Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana

An overview of my recent trip to Punta Cana and Barcelo Bavaro Beach Resort.

Beautiful Caribbean view from my lunch spot.

Imagine yourself sitting down to a relaxing lunch with this view of the beach, wine glass in hand, and chatting with old friends you haven’t seen in years. This was my table at La Brisca restaurant in the Barcelo Bavaro Resort All-Adults in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Is the Dominican Republic safe for travelers, especially women?

As with all travel, use caution, know your surroundings, and only use reputable companies to book travel and taxi services.  This not my advice only for the Dominican Republic, but for all travel.  

Alertness and common sense go a long way.  Don’t let fear stop you from traveling to beautiful destinations.  There was not one moment of my five nights in Punta Cana when I felt unsafe. The airport staff were cordial—not even pushy trying to take my bags like in Rome. The taxi stand workers were helpful while we waited for the Dominican Limousine company (arranged in advance through

Walking path alongside hotel accommodations and the beach

The Resort staff were all smiles.

I’ve traveled to places that no one would ask “is it safe to go there?” And found it had places which were sketchy.  Don’t get me wrong, I adored Rome.  But the men at the airport were pushy, and the ticket and tour sellers around tourist sites were rude and obnoxious.  

One guy dressed up as a gladiator outside the Colliseum would not take “no” for an answer about taking pictures.  He actually got my teenager to take a picture with him, after I repeatedly said no. And then called me a thief and a gypsy because I would not pay him.  I would have paid him, had I said YES.  But he kept insisting and made my teen very uncomfortable.  

I told that story to let you see there are crapass people everywhere—but there are also wonderful, loving, smiling, and kind people all over the world.  And I met many on this short island excursion. 

Resident peacock!

If you are looking for a great sunny destination to plan a Girl’s Trip look no further.  The Dominican Republic has received much bad publicity over the past few years. So much so, that when I mentioned to my family I would be traveling to Punta Cana for five days with two girlfriends, they were concerned for my safety.  

I found the Dominican Republic both safe and exceedingly enjoyable. My one cravat is that we did stay on property the whole time, at the beautiful all-inclusive resort and had a truly luxurious and relaxing vacation. We did not however get to venture outside the resort to truly experience the culture of the island–a must do for me the next time I visit.

Approaching Punta Cana

I flew out of Pittsburgh, PA to Punta Cana on Delta Airlines [a review of my first-class Delta experience can be found here.] I was already away from home so my flight was not your typical round-trip flight and I worked some magic to fly first-class for less than the price of the main cabin.

When I landed in Punta Cana airport, I stood on a long line to get through immigration, wandered through a small, but lovely, duty-free shop, and stepped over to baggage claim.  Luggage was lined up and waiting for our flight, which was impressive. No one hassled me as I waited for one of my girlfriend’s to land.

Colorful vibe and island mythology at Punta Cana Airport.

I booked transfers through with Dominican Limousine, which I highly recommend.  The fair was just $20 for up to three passengers, and $25 for up to six—an excellent value. Dominican Limo will track your flight to ensure they are there when you land.  We rode in a late model Mercedes with its own Wi-Fi signal to Barcelo Bavaro Beach Adult-Only Resort—about a 20 minute ride.

Outside view of the hotel accommodations

Upon arrival at our destination, staff were helpful with luggage, and the front desk knowledgable and welcoming.  One girlfriend had arrived earlier in the day and was already checked into our room.

Since I have Celiac disease, which requires me to remain on an very strict gluten-free diet, I made my obligatory visit to guest services to discuss my restaurant options. Staff were knowledgeable and offered Gluten Free restaurant cards, however, I brought my own ready-to-print cards in Spanish. They were more detailed as I must be extremely careful with my food. 


Our room:

The three of us shared a room bringing our costs to approximately $100 per person per night–all-inclusive–drinks, food, and accommodations.  Our four-person room was in Barcelo’s premium-level—well worth the upgrade for the room and extras, but also not at all necessary to have a lovely time at the resort.

Barcelo is an all-inclusive so everything from snacks, foods, entertainment and drinks are included.  Tips are optional, however, I highly recommend you arrive with plenty of US dollar bills to distribute generously if you can.  The staff work hard and it shows.

We had a mini-bar stocked with juices, alcohol, water, and snacks.  Bathrobes, slippers, and high-quality Italian imported toiletries—shampoo, conditioners, bath salts, combs, lotions, etc. An impressive spread for our comfort.  It was also clean and inviting.

