Organisation at Punta Cana airport, transfers to the resort and booking in all very slick and pain free, just what you need after a long flight.
Hotel very clean, the room cleaning especially was of a high standard. No issues with the plumbing or electrics, a couple of minor power cuts but didn’t impact us in the slightest. The mattresses, we found, were a little harder than what are used to. Our teenagers sharing a room next to us had an unwanted visitor (Cockroach), however, housekeeping were at the room minutes after reporting this to reception and the visitor removed. Staff very friendly, nothing was too much trouble
Plenty of sun beds around the pool, never a problem with availability although occasionally needed to move some unoccupied beds together. The usual early morning sun bed reservation fiends were in operation which did rankle, especially when they didn’t bother to occupy them until mid-late morning. Again the outside areas always kept tidy and pool cleaning seemed to be a constant activity. One area that was a little annoying was the number of smokers; I guess we might have felt this more keenly as the UK has stricter rules about designated smoking areas so we’ve been spoilt!
Food choice was varied, plentiful, always well presented and didn’t taste bad either. Waiter/waitress service good, especially in the evenings at the designated tables, incredible how much difference a friendly smile and small tip at the end of each week makes. Maybe I’m being a little ‘British’ but courtesy when queuing for food didn’t seem to apply for some nationalities. 2 couples holidaying at the same time as us were unaware of the requirement for men to wear long trousers and sleeved, collared shirts for the evening meal, maybe travel companies should have communicated this better
Animation team were top notch, where do they get their energy from – completely mad the lot of them but kept us thoroughly entertained throughout our stay. Really enjoyed the shows in the evenings, the effort put in can’t be faulted. Teenagers went to the nightclub one evening and felt quite intimidated, especially my daughter, so they didn’t stay, gets a little rowdy but each to their own
Went on the Monster truck trip which we thoroughly enjoyed, our guide, Joselita, very knowledgeable and made the whole day interesting. My wife got a little upset at the poverty at the final stop, we would highly recommend that clothes, stationary, toothbrushes and other toiletry items are taken on the trip to give to the Haiti plantation families.
All in all we had great time and would not hesitate to go back
Riu Naiboa - Punta Cana
Let me first introduce the group that went on this trip. 4 single guys 27-30 years old from the U.S. We've never been to the D.R. and this was our first all-inclusive experience. So keep that in mind when you read my review.
I have to start with how much we paid $620US per person for 5 nights, flight, hotel, and tax. I have to start with that because honestly we went with very little expectations as this trip was fairly last minute and we went with a budget in mind. We can't even travel that cheaply in the U.S. for that. Considering the amount of food and drink we went through, can't imagine how they made money. That all said, if we were to go back we definitely would pony up some more dough and stay somewhere a bit nicer. Although we found this resort to be ok, rooms weren't bad, staff was great, we figured the food and ammenities that you get with the extra $$$ would be worth it. We did like how the 5 resorts share the same complex, we certainly used the ENTIRE complex as well. In the end we thought, for what we paid and what we were able to use, it was worth staying in the cheapest hotel and using the rest of the facility.
Spirit is a budget airline for a reason. They are not very good. Planes were ok, but the overall experience was nothing to write home about. Paying for luggage, very poor checkin service, etc etc. I'd only use them again if I was flying on their $9 fares. On our return trip home their computers went down, causing almost everyone in the line to miss their flights.
We had arranged through Coco Tours for our transportation. Bus was nice, 40 minute ride. Reception was very fast and off the bat we told them we wanted 2 rooms near each other facing the pool. They were able to move one room the second day and it turned out to have one of the best views (they probably took the picture of the pool from this room as I have the same picture now).
To start we had one room on the 4th floor facing the forrest side on the end to start. It wasn't in great shape, and the bar wasn't stocked, but it had a very large balcony if you wanted one. The other room was on the third floor facing the forrest and it was in pretty good shape (the other guys stayed there the whole time). As mentioned we then moved to a 3rd floor pool view the second night and it was a little nicer and a much better view. The fact that they have 1 single bed and 1 double bed was sort of annoying. But we drank heavily in the evenings so we managed to fall asleep regardless. The beds were also pretty hard, but again...nothing could stop us from sleeping. Now the biggest quirk...our second room door would not shut and lock. Some would have been really concerned about this, but honestly we locked all we needed to up...and it made it a lot easier for our friends to come in without needing to knock. In the end, these rooms were dated, felt like Days Inn quality, but for what we paid and what we used them for...no biggie.
Breakfast was a large variety. I tried to eat it every day, but toward the end I was skipping it and only eating a few things as I walked through. We never at Lunch there, so not sure. Dinner was ok most nights, some better than others. They really had some poor meat down there, lots of bones. Their attempt at ribs one night was probably the worst I have ever experienced. My friends all had stomach problems and complained the food wasn't that great, but I didn't mind it. We ate our lunches at the bars or the pizza place, basically the same food just limited quantities.
My big gripe with the food was the restaurants. I woke up early the first morning to try to get reservations, but the manager seemed to not speak very good english and told me he didnt have anything available and to come the next day at 5 or 6 am! I think he was being a *******. So the next day I went down at 6 something and tried to get the steakhouse, he asked me how many and i told him 4 and he said no way. So we ended up getting the Italian. We all seemed to like the Italian place better than the buffet. The next 2 days I again attempted to get reservations at the steakhouse or the other asian place and he again told me he couldn't do it and kept pushing the Italian. He would ask me how many, I would tell him 4 and he would say no. So I said how about 2? He again said no...what the heck did he want me to say, 1??? The last day of our visit he told he probably could get us in the steakhouse the next day, but I told him we were leaving before dinner so that wouldn't work. The sad part is, I think I was the first person every morning to attempt to make reservations, as his list was always empty. So I'm not sure why he would never book us, he either didn't like me, or I should have greased his palm, or there was some reason he couldn't book us.
As others have mentioned, pants are required for men, sandals are ok. I don't quite get it, some dirt bags would wear horrible outfits, tie die and sweat pants and they would get in, but a guy dressed up in a nice shirt and shorts would get turned away. Kind of silly...
Finally, I have to point something out that some people will take offense to. We met some other Americans who were staying in the Riu Palace Punta Cana. They told us their buffet wasn't seated, so we probably could get in without a problem. 2 of our group did the final night, not a problem, no one asked for wrist bands or anything. They said the food was much better. Wish we knew that earlier!
Lots to choose from, and I highly recommend you try them all out. They all seem to have the same liquor choices, but the bartenders are all great to meet. I'm pretty sure we went to nearly all the bars on the complex. The bars at the Palaces would rarely give us any grief about no wristbands and when they did ask they would just serve us any ways. It's all the same booze any ways, just tip once in a while. We used the Naiboa bar most, as it was convenient and the bartenders were pretty good, but we also found that is where most of the friendlier guests were.
Alcohol: They serve Brahma beer at most of them, which is a pretty horrible beer. Then again beer isn't really their speciality. They can mix up some very fruity drinks that help mask the poor alcohol quality. We found even when asking for simple drinks with a mixer everything was extremely sugary. We got sick of that by the end of the trip. All the bars display at least a few "premium" liquors that you can ask for, but we were all pretty sure they were either cutting them with poor quality booze or even some water. Oh well, we still drank our money's worth.
Pacha Club. We had fun there the first night. They usually rotate from playing some American dance/rap music with some Dominican music. We found the later on in the evening the locals/workers would come in and it felt a little less comfortable. If I were a foreign female I probably would not have felt that comfortable there.
Gorgeous as I imagine all the beaches in Punta Cana are. The odd thing is, for some reason people stuck to the beach in front of the resort they stayed at. So the beach in front of Taino gets very crowded, while down in front of the Palaces and the Bambu they were open. Chairs were readily available away from Taino. There was certainly a lot of topless sunbathing going on. We couldn't complain about most of it though! Although I did see some people being a little to affectionate while half naked on the beach during the day. I didn't mind, but I'm sure that might offend some.
A lot of reviews say the Naiboa pool as the best, but it was probably my least favorite. It just didn't have character. Taino was small, but had better looking people at it and a swimup bar. Bambu had a pretty nice pool with a big swimup bar. Palace Punta Cana had a really nice pool and the other Palace had a really disappointing one. Chairs were usually hard to come by at the pools though (except the Palace which had plenty). In the end, I didn't use the pools that much and in the future I would pick a resort that has much bigger pools that interconnect all over the resort. Just one big pool that looks like and olympic sized pool but out of shape was not that intriguing to me.
We went to 4 shows. One at the Palace (oops again) and two at the Naiboa. One at the Naiboa was a dance contenst that at first appeared to be lame, but the couples that volunteered ended up being very entertaining. The other show I forget what it was. The last thing was the Carnival type thing on Caribbean Street. That was sort of neat, they had guys with exotic animals for pictures and bars set up along the way. We had to admit the Animation Team at the Naiboa seemed to be the best of any of the resorts. They were much more lively during the day than anywhere else. Always friendly and cracking jokes.
