's activities included beach olympics, cocktail lessons, bike tours, tennis clinics, beach and aqua aerobics, Spanish lessons, bingo, painting lessons, bocce, salsa and merengue lessons, tournaments (table tennis, horseshoe, darts and waterpolo), beach volleyball and soccer, bottle painting and more.

For children, there is the Explorer's Club, with daily activities from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and there also is a teen entertainment program.

Entertainment is scheduled each evening, with such offerings when we were there as the Circus of Dreams, Battle of the Best (men vs.

women), karaoke and a tribute music show. There also is a casino.

Along with resort activities, a number of tours can be taken off the resort into the countryside.

We took one trip, a snorkeling excursion in a boat from the resort.

Billed as a party boat, the rum flowed freely - but only after the snorkeling part of the trip was over. Then there was ocean volleyball (hard to play with a rum and coke in one hand) and some sightseeing up and down the coast. Oh, and dancing. The boat staff was pleasant, and the goal of the four guys was to ensure a good time! They took that job quite seriously.

Because Apple Vacation books so many trips to Punta Cana, an Apple representative is available at most resorts, helping to arrange excursions and to answer questions a guest may have.

Our Apple representative offered a welcome session to explain some details about trips outside the resort, shopping, etc.

Some of the full-day and half-day excursions, arranged by Apple Vacations, include shopping trips, an outback safari, a countryside adventure, a visit to Santo Domingo, which is considered the first city of the new world, a zip line adventure, deep sea fishing, swimming with dolphins, golfing - just to name a few.

Punta Cana is truly a beautiful destination, offering sand, sea, relaxation as well as adventures galore.

Check with your area travel agents for information on trips to this vacation destination.

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