April 5, 2017 12 Comments Family, Travel

Gill Getaway: Dominican Republic


Hey friends! I have been trying to get this post up for a MONTH! OMG! But each time I sit to write it, it becomes a small novel that ain’t nobody got time time read ;-p

So, I’ve decided to document our trip to the Dominican a little differently! I’ve asked you guys what YOU want to know about the trip! I got questions while we were there and while I was insta-storying our trip, and questions still now rolling in. It was the trip of a lifetime and I couldn’t recommend this getaway more!!

Sharing this vacation Q & A style with a wholllllllle lots pics thrown in. Because you know I am a picture taking fool. I would share with your my video with tons of footage of the island and resort…but it’s 30 minutes long which is apparently too long for YouTube…so not sure how to go about cutting it down! Ah!!! Stay tuned on that one, in the meantime though, lets get to it!

  1. Where did you stay?
    1. We stayed at the Sunrise Villa in Cabrera in the Dominican Republic. Cabrera sits on the Northern Coast of the Dominican…and is BEAUTIFUL.
    2. It sat on a little cliff right above the beach! The breeze from the ocean could be felt throughout the entire place! Just one flight of stairs down was a beach that we had all to ourselves! We were told the undertow was strong there so to just play close to shore which was the kids preference anyway!
    3. To get there, we flew into Puerto Plata airport and rented a shuttle bus to get us to the Villa.
  2. Did you have other people at the resort?
    1. It’s not really a resort {even though it felt like one}. The property has 8 bedrooms/villas, and a main house where we ate meals and where the pool and bar was. You rent out the entire property for your stay…so this place is ideal of a bunch of couples or a big ole family like ours. Aside from the staff, we were the only people there.
  3. Where did you eat?
    1. We ate all of our meals at the Villa. We had a chef on staff who made breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. We sent in suggestions of things we liked ahead of time, but I loved trying some of the Dominican dishes he made! Halfway through the trip, my bother in law taught him how to make an “American grilled cheese” for the kids, and I swear the adults ate them as much as the kids! They were amazing! We had the option of eating a meal or two out on the town, but with so many small kids, and running hard from sun up to sun down, we were too tired to venture out!
    2. They also brought out snacks mid day by the pool or by the bar! Think fresh made guac, plantain chips, homemade salsa and popsicles.
    3. Ramon was our bartender and kept delicious Pina Coladas, Rum Punches and Dr. Peppers in our hands all day long. Oh and the popsicles…lots of popsicles!
    4. I LOVED the Dominican coffee. I am not usually a strong coffee drinker, and i’m not sure if I really loved the coffee, or just really needed it to keep up with my kids, since they were always the first ones up {and usually before the sun!}
  4. How long did you stay?
    1. one week. NOT LONG ENOUGH. 😉
  5. Did the time change mess with the kids?
    1. Not too badly…my kids are early risers anyway, but we got up before the sun most mornings. And even though I was tired, truth be told, that time with just me and my 3 was some of my favorite spent.
  6. How many people went?
    1. 20 of us! There were 12 adults and 8 kids. The resort can sleep 24-26 I think {that does include couch beds, etc.}. It’s a perfect spot for big families like ours because everyone had their own room, or sometimes villa, to go back to.
  7. What did you guys do all day?
    1. Swam, and swam and swam and chased Beau ;-). The Sunrise Villa had an amazing pool that was SUPER kid friendly! Our kids LOVED it! There was a large pool, with an entire bump out that was probably 8 inches deep where the little ones could run around, and all of it was attached to a big hot tub! The hot tub was under the cover of the main house so it kept the kids in the shade which was nice on the days when the sun way strong! The water in the hot tub was just warm, so it was PERFECT for the babes! And for us mamas!
    2. There was also a lot of ping ponging by the adults and some serious card games that went down. Both the adults and the kids loved playing bags!
  8. What was the weather like?
    1. A-Freaking-Mazing. Seriously. I think this was the most amazing part of the trip to me. It was 80s but I can only remember sweating one day because the ocean breeze was so strong. Not TOO strong tho…just right.
    2. The air conditioning was turned off on the property each morning and we all opened all the doors and windows to our villas and still never got hot! The breeze was wonderful!
    3. We were also bumped right up to the Dominican jungle. Like out of my bathroom window was legit JUNGLE. And still not a single bug ever came into my room and zero mosquitos. MIND BLOWN. I’m moving.
  9. Did you ever leave the resort?
    1. Yes! And it was my favorite part of the trip! Ramon, when we didn’t have him hopping behind the bar, took us on little excursions to some of the local beaches. This was super important to me, since the last time I came to the Dominican we seriously never left the resort and I never got to see the country! The property owner ran the girls and I into town to get souvenirs one morning!
    2. The nice thing with Ramon is that he handled EVERYTHING for us at the beaches. He knew the locals and set things up ahead of time so I always felt so safe. And we got such a cool feel for northern Dominican!