We didn't take any. Although we did go on a free trip to a cigar factory. It turned out to be a small operation of 8 people completely catered to tourists. That said the guide on the tour was very good. He knew quite a bit and was a very good English speaking native. We ended up buying some cigars, probably paid too much, but oh well.
We had different people at the desk this time around. They were sort of a pain. We left our beach towels in the room and the guy made me go get them and trade them in for the cards. Trek up 3 flights and down to pool and back was a waste...they all get washed in the same place.
We also had a horrible experience with our return trip. We followed all the instructions to arrange for a return bus and got the reservation from Coco. We waited about 15-20 mins past the time I asked the front desk if this was typical and he claimed it was, but he called to find out if our bus was on the complex yet. It wasn't but he said not to worry. Another 20 mins go by and I ask again, they guy doesnt even make a call and said it is not here yet. I asked him if I could use a phone to call our tour guide, he tells me I could pay for it. Instead I asked him to call the Taino where the guy was supposed to be, so he obliged after a little while and they tell him that he is at lunch. At this point we are panicking that we are going to miss our flight. So the guy calls to get a taxi rate ($33 for 4). I was pissed that I already paid for my return trip so I just use the pay phone (like a $1/min for local!) and talk to the tour guide, he seems pissed the bus didnt come so he makes a few calls, yells at the bus driver and then tells me another bus (different bus company) is coming. At this point we are about 1 hour 40 mins from takeoff. We wait 15 mins and no bus so I call back and he tells me he should be there or he will call us a taxi. It shows up a few mins later. At this point we have no hope. We hop in, and this guy was a RINGER, he should drive in the F-1 series. He clearly took full advantage of the lack of traffic laws and had us to the airport in about 20 mins. 1 hour to takeoff. We get there and there is a line outside the front of the airport and lose all hope...then realize it was for a different airline. We proceed through all the steps of leaving and walk up to our gate just as they board. What a relief. Such a stressful return.
Riu Naiboa - Punta Cana
Bryan Ottawa, ON
This is the third year we have been a group travelling and my fifth trip to the Dominican Republic, but my first visit to Punta Cana. I travel with the understanding that I’m not staying at the Ritz or someplace like that and don’t expect the resort to provide that service. I go to have fun and regardless of any little quirks we always do.
As always, Sunquest was using Skyservice for the flights. This was the first time that we’ve been assigned Skyservice’s Boeing 757 plane which has leather seats and actually a bit more leg room than the normal Airbus planes. Somehow our reserved group seats the Travel Agent booked us weren’t in the system, but since we didn’t pay for that part we didn’t really care.
Our flight down was only 40 minutes delayed due to de-icing which given the massive storm the day and night before (it was a 6:00 AM flight) we were surprised to be leaving on time. Our return flight was 2 hours late due to a previous flight delay – 2 hours longer in the warm air wasn’t too hard to take.
After the 30 minute bus ride to the resort we arrived at the resort. Check in was very good. There were 10 people on the bus to the resort, 7 which were part of our group. I had emailed about a week before asking for a pool view room upgrade and was pleasantly surprised to have gotten it.
When we walked into the lobby we naturally headed for the Reception desk but were called over to a small table, given the registration form and our room keys and brought into a meeting room with a cocktail drink so we could be given some general info on the hotel by the hotel (not the tour operator – that was the next day). The keys to the safe are included with your package and were given out at this session.
As mentioned I asked for a pool view room based on reviews I’ve read. Our group was mainly together in 3 rooms next to each other (only 1 person was away from the group due to a room issue). We were in Rooms 2116, 2117 and 2118.
There was 1 double bed and 1 single bed in each of our rooms. I was under the impression that the Naiboa only had 1 type of room but it turns out they have rooms with Queen/Double mixes – next time we’d try for that type of room.
We had no problems with the water pressure or hot water supply. The power also went out a couple times for a minute or so. Once for about 30 minutes in the afternoon – never long enough to be a hassle.
As others have mentioned the Air Conditioning at this hotel tends to be weak to non-existent in some rooms, ours was one of them. The rooms each have a ceiling fan which keeps the room comfortable so after asking 4 times about the A/C we gave up.
I was prepared for solid beds and found that they weren’t nearly as hard as I had expected. From what I understand from the rest of the group, our beds were softer than what they had. All that said no one had problems sleeping on them. After a day in the sun and a few drinks it’s easy to sleep on almost anything!
The only point of concern was the room keys. As mentioned we were in room 2116, however our key also opened 2117, 2118 and 2119. As we knew everyone in these rooms it was handy at times, but a big security risk. The key we had was engraved for room 2170 so I’m not sure if would work in that door or not. I should point out that the keys for 2117, 2118 and 2119 did not open our door, but they were able to open a couple others besides their own.
I think that this hotel offered the widest selection of breakfast items of any resort I’ve been to. Granted it was always the same selection, there was so much of it, there never was a problem getting your morning started. I think the best thing was the French-toast style Croissants – yummy! We had our breakfast out on the terrace each morning which was a nice touch.
Lunch was normally eaten at the beach at either the Pizzeria or Beach Bar and was Burgers, Pizza, Fries, Pasta, Hot Dogs, etc. They had this roasted Chicken which is almost as good as Swiss Chalet! I didn’t try the main buffet for lunch so I don’t know the selection.
Supper was always a different theme each night at the buffet so that was good. We also did the Italian a la carte 3 times, Steak House once and the Caribbean Restaurant once. To book the a-la cartes, you need to talk to the Buffet manager the night before and pick up your reservation slip at Breakfast the next day.
Snacks – There was never a time when we couldn’t find something to eat. Between the Pool Bar, Beach Bar and Pizzeria food was served until at least 2 AM. We never managed to find the 24 hour food at the Bamboo (it was always – 5 more minutes before it’s here, which never seemed to end).
NOTE: Supper at the Buffet: There are 2 seating’s. On the day you arrive go to the Buffet Manager and book your seating for your stay. You are assigned a specific table for your stay. Men must wear pants and a shirt with sleeves to be admitted – I saw a few people turned away.
There are several bars to visit should you wish to. There is the Pool bar, the Beach bar, Lobby Bar (at night), Pizzeria Bar, Bamboo Bar, the Swim Up bar at the Taino and Bamboo, plus many more we didn’t get to. Each bar we went to made good drinks.
Being this our first time to Punta Cana we were pleased to see the sand was basically white. The beach was as clean as you can expect. You need to watch where you walk as smokers seemed to be just putting their butts out in the sand where ever they chose. Perhaps some ashtrays would help with this habit.
We spent all but 1 day at the beach. While you may have to move some chairs to where you want to sit, we never had a problem finding available ones to use until the second week when it became quite crowded, so we paid one of the beach workers to reserve us a group of 8 loungers - it was easy to find a couple but trying to find 8 was heard.
A note for those with Children, I saw more topless sunbathing at this resort than I’ve seen at any other one. Didn’t bother us but if you have young children you may need to have a talk with them before going.
We made us of the Naiboa pool and never got into any of the other ones we had access too as we were happy on the beach. The Naiboa’s pool is very nice and wasn’t too bad for chairs in the morning. If you spend the day at the Beach and want to move to the pool in the late afternoon you may have a hard time getting chairs as it was quite full by then.
We only made it to 2 shows. One was an audience participation one to get the “Ideal Couple” – funny but cheesy. The other one was the Michael Jackson show – Foot work was awesome!! The song selection could be better but the movement was like watch the real deal.
Each Thursday night is the Caraval Riu along Caribbean Street. They have bars set up along the street and have vendors in as well. The highlight is a quick parade up the street – gets the guests involved.
The Animation team had activities going on throughout the day and would even come down the to the beach to spot hotel guests and remind them of some of the events (such as the pool party). I didn’t partake in any but I did see them hold Stretching sessions, water volleyball, aqua-fitness and water polo to name a few.
This is offered at the front desk. Note that the Market next to the front desk does not accept travelers Cheques so have the US money or Peso’s when you go in to buy something.
I was looking forward to doing the Zipline Adventure which was a new one that started last fall. We booked it for the Wednesday morning. On Tuesday we got a message that we had to be bumped to the afternoon due to overbooking – no big deal. We went to the arranged pick up location and waited for an hour and no one came to pick us up. After talking to the rep we opted to take our money back instead of rebooking as we didn’t have complete faith in his abilities.
There are many Beach Vendors about a 20 minute up the beach (turn right when you walk onto the beach and follow it). We made a couple trips up there. What I did was look at the prices in the hotel and on Caribbean Street first to know what others were selling things for so I knew what to pay.
As with most resorts they have a mix of reviews, we found that the Riu’s had a good reputation and this trip only proved that. We encountered no problems (including the key access) that would prevent us from returning to this resort or recommending it to others. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at email@example.com, or send me a Message on Debbie’s Travel Forum, user name ‘bryan’.
