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DOMINICAN TRAVEL DIARY 2019

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“If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain. If you’re not into yoga, if you have half a brain” if you can drink a Pina Colada, and not sing that song you my friend are stronger than I; because, I did this for four days straight.


Disclaimer: If you follow me on social @shortpresents you know that I recently took an AMAZING trip to the Dominican Republic c/o Go Dominican Republic, and for those of you who are new here it was in fact a #PressTrip.


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I was so happy to be able to extend an invite to my blogger friend Sarah (@BohoandBraidsblog) because spoiler alert WE HAD A BLAST. Dominican is such an amazing travel destination, they really do have it all. Whether you’re looking for relaxation, or an adventure of a lifetime, or if you’re like me and you like to do both: YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL.

If you’re thinking of making a trip to the Dominican just BOOK IT already! Trust me you won’t regret it! We had SO much fun, and if you’re curious about what we got up to, where we stayed, what we did, where we ate etc check out the post below.

WHERE WE STAYED


While I was head over heels for our previous hotel, and would go back in a heart beat I thought it would be more value to you dearest blog reader to add some variety to my content offerings. This time around we decided to switch things up, and stay at a different hotel!

Last year we attended an event at EMOTIONS BY HODELPA Playa Dorada upon it’s grand opening, and instantly we were in love! The event was so fun, but it was also at night so we didn’t get a chance to really take it all in. I was so excited to come back and actually stay at Emotions this time.

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A boutique hotel, EMOTIONS BY HODELPA Playa Dorada is a great size, and has a very intimate feel. For me and the type of holiday I was looking for this time around: it was the perfect size.

I’ve been to bigger resorts in the past, and while that’s totally okay, and sometimes that’s the type of vacation you’re looking for. I do love that there are so many more options these days from big resorts to boutique style so that you can totally decide from trip to trip what you want.

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What I loved about EMOTIONS BY HODELPA Playa Dorada, was that it was SO EASY to find your way around! We were were only there for a short few days (me even less because I was going to San Francisco) so I was really happy that it really didn’t take us long to get the lay of the land, and there were always staff around to help guide us too.

Having been put in the Adults Only section we had the absolute pleasure of enjoying our own balcony overlooking the adults only pool, and bar area (available to a small amount of adults only rooms). Also because we were there in late September (while most people are getting back into their work and school routine) it was nice and quiet (just how we like it), so we basically had the place to ourselves most of the time, which any bloggers reading this knows, is a dream for taking photos. Yay no wavers needed.

To learn more about the Adults Only packages click here or visit Emotionsbyhodelpa.com.

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EMOTIONS BY HODELPA HOTEL OFFERINGS:

  • Nightly Entertainment / Events
  • Spa + Fitness Centre
  • Bars & Restaurants (in addition to their buffet)
  • Coffee Shop / Popsicle Bar (they were delish and so were the cappuccinos) 
  • Shopping
  • Pools (Adults only available w/ Tiki Bar)
  • Beach Front Snack bar w/ food and drinks
  • Day Trips / Adventures (can be booked onsite)

WHERE WE ATE


One of the things I always try to encourage people to do when they are visiting places like the Dominican is to experience as much of the local culture as possible. You may decide that for your vacation that all you want to do is plunk yourself on a beach and VEG, and you know what that’s totally cool too it’s your vacation and you should spend it how you like. However, if you’re interested in some places away from your resort, here are a few spots that we ate during our most recent trip, and we could highly recommend.

El Bergantin Caribbean Grill

We all ordered a bunch of different items from the the menu, I got the shrimp linguine, but I have to say that the stand out dish for me was definitely the seafood rice dish. OMG it was SO good, and it’s also a significant serving so heads up: it’s totally something you could share (and we did). The flavors and levels of spices of that rice were just so perfect would highly highly recommend. I wish I was eating it now.

Casita Azul

After a night out of cocktails and drinks at the Senator Puerto Plata Spa Resort for the Inaugural Cocktail party (see more on my “Dominican 2019” IG Highlight) we popped over to Casita Azul for a late night bite. We started by sharing some cheese and plantain wrapped in prosciutto covered in a cream sauce (TO DIE FOR). I ordered the salmon with vegetables for my main, and it was by far one of the best pieces of fish I’ve ever tasted (and y’all I eat a lot of seafood, hello I’m an East Coast girl). My meal was so simplicity delicious, and cooked to perfection, again I wish I was eating this again right now as I write this recap post. YUM.

Casa Colonial

I’ll get into our activities here shortly, but following some amazing spa treatments at Casa Colonial (one of my favorite resorts in Puerto Plata) we enjoyed a they most delicious lunch. We tried a little bit of everything, from tuna ceviche, fish tacos, sushi, fried plantain you name it: we tried it. And all the dishes at Casa Colonial were nothing short of AMAZING. What’s great about the Casa Colonial, is that it’s a la carte so you don’t need to be a guest to visit their spa or restaurant! Also it’s BE-AU-TIFUL and Madonna stayed there so like YOU NEED TO GO.

