Monday, August 22, 2016

Mundo Autentico (Authentic World)

Mundo Autentico is a shopping center in Punta Cana that consist of four museums, that give you a little taste of the Dominican Republic. At Mundo Autentico you will have the opportunity to smoke a cigar, take rum shots, sip on coffee and give into your sweet tooth with some delicious chocolate. The shopping center is not your typical shopping center, its strictly consist of these four mini museums.  

My only regret during our trip to the Dominican Republic was that we didn't have the opportunity to walk around the town, check out the local shops and  taste some local street food. Visiting Mundo Autentico was the only opportunity we had to shop. Nice place to visit for 2 hours max but I'm still hungry for some local culture. 

This wraps up my posts for the Dominican Republic, it was such a beautiful and relaxing vacation. I wasn't able to take as many pictures  as I wanted because of the humidity. The humidity was so bad it would fog up my camera lens and all I could do was take some mental pictures but I'm happy with the memories my husband and I created.   

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Trip of Many "First"

The Punta Cana trip was filled with many "first". First time flying for more than 5 hours, first time swimming in the Atlantic ocean, first time feeding a monkey, etc., etc.  Well it was also my first time swimming with a Dolphin! I also, danced and kissed a dolphin.  It didn't stop there, I held a sting ray, let a sea lion kiss me and held a tropical bird! It was such a fun experience that I will remember for the rest of my life and can honestly say I put a check mark on my bucket list! The location was beyond beautiful and I honestly felt like a I was in a photo you see on screen saver. 

Unfortunately we were not permitted to take photographs of any of these activities because they have employees photographing you through out the park and then sell you a dvd  movie and cd with all your photos and footage for a very high price. We paid it because we figured we didn't pay for the entrance so why not? For information on the Dolphin Explorer Experience click here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Monkeys & Maria's House

As mentioned in my first post of my recent trip to the Dominican Republic, the trip was free. My husband won this trip at his job due to his performance through out the year. Part of the complete package included two activities, we were given the options to choose from Zip lining, visiting an island, monkey experience, a dolphin experience, snorkeling, and one more but I can't think of it right now. We choose the monkey and dolphin experience.  Our first activity was the monkey experience. I was so busy with work that I never really had time to research the monkey experience and really know what the experience consisted of. Well when I arrived I was informed that we would be visiting a monkey sanctuary where we would be able to feed and touch monkeys. Needless to say, I was a little scared!
View from the monkey exposure

I was scared of a monkey attacking or biting us, these our wild animals after all. I was nervous of how it would feel to have a monkey actually touch my skin. I'm just a big scaredy cat!   After a 45 minute ride we arrived at the monkey sanctuary and it was like we were in the jungle!  I held it together and made my way into the sanctuary. It was so beautiful and green! Oh it was super duper HUMID!

As soon as we walked in, monkeys started to come out of the trees and before you know it they were on top of our heads, backs,shoulders and arms. We were given small bowls with fruits and seeds to feed the monkeys. We didn't really reach out to touch the monkeys but rather let the monkeys come up to us. I felt so nervous and tense that I didn't really take many pictures. My husband was so entertained with the monkeys the he also didn't take any pictures of me with a monkey on my head.  After a few monkeys jumping on me I was finally able to relax a little and take these pictures. I was literally scared for nothing, these are 2 lb monkeys that are just looking for a piece of banana from each bowl.

The actual time with the monkeys was very short, probably 25-30 minutes. Once we were done with the monkeys they loaded us back on a bus and drove us to our next destination.

The view outside of Maria's house.

We were taken to a typical house to see how locals live. It's hard to pick a highlight from my trip because there were so many, but I gotta say, visiting this home was up there. The house is small, bright pink and very humble but in paradise.  The owner of this house is Maria who is married with grown children and grandchildren. The house is surrounded by lush green trees, coffee trees, cinnamon trees, cacao trees, and beautiful plants and flowers. They brought us to this house so we can see how natives use their land to grow a variety of resources that they can consume or sell for income.

