A Visit to the Dominican: Punta Cana

Elisabeth and I started a new tradition of traveling every year together with our husbands. We have been going to Broken Bow, Oklahoma every fall and “glamping” in super nice log cabins in a national forest. Last year we started traveling outside of the country together. We recently posted our Cancun adventure here and had an unforgettable time. We loved Mexico but wanted to venture out this year to somewhere new. We just got back from our trip in the Dominican Republic and can’t wait to tell you about our time in Punta Cana.

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

We both booked 6 days and 7 nights at the Sanctuary Cap Cana All-Inclusive Resort. Cap Cana is in the Dominican Republic and is it’s own little community, it is gated and the actual Sanctuary Resort is also gated. You feel really safe while there. The Cap Cana community has so much to do… there is an excursion park there called Scape Park where you can go Zip-Lining, ATV riding, horseback riding and much more. It even has its own golf course, marina and several other resorts (not just Sanctuary where we stayed). This is convenient because everything is just a short cab ride (a couple of dollars to get to most places) to get to, and again, all within these private gates. We could even take cab rides over to the other resorts within Cap Cana to see their resort, hang out on their beach or eat at their restaurants. This has been unlike any other resort we’ve stayed at and it was a fantastic experience.

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

The Sanctuary Resort is huge and full of lush greenery, amazing landscapes and gorgeous views. When you walk through the lobby you exit the back double doors onto a large balcony overlooking the resort, the pool and the ocean. Outside the front of the lobby is a cobblestone street that leads to a small market area where you can book excursions, have access to a mini convenient mart and a medical clinic. The resort is spread out and a decent size, complete with several pools, access to the famous “Juanillo” beach and 5 restaurants. Our rooms were nothing short of amazing. We both booked Junior Ocean View Suites and walked in speechless. There was a two person vanity, a walk in shower, jacuzzi, bed, desk, couch and T.V. area and a covered balcony. Our housekeeping was great and they even had turn down service every night complete with fresh flowers. Every time we walked into our rooms we had “ahhhhs” and smiles.

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

We spent most of our time at Sanctuary in the pools. They have several to choose from and we had fun exploring the grounds and visiting each one. Our favorite was the pool in the very center of the resort… it had music, a pool bar and the amazing entertainment staff to keep you smiling all day. Pedro, Israel and Julios were great bartenders. If you enjoy quiet there are several pools (many of them infinity pools) away from the music where you can lay out and listen to the ocean waves without interruption.

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

Every day there is an agenda of activities that the resort provides. These are optional… we participated in several and were spectators during many which is just as much fun. Sanctuary has a FANTASTIC staff of entertainers. LG, Chris Rock, Woody and Mr. Blue spent their entire day at the resort talking to visitors, hosting games, dancing… Most days Elisabeth, Travis, Wes and I woke up to breakfast then met one of the guys for a morning stretch class (highly recommended! Woody thanks for leading these classes!) and attend a short spanish class (which was great learning simple phrases to use around the resort! LG is a great teacher!), then Elisabeth and I would break off for some pool time while Travis and Wes spent a couple hours playing volleyball. Many days we did water aerobics (Mr. Blue has so much energy and kept everyone laughing and making it all enjoyable and fun!). Every day at least one if not all of these guys greeted us with “Hola Amigos!” which made us feel at home and like we had known them for years. They did this with everyone at the resort. It definitely made you feel welcome and excited to be staying at Sanctuary Cap Cana.

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

We did venture out on two excursions. The concierge desk helped us book our Punta Espada Golfing. This is a world renowned golf course and voted one of THE best in all of the Caribbean. It was STUNNING. Elisabeth and I went along but only to watch and ‘play.’ We always entertain ourselves no matter what we are doing. Our husbands play golf for leisure at home but wanted to play there for the experience. The boys were provided with a caddy, Daniel, who was very helpful, friendly, and fun to be with for the day. He gave helpful tips and suggested which clubs to use. The course was set along the coastline… most of the time the boys were teeing off with ocean waves crashing up just a few feet behind them. It was something we will never forget. It was absolutely gorgeous.

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

Elisabeth and I managed to find a small “secret” cenote on the course. We found a large ladder/platform that looked abandoned… we were feeling brave especially after some “liquid courage” and climbed the steps. We assumed it was to get a better view of the beautiful golf course but when we looked down we realized there was an area right beside us that was sunken and had steps leading down to bright blue water. We screamed and jumped and hurried down the steps to the other side where we saw another set of steps leading down to the water. The whole thing was covered with trees and brush and we would never have seen it had we not climbed those initial steps. As soon as we followed the rickety stairs down we saw vines, ferns and trees… a large cliff/rock backdrop and a shallow area of bright blue water. It was breathtaking. We could not believe we found this little treasure.

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

Since most of the course was along the coastline there were several areas to go exploring… Elisabeth and I had the time of our life looking through the tide pools set within the rocks, finding crabs, coral and native succulents. Every now and then we would stop what we were doing and just watch the waves crash into the rock and feel the salt water mist our skin. It was exactly like what you see in pictures or watch in movies, the view was breathtaking.

