República Dominicana

This year I turned 25 and decided to go all out for this milestone birthday. I, along with my cousins, celebrated for three long, luxurious days in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and it was truly the best birthday experience I’ve ever had. If you’re a first timer, planning a trip to the Dominican Republic or any island, keep reading to gather some helpful tips!

THE RESORT

Where you stay while on vacation is one of the most important aspects of the trip, especially if you’re staying at a resort. It’s where you will be sleeping and spending a bulk of your time. After switching between a few places, we settled on Breathless Resort and Spa; an adult-only all-inclusive beach side resort. 

When we arrived, we were greeted at the door with drinks, which was only a foreshadowing as to what the next few days would look like. They asked what the reason for our visit was and we mentioned that we were celebrating my birthday. When we got up to the room, there was a little birthday cake waiting for me on the table! I thought that was a very personable touch.

I applaud Breathless for all of the entertainment events they had going on too. I feel like they really catered to a young and vibrant crowd. Between the foam parties, the late night beach parties, lobster dinner on the beach, and day time activities by the pool, there was always something going on. Not to say this place is party central because there are definitely areas of peace and solace if that’s what you’re looking for. 

I will say that we did experience a few minor problems with our room that had to be taken care of, but nothing major that would ruin our trip. 

The ability of being able to walk up to any bar and order a drink or going into any restaurant without having to pay for it is everyone’s favorite part of staying at an all-inclusive. Breathless had a good mix of restaurants to choose from that served different styles of food. My favorite was the hibachi grill because hibachi is always entertaining.

THE PEOPLE

The resort was also conveniently located near some shops in town run by the locals. So, yes we did indeed leave the resort, however, it was completely safe. We spoke to some people from the town and it’s amazing how different their lifestyle is compared to ours. The pace is a lot slower and very laid back. They’re a friendly group of people (especially if you’re black) who also have their own little side hustles trying to make a few dollars from the tourists. 

They like when you can speak a little bit of Spanish even if it’s just a few words. Knowing Spanish fluently would help, obviously, but it isn’t a major issue in the Dominican Republic. Truthfully, I found that the language barrier helped me refresh some of my Spanish. 

THE EXCURSIONS

For our excursion, I wanted to do something adventurous and so we went dune buggy riding through the island, which was an awesome experience. They lead us to a different beach that was more secluded and then to a dirt race track where we did a few laps full speed. Warning: Don’t wear anything you don’t want to get dirty. Also, if you have a bandana at home, bring it with you because you’ll need that and sunglasses to keep the dust out of your face.

We had lunch with traditional Dominican food (the chicken was bomb) and then got a chance to swim in a natural pool by a waterfall. Check out some of the candids below!

Chillin’ out max and relaxin all cool
Based on this photo, can you guess which one of us is a former cheerleader?

OVERALL

The Dominican Republic is truly a cool place and I would definitely go back. We spent a lot of time at the resort,  so next time, I plan to go and see more of the island. 

I thought traveling to an island in November would be significantly cheap since it was the off-season but prices were about the same. Nothing outrageous, but nothing crazily discounted either. The weather was pretty good. It rained everyday we were there but it only lasted five minutes and then the sun came out. 

Some people claim that after you’ve seen one island, you’ve seen them all. I beg to differ. I’ve been to two other islands (Bermuda & Ibiza) and experienced them in completely different ways. While there are similarities, each place has it’s own uniqueness, which separates it from the rest.

10/10 would recommend.

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Top Five Reasons You Should Move Abroad

   “You’re doing what? You’re moving where?”

 

Every time I told someone I was moving to Prague for a year, those were the first two statements out of their mouth. Nobody could understand why I decided to move to another country for a year and sometimes, I don’t know why I did either. When I graduated from college, I made two spreadsheets. One had everything on it from internships to grad school to jobs and the other one was about teaching abroad opportunities. It took me a while to settle on a teach abroad program and once I did, I applied, was accepted, and deferred my acceptance for a year because I still couldn’t decide if this was the first, big thing I wanted to do after graduation. I was comfortable in New York, I had a decent job and I was surrounded by people that I loved, but deep down I knew it was something I had to do.

 

You might be reading this and thinking that moving abroad is not for you. You may be in a season of life where you don’t know where you’re going. You have a lot of options, you’ve applied and been rejected for plenty of opportunities, but you know that you don’t want to move to another country. It’s “too much” of everything- too much risk, it’s too expensive, there are too many unknowns and it’s just not for you.

 

Let’s see if I can get you to rethink that. Here’s some reasons why you should consider moving abroad.

 

  1. Change is inevitable: Nothing is going to stay the same forever. Things are constantly changing wherever you are, in big and small ways, why not experience that change in a new place? You’ll learn two of the best life skills- flexibility and adaptability.

 

  1. You’ll grow as a person: It’s time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’m not even gonna lie, living abroad is scary. You leave everything you know and have to relearn everything you thought you knew. It’s hard, but is it worth it? Absolutely.

 

  1. You can learn a new language: By reading street signs and constantly hearing the chatter of another language, you’ll begin to immerse yourself. You may not be fluent by the time you leave, but you’ll have a good chance at being conversational.

 

  1. You can make new connections: You’ll create genuine relationships and learn what life is like for people around the world. It’ll give you a lease on life that you didn’t know you needed.

 

  1. Being able to say you did it: It’s not an opportunity that everyone is given and it isn’t taken lightly. Plus, when life gets hard you can remind yourself about what you went through and how that shaped you.

 

Jelani, Travel Writer and Contributor