Staying in one place the entire time meant we only got a tiny sampling of this Caribbean nation, but from what we saw, we weren't sure we wanted to sample more. The streets are loud and polluted. One half-hour walk to the supermarket on the main street was enough to make us rule out any excursions beyond the milder chaos of the beach.
Or, “Hola! Where are you from?”
At one point I lost my patience and responded to the latter with:
“That's private.” The young businessman chuckled and, without missing a beat, replied:
“Well, I am from Haiti. That's not private! Want to come look at my shop? I have everything. Want gift?”
The Joy Popsicle Stand was our go-to breakfast spot, serving excellent coffee, smoothie bowls, and mouthwatering popsicles, ideal for an afternoon cooldown. In the image below, I was able to capture a wasp attracted to the nectary residue on my bare popsicle stick. I was rather pleased with the iPhone's macrophotography abilities here. Since the purpose of this trip was pure relaxation, I left my DSLR at home and did not miss it.
Our last day in the country was New Year's Eve. After dinner and a walk on the beach, we felt exhausted and went to bed before midnight, feeling old. We had the first flight out at 5 a.m. and were glad to get a bit more sleep than otherwise would have been possible had we partied all night.
Although we enjoyed our stay overall, I would not recommend Punta Cana as a tropical getaway. There are far more scenic and pleasant spots in the Caribbean. As if to emphasize this conclusion, just before departure our United pilot gave the gate staff a reprimand for failing to get the aircraft catered and ready to go on time.
“This happens every time I am down here,” he said to the gate agent presumed to be in charge. “Who's in charge? Are you in charge? This is unacceptable. Every passenger and crew member has somewhere to be and depends on you. I know we are going to have this conversation again next time.”
In all my frequent flying, I have never witnessed such a harsh rebuke from the captain, and although I still don't understand exactly what went wrong, I have a feeling the captain would probably not be returning either if he had his druthers.
If you choose to visit, however, make sure not to drink the tap water. Even
if you are able to get past its repulsive, sulfuric smell, remember: it's