Traveling with Equity Estates has always been an outstanding experience, starting with the concierge service prior to the trip who helped us plan our excursions, meals, etc. The concierge even arranged an escort from the Dominican Airport, who paraded all 11 of us (no waiting in lines) through customs, baggage claim and to our ground transportation.
The house (which sleeps 12) was perfect, as all Equity Estates houses are. The Dominican house is especially gorgeous. It is located in a superb location on a picturesque golf course. We don't golf, but boy did we have fun on those golf carts! Beaches were a short walk or golf-cart ride from the house if you want to play in the sand or ride the waves.
Xiomara, the local host, met us at the house where we were given the grand tour and the kids staked out their rooms for the week. It was comfortable and everyone was more than thrilled with their accommodations. A highlight for us was definitely the chef, Frederico! I would recommend utilizing his expertise. His food is amazing! He was able to accommodate everyone's needs. Sitting around the giant table being served family style was a wonderful bonding experience for all of us.
Morales, the live-in house keeper was always on her game. We loved her sweet smiles and had so much fun interacting with her. Watch it, though, if you try to do dishes or anything remotely house keeper-like (2 moms on the ground, we tried) she will 'shoo' you out of the kitchen. No work allowed on vacation. They took care of everything. They made breakfast for us before we went on excursions, made lunches for all 11 of us when we traveled all day and made sure we were happy and content at night.
The most rewarding and educational outing was with Punta Cana Mike. He is a bloke from Canada who has devoted himself to the Dominican people. Punta Cana Mike shows you the other side of things, and takes you outside of the beach resorts and into where the Dominican people actually live. This is an absolute must-do experience. It is eye opening, motivating and incredible. We went to a K-8th grade school with five boxes of donated school supplies that we had brought from the U.S. We interacted with the children and teachers and learned about their lives, their futures and the hardships they endure while trying to get an education. So much of what we take for granted is a struggle outside of the resort walls. We were all touched by the gratefulness, love and acceptance of these little ambassadors.
After enjoying the international pastime of 'futbol' with the kids, we went to see how the country makes some of its exports. We first went to a cigar producing shop that had been active for many, many years. Next we went to a chocolatier, followed by an establishment that had been making rum for hundreds of years. Our next stop was to a Dominican traditional market (see the picture above) where the colors, sounds and smells were dizzying. We met a "witch doctor" who could cure all your ailments with plants and concoctions made from the land. Finally, we headed off to play dominos with the locals at a small community car wash and to see a church that was built in the 1500s. Getting out like this, and in such a safe manner, will definitely "re-calibrate your compass." We try to do so wherever we go.
Rounding out our week in Punta Cana was a trip to the spa, a swim in the lagoon at the Ecological Park and Reserve and snorkeling with Blue Vision Adventures in Playa Blanca.
With each EE experience, we deepen our family bonds, as well as make new friends around the world. If more people had the opportunity to experience different cultures and build these strong bonds, the world would be a friendlier place.
Don T is an Owner Member of Equity Estates