|My son conquering a piece of driftwood in the D.R.!|
Before I was widowed, we traveled frequently as a family. When the kids were only 2, we had them snorkeling with stingrays in Grand Cayman and whale watching off the coast of Cabo San Lucas. When my husband died, I worried that our lifestyle would change dramatically--because it felt scary thinking of traveling the world solo with two elementary-aged children. Right or wrong, that's how I felt.
But, traveling has always cured what ailed me so I determined to go. When I picked the Dominican Republic, I admit I didn't know much about the country other than it had great beaches and good rum. We chose Punta Cana and stayed at the Barcelo Palace.
The confusion at the airport threw my confidence a bit. It was very hectic and no one seemed to know what bus we were supposed to get on to get to the resort. Men kept asking me where my husband was, too, and that made me feel vulnerable at the time. There I was with a sleepy eight and nine-year-old in a foreign country being asked repeatedly where my husband was in a chaotic airport. To say that I started having doubts would be an understatement.
Once at the resort, my doubts intensified when a group of displaced Spaniards yelled and pushed in the lobby. To check-in, I needed to ask the kids to sit on our luggage while I forced my way through the group to the desk. Thoughts of them being abducted slammed through my mind--normally, this is where I would have hung out with them while my husband handled this chaos, but that was no long an option in our lives. While trying to keep one eye on them and another on the pushy Spaniards, I managed to check-in.
That's where the chaos ended.
Our room was amazing--a junior suite located directly on the beach was a welcome reprieve. Only feet away from the Caribbean and the amazing pool area, we had definitely arrived in paradise!
The Barcelo Palace is part of the Barcelo complex with a golf-cart train that takes you to any one of the other resorts you'd like to visit while staying there. We were staying in the "best" resort so had full access to any of the amenities at the other hotels. This was great fun for us during our stay. At night, we'd head out to try the restaurants at the other properties. I think the kids just liked riding in the golf cart train, but, hey, if they're happy, then I'm happy. This is an all-inclusive property so we seriously didn't need to worry about anything--after the hectic arrival.
During our ten day stay in the Dominican Republic, we went on a few excursions. We visited the Stone City near La Romana, took a duck boat down the river beneath the stone city (so much fun!), traveled from La Romana to Isla Catalina--all part of one excursion! On the island, we snorkeled and were served a fabulous barbecue while people salsa danced on a make-shift stage in the sand. This was a perfect excursion for the kids, very family friendly, and fun. The bus for the excursion picked us up and dropped us off directly from the resort. Easy!
|The duck boat loading up--yes, I was a bit nervous. Ha.|
|My son on the boat-- a very happy boy.|
|Looking down at the river from the Stone City|
|An amphitheater in the Stone City|
|Church in the Stone City|
|Finding some shade on Isla Catalina after snorkeling|
|Salsa dancing on Isla Catalina--no, that's not me.|
The Dominican Republic had many family-friendly excursions to choose from as well--we spent a day traveling to Santo Domingo, visiting the aquarium, shopping in the city, touring a tobacco company, and exploring a huge sink hole. Again, all of this was organized by the hotel, making exploring more than the resort easy and stress-free.
|Church where Christopher Columbas's brother was married. Did you know the Santa Maria sank off the coast of Santo Domingo?|
|The kids at the aquarium in Santo Domingo|
|Hiking inside the sink hole (HUGE) outside of Santo Domingo.|
As a single woman with kids, being asked repeatedly where my husband was did get tiring, but it also wasn't unique to the Dominican Republic. The pros of the trip far outweighed that one irritant.
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