This photo was taken from a speeding van.

coffee beans

Maria's daughter

Roasted coffee beans


The inside of the cacao.

While we were at Maria's house they showed us how they grow coffee beans, roast and grind coffee.  They let us taste the cacao, which has a fruity taste to it. It was such a cool experience. They also let us taste Cacao Cinnamon tea, which is made at Maria's house as well. At the end of the visit they sell you some of the products that they produce. We bought some of the delicious cacao tea. Its like a smooth chocolate tea!

Driving away from Maria's house.

If you will be visiting Punta Cana and are interested in these activities, I've linked some of the sites where you can learn a little more about them.

*Monkey Experience
Casa Maria

I'm not done with Punta Cana, so come back soon for more. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

This photo was taken from a speeding van.
You guys, I traveled outside of the United States and it wasn't to Mexico! Through out my life I've only traveled within the United States and Mexico. My parents are from Mexico and its our neighboring country. I went to the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana to be exact. I'll be honest, I never ever planned or desired to visit this country. For starters the flight is more than 5 hours. The max I've flown is 5 hours and as I've mentioned before I have a huge fear of flying. Fear can really hold you back, but that's a story for another day. I knew very little about the Dominican Republic and honestly never considered this a vacation destination. Boy, was I ignorant!

So you're probably wondering how and why did you end up in the Dominican Republic? I'll tell you. My husband worked really hard all year and as a reward, his company rewarded him with a free trip to Punta Cana! All expenses paid!!!!!!! I feel like this post is going to have a lot of exclamation marks! I apologize in advance.

We stayed at the Secrets Royal Beach Resort which has access to an adjacent resort called Now Larimar. Both resorts are so beautiful! The hallways are lined with beautiful arches and decorative patio furniture where you can sit and relax at your pleasure.

Private beach access with wait service at your disposal and if you weren't really feeling the ocean you can hop on over to the pool. I should mention the pool has a swim up bar! 

I've stayed at all inclusive resorts where you get to indulge in unlimited food at buffets within the resort and while yes it is unlimited, the food is usually very bland and or average.  This resort is not like that at all. The food was so good. We had rib eye, rack of lamb, filet mignon, oysters, burgers, and shrimp to name a few. I've never eaten so much meat in my life.  That's not a sentence I'm proud of but its the truth. The resort did not limit you to only eating at the buffet, we had the option of 24 hour room service and  restaurants that made you feel like you were at a 5 star restaurant.    

This little boat was filled with oysters, by the time I snapped this photo more than half were taken by guest!

Okay, let's move on. I mentioned that the resort has a beach access, right? Agh! The beach! The beach was so beautiful, with its white soft sand that when the water washed up to shore it reminded me of horchata! I know its crazy and silly, but it did! 

Swimming in the pacific ocean for my entire life, I naturally eased my way into the water thinking it was going to be ice cold like it is here in the west coast. I was wrong it was lukewarm!! 

view from the ocean towards the resort. 
On a small corner of the resort, there is a booth where you can sign up for kayaking, snorkeling, windsurfing and para sailing. Can you believe that some of these activities were also free? talk about all inclusive!  Right of the bat, the first thing you notice is the para sailing because of the huge air balloons or parachutes that are passing you by. As soon as we saw this my husband was determined to do the para sailing and insisted I join him. Remember that fear of mine of flying, well this one time it held me back. I couldn't do it!! It really did look like a lot of fun and something I would remember for the rest of my life but I just couldn't do it. 

While my fear has held me back from some stuff throughout my life I never let it hold my husband back. I insisted he should do the para sailing without me and he did. While he was flying high I stayed on the beach and enjoyed the sun

I know this post was mainly about the resort but I felt like I should dedicate a post to it because it was truly a beautiful and relaxing place to stay at. I will be posting more on my trip and hope you will come back and visit. 

p.s. This post contains photographs taken with my cell phone and Nikon DSLR camera.