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

The boys had a blast playing golf, and even though Elisabeth and I never play/don’t know how to play we still had an unbelievable time. We would HIGHLY encourage anyone to go visit the Punta Espada Golf Course you will not be disappointed.

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

The other excursion we did was a catamaran. This was recommended by several other people we met at the resort and they raved of a great time. We went to the excursion desk in the lobby and booked a trip on a boat that would take us snorkeling and to a natural swimming pool. We were picked up in front of our resort and taken to another resort that had a marina (within the Cap Cana community) and boarded a fairly large catamaran. There was a captain, an entertainer and two hostesses at the bar. Our first stop was the snorkeling area. The four of us brought our own snorkel gear but the boat had some for those that didn’t bring any. The water was clear and there was a small coral reef surrounded by fish for us to explore. Elisabeth found a live Conch in the middle of the Caribbean. What luck is that? She even found a baby crab. She was a mermaid in a past life, I swear.

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

After snorkeling we went to the natural swimming pool. It was in the ocean but the water only came up to just above your waist. There was no coral only fine white sand. It really was like a swimming pool only… in the middle of the ocean. We spent some time there with music and drinks and hanging out with other people from the boat. After about 3 hours we went back to the resort.

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

Although we had a great time with each other, we were hoping for more of an experience. Other catamaran goers talked about getting to see a starfish area, stopping at a small island and swimming… ours did not have this like we thought so we were disappointed, if you’re looking for a party boat though this is definitely for you. We later learned that outside the lobby in the mini market area there is a separate excursion desk… THAT was the one we were suppose to use. If you stay at Sanctuary make sure to visit the excursion “office” next to the mini convenience store for better excursion options. You could even talk to the “office” one and the one in the lobby and compare. We just wished we had known there were two places/choices to pick from.

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

The rest of the week we spent at the resort with all the great nightly activities and dressing up (nice/casual) and visiting the restaurants. We loved the Hibachi restaurant the best but also really enjoyed the Italian place and Dominican night where the resort hosted an authentic buffet complete with a local band. Many times Conan was our hostess at the different restaurants. She was always so friendly and remembered our names every time. Many nights they had some form of entertainment ready for after dinner (LG, LC, Woody, Mr. Blue, Chris Rock still leading all of this even after being along the pool all morning and all day). One night they had a “Sanctuary Got Talent” where guests could perform, another night they had a beach party with a DJ and drinks, a Dominican night with a dance performance complete with costumes and also had an acoustic guitarist come and play one evening. That was our favorite. Micaela was our waitress most of the time during these different performances and she always greeted us with a smile, remembered our drink orders and was very friendly. All of the staff at the resort really were so welcoming, kind and appreciative of us choosing to stay at Sanctuary Cap Cana.

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

One night around 11 o’clock we went out to the beach area and laid on the loungers. There was a full moon and the waves were rolling in. Even though it was nearing midnight the moon reflecting off the ocean lit up the whole ocean and the sand at the beach. This was one of the easiest nights but by far one of our favorite. We even watched some large fish jumping out of the waves. It was beautiful. Another memory we will never forget. After taking everything in we started playing around with the camera and tried “capturing” the moon with our silhouettes. No matter where you go or what resort you stay at make it a point to visit the beach area late one night (even if there isn’t a full moon). You will be so thankful and humbled.

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

We would definitely go back to Sanctuary if we were to visit Punta Cana again. Since the whole Cap Cana community is all inclusive we went out and visited a couple of the other resorts and although they too were nice we thought Sanctuary was the best. One of the only downfalls was that the beach at the resort had a lot of seaweed. The resort was very apologetic about this (which they shouldn’t be, it is mother nature after all) and did everything they could to keep it clean and enjoyable by putting up nets and having teams of guys coming every morning to pick it up. The four of us researched and learned that the seaweed is actually a big problem in many areas along the Caribbean right now since it is rainy season. You could still lay on chairs right on the beach and go into the water though. So it is hard to make this a complaint against the resort. Just know when booking what to expect. The pools were more than sufficient for us and is where we spend most of our time at beach resorts anyway.

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

Traveling is so much fun but traveling with your best friends is even better. It’s great that Elisabeth and I can go off and do our own thing (like get free facials and spa services on the beach, swim and attend coco loco parties) and the boys can go off and do their own (enter merengue contests, play volleyball and horseshoes). Because we have traveled so much together we have created a really helpful and fool-proof packing list if you are visiting the beach or a beach resort somewhere (especially out of the country). Feel free to download and print this beach resort packing list… {Texas Craft House} Beach Resort Packing List – a list of everything to bring on your next vacation, we’ve thought of EVERYTHING to take the stress out of packing! It has been edited several times during our adventures to include all the must-haves you will need. We can’t wait to decide our vacation for next summer together.

{Texas Craft House} Full blog review of the all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican

Hasta luego amigos!

{Texas Craft House} Cassie

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One thought on “A Visit to the Dominican: Punta Cana

  1. Pingback: Happy New Years! | Texas Craft House

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