The room was equipped with a small table and chairs, and a flat screen television, which we never turned on.  Glass-sliding doors led to a tiled patio with a table and chairs. Two sunbather loungers set between palm trees on the lawn faced the ocean. Waves lapped the shores of the pink sand beach just beyond an expansive green lawn. Ahh…paradise.

We booked dinner at Le Chez restaurant, one of the ten on-site restaurants. Dressed for the evening, and spent our first night on this lovely island paradise chatting over a leisurely dinner with a kind wait staff and flowing wine.

Neverending Wine

Note: Five restaurants are included in your all-inclusive stay, and five are available for an additional ala carte price—I cannot speak to the ala carte restaurants. The choices were so plentiful for our five-night stay that we did not need to eat at the on-site restaurants that cost additional funds.  

Delicious Gluten-Free Meals

My experience with Barcelo’s Gluten-free options and knowledge and caring staff was fantastic.

Rather than give you a day-by-day itinerary what follows is the highlights of Barcelo Bavaro Beach Adult-Only Resort and Barcelo Beach Palace.  Although two names, this is one resort with shared amenities.  The adult-only side is quieter, but I found the amenities impressive on the Palace side (the family friendly side) and intend to return with my husband and kiddos.  

Stormy days did not ruin our trip. The sun always made a reappearance!


From the moment we stepped foot on the resort we were treated royally.  

The weather was windy during our time in Punta Cana with rain each day, but didn’t effect our trip much. Wind curtains were up, and there was plenty of covered areas to lounge and sip cappuccino in the mornings while watching the fat rain drops splatter on the tiled floors.

We quickly found a favorite spot to eat. Le Brisca— a Mediterranean restaurant where we spent one rainy day for both lunch and dinner with great conversation, staff who generously helped with my awful Spanish and kept my wine glass full. 

Fountain perfect for kiddos to run through at Barcelo Palace

We visited the small Casino, sports bar, and bowling alley on the Palace side.  The entire walk is safe and brightly lit so walking was not an issue—actually once we discovered our way, we preferred the walk to the complimentary train that stops in front of the lobby. Although, it is a great option when you have tired-I’ve-traveled-all-day-long feet or kiddos in tow.

The soft pink sand was warm and silky beneath my feet.  The water was tepid for my taste, who likes bathwater warm oceans, but in January after coming from the extreme northeast winters, I am not at all complaining about the balmy 80 degree weather—I’ll take the daily rain storms intermittent with warming sunshine any day!

Don’t forget to do a bit of shopping at the resorts gift shops.

Resort Highlights:

You won’t get bored at Barcelo Bavaro Beach! Most of the activites and attractions at the resort are a short walk from the adults-only side. At Barcelo Palace you will find:

Kid’s areas and water parks
  • 11 Specialty Restaurants
  • Water Activities – included: non-motorized water sports on the beach – kayaks, aquabike, snorkel masks at swimming area, windsurfing equipment, sunfish (sailboat), basic catamaran sailing (Hobie Wave) – and many additional activities available at an additional charge.
  • State-of-the-art Spa (very relaxing and your first 45 minute visit is free!)
  • Two water parks for the kiddos (I missed my children so I spend a couple hours sunbathing at the water park missing them more.)
  • Casino – games and slot machines – Free Wi-Fi
  • Bowling Center ($)
  • Sports Bar
  • Escape Room ($)
  • Nightclub – over 18 with drinks all-inclusive 11pm-3am
  • Grand Bavaro Theater
  • Currency Exchange
  • Gym with spinning and aerobics classes
  • 4 tennis courts
  • 18-hole golf course – free of charge 10am-6pm ($ 6-11pm)
  • Beach Volleyball, Ping-pong, table tennis, aerobics, water polo

For Families:

  • Family rooms including 2 bedrooms
  • Welcome cocktails
  • Discounts on Family Excursions
  • Babysitter service with 20% discount
  • Family concierge
  • Barcy Club: Kid’s club program and entertainment for little ones
  • Pirate Island Water Park
  • Kid’s Beach kits

I had a fabuluous time at Barcelo Bavaro Beach and Barcelo Palace Beach Resort. There are more amenities than I had the time to take advantage of and I am totally looking forward to revisitng with my family.

Whether you are looking for someplace quiet and romantic, a contemplative girl’s trip, a partying time, or a great family spot, the dual resorts of Barcelo Bavaro Beach Adults-Only and Barcelo Palace Resort has something for all you vacation needs!  I hope you’re inspired to get out there, travel and visit this beautiful island.

I’m excited to book my next trip at Barcelo Palace Resort in Punta Cana with the kiddos!


Note I am not affiliated with the resort in any way, nor am I compensated for review. All opinions are strictly my own.