----- Dominican Republic ---------------
I have had several friends go to the Dominican Republic and fortunately they had better more exciting experiences then I had. Let's start with the positive though. The fruit is so delicious and fresh. I ate mangos and passion fruit everyday for breakfast. The sausages were addicting. They reminded me of sausage in Spain! I went to Punta Cana, which has beautiful beaches, but unfortunately is a major tourist trap. It is quite literally a trap. If you want to leave your resort you have to check with your tour guide, and they will arrange an excursion for you.
I decided to go snorkeling and was crammed into the worst tourist gimmick I had ever seen. We were like sardines in that little boat heading out to the reef. Then at the reef, the Dominicans obviously do not even care for the health of the reef. No reef protection knowledge was given, people were standing on the reef, touching the reef and at the end the snorkeling company dumped all the cleaning solution for the snorkel gear right out into the reef. How does the reef look? Honestly it is in terrible shape. The coral is basically dead, but the fish were plentiful and beautiful.
Even leaving the resort to go buy some candy and coffee to take home is a hassle as everyone is trying to sell you something and constantly hounding you. I always appreciate time away to travel and see a new place, but my love for the Caribbean is cooling. Everywhere in the Caribbean is trashy and impoverished. Yes, some places are beautiful and cared for like Sir Richard Branson's private island, but the majority of places are not. You can be poor and still be clean and care for your area. It is sad that most people don't live with that perspective.
If I ever go back to the DR, I will go to the other side where it is mountainous and more adventurous and less tourism related. If you want a vacation of just lounging at the beach and having food provided at all hours of the day, then this place is perfect for you!