Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Almost Paradise

I'm no world traveler, but my family got to experience another world with our vacation last week.

Sheila here. We went to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

Ric and I started talking about an all inclusive vacation or a cruise for our 20th anniversary, but it morphed into a special family vacation. It was a great way to celebrate our marriage milestone along with our daughter Katie's graduation from high school. It's hard for me to think that this might just have been her last vacation with us for awhile, but it's a good possibility since she's heading off to college in August.

Anyway, I highly recommend the all inclusive option. We really had no idea where we want to go when we started planning -- only that we wanted a direct flight out of Cincinnati (and you probably know how hard that is to find there days!) Our travel agent Beth Duppstadt of LoveLand & SeaTravel helped us find a resort which caters to families.

Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe has lot of family activities, including pools with water parks just for kids. We also went snorkeling, kayaking, swimming, and of course got in a lot of relaxing. Everything we could possibly want was right there in one place, from a casino to a small mall, and of course, several restaurants and bars.

The Dominican people were so friendly, the music was fun, and the weather was amazing. It was hot in the Caribbean sun, but the ocean breeze was a constant. The water is so blue and clear, and the sand is soft and white. It truly was almost paradise.

We loved the fact that we didn't have to worry about paying for anything because it was all included in the package we booked. And if you feel like staying in one place is too restrictive, the resort has an office full of travel agents to help with booking cruises, zip-lining, off-roading, and dolphin encounters. We took a half day to go out on a snorkeling cruise, and the kids loved swimming with sharks and stingrays. Katie bought an underwater camera, and it'll be interesting to see how those photos turn out!

If you ever decide on an all-inclusive option for your vacation, I do recommend working with a travel agent. Beth was able to answer a lot of questions for us about everything from the food to the activities and what to do if we had a problem. Here's her website:

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