Happy Friday, friends! Spring break is just around the corner which means it’s time to start planning your vacations. I had a pleasure of traveling to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic with Apple Vacations and I’m super excited to share with you my trip. After all, my Pittsburgh friends, you’re going to love this news I’m about to share with you. Starting today, March 2, 2018, Apple Vacations is offering non-stop Exclusive Vacation Flights from Pittsburgh to Dominican Republic and also Mexico. Details below. So read, read, read!
Apple Vacations Launches Non-Stop Exclusive Vacation Flights from Pittsburgh to Dominican Republic and Mexico
In case you’re not familiar with Apple Vacations, they were voted Best Tour Operator to the Caribbean in 2017 by readers of Travel Weekly Magazine, and voted Best Tour Operator to Mexico for 13 consecutive years. Now, Apple Vacations has expanded its 2018 Exclusive Vacation Flight program with non-stop flights out of Pittsburgh, PA to Puerto Plata, DR operating on Allegiant Air. Today, March 2, 2018, is the inaugural flight. Apple Vacations is offering non-stop Exclusive Vacation Flights from Pittsburgh to Puerto Plata on Fridays through August 24, 2018. Pittsburgh residents can choose from 13 hotels and all-inclusive resorts listed below:
- Be Live Collection Marien
- Blue Bay Villas Doradas
- Casa Colonial Beach & Spa
- Emotions Playa Dorada
- Grand Bahia Principe San Juan
- Iberostar Costa Dorada
- Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort & Spa
- Riu Bachata
- Riu Merengue
- Sunscape Puerto Plata
- VH Gran Ventana
- Villa Taina
- Viva Wyndham Tangerine
START PLANNING: Aside from Puerto Plata, Apple Vacations is offering additional non-stop Exclusive Vacation Flights from Pittsburgh to Cancun on Mondays and Saturdays. For Punta Cana, the flights are available Thursdays and Sundays.
Not from Pittsburgh?
Don’t worry. Apple Vacations has more than 200 weekly Exclusive Vacation Flights offering non-stop service from 20 gateways in the U.S. including Baltimore, Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Lansing, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rockford, and St. Louis. For more information and to book your next trip, check out www.AppleVacations.com.
Now let me share with you all the fun…
Day 1 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
I had such an amazing time and took so many photos that I decided to break it down per day. I know I’ve posted a lot on my Instagram stories while I was there, but that’s just the gist of it. So let’s start with why choose Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
Puerto Plata is located on the northern Amber Coast, surrounded by mountain ranges, a two-mile stretch of white-sand beaches, and the Atlantic Ocean. Aside from enjoying your stay at the beachfront resorts, you can take cable car rides to Mount Isabel de Torres, visit Ocean World Adventure Park, Botanical Gardens, Cayo Arena, 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua, and Fortaleza San Felipe, among many others.
I’ll be sharing some of our tours in another post. But for now, let’s start with my photos from Day 1 at Emotions Playa Dorada Resort where our group stayed during our Puerto Plata trip. This ALL-INCLUSIVE resort is pretty new. They just opened in December 2017. But Emotions Playa Dorada is owned by Hodelpa Hotels which has several other hotels in the country.
FYI, if you haven’t been to an all-inclusive resort and don’t know what that means: It’s a holiday resort that includes at a minimum: lodging, three meals daily, drinks, most alcoholic drinks, gratuities, and other services in the price. Many also offer sports, spa, and fitness included. So for Emotions Playa Dorada, you get access to all the restaurants and bars (except certain VIP areas, unless you get that upgraded package), some packages have spa treatments included too, fitness area, some water sports, arcade, coffee shop, etc. So just walk up to the buffet restaurant in the morning and eat whatever you like. Head to the pool or beach after and enjoy a cocktail. Have lunch at one of the restaurants. Go to the cafe. Enjoy an afternoon at the arcade. Drink at the Tiki bar. Eat a lobster dinner by the sea. Cap off at the bar or watch a show at the stadium/hall – all included in your hotel/resort price. Mini fridge is replenished everyday too!
Above is my airport outfit (sans the hat that was in my carry-on tote). I switched up from my fave and comfiest slip-on c/o Vionic sneakers (Oprah’s Favorites) to metallic sandals (similar style c/o Strive), and a cozy cardigan c/o Cuddl Duds to a lace kimono when I arrived (below)! I’d link my blue and white striped jumpsuit if I could. But unfortunately, it was from a bazaar-type vendor in the Philippines in one of my trips back there.
I got in around noon and was greeted with wine and a cheese plate in my room at Emotions.
We had a bit of time to ourselves so we could explore the resort. However, it was raining on and off that afternoon. So I took the time to do a room tour video that I posted on my Facebook page. In case you missed it, I’m adding it here.
After I did the room tour video, I ventured out to the beach before our dinner. It was pretty wet (thus sand looks dark and wet in some pictures) but I managed to take some beautiful shots.
I then met with our group from Apple Vacations, KTC PR, the most hospitable people from Emotions by Hodelpa Hotels, and with fellow bloggers and travel writers. I was with a fellow Pittsburgh blogger, Victoria of the popular wedding blog, Burgh Brides, who also took this photo below. Thanks Victoria!
We were given a tour of the resort.
This is the spa infinity pool overlooking the beach – mostly used for bridal showers. You go up here through the Evolutions Spa. There’s also a gym next to the spa that I forgot to take a picture of. And don’t worry if you forgot your training shoes, they have Nike shoes for you!
There were several restaurants in the resort, but had to share this pretty Italian restaurant, Amici. Look at that ceiling!
And, how beautiful is this Mexican restaurant, Lolita?
One Coffee had some delicious cappuccino and flan! So yum! I made sure to stop by there because Dominican coffee is so good!
Oak Wine Bar – you can do wine tasting and purchase a bottle if you like.
Had drinks and appetizers at the Milwaukee bar.
And then a delicious dinner was served at the Oregano Dominican Fusion Restaurant.
We started out with appetizers. One plate for each of us!
Plus our choice of soup and salad. I had the soup which reminded me of gumbo sans the rice! It was delicious! That’s corn with some meat.
Victoria had the salad that was served in an Instagram-worthy coco bowl!
For the main course, I was feeling adventurous and decided to try a local favorite goat dish. Oh my. Who am I? But to be fair, it was really good. It tasted like beef, but had a more flavorful taste to it.
This dessert trio was so good. But my favorite is the yellow one which is corn-based. It reminded me of the Philippine dessert, Maja Mais (Corn).
And finally, we ended the night with Mamajuana shots! I’ll talk more about that. But out of all the Mamajuana shots we’ve had while there at Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata, theirs is my favorite! It was so smooth!
Stay tuned for Day 2 of my Puerto Plata trip next where I’ll be showing you the rest of the resorts that you can book with Apple Vacations! But if you’re eager to plan that Caribbean trip, check out www.applevacations.com.
Take advantage of this promo of $100 off per couple on Exclusive Vacation Flight Packages using code BESB22318. Book by March 8 for travel up to December 16, 2018. Click here for more details of this offer and make sure to check back often for new promotions!
Disclosure: Thanks to Apple Vacations for sponsoring this trip.