Riu Naiboa - Punta Cana
We stayed at this hotel in August 2006 as our 25th Wedding Anniversary trip. This year we decided to go to the same place and this time take our 14 year old son for his first holiday in the Caribbean. Once again we could not really fault the place – see below for detailed comments – if you wan any more info please e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org
General Comments: A hotel style location, not to everyone’s taste I know but at the end of the day you only use the rooms for sleeping ! All inclusive including free water sports and a full programme of both day and evening activities. Although not on the beach only short walk to it, less than 5min and on a decent road so even wheelchair users can get to the beach easily. As said by others on this page, don’t let the location discourage you from booking a stay here; all of the resorts that are “on the beach” do not have rooms that are much closer to the beach than Naiboa’s..
Once again a fast and friendly check in at the reception desk. Each person in the party gets a Beach Towel card (towels can be used both by the pool and at the beach and can be changed as often as you like). You also get a key for the small safe in the wardrobe so you can lock you your valuables away without having to keep going to the main desk. One word of warning – DON’T lose the towel cards (you have to pay $20 for EACH one you don’t return at the end of your stay and DON’T lose the safe key – they charge for a locksmith to come and get in as they don’t have any duplicates))
Grounds and Beach
The pool is 30 seconds from the lobby and this, plus a small on-site “beach area” is the focal point for the daytime activities. You also get your towels from there as each hotel has its own cards. You are free to use the facilities (bars, restaurants, pools etc) in 2 of the other 4 hotels in the complex (with the exception of you evening meal – see below). All together there are 5 hotels on the Riu complex, the Naiboa, Bambu, Taino, Palace Macao and Palace Punta Cana. It’s the last 2 “Palace” hotels where you cannot use the facilities as you need a wristband. To get to the beach is a short walk down Caribbean Street. Without fail they were out every morning cleaning the beach of anything washed up overnight. The beach sandy and white, the waves not too strong and the water lovely and clear. Just on the beach is Scuba Caribe, where you reserve all your water sports (and can learn to scuba dive to PADI standards). Once on the beach there are no problems with people trying to sell you anything unless you want to make the 30 minute walk to the “Flea Market”.
The end of August is marked as the start of hurricane season and we did actually fly out just after Hurricane Dean had passed but like most of the storms it passed to the south of the island and had little effect on Bavaro. Of the week we has rain on 2 days (10 mins and 5 mins !) and I believe some overnight rain. 1 day was slightly overcast but still warm and the rest of the time absolutely excellent weather. Even with such high temperatures (and humidity) we saw very little evidence of “bugs”, the most was 3 of 4 flies, a couple of dragonflies around the pool and lots of small lizards.
Last year our room was at the very end of the hallway on the 4th floor (No 2459) and although very pleasant this made for a bit of a walk and it faced inland (although technically at the front of the hotel). This year we were in room 2327 which was on the 3rd floor right in front of the elevators and as it was at the “back” of the hotel the balcony faced the pool. As we were sharing with our son they had removed the small table and chairs and replaced them with another bed. This gave us 2 singles and a double but still plenty of room to move around. One word of warning – the beds are hard and asking for another room will not make any difference. However, by the end of the day we were so tired we almost fell asleep as soon as we got in bed so it didn’t really worry us. Our AC was not the best but combined with a large ceiling fan we had no real problems. We could of asked to move (others did without any hassle) but we were so pleased with the location we decided not to. The rooms are very plainly decorated but more than adequate and the balcony had several plastic chairs and a plastic table. More than adequate for our stay (as I said above – you only really use the room to sleep in after all).
Bars and Drinks
As well as a mini fridge with beer, Pepsi, soda water, fresh water and orange there are also 4 bottles with optics in the room. We had Gin, Brandy, Rum and Vodka, all local brand (Classic) but all very drinkable. The bar is replenished every 2nd day (fresh water every day) although if you have run out you simply have to ask and they will top things up without problem. The bar in the Naiboa in the Bachata, this together with the fact you can use the Taino and the Bambu means there is no shortage of bars at this resort. All the bar staff were very friendly and with their help I managed to work through the entire cocktail list !
The main buffet restaurant is where you must eat your dinner (and at the same table and time each night) – although this sounds restrictive it was actually very nice as you got to know your waiter. Each night has a different theme in addition to the standard buffet food. Overall the quality of the food was excellent and the only problem we had was from too much hot sauce on Mexican night ! The same restaurant is open early (5:30 !) for breakfast and midday lunch but you can also use the other 2 hotels for these meals. Once food stops in the restaurant it starts up again the in the Bachata bar ! (and this is the same in the other hotels) so you can almost always find food everywhere.
Last year we did the Marinarium (see report below) but this year as our 14 year old son was with us my wife decided to relax totally and send him and me off on the speedboats. This happens twice a day and involves a short ride to another beach where you transfer out onto 2 man speedboats before speeding down the coast. You then stop and snorkel over the reef with the guides giving you pieces of bread so you can feed the fish. Its then back into the speedboats, back down the coast and the short drive back to the hotel. Total cost was about $70 per adult and £40 per child. Although good fun I have to say a bit too many transfers from land to boat to speedboat and back again for me.
Another excellent time – only thing stopping me going again is wanting to see more of the world !
Riu Naiboa - Punta Cana
We stayed at this hotel for 2 weeks, 6 of us went together and 2 stayed for
1 week and 4 stayed for the the 2 week period,. My husband and I had to switch rooms as the first one was unacceptable, but Thanks to Pasquel, at reception, this was not a problem. Food at this resort was great, I take my own butter, coffee whitener and cheese, because I'm really fussy but at this resort, no one will ever go hungry! As far as the dinner settings go, we had the same table and waiter every night and it was super. Jovanni had or table decorated every night and our wine was always on the table, We had access to other resorts on the property and used them for the swim up bars, buffets, etc. All were good,especially Bambu swim up bar. I have to say our own animation staff made our stay and made us want to spend most of our time on our own resort. Kenia, Mandella, Eddie Murphy, Maximo, Sonia, You are all AWESOME!!!! Salami is their boss but he only came the last few days of our stay but we still enjoyed him too. If you would like any further info on this resort please feel free to email me at email@example.com
Riu Naiboa - Punta Cana
Three of my close friends and I went to this resort this Jan 2007 and we had a very good time.
Our Travel agent Sears Canada was not very knowledgeable about our holiday . Many set backs happened.Sky is awful would never travel with them again.
When we got to the resort through Sunquest we were told that we needed to see our rep at 9:30 am the next day that this was very important. Nearly two hours later no rep from Sunquest. The reception told us she would be there at 5:30 that day. We went and started our holiday at the pool. At 5:30 we were there at the desk waiting for her to be told she was sick and someone would be there the next day at 11:30 a.m.
After all this waiting we were not very pleased with the way we were treated by Subquest.
The new agent did finally come and it was his first day on the job . Poor guy. We were than told that all information we needed was in a book that is always at the table where we could check everyday.Why the reception people didn't tell us this is a mystery.
That behind us we stated our holiday.
The Hotel is very clean . The service is 5 stars out of 5.
Pedro and his reception staff were very helpful and friendly. Dining room staff were there all the time helping us if we needed help. Evenings our dining started with us being greeted clapping and welcoming us into the dining room for supper. All the meals are well done no one would find fault here the food was geared for everyone from seafood to ,turkey , beef[ this was tough though good in stew}veal, chicken, pizza , just everything and the desserts were heaven to many calories though. But I was on holidays .
Raphael and the men at the bar were very nice and everyone always had a smile on their face.
Mandell, Sonia, Kenia, Maximo, Johnny Bravo, Edddy Murfy were our entertainment every night,after working during the day at pol side with more enternament. I don't know where these young men and women get their energy but they were wonderful .
The grounds were well kept and they were always cleaning every area of the resort.
The pool was cleaned everyday. Drinks brought to us at the pool. Many activities for those who wanted to stay in shape or play games in and out of the pool.
This past the day with many laughs and fun.
FUN , ENJOYMENT, RELAXATION. Felt like a Queen. Treated like royalty. These are the words that I give to this resort.
The beach is about a 5 min walk from the resort.The shopping is plenty and friendly people.
I highly recommend going on the Monster Truck Safari . The tour guide knows the country the people and answers all your questions .You are made very welcomed to his country . He was very funny and knowledgeable as a guide ask for Little Joe.If you go on this tour bring items for the children, tooth paste brushes , they love stickers, paper , pencils, hair ribbons etc. the Monster Truck people raise money to fund three schools.
The clinic on Caribbean Street, if you need to see a DR. is Number 1 in my books. My friend needed a Dr. and was sent to a local hospital for treatment and was given excellent service and the wait time was very good after seeing three Dr.'s she was given medication and we were on our way to continue our holiday.
