By T. Foster Jones
BACK IN A 2007 Costco Connection article,
I observed that if you mentioned the Dominican Republic to someone on the East Coast
you’d get a nod and a knowing smile, but that
someone on the West Coast would likely provide a “Huh?” in response. What a difference
five years makes.
“California has become the top departure
state for Costco members booking vacations
in the Dominican Republic through Costco
Travel,” says Jolene Schuerman, the Costco
Travel buyer for the Caribbean. “People on the
West Coast have discovered what a great des-
tination the Dominican Republic is. It’s easy to
get to and offers a great value.”
Located west of Puerto Rico, the
Dominican Republic (DR) is a Caribbean
destination popular with singles, couples and
families. It offers all-inclusive luxury resorts,
spas, championship golf courses designed by
the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer,
plus hundreds of miles of silky-fine white-
sand beaches and turquoise waters. Many of
the resorts, such as Majestic Colonial Punta
Cana and Majestic Elegance Punta Cana (two
of Costco Travel’s most popular DR resorts),
offer separate family and adult-only areas on
Punta Cana’s beach is one of DR’s main
attractions, stretching almost 35 miles. And
because most beaches are public, you can
stroll (or horseback ride) from one hotel’s
beachfront to another.
The array of watersports options includes
catamaran rides, kayaking, windsurfing and
parasailing, observing marine life from glass-bottom boats, sport fishing, scuba diving
(Punta Cana features the island’s longest coral
reef—about 20 miles) and snorkeling.
Additionally, developers have created
Dominican Republic Discovering the
SIVORY PUNTA CANA BOUTIQUE HOTEL
HERE ARE SOME tips to help you
make the most of your Dominican
; Upon landing in the Dominican
Republic, visitors must purchase a (
tourism tax) tourist card before clearing customs. The card costs US$10 per person
and must be paid in cash.
; Many of Costco Travel’s DR
packages include a $100 tour credit for
exploring the island. Before you set off
on your tour, remember to pack essentials, such as your camera, sunscreen
and insect repellent.
; Motoconchos (motorcycle taxis)
are a common mode of transportation for
locals, but can be a bit wild and are not
recommended for visitors.
; Venture outside your resort
and experience the variety of delicious
food in the local restaurants. Cuisines
reflect a mixture of Spanish, African and
Indian heritages, with a strong Latin
; Most resorts offer merengue and
bachata lessons. Try these zesty dances.
; Browse for local gifts such as
larimar, the Dominican amber that’s
considered to be among the clearest and
finest in the world.
; February is the ideal time to
visit the Samaná Peninsula, where you’re
likely to see humpback whales congregating off the coast. C
resorts that are designed to enhance visitors’
experiences in the area.
One example is Casa de Campo, a 7,000-
acre hotel, resort and residential community
unlike any other Caribbean destination.
Although it includes many of the luxury
amenities you would expect to find at an
all-inclusive, including Teeth of the Dog, the
Caribbean’s top-rated golf course, Casa
de Campo offers something unique: Altos de
Chavón, a highly detailed replica of a 16th-
century Mediterranean village, complete with
stone pathways, cobblestone streets, decora-
tive ironwork and enchanting buildings.
Handcrafted by Dominican artisans, the
village is the site of many fine restaurants,
boutiques, art galleries and museums, as well
as the acclaimed Altos de Chavón School of
Design, which itself is home to a 5,000-seat
amphitheater that has hosted live perfor-
mances by such artists as Sting, Gloria
Estefan, Shakira, Placido Domingo and more.
Although the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Punta Cana also offers the full array of activi-
ties and amenities of an all-inclusive, includ-
ing the largest casino in the area and a
Nicklaus-designed golf course, the resort
doesn’t ignore its musical roots.
For instance, this October 3 through 8, the
resort will host the All-Star Country Vacation,
a weeklong event featuring a variety of up-
and-coming musical stars selected from the
winners of American Idol, CMT’s Next Super-
star, The Voice and The X Factor. Festivities
include music, dancing and the Little Kids
Rock All-Star Country Concert for a Cause.
Exclusive offerings for members who
have booked through Costco Travel include a
special seating area during the main concert
event, a private VIP dinner with the performers, a private meet-and-greet with the performers and a character breakfast for families
and kids with The Little Big Club.
If the all-inclusive concept isn’t for you,
try a boutique resort such as Sivory Punta
Cana Boutique Hotel or a luxury resort,
Costco Travel buyer
The Costco Connection
To see all of Costco Travel’s Dominican
Republic packages, call 1-877-849-2730 or
click Travel at Costco.com.
SEPTEMBER 2012 ;e Costco Connection 71
such as Balcones del Atlantico, located on
the Samaná Peninsula. This area is world renowned for its eco-tourism and whale-watch-ing adventures.
Whichever spot you choose, you’ll find
that this destination is just what the “DR”