Emotions By Hodelpa

While we were super busy boppin’ around to all kinds of different events, and resorts we did manage to sneak a few meals in at Emotions. We mostly enjoyed breakfasts, and lunches at our hotel, and of course a few cocktails. I mean you can’t have your own private pool and bar section, and not utilize it am I right?

The food we tried was great! They had SO much selection it actually made coming home, and making my own food again SO depressing (the sign of a good vacation).

What I loved about the food at Emotions is that they offer traditional Dominican food, so you get a taste of the local flare, as well as a plethora of EVERYTHING else so you’ll definitely find something you like.

In addition to the buffet in the main dining area, there are also chefs available to prepare something customized for you whether it’s a pasta, an omelette, a burger: you name it there’s SO much to choose from.

There are also a number of restaurants and bars available on site; unfortunately we were just too busy with the tourism events to check them out. You can learn more about them here or visit EmotionsbyHodelpa.com.

OH do make sure you check out the snack bar lol it’s open SUPER late and their nachos will definitely hit the spot after a night of dancing! As well as the onsite cafe! The Cortado and cappuccinos were DIVINE! They also have artisan popsicles available too. Look how cute!!!

Emotions Puetro Plata

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WHAT WE DID


As I mentioned above Dominican is a place where you can really do it all. From wellness to adventure we ticked all the boxes!

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CASA COLONIAL SPA

I loveeeeeee Casa Colonial, it’s so stunning, and definitely one of the highlights from my visit last year. So when I learned we would be visiting again this time around I was SO pumped, and then when I learned we were not only visiting, but also getting a massage, and visiting the spa?? I WAS ECSTATIC!!!  Do y’all know Madonna stayed there?? MADONNA!!

As I mentioned above we enjoyed some amazing food at Casa Colonial, but the spa?? Holy smokes I was ready to propose to my masseuse because I really wanted to bring her back to Canada with me lol She her hands were magic, and the sauna and steam showers post massage were just pure heaven. See more on my “Dominican 2019” Instagram highlight!

Short Presents, Kayla Short

WATERFALLS AT SALTOS DAMAJAGUA

OMG are you ready for the adventure of your life??? This was such an amazing experience and one I will not be soon forgetting. I had an absolute BLAST. It was so nice to spend sometime in nature, from the beautiful hike to the cool and refreshing water: it was like nothing I’ve experienced.

FYI: Before you go, you I should mention that this adventure is no joke, and you should know before you schedule that you NEED to make sure you’re prepared for everything it entails because it is a kind no turning back situation.

DRESS APPROPRIATELY:  Please make sure to bring proper footwear, and clothing: we wore water shoes, and our swimsuits with shorts. NO FLIP FLOPS.

ONLY BRING ITEMS THAT CAN GET WET: They tell you not to bring your phones, but we did lol because #bloggers! BUT we did purchase waterproof cases from Amazon ahead of time, and they worked great for us but please bring your phones at your own risk. I will say I absolutely loved the waterproof case that also had a land yard. It worked great for what I needed. Sarah also brought a fanny pack, and stuffed her phone (with a waterproof case over it) in the fanny while we were in the water. I just tucked mine in my life jacket lol but both options worked :):)

YOU CAN HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER:  Available as an add on when you purchase your ticket for $50 US you can have a photographer come along with you throughout the entire adventure!  They give you a USB with all the photos and videos afterwards, and we’re so glad we had those memories. Realistically you don’t need your phone, but we wanted to do stories and post them right away lol again #bloggers. lol

BRING WATER: You do have to hike a pretty significant mountain to get there so make sure you bring water, and are wearing sunscreen.

BE A STRONG SWIMMER: This is likely the biggest thing, and while it’s kind of a bummer I do feel obligated to mention it. It’s not to be taken lightly that you need to be a confident swimmer. While you’re not swimming a great distance these waterfalls are pretty high (we jumped off waterfalls about 15 feet which was AMAZING and super fun, but if you’re not comfortable with swimming you could get yourself hurt or just not enjoy the experience). If you’re traveling in a group, and you know you’re not the best swimmer, or you panic when your face goes in water please think twice about whether you should be going along. It might not be the activity for you (and that’s okay) BUT if you’re a strong swimmer and you’re not SUPER afraid of heights you will have the time of your life. It’s such an unique experience, and such a beautiful way to experience and connect with nature in the Dominican: I would do it again and again and again!!!

CATCH THIS SUPER FUN VIDEO RECAP


 


Hope you enjoyed this travel diary from my recent trip to Puerto Plata Dominican Republic be sure to catch more from our trip on my on “Dominican 2019” highlight on Instagram. If you have any questions about Dominican don’t hesitate to reach out and be sure to pop over to GoDominicanRepublic.com for all things Dominican!!!

Special thanks to Go Dominican Republic for yet again another AMAZING experience. What a tremendously beautiful place drenching in history and culture with incredible hospitality. Everyone we encountered was so nice! Having just attended a Tourism Dominican event just recently in Halifax, and reliving it all by creating this post I am selling myself on another trip lol I want to GO BACK ASAP, and I was just there about a month ago.

 

xx

Kayla

 

 

Please note this trip was sponsored by Go Dominican Republic; however, all opinions expressed are my own.

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