Rate this Resort 5 our of 5 Stars I would give them 41/2. Why you ask a 41/2 the beds were so hard.They need to change their beds and soon. That was my and my friends only complaint . That not all that bad.
Enjoy your holiday here.
Riu Naiboa - Punta Cana
Punta Cana is the place in the Dominican for the White sand and blue water. We travelled Dec. 16-23rd and overall enjoyed our trip to this destination and hotel resort. Our flight was scheduled out of Montreal and was delayed 8hrs via Skyservice. They indicated it was a scheduling conflict! Yikes. Anywho after waiting all night to leave we finally arrived in the DR at 6:30 a.m. Check-in was fast and easy and the reception was very friendly. Being that we arrived so early in the morning, we slepted until 10 a.m. we walked down for breakfast and the main restaurant closed at 10. There was a small snack lounge - The Bachata opened and had minimal food. We waited around the pool and explored the resort. Our first impression was disappointing. Our room was very basic with 1 double bed and a single bed. The beds are hard as rocks and difficult to get comfortable. Eventually, we took the pool chair pads and brought them to our room and tucked them under the sheets for some comfort. The pool is nice but basic and to get drinks, you have to walk up to the main bar to get service. Staff do not come down to the pool lounge to get orders for beverages. The resort is a hotel style which I did not like. The hallways carry an echo and you can hear everyone and every noise coming down the hall. To get to the beach you must walk down Caribbean Street which leads you past various shops and the RIU Tiano. Approx. 1 km walk to the Ocean. If you have difficulty walking, or have special needs, I would not recommend this resort for this very reason. The ocean and sand is perfect and clean. No vendors that bother you. As a guest at the RIU Naiboa, you are not given a wristband so you can therefore eat at various other RIU's along the beach. This is great because you don't necessarily want to walk all the back to eat at the Naiboa. Food was good and had a different theme each night. There is only 1 restaurant off the resort that is included in your stay. They advertise 2 but only one exists - The Italiano. To make a reservation, you can only book in the morning from 7-10 a.m. with the main waiter at the main buffet restaurant. This is probably the most disorganized part of our trip. We were told we had a reservation for 6 p.m. one evening, we arrive and our name was not there and we required a green slip. None was given, I was disappointed as we were having a hard time "falling for" our resort. We returned to the hotel and ate at the main buffet restaurant. My husband talked to the reception and the head waiter and all was resolved.
Overall, we enjoyed our trip but this resort is truly a 3 star destination.
Riu Naiboa - Punta Cana
We arrived at the Naiboa on November 1st and stayed until the 8th. This is not the first time we stayed at a Riu resort. We stayed at one in Cuba and in Puerto Plata. We love the resorts for the food, service and cleanliness. But out of the three of them this one is on the bottom of our list.
The rooms- very basic BUT CLEAN, our air conditioning didn't work properly and our curtains didn't close so we asked at the front desk if someone could look into it. He said to wait in the room. Our flight was 4 1/2 hours late we were hungry and thirsty and the last thing we needed was to sit in a HOT hotel room we waited about 10 minutes and went to find some food. We were not welcomed like we are used to. Usually they have drinks waiting and explain where the food and bars are and take your luggage to your room. The next day we just asked for a new room and they gave us one at 2 in the afternoon the air conditioning ran full blast for a week and it never got cold in the room but it was comfortable with the fan. The rooms are basic but they are in need of upgrading if you want to still call it a 4 star hotel the marble and the tiles are chipped and cracked and the sink was also cracked (same as the first room) From talking to other people speaking English in this resort all the rooms have the same problems almost all the people moved rooms because of the air conditioning. I know I am going for the weather but I need to sleep in a comfortable temperature. The channel changer wouldn't work they sent someone up right away and he couldn't fix it he said someone would fix it the next day. We have our do not disturb sign up with the 3 hour time difference morning does come early for us. They phoned us at 9:30 a.m. and asked if we would let the repair man in since we had our sign up when I opened the door he was sitting in the hall way he fixed the channel changer and after that I had 3 follow up calls to make sure it was fine. To bad they didn't worry about there air conditioning as much but I did appreciate the service. The bar and the fridge are restocked every other day we left a note saying what we used and what we didn't and for the rest of the week it was done like we asked. There are no clocks in the room (so bring a travel one) especially if you are doing tours that start early. The elevator kept getting stuck and wouldn't let you out so we did stairs ( good exercise from all the delicious drinks and food we consumed we needed it)
The pools are all great in the three resorts they have different levels of noise at different times of the day the one at the naiboa was more quiet until about 4 then it livened up. The Taino and the Bambu had swim up bars so they were always busy. The bottoms of the pools did need to be painted making them look dirty. Always lots of chairs.
The beaches were beautiful and so was the weather lots of chairs and lots of space. It really isn't a bad walk you could be staying at the Taino in the back complexes and be right next door to the Naiboa so paying the extra money doesn't actually mean your closer to the beaches. I loved walking down the Caribbean street and looking at all the different shops and paintings. The ocean isn't as clear as it is in Cuba I like being neck deep in water and still seeing my feet. There are not a lot of English speaking people so if that bothers you this whole resort isn't the place to be.
The food and Drinks. I loved the food and drinks if people complain about repetition they are doing something wrong. We had steaks, caviar, shrimp, roast turkey, tons of different pastas and sauces tons of beautiful desserts and fruits. Breakfast you could have your omelettes made for you. The only thing that really bothered me was that when any of the resort workers found out you were from the Naiboa they seemed to treat you different. We had problems trying to get reservations to the a la carte restaurants the steak house and the Mediterranean it said in the brochure that these two were included but all that was was the Italian restaurant. We had to wait to see if they were filled for that night with the other resorts and if they weren't they would fit us in. We were told we could go anywhere during the day and eat and drink and swim but not the palaces. but at night we should stay in our resort and not leave the Naiboa property. We went and watched the other hotels entertainment and had drinks there and the snack bar and we had no problems but other people did and were questioned about why they were not at there resort.
The Bathrooms I know this sounds weird that people comment on bathrooms or restrooms but I had to this time. Toilet paper was rarely hung and the rolls were just sitting out the holders were either empty or just not filled. The soap was empty lots and I mean lots. When you have that many people going through them and then to a buffet line or getting ice for a drink it is a concern this was at all three resorts. When we were in the RIU in Puerto Plata each washroom had an attendant and when you were done they cleaned the toilet and made sure the bathroom was spotless and they offered hand sanitizer.
If I went back to this resort I think I would stay at the Taino I liked the idea of the four plex idea instead of a hotel. But I would stay at the Naiboa again if everything else was booked. You get the same ocean, beaches and pools as the five stars. It all depends on what you are going for.
Riu Naiboa - Punta Cana
Location: Punta Cana - East Coast - 35 minutes from Punta Cana Airport All-inclusive
Comments: Junior Suites & Regular Rooms. A la Carte restaurants, bars, Spa – not on premises, Water sports, Daytime and Evening Activities Review of Riu Naiboa – August 30 – September 6, 2006 Location Riu Naiboa is part of the Riu complex in Punta Cana, DR. It is the smallest of the five resorts there and is not located on the beach, but is a very short walk to it ~ 5min. Don’t let the location discourage you from booking a stay here; all of the resorts that are “on the beach” do not have rooms that are much closer to the beach than Naiboa’s. The only difference is, you might be able to get a room with an ocean view, but unlikely. Look at a map of the Riu complex, and you will notice that none are much closer to the beach.
Check in at the reception desk. Very quick and friendly, if you bought a package, they will have your room information ready and will find a stack of papers with your reservation and key. Very quick, no need to put credit cards down. They will also give you a towel card, and a safe key to put your valuables in.
Grounds and Beach
The hotel grounds are on the small side, there is a decent size pool right near the lobby. You must get your towels from there as the other towel centers only cater to their respective hotels guests. You have the option of using the grounds of the other Rius with the exception of the Palaces, Macao and Punta Cana. The beach is a short walk down Caribbean Street and is sandy and white with nice waves to match. It is a gorgeous beach. Scuba Cariba, where you reserve all your water sports, is a very quick stroll from where Caribbean Street meets the beach.
We went during the last week of August into early September; which is when hurricane season is most active according to different websites. Our original flight down to PC was CANCELLED! Due to T.S. Ernesto, however, American Airlines was able to find me another flight that arrived the same day but was routed through Puerto Rico, where the storm had already passed, instead of Miami. We ended up arriving 4hrs behind our original plans and got there around 5pm. The rest of the week was nice, with a few clouds later in the evening but by that time it was time to head back and get ready for dinner anyways. It rained a few times while we were there, but rain there is brief. I don’t think rain showers lasted more than 1hr. These were all in the evening too, so it did not bother our tanning. There were no bugs that bothered us, maybe a fly here but they quickly left us alone.
