It’s been a month since we have returned from another of our travel adventures. This time we spent wonderful Xmas and New Year celebrations in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic.
Some of my friends always say they cannot imagine Xmas away from their families and also face the coming back to miserable grey skies and rainy days. We tried this 3 years ago, and found it like a fab way how to break the long winter and really enjoy doing so.
On the other hand, it is not the easiest thing to get back due to the weather change, but it is duable. This year was extra hard as after being used to blue skies and temperatures of 35C+, we returned to some very cold conditions.
There were a few days the temperatures hit below 0C, but there were blue skies, so for me that was a much easier change. What I struggle with is now, the mild weather with constant drizzle.
Anyway, that’s enough of me complaining about the British weather, and now let me share some of our holiday photos and views on the country, people and the place we stayed at, the Now Larimar all Inclusive resort in Punta Cana.
First of all, let me tell you about the flight. This was the first long-haul flight we did with our girls, who are used to flying up to 5 hours. I was abit worried about the almost double length of the flight to Punta Cana, but am very pleased to say it was a pleasant experience.
We flew with British Airways and we all were pleased with their service. Girls loved their own little TV screens and picking to watch what they wanted. The choice was good, so no need for extra movies on iPads.
As we flew at 2pm from Gatwick airport we did not sleep on the way there, but our return flight was at night, and everyone except me slept for most of the journey. The reason I did not sleep was that our 4-year-old Olivia slept on my lap and kept on falling off me. At the end I let her sleep over my seat too, and was squeezed on one side of my seat. It was not the most comfortable flight, but we survived and it was definitely worth it.
When we arrived at the Punta Cana airport, we went through the immigration control ( don’t forget to get your travel cards in advance to avoid the queues) and soon got a taxi to our resort.
The word of mouth when it comes to booking a holiday destination for families and anyone in general is vital and the best. We were recommended Punta Cana by some of my husband’s work colleagues and then did our online search, and of course checked the Tripadvisor what others thought of our chosen resort.
The only negative comments that were on Tripadvisor were about food, which I was not too worried about, and today I am happy to say that we actually thought the food, restaurants and service was brilliant.
In fact, we have actually never had that much seafood on any of our all inclusive holiday. Every day there was a big choice of many different meals. We love Spanish cuisine, so having freshly cooked paella was a real treat for us too. Me and daddy also enjoyed a grown-up dinner at the French restaurant while our two daughters were looked after at the kids club.
I also have to mention the fruit, I just have to. Olivia can sometimes be a fussy eater, but fruit is something she will always eat. When eating some fresh pineapple, watermelon and other fruit, she proclaimed it was the best ever. On the other hand our older daughter is not a fussy eater but lately has been quite difficult when it comes to eating fruit, but not on our holiday. Obviously the fruit over there was so tasty that even Isabelle could not resist.
Right, that is probably enough about food.
One thing you will realise as soon as you check in is the pleasant manners of the stuff. Everybody is smiling and always happy to help. Nothing seems to be a problem and that really adds to the amazing atmosphere at this resort.
When we were take to our room (garden view, a family room), we were delighted to find it was very spacious, super clean, with two large double beds more like king size beds I would say.
Our room was cleaned on a daily basis, and the drinks in the bar fridge were added too.
The bathroom was spick and span, and also quite large, with a separate toilet and a shower. It was lovely designed and had a massive jacuzzi which our girls had a chance to test out too!
When it comes to family holiday, I believe it should be a holiday that every member of the family enjoys. Having A great kids club is a plus, and the girls enjoyed spending a couple of hours there every day while mummy and daddy had a chance to spend some time alone.
Every day the children who were in the kids club has a chance to take part in children’s’ bungee jumping, and the girls loved it!
It’s open for all children, but let me tell you a little trick. If you put your children in the club just before this activity, they will be on the list first before everyone else, and will not have to queue for too long.
Not only mummy and daddy, but also both girls enjoyed ordering freshly made cocktails/mocktails and drinks from the poolside bar and taking part in pool activities with the resort entertainers.
While we stayed at the Now Larimar, where we enjoyed the stunning beach and lovely pools, we also escaped for a few adventures out of the resort. Check below on what to do with or without kids not far from the resort.
While lying on the beach, we spotted quite a few times during the day there were flying helicopters above.
As it was daddy’s birthday soon after the Xmas holiday, we decided we had to do something unusual and went for it. It was the first time for me and my husband to be flying in a helicopter, and what a ride!
Both our girls have been growing up hearing all about amazing snorkeling and diving in Australia from mummy and daddy, from the times when we lived there years ago.
This means that they are both great swimmers and sea lovers to. Isabelle tried snorkelling in the Red Sea during our holiday in Egypt a few years ago, and she was very keen on doing it again, this time in Punta Cana.
We booked a snorkeling cruise with Marinarium which included not only snorkelling, but also exploring sea world including stingrays and nurse sharks.
It was a nice trip, but the sea was so choppy that there was no way Olivia was able to use her snorkelling mask. It was not easy for daddy to hold her while snorkelling, but luckily there was a crew who kindly helped us.
Even I (despite my long years’ experience of snorkelling) have to say that snorkeling was very hard and not sure if it was a bad day as the sea just seemed like on any other day during our stay.
On the other hand, I would recommend going on a boat trip, maybe without snorkelling, as we stopped in a lovely lagoon, had a dance and a few drinks, and the cruise along the coast was lovely and the girls realy enjoyed it.
Deep sea fishing
My husband loves fishing and the last time he went deep sea fishing was near Whitsunday Islands just before we said a goodbye to the land of Oz. I joined him on that trip, and unfortunately could not see and smell the chopped fish (the bait), so happily stayed on the top deck sunbathing.
When we came across some leaflets for deep sea fishing in Punta Cana he looked very tempted again. I convinced him to give it a go as I know there would not be that many opportunities in the next few months.
I think he was pleased he went, but again the sea was very rough and from listening to him I realised he was the only one who had caught a fish as everyone else was sick. He was on the way back too as apparently it was impossible not to get sea sick despite knowing the fact you have to concentrate on the horizon.
Well, I am pleased I did not go, but if you are a keen fisherman, I think it is still worth giving it a go.
My Overall Rating
Weather ***** ( 1 day it rained for 2 hours in the morning, but then it was lovely for the rest of the day)
Sea/beach **** (the sea was beautiful, but a bit choppy which meant the girls could not swim very far, and snorkelling from the beach was not possible)
We had a wonderful time at the Now Larimar and were happy to recommend this place without a moment of hesitation to our friends who were asking about it when we got back.
They booked it, and I hope they will love it as much as we did as it really was a fabulous place for a family holiday.
Where to travel next?
This is the time that many people visit travel agents or browse for their next holiday online. We are too, and I love the process of browsing and exploring.
I actually just visited the Destination Travel Show in London last week and am tempted by a few completely new designations for me and my family.
I would love to hear from you, your recomendations for some great family holiday. Any unforgettable places to see?
Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post/review. We paid for all our flights and accommodations.