    3. We went to Playa Grande Beach:  Here we had a beach lunch set up for us…and ya’ll, I felt like we were on ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’ {Please note we are not rich or famous ;-P}. But really, we had lobster and fresh pina coladas right smack dab there on the beach! The beach itself was beautiful. Like the backdrop actually looked fake…straight from Jurassic Park. There was also a row of vendors shops, and a couple little eating spots as you walked down the path to the beach, which Stella loved looking at all of the “jewels”. One kind vendor even gave her a free conch shell which she listened to all day long! What a treasure!  We also rented boogie boards since the waves were HUGE and I got majorly schooled out there! But it was so much fun! Beau…still hated the sand so he hung with Grandad in the chairs and playing with his little toys.
    4. We went to Playa Diamante: A much smaller little beach, this place was a giant cove. Here is an arial view: So cool right? It was shallow for maybe 150 yards out! Crazy right?! Perfect for small babes. Also, there are some places where water from the mountains comes out in small springs which was super fun for the kids to play in! And there were lots of needs shells and rocks which kept the boys entertained. Around lunchtime, the weekend crowd started to roll in a little and we decided to venture home.
    5. We went to Playa Arroyo Salado: HANDS DOWN MY FAVE. This beach was seriously amazing!! Aside from having a beautiful beach, a river fed into the ocean here which made such a fun spot for the kids to play! The water wasn’t salty and was nice and cool and with a slow tide! They jumped off the sand bar for hours! And even walked to a nearby bridge where they could jump off into the {very slow moving} river! Like the other beaches, there were lots of little vendor shops and eating spots! There was zero crowd at any of the beaches, but assume we were early in the day as we tended to beach from like 9-12ish…This beach was amazing. And Ramon was so knowledgable about it! His son is 5 and loved this beach best too!
  10. Did you feel safe?
    1. You guys this was a MAJOR concern of mine…becuase when you google earth the place we stayed, it is legit right next to the Dominican jungle. I think I’ve watched way too many drug documentaries and it kind of freaked me out! But I felt SO SAFE the entire time we were there!! There was a security check and several security guards off the main road which led down to our villa and several others that made up the “neighborhood”. Then our specific vila had a big heavy gate that shut at night. I also felt safe at every beach we went too! I think they depend a lot on tourism…we were treated very well everywhere we went!
  11. What did it cost?
    1. Well, it would depend on when you went during the year…but I can tell you part of why my mother in law booked it was because they offered a deal for half off the cost of the resort online, the week we went {which I think is typically $2-4,000 a night}. On top of that, you had the flights {which ours were oddly pricey, maybe the time of year or that we had to buy them only a month out…but around $800 each}, the cost of food which I think was like $60/day per adult and maybe $30/day per child…and cost of transport to the resort from the airport {90 min ride…we rented a small bus}. Plus staff tip at the end {have you watched Below Deck? That’s all I could think about was that hopefully the staff liked us! Ha!}. So honestly, I never saw the end bill and am kind of glad because I am sure it cost a pretty penny. But, if you consider how many people went, it may not brake down to be as scary as it sounds!
  12. Is it good for little kids?
    1. Yes, yes and yes!!!! You guys, the public beaches we went to were SO kid friendly! The trees and beaches and all were made for small imaginations and adventure! And our villa {being exclusively us there} allowed Grant and Stella to run wild with their cousins playing hide and go seek for hours without worry! The pool was very kid friendly! And Bowie {and all the kids} loved the little dog that lived on property!
  13. Did you do anything in the Dominican that you would suggest others should do?
    1. Yes!! GET OFF SITE! Go check out the local shops and beaches! My parents took us all over the caribbean as kids and we always ate locally and went for drives around the island! I got a real feel for the culture and always enjoyed it! The Dominican people were so welcoming!
  14. What special amenities did the villa offer?
    1. There was a masseuse on staff. I got one massage while I was there. You walked to the side of the villa, on a cliff and there was a table set up right on the ocean. It was SO relaxing!
    2. It was my mother in laws birthday while we were there, and Valentine’s day, so the staff threw us a party on our beach! It was AMAZING! Lights of all colors, local live music, and a killer birthday cake!! The kids danced the night away and I think it is a night they will remember for a long time!
  15. Would you go back?
    1. YES!!! Just say the word and I’ll get to packing!


Welp friends, that is our trip in a nutshell! We had the time of our lives and was such a wonderful place for a big family like ours! If you have any other questions or want more specific details feel free to email me or comment here!

In the meantime, if you are heading out on a family vacation soon, click here to see what I pack for my kids on the plane, or here to see what is currently on their iPads to help keep them busy during the travel hours!

I can’t wait to see what my mother-in-law has up her sleeve for our next family getaway ;-P