Our original room was at the very end of the hallway. Riu Naiboa is set up with the elevators near one end with a very long hallway that connects to all the rooms. If you got a room near the end opposite from the elevator, be prepared to walk because there is only one set of elevators and the hallway is very very long. We got to our room to find out the AC was broken and they had give us two double beds. I went downstairs to request a room with a single bed instead and ended up with a room right near the elevator with a working AC. The rooms are very plainly decorated; we had two chairs and a small table, one bed, and a long dresser. The balcony had two plastic chairs and a small plastic end table. Don’t expect too much in furnishings, but they were quite adequate for our stay.
Bars and Drinks
· There is no shortage of bars at this resort; you can use any of the bars at
the other Rius.
I had a couple of pina coladas, which were pretty good, and a banana mama. I drank mostly beer, which was not Presidente. Did not try any other drinks.
Restaurants Main Buffet Restaurant
The main buffet restaurant is where you must eat your dinner, and was open early for breakfast. They mixed up the menu as much as they could for dinner but it is just common buffet food you will find everywhere. They did have mussels one night, which were the meatiest ones I ever had and they were quite good. Lots of fish, there was a taco night and ribs night too. I enjoyed the food but if your picky you might not enjoy it.
There were two restaurants that you could make reservations for, steak and Mediterranean. We, unfortunately, were not able to make any reservations, partly due to them being full and our laziness to find the headwaiter during breakfast to ask.
Sports Water sports
Scuba Cariba is located right where Caribbean street meets the beach. We went kayaking, paddle boat, snorkeling, and took a speedboat excursion. Not all the water sports are allowed each day, as they depend on the weather. Our catamaran was canceled because of excessive wind and rain in the horizon.
Kayaking – Be careful with the kayaks if you have never tried before, we never been kayaking before and ended up flipping over about ¼-1/2 mile from shore. I was not able to get back on the kayak and my foot got caught on the reefs out there. Very lucky that I was able to free myself and end up only with cuts on my legs and feet. My partner got a scrape on her thigh but was ok also. I ended up having to be rescued by the SC workers, who were very nice, probably because they were probably use to pulling dumb tourists out of the water.
Paddle boat – A regular paddleboat that you find at many different theme parks.
A little different with waves crashing over you but is a good experience.
Snorkeling – They lend you snorkeling equipment which you can use from the beach and swim out. I saw probably 5 fish, which is 5more than I thought I would see.
Good practice for our speedboat excursion
Speed Boats – This was the only water sport we did that we had to pay for. It came out $120 for two people and was about 3-4hrs in length. It starts off with them transferring you to another part of the island, which was about 15min by boat. We saw a lot of the other resorts that were further down the beach from ours. After they drop you off, you watch a short 5min video about safety and operating the speedboat. Then you hop on a bigger boat where they ferry you to your own speed boat; this was the most time consuming part of the trip as there were probably 40 of us, and each speed boat holds 2 people. If you were one of the first people on the speedboats, they would start it up for you and you can make circles to wait for the other people to get into theirs. You follow the boat in front of you and they lead you further down the beach and then back to this big boat where you get off and get snorkels and fins. There were A LOT of fish there. I had never seen so many fish before; it was like swimming in a giant aquarium. It was a very good. After about 30min you get back in your speedboat and drive back to your original spot. For the price, it might not be worth it considering you only drive for maybe 30min and snorkel for 30min. If you want to see fish you might as well just get a snorkeling excursion, which is cheaper. For us, I wanted the thrills and my GF wanted the fish, so it worked out for us.
They have a bulletin board with all the activities for that day and the next. We didn’t go to any of them. We spent the time at the beach and were usually in bed by 9-10pm. Yes, pretty early, but we usually ended up at the beach before everyone else.
There is a casino that you will see when you walk out of Naiboa onto Caribbean Street. They had two roulette tables, two blackjack, and I believe two poker tables. I would not play the blackjack there. There are a lot of people there that do not know how to play, which is very frustrating for more experienced players.
There is also a disco right near the exit to Caribbean Street. Did not go to it.
There is a single store in the lobby, which we bought some things for. Prices surprisingly were comparable to those on Caribbean Street. Caribbean Street has maybe 15 stores. I went into a few of them, and ended up purchasing a cigar there. They also have a Spa there and hairdresser.
You can change money into pesos at the lobby. If you just use US dollars, you will end up losing a few cents here and there because a lot of places don’t carry US coinage. Also, stores used the 30 to 1 conversion rate instead of the
32 to 1 in the hotel lobby, but it comes out to like 3cents a peso, so not that big of a deal.
Eternal Spa on Caribbean Street. There massages were more expensive than the ones on the beach, $40 for 30min and $60 for 60min with the beach rates being $10 cheaper. Too expensive for my tastes, I will wait until I go to Asia for some $5 massages.
There are a lot of tours such as ATV, jeep safari and all that. We wanted to go see the city, so I talked to the receptionist at the lobby and he arranged a taxi to take us to Higuay. If you are going to the city, I recommend taking the Taxi. It is a lot cheaper than taking those other excursions and they show you the same sites. It cost us $75 for a little more than 5hrs for our own private taxi. The driver took us to all the sites and would stop wherever/whenever we wanted to. When we got to Higuay a little boy came and showed us the city, he spoke more than enough English to take us wherever we wanted and he knew where all the places were so it was very good. We gave him a $5 tip, which is a lot over there.
A very nice, but small hotel. Rooms are on the smaller side, and the hotel itself lacked some of the services you might expect from a 4star, but everything was found on Caribbean Street and the staff was more than willing to help you with anything you required. We had a very wonderful stay and only had a problem with some unnecessary remarks from some, unfortunately, Americans. We didn’t let it get the better of us, use to it by now, but a great place to go.
Riu Naiboa - Punta Cana
We decided to go to the Caribbean for our 25th Wedding Anniversary and after spending several nights going through brochures and several hours at the travel agents finally decided on the Dominican Republic.
As this was not only our 25th but also the 1st holiday abroad for 18 years ! (AND we were leaving the teenagers behind !) we wanted somewhere with a bit of luxury and pampering - we could not have chosen better !
From the moment we were met off the coach by the Management until the day we (reluctantly) checked out there was nothing to complain about in any way. The staff were happy and always friendly (I suppose my ONLY comment could be that it would have been useful if the travel agent/brochure suggested you know at least a little Spanish but you soon picked up the important bits, Cerveza, Ron, Pina Colada etc etc)
The room was comfortable, not luxurious but at the end of the day you use the room to change, bath and sleep. Why would you want all the trimmings here, I would rather the money be spent where I am enjoying myself not up in my room. It had a 4 bottle optic with Rum, Whisky, Gin and Vodka - refilled whenever you asked for it and a small fridge for the beer and Pepsi. There was also a safe where you could leave your valuables when you went out - very useful (have now bought one for home !).
EVERY morning the pool was scrubbed and suction cleaned, the sunloungers, of which there were plenty were regularly cleaned and there were always fresh towels ( you hand in a card which then gets returned when you give the towel back)
The restaurant was amazing, every night the Maitre D's and the rest of the staff greeted you as you walked in. The food was excellent with a wide range every night from simple salads to steaks- there were also 2 themed nights each week.
Near the pool was the bar with the most friendly staff (thank you Moises, Osvaldo and Yahaira !) who were only too happy to explain what they were mixing up and serving - there was also another small kitchen here and you could have everything from late continental breakfast to late night snacks.
The beach is about a 5 minute stroll down Caribbean Street past the local souvenir shops - also past the Riu Taino where you could use their facilities also at no charge - you could also use the Riu Bambu - about a further 5 minutes walk along the beach.
I cannot recommend this place higher and am already counting the days till next year.
Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions or want any pictures
We travelled to Hotel Naiboa, DR in the last week of May 2006. The flight was by Canjet, (sardine jet) very tight quarters, the lunch a piece of bread with a cold slice of ham and a pop. 3 out of 10. I must say they were very punctual no delays, on time
The hotel very nice a 4 star. The food and presentation excellent, no complaints. The beach a bit of a walk but we knew that, beautiful beach. The idea that one can eat lunh at hotel Taino or the Bambu, good idea.
Entertainment, poor a 3 out of 10. The young people doing the animation during the day are good at their jobs but they were also called upon to do the entertainment at night, not good. I cant understand why they dont hire live bands to do some entertainment and allow people to dance. instead they insist on having a bunch of of tourist who have had to much to drink , do the entertaiment.
I think the Bambu probably has the best entertainment they have a house band and the stage is open air. Someone NEEDS to look into improving their music and shows, lots of talent in the Island dont use the tourist for entertaiment.
Riu Naiboa - Punta Cana
I recently returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic and was quite pleased with my stay. I am a 20 year-old African American lady and went with my sister (21) and cousin (23, also a lady) and had an amazing time. We were there the 11th to the 18th of May 2006.
The Riu Naiboa was a beautiful hotel. Everything is open, there are really no doors, almost like a veranda setting. The reception staff was friendly and helpful (they spoke English)making check-in a breeze. The reception staff is made up of primarily men, so that was why we had thought they were helpful, but throughout the trip we noticed the interaction with all customers (both men and women). The staff would joke with the tourists and they really made our stay wonderful. Jose in particular was wonderful. It was about 4:30 in the morning and we had mentioned that we were hungry and he called the kitchen staff and had them make us sandwiches. We tried repeatedly to tip him and he would never let us.
We stayed on the second floor (they call it the first because the lobby is 0) and had a room with a view of the pool. Higher up the view may have been a little bit better. We had a view of palm trees, and through the trees we could see the pool, but we were happy with it. The hotel was extremely clean and always smelled nice. It is smoking allowed in the hotel, but since its so open, its doesn't reek of smoke. They have a fully stocked mini fridge and four different types of liquors (vodka, gin, brandy, rum) set up with automatic shot dispensers. That comes in handy if you don't want to pay for drinks when you co to Pacha (the disco). Although its on the resort drinks are not included there. Its only 2 dollars but they give you change in pesos and the bar gets really crowded. I loved Pacha. We went there almost every night staying until it closed dancing to the Spanish music. The men there are serious about their dancing and make even the klutzes look wonderful. They love to spin you when they dance and the music is really fast so you may get a little dizzy. On my last night there I had a little guy (he was probably 5'3" and I'm 5'9") who danced with me right around the time that the club was closing so the floor was completely empty. He spun me in so many different ways all around the whole floor. By the time that I was done dancing I was so dizzy. It was really fun though.
The pool was really nice. It was a good size with a volleyball net for water volleyball and two goals for water polo. There was a nice waterfall that we took pictures underneath. It really added something to the pool. The pool is beautiful at night, but it closes at 7. We saw a few people enjoying it at night. If you're not too loud and in one of the corners you could pull it off if you really want to.
There is always music playing, and we feel in love with the island music. We all brought CDs to listen to when we got home. I've been back for a week and its still all that I've been listening to. The staff is really happy and will often be singing the songs while they work and doing little dance moves. It was really nice.
The food was great. Every night there was something different to eat. There were no problems with any type of sicknesses. Each night there was a different theme (Mexican, Spanish, etc.) and some of the main dishes reflected the culture for that theme. They did still have some American dishes, but we tried mostly the cultural foods and were quite happy with them. We never made it to lunch in the dining room because we were always on the beach or at the pool bar at one of the other hotels. Each hotel has a little outside snack area where you can eat in-between meals. The Riu Naiboa had the Bachata Bar and we ate there almost everyday. The food there was delicious. For our plan we got two nights to go have a special fancy dinner and we had ours at the Steakhouse at the Riu Palace. It was a quiet dinner and a nice atmosphere. The staff at the Palace were a lot more reserved and proper. At the Naiboa they would shout greetings fro across the room and were extremely friendly. They were still friendly at the Palace but definitely more reserved around the other customers. We were the last people to leave the restaurant, and when it was just the three of us, the wait staff became a lot more jovial, joking with us like the staff that we were used to.
The Animacion staff (they were like the activity coordinators during the day and put on shows at night) were great. They spoke a multitude of languages (I believe each one speaks at least 4) and most of the instruction that they give is in at least 3 of those languages. These people are energetic and really do get you involved with what they are doing. They had us up taking dance lessons, pitching horseshoes, playing table tennis, doing aerobics (both water and regular), and a variety of other things. They really want to make sure that everyone is having a wonderful time. Just a warning, they aren't as big on censoring the shows down there. Some of the subject matter (even though they may be speaking in Spanish) is not for the younger children. The shows are fun and hilarious, but as it gets later (closer to 10) you may not want to have the children there.
The bartenders were wonderful. A word of caution, they make the drinks really strong. It might have been because we were ladies or something because a lot of the men were saying that they weren't that strong. I have a high tolerance and actually had to ask them to cut back on the tequila that they were putting in my margaritas. I think that they went heavy on the alcohol light on the margarita mix, because my margarita was a very light green tint, almost clear, instead of the deeper green that I am used to. When the ladies made the drinks they were a lot more balanced. A few of the head bartenders would make us special drinks that were absolutely wonderful. They didn't have a name because they were off the menu and came in interesting colors. I had a blue one, my sister had a pink one and my cousin had a green one. They dip the rim of the glass in colored sugar so it looks really festive.
I've heard some people complain about the walk to the beach and I can't understand why. As soon as you step off the resort and walk for maybe 30 seconds, you can see the beach. Another minute and a half and you're there. Its a quick walk down Calle Caribe (Carribean Street) past some shops and the La Bamba bar (also great food). There are a ton of beach loungers down the beach and many water sports to engage in. The water is beautiful, (we have a lot of pictures of the beach if anyone is interested) a clear blue-green color going on. There isn't seaweed in the ocean like the oceans on the East Coast, but there is some weird little stick looking things that float around in the water. Its a little annoying because sometimes there's a whole lot of it at one time. There are topless sunbathers, but they're at the pool too. The Europeans also wear Speedos and a lot of them wore the Speedo thongs so it was quite different to Americans who are used to swimming trunks that come down past the knees.
The men down there are a bit different then the ones in America. They will shout at you if they think that you are pretty. They will make cat-calls and animal noises if they like you. Some people say that it is a problem but we didn't mind it. We had people taking pictures of us which was a little weird but they were tourists and apparently we look Dominican so maybe they wanted pictures of the locals. We asked one of the Animacion staff about the noises (they sounded like horse noises and pig noises and we thought they were trying to say that we were fat) and his response was "No they're just noises, when I saw you guys I thought you were Dominican and that's how we show our appreciation for beauty." Once they found out I could speak Spanish I became translator. They will tell you how beautiful they think you are and how they like you and all of that kind of stuff. Its really flattering.
I recommend bringing bug spray (Off! brand or something like that). I had a problem with mosquitoes. I ended up with 28 bug bites. My sister and cousin had 4 between the two of them. I don't know if it was something I had on or what, but I got chewed up. I didn't find any bug repellent until the second to last day and then it was 400 Dominican Pesos (roughly $12.50 in American) for a maybe $ 4.00 bottle.
It was absolutely wonderful. We met a lot of really nice people from other countries who spoke a little English (I speak Spanish pretty well, but my sister and cousin only speak a little) so we exchanged e-mail addresses so that they could improve their English while we improve our Spanish. On our last day we were definitely not ready to come back home. A lot of the staff was telling us that we should stay longer or at least come back the next year, and we are going to do that.
I would recommend this resort to anyone. Based on our pictures and the glow that we had, my parents want to go next time and I've had several requests for hotel information from my co-workers. I would give the stay a 10 out of 10.
Riu Naiboa - Punta Cana
Andrew and Jacqueline Holland
We went to Riu Naiboa from February 22 till March 8 2006 and had a lovely holiday.
The hotel room was fantastic, we had a room on the side of the pool with a large balcony. It was our first time at Punta Cana and we surely will go back there. The food and drinks are superb.The hotel is very clean. The staff was magnific and your drinks were on the table in no time. As soon as our waiter saw us, the drinks had been already served.
In the evening we visited "La Bachata", the pub near the pool, where Moises always was ready to make us a delicious fresh Banana Mama. In the two weeks we've stayed there, he and the rest of the staff became really friends from us.
Indeed, as we had already read in your reviews, the walk to the sea through the Caribbean street is only 5 minutes.
The beach is beautiful and the sea is really blue and the water is lovely. You can see the fish while you're swimming.
Also the animation team amazed us every day. We admired Mateo, Spaghetti, Sonia, Boom Boom and the rest. They were fantastic. Everyday we enjoyed playing water polo, Boccia, Horseshoe throwing, Beach volley ball and of course all the crazy games.
We, coming from Holland, can recommend Riu Naiboa to everybody and the animation of Riu Naiboa is muy muy bien.
Best wishes to everyone and see you all in Riu Naiboa,
Riu Naiboa - Punta Cana
Angela and Lisa Canada
Hi Debbie. I found your website to be very informative when I was planning a trip with my daughter. We chose to go to Riu Naiboa from March 4 to 11, 2006. What an incredible holiday. We travelled there with CanJet which I was very impressed with. When we arrived at the hotel we were issued our room and given a key. Now this room faced the front of the hotel and unfortunately it did have somewhat of a musty, swampy smell. I decided to check with the front desk to see if they had something facing the pool and ocean. Santiago, the gentleman at the desk, was extremely helpful. He handed us a key and told us to check the room out and let him know what we thought. This room was perfect - nice view and no smell. We gladly took it. Throughout our holiday he continued to check to ensure we were still happy. At the end of our week he even had gifts for us that he had picked up.
