For the start of 2009 Mimi and I decided a vacation to the Dominican Republic might be an interesting adventure. Plus I was able to find an airfare for $400....which was really the deciding factor. Originally we had planned to go to Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara, but a last minute change of plans sent us to the Dominican to see what was up....not ever being to the Caribbean before....we were pretty excited.
Our goal was to travel around the country for two weeks and see a few different spots, and perhaps if we felt adventurous, a trip to Port-Au-Prince in Haiti (the two countries share the same island of Hispaniola) and to do it all on a moderate budget of about $2200 US dollars.
My game plan preparing for any trip is always about the same:
(1) Buy a good guide book and read it from cover to cover; I went for the "Lonely Planet: Dominican Republic and Haiti" and didn't regret my choice.
(2) Skim through another 3-4 guide books that Mimi will bring back from the library.
(3) Maybe watch some videos from the library (if Mimi gets some).
(4) and of course.....research the flight costs, hotels, and other details extensively via the Net.
Cheap Flight :)
We found a good cheap flight via Air Transat for $400 US each (I'm using US $ instead of Canadian so more people can relate). The least expensive destination in the country from Vancouver was Punta Cana, or the town of Bavaro, and so that is where we were going whether we liked it or not.
Punta Cana is where the majority of the all inclusive hotels where, and some of the most beautiful beaches, but that was not on our agenda, and for us it was only a cheap flight into town.
Book the first or second night's hotel or hostel
The Dominican doesn't see too many tourists outside of the resort areas, and there really were no hostel choices in this country, so it was hotels all the way. And they aren't cheap necessarily either, so our choices were very limited for our tight budget.
I booked the first night's accommodation in Bavaro, and then our next night in Santo Domingo, and we were ready to go. After that we would just plan and book things as we went along.
Pack light....and go....
Mimi and I packed 5-6 days of summer clothes and everything else we needed into some small back packs. We brought $150 dollars in Dominican pesos (just over 5,000 pesos at 35 peso to the US $), passports, money belt, I like travellers cheques (better exchange, no service fees), and we also brought $500 US in cash, sun screen for me, a few novels, and off we went....