A month ago, I did something new for my birthday: I decided to go to actually do something and use my passport to go to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic with a layover in Casco Viejo & Panama City, Panama on the way back to the states. I had an early flight Thursday morning with a stop in Panama before I made it to Punta Cana around 3PM. I spent 7 hours in and out of the air but I was thankful that Copa Airlines provided a full meal. It wasn’t the absolute best, but it did what I needed it to do.

My boyfriend and I decided to stay outside of Punta Cana in Cap Cana, which is a more reserved and quieter area outside of Punta Cana. We rented a private villa in the Green Village community through AirBnB. Green Village had a lot to offer without it being overwhelming which made it really hard to return back to the states. The villa featured all of the amenities that we needed and our own private pool. And Roos, our host, was VERY hospitable and kind. We were able to arrange transportation to and from the airport.

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Upon our arrival and after getting settled, she even gave us a ride to Juanillo Beach to grab something to eat. Juanillo Beach is so peaceful and underpopulated that we actually spent two days here. We relaxed in the sun, swam in the water, and listened to the waves calmly brush up against the shore. We also grabbed a bite to eat at Little John’s. I decided to try their steak with avocado butter and caribbean rice. I’ve had better steak, but it was what I needed after eating the airline food.

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There is a taxi service that is very afforable, about $5 each way around Cap Cana, but we preferred not to use this service since we weren’t fluent in Spanish and didn’t want to create a hassle. It was more convenient and also affordable for us to rent a golf cart for $60 to navigate around Cap Cana. That was an adventure in itself, probably one of the most exciting parts of the trip. It seems that Cap Cana doesn’t enforce the same road rules that the US does, so we just went with the flow and drove the cart all the way to the store, Las Canas Market, to stack up on a few groceries. They offer grocery delivery, but we wanted to get the actual experience.

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The day of my birthday, we decided to chill by the pool and eat burgers. We took another trip to the beach to hang out, came back to take a nap, and took the cart to La Palapa, a restaurant in Cap Cana. It was a random choice from a guidebook in our villa. I ordered the mufongo and for the price that was paid for it, it really wasn’t worth it in my opinion. I’ve had better in Puerto Rico. Nevertheless, the scenery was amazing and I guess that made up for everything. How can you not enjoy a dinner, beachside, with the waves crashing?

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Our very last full day that we had in Cap Cana was spent at Scape Park. We packed the golf cart and headed out on our 10 minute drive. We purchased a combo pack that included two excursions and we chose horseback riding and zip lining. Both were new experiences for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed the zipping. I even got a chance to meet a little monkey named Nacho.

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Overall, this trip definitely made my birthday unforgettable. Punta Cana is one of the most gorgeous places that I’ve visited in the Caribbean. It was also one of the best vacations that I’ve had, besides Puerto Rico.

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13 Comments
  1. Valla

    August 12, 2016 at 7:57 am

    *Adds Punta Cana to travel list*

    These pictures are lovely and that AirBnB is everything!!!!! Me and a couple of girls are planning for our trip to Costa Rica we are taking in November which I can’t wait. Finally putting my money towards creating memories and experiences and not tangible things.

    1. Rae

      August 12, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      Costa Rica should be fun. I’m planning on heading out there for Labor Day Weekend. I really want to see the volcano that’s out there and take a mud bath.

  2. Law_Fal

    August 12, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Glad you enjoyed! My friends and I are doing the Airbnb route for Costa Rica so I’m hoping it turns out super nice. This place y’all stayed was NIIIICCCCCEEEE!!!!

    1. Rae

      August 12, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      I think I’m doing Airbnb too. Just trying to figure out the transportation logistics since I’ll be arriving really late.

      1. Law_Fal

        August 14, 2016 at 9:08 am

        I’m going to send you what we have been looking at. They have a transport from San Jose to Puerto Viejo which is like a shuttle bus to take you to the Caribbean coast where the beach is. What time are you arriving?

  3. Candace

    August 12, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    FIRST! Your photos are gorgeous! I went to Punta Cana in undergrad and it was so much fun and ziplining is something I tell everyone to do there and Costa Rica (which I have NOT done…yet). LOVED reliving it through your post!

    1. Rae

      August 12, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      It was sooooo beautiful out there. I’m headed to Costa Rica next month and I think I’m going to zip line as well.

  4. Pascha

    August 13, 2016 at 7:58 am

    Love these photos! I have never done *something* like this for my birthday. You’ve inspired me.

  5. Romney

    August 13, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Those photos are amazing. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  6. Mia

    August 14, 2016 at 10:59 am

    This trip looks like it was relaxing and a bunch of fun minus the food being just “ok”, I told myself next year I would travel more since seeing your recent excursions via Instagram. Sometimes you just have to live in the moment. Can’t wait to see more pictures and more trips.

  7. Shannon

    August 14, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    Your photos are beautiful! It’s good to see that you had a fulfilling birthday.

  8. Bee L

    August 15, 2016 at 7:32 am

    My family and I visited Punta Cana earlier this year, and it was just okay. After reading your post, I am tempted to go back though. We stayed around the resort area, and it was something else. With the endless Haitians accosting you trying to sell you something, to making sure we didn’t speak French so the locals didnt think we were Haitian. That aside, the day trip we took to Isla Saona was the highlight of the trip and the only reason I would go back. Loving this adventurous spirit and thanks for sharing!

  9. Roco

    August 15, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Girl, I’ve been wanting to do DR for a few years now. I recently made the declaration to myself that next July for my bday, I would have my butt on somebody’s island. & I think you just inspired me to solidify my plans,

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