Although Riu Naiboa is not beach front property, it is a short 5 minute walk to get to the beach. The added bonus of having access to the facilitaties at the other hotels allowed us to continue eating and drinking at the beach without having to return to our hotel. There was also an endless supply of lounge chairs available. We also made frequent visits to the market down the beach. A pleasant 20 minute stroll was all it took to get there and we could pass hours shopping at this beach market. It was great.
We found all the staff there were so friendly and accommodating. My daughter was celebrating her 17th birthday on March 7th and the staff had arranged one surprise after another for her making it the best birthday she had ever had.
We thoroughly enjoyed the food. We ate all our meals at the hotel. Everything was so fresh and beautifully displayed. ! ; Every night there was new things to try.
The entertainment was outstanding. The staff were so energized every night. We never missed a show and even noticed that guests from the other Riu hotels (Bambu and Taino) were coming to our shows at Naiboa.
Neither my daughter or myself became ill at the hotel from the food. It was fantastic and we would strongly recommend this hotel to anyone wishing to travel to Punta Cana. It is rated as a 4 star but to us it was 10/10.
We will be going back there.
Riu Naiboa - Punta Cana
I stayed there in January 2006 and agree with everything that Gaile from Toronto has just posted.
It was a superb hotel and resort....the food, drink, pool, entertainment and staff were all great!!!
I even met a lovely spanish girl called LOLLY who i'd like to keep in touch with. She was staying in the Taino Hotel in the same resort.
This also looked a nice hotel....big up the RIU's!!!
There is so much to do and everyone there makes sure you have fun and enjoy yourself!
Cant wait to go back.........if your thinking about booking this hotel......stop thinking and just do it.....u will love it!!!
We just returned from the Riu Naiboa in Punta Cana and to say that everything was perfect is a gross understatement. This was my third visit to Punta Cana and Moms first. This Resort was a first for both of us.
We got to the airport in Toronto a little early got the seats we wanted and other then the flight being about a 1/2 hr late it was comfortable and standard. No Drama at all - really the best you can ask for from a charter flight.
Our transfer to the hotel was smooth and organized. There is mention of the porters that want to take your luggage to the bus... Going in you may want to let them as you have to take your luggage across a very rough pot holed parking lot that wreaks havoc on the wheels of your luggage. Its not necessary but they have trollys that will save your luggage. But you do not need them from the bus to the line for the airport on the way home - they! seem to be more aggressive and pushy on the way home.
We got to the hotel and check in was smooth and Instant an explanation of what was available to us and where we would find it was given and a description of all the hotels have to offer. All this was done in English. In my past resorts I have always had to rely on Spanglish to get by - their bad English vs my horrible Spanish. Its usually fun to try and communicate in a different language but there was no need for that here. Every person I came into contact with was able to speak basic English, French, German, Dutch and Spanish. Many of the people here are fluent in many languages. Very Impressive.
The beach was gorgeous!! It was a 5 minute walk down Caribbean street through the Riu Taino. Lots of room many chairs, well groomed. there was even a shipwreck out on the reef. The beach was a little rough but once you were in it was nice to swim in... but my usual habit of pulling my chair into the shallows of the water was ill advised or I might have arrived home a week early.
There was always something to do there - shopping along Caribbean street, Ping pong, darts, aqua aerobics, horseshoes, bocci beach volleyball, plus whatever water activities were available at the beach. We were never bored once. If you are a joiner and like activities there are all kinds to do. There is Siesta between 1-3 pm where nothing is going on and there are special activities throughout the week - like the pool party.
There was never a shortage of towels either beach or in the rooms. If you use a face cloth be sure to bring one... they are not provided there. The rooms were normal hotel rooms but have been trimmed out in beautiful wood. All the trim around the dressers and mirrors was nice. I usually don't care about the rooms to much as we are only there to change, shower and nap but they were very nice. There were some reviews that mentioned a smell to the Naiboa from the swampy parts. Sometimes there was a bit of a smell but at no time was it offensive or over bearing. It wa! s like an outdoors smell - don't really see the big deal. The rooms were kept spotless and the fridge was well stocked. We tipped the maid and left her some school supplies and toiletries.
The food was great. I am among the pickiest worst eaters around and I don't like veggies, rice, beans, seafood or saucy casseroles. If you cannot find something to eat at this resort you have more problems then I do. Ya its a little repetitive but so what - it was hot fresh and good. The Mexican night was my favourite everything was great. Who cares? your on vacation!! As we had the same waiter every night we always left a tip and as soon as he would see us come in our drink order would be waiting for us at the table. Excellent service all around.
The best thing about this resort is the people and the staff. The animation Staff were the best I have ever encountered. Each of the resorts have their own staff and they are not changed around between the other resorts. We went to the Shows at the Naiboa, then one night we went to the Taino to see their show. There wasn't as much audience participation and energy from the team. We were there 2 weeks and the same show came to Naiboa in our second week and the same show (Dominican Folklore) was 100% better with our staff accenting in between the numbers. Every night the shows were put on and hyped up. I cannot say enough about the people that are involved with entertaining guests at this Hotel. Salami, Boom Boom, Sonya,! Mateyo, and Mondella all worked so hard and kept us entertained for 2 weeks, then in the last couple of days Spaghetti and Isabel came. These guys work so hard form early in the morning until 11:30 or so when the shows finish.. Then go to the Disco!! Where do they find the energy??? Also these guys all speak many languages. The MC's for the shows rattle off 5-7 languages when they are introducing something and don't even flinch when changing languages. Its amazing!
Just a side note - If you love to dance and need a resort with a good disco.. this one has it. There are 4 resorts worth of people coming there at night and pretty much every night is a party. Drinks are extra.. but who cares you've drank all day!
In Closing, this has been my favourite vacation, better then the 2 in Punta Cana and better then the Beaches in Ocho Rios.. I had the best time and I cannot wait to go back.
Hello out there. It's taken me a really long time to get a review made up for our most recent trip, but when you leave for a week you know nothing got done at work whil you were gone. Before I get into the trip details, let me just say that we've been to the Merengue twice now and loved it. However after experiencing this place I can safely say that we will likley not go back to Puerto Plata. We Stayed at the Naiboa March 29-April 5, 2005 with 4 friends.
I came down with a head cold 2 days before leaving so that sucked but I lived. Early AM flight out of Ottawa, nothing too exciting to report here. We had to stop over in Puerto Plata to pick people up and drop some off. This was a little annoying especially since we were delayed leaving because some lady who had Asthma issues was having some attack and she left all her meds in her luggage so we had to wait while they unloaded everyones things to look for her meds.
The Airport was beautiful. Really easy and quick going through to baggage claim. One little tip is that when you get out of the airport at the front, turn to the right and get a Presidente for about $1.50 (Super Ice cold and very refreshing)
It was beautiful. I didn't like the lobby at first because I think the lobby at the Merengue was nicer but it grew on me really quick. The Pool was incredible and the scenery was lush and green. I don't understand why people complain about the the rooms. They were more than adequate. I seriously only spent a collective total of aproximately 6 hrs per day in there...at night sleeping. My only complaint was that the TV didn't work (I turned it on at night when going to sleep) and it took us 5 days to get something done about it. Whatever.
The bars were fun and we enjoyed the company of most of the bar staff. Big props goes out to my man OSVALDO. We tipped the regular bar staff very generously and maybe a little too prematurely with one individual. One gentleman in particular made my girlfriend feel very uncomfortable by continuously trying to coax her to sleep with him and when she refused he wouldn't serve us any more.
Had alot of fun with them. Boom Boom and Spaghettit rule. "CRAZY CANADIANS WITH LOTS OF DRINKY DRINKY" We always sat in front row at the shows and always had a blast. My fiance (we got engaged there) won the Miss Riu Naiboa contest. She's won the Mis Riu contest everytime we go to the resorts.
One night there was a Michael Jackson show which as good as they were, I really could have done with out the whole night being dedicated to the man. At the Merengue, they had a Michael Jackson show but half of it was a magic performance so we were a little disappointed with this.
The party on Carribbean St. was fun but very crowded and one of the guys tried to make us pay him for taking a picture of his products.
I really don't understand why so many people feel the need top gripe about the food. It was great. We ate at the sitdown dinner (Steakhouse) twice loved every second of it. The Mediterreanian restaurant was nice with a great view of the Beach and water. The Pizza was FANTASTIC!!!There is a huge variety there daily at the main restaurant. One of my friends is the pnastiest of picky eaters and she was still happy with her food.
One thing I was missing was Presidente Beer. The Last time we went to the Merengue that's the beer they served. Now they server something else (not a bad beer but not what I was dreaming of for the last 3 yrs). Apparently Riu has decided to pull Presidente out except for the Palace resorts.
Simply amazing. Nice beige sand (not white like some say) warm comfortable water and lots of things to do. We didn't do any tours but did manage to go Parasailing. It wa alittle expensive for the short amoutn of time you get in the air but was so awesome that i didn't care about the cost.
The pool is absolutely incredible. Nice and warm, was cleaned thoroughly daily and the waterfall was a nice added touch. Never overly crowded
I feel that I am rambling on and on. I could likley go on for a while still to tell you more about this place but I will leave my email address so you can contact me if you have any questions/concerns. firstname.lastname@example.org . This place is a 9.0+ outof 10 easily. I look forward to going back hopefully next winter but with the impending wedding i likely won't be able to. We are going to spend our Honeymoon there. Minimum of 2 weeks aiming for 3. Enjoy your trip I hope i helped
Riu Naiboa - Punta Cana
Cathy & Charles New Brunswick, Canada
We just returned from our week-long stay at the RIU Naiboa. This was our first trip to the south so I will admit that we have nothing to compare to. The first thing to note was we didn’t see one mosquito during our stay. We did take the malaria medication, however, no mosquitoes noted anywhere on our resort.
We stayed in room 2247 and I want to warn people that it was a “stinky” room. There is a swamp/rain forest right outside of our balcony and I think that is what was causing the smell. Regardless, we were never in our room. We went for breakfast around 7, went to the beach, got back to our room around 5:30pm, changed, went for supper, watched the evening entertainment and back to our room. I will also say that we (Charles & I) are really easy going people and not ones to complain. What the resort had to offer more than made up for our room smell!
I’ve read about the “long” walk to the beach from the hotel….these people apparently never walk….period. At the most it was a 5 – 7 minute walk. Considering you are eating, drinking and lying on a beach all day, 14 minutes of walking each day wouldn’t hurt! The Naiboa was “extremely” clean, the staff is amazing (how you could be that happy all day and night is beyond me) and the hotel is nice.
Breakfast was the best meal because it had all of the standards; bacon, sausages, eggs, pancakes, etc. Again, the people who complained about runny eggs…..why didn’t they ask the chef to cook them longer? He was doing that for lots of people who don’t like runny eggs, no problem. I think people just need reasons to complain and are petty people. We always ate lunch at the Taino resort because it was next to the beach and supper was fine, lots to choose from although nothing tastes like home…why?....because you’re in another country! And yes, we did get tired of the food, however, when I stay in Toronto for a week and eat out three times a day, I crave home cooked meals.
The beach was phenomenal! If you like to snorkel about 50 feet from the shore there is a great coral reef. We fed the fish bananas and there were hundreds of beautiful fish all around you. I remember a woman on the reviews complaining that the water got too deep too fast, all I have to say is “are you kidding me?”
The animation teams at all of the resorts were beyond belief. Happy, friendly, energetic and hilarious. Bartenders are also fabulous. Hey Jose and Oswaldo if you’re reading this. We went to “Crazy Night” at the Naiboa and I’ve never laughed so hard. They are a hoot. The people who complain about the evening shows should be going to Vegas or Broadway if they are expecting professionals.
I would definitely recommend this resort but the next time we go we would stay at the Tiano instead of the Naiboa because of the “stinky” room.
Relax and enjoy your vacation.
Riu Naiboa - Punta Cana
Trip dates – 02/26-03/04/2005
Location – Riu Naiboa – in the RIU Resort complex
This was a first trip for our family of 4 to the DR – We booked online thru Orbitz and basically picked what appeared to be the best deal for the time frame and guest roster (2 adults 2 children aged 6 and 8). Our total package for 6 nights including round trip airfare from Philadelphia was about $2800 – I thought this was a great deal and overall we were very satisfied with the trip. Travel - The flight down was uneventful on a pretty full plane and it was about a 4 hour flight from Philia (the DR is in Atlantic time zone – 1 hour ahead of Eastern). Getting thru customs was very simple and since we had not booked thru a tour agency, we had to get our own transport to the Riu complex – no problem getting a taxi which was $24 to the hotel. The airport is very modern and well run and takes many full size jets from multiple carriers per day.
Hotel - Check-in was swift with very friendly people and our room, while not elegant, was fine for the 4 of us in a double bed with 2 adjacent singles – kind of tight, but very clean. We ended up basically sleeping and cleaning up in our room and outside the rest of the time. Our sheets and towels were changed every day and the room was thoroughly cleaned every day, with the little towel sculptures put on the kids beds.
Virus / Illness - Of course, I had heard about not only the malaria “outbreak” but also the Norwalk virus problem, particularly at the Rius. Our doctor and pediatrician both advised us NOT to take medicine for Malaria, since we were not intending to go into the jungle and we were only to be there for one week. Their thought was that the risk was low and possibility of side effects high, especially with the kids. I was much more concerned with all of the stories of that virus going around, and I didn’t even tell my wife, since I thought she would cancel the trip or force a location change, a major headache using an online booking agent. We packed antibiotic wipes, purell hand cleaner. Imodium, pepto bismol, etc. etc., and constantly warned the kids to not drink the tap water or put their fingers in their mouths (6 year old is a thumb-sucker).
Cleanliness - I am happy to report that the Riu resort was exceptionally clean – probably the cleanest place I have ever stayed; I don’t know if this is standard procedure, a reaction to the virus reports, or what since we have never been in the DR before, but here is what I observed at the Riu resort: they have a person cleaning all of the public restrooms on a constant basis. At the pool bar restroom in Naiboa, all floors, fixtures, sinks, counters, etc. were cleaned, disinfected, and decorated differently EVERY time I went in and I was drinking a LOT of beer. The pools are shut down every night at 7pm or so and serviced nightly – you could smell the fresh chlorine every morning. All restaurants and bars are cleaned throughout the day and completely serviced every night for 2 hours. All food, condiments, etc. is discarded and fresh is prepared every night. Not one of us ever had a problem with our stomachs for the entire trip. I heard not a single complaint of a Norwalk Virus our entire stay. Any illness I observed was directly related to the over consumption of alcohol.
Service – We just had a great time with the staff of the resort. Most staff speak passable English, German, French, AND of course excellent Spanish, which is a lot more than me. If they can’t understand you, they will get someone who can. The staff was absolutely marvelous with our 2 daughters – I just can’t compliment them enough. The girls wanted to go to the different bars every day just so they could say hello to Reyna, Osvaldo, Arsinio, Alexander, Pablo, Paulo, Luis, Freddy, etc. etc. They truly cater to your every need – sort of like the great service you get on a better cruise line.
Food – food was just fine and there was plenty of it. The Riu resort has 5 or so different hotels, ranging from very classy 6 star “palace” level, 5 star “Club hotel”, and Naiboa was a 4 star “family” hotel. The food seemed pretty much the same in the 4 and 5 star hotels (not allowed in the 6 star without a wristband). The seated dining is probably a notch below seated dining on a better cruise line, but the buffet style is about the same. If you can’t find something enjoyable to eat, my opinion is you must be a very picky eater. Our 2 girls all enjoyed the soups, sandwiches, hot dogs, French fries, pasta, fruit, etc. They thought the food was excellent, and so did my wife.
Activities – they Rui always has something going on and they like to keep it fun, and lighthearted. Their “Animation Stars” staff was great – sexy but not overly lewd. Fantastic dancers who really like to have their guests have a fun time. They had an afternoon Fiesta in the pool bar with great food, dancing, etc. They have an evening Carnival on Thursday nights on the Caribbean street (the shopping street that cuts through the complex), but the one and only rain we had washed this out with a 40 minute downpour.
Security – I assume the other resorts are like the Riu, which is basically a gated community so there is plenty of security, but very unobtrusive. We locked our ID in the room safe, but had no problem with cameras, personal items, cash, etc. in the bars or at the pools r beach area. My wife left her purse in a bar one night and it was intact behind the check-in counter the next morning.
Beach – very clean, lots of recliners, lots of very pretty ladies getting an overall upper tan. My daughters were amused at first but soon paid the topless bathers no attention. I more than made up for them.
Special Activities – the stuff you pay extra for – can’t comment since we didn’t do any of it.
Tips – Americans and Canadians are “special” in the eyes of the staff since they tend to tip. Of course, you don’t have to tip at all, and you will still get excellent service. Some Europeans tip, some don’t – it’s just up to the person. In my personal opinion, I like to tip for excellent service, so I gave a few $ per day to the better bartenders, the fellow behind the check-in counter who took care of our every need (I asked for a few extra beers for the room fridge, and he sent up a case), and our cleaning lady. They were VERY appreciative.
Rudeness – I had been seeing a lot of discussions on the boards about rudeness of Europeans, and all I can say is that is a load of bull. The Riu had lots of German, French, Spanish, Italian, Canadian, and American guests – Everyone got along just fine other than 1 or 2 loudmouths due to excessive drinking (1 American 1 European) I just didn’t see a problem here at all.
I would highly recommend the Riu Resort in Punta Cana to anyone – we had a fantastic time and intend on going back next year. For those worrying about the illnesses, I can only say be sensible, grab lots of sunscreen and go enjoy yourself – you are missing out on a great time if you don’t.
Riu Naiboa - Punta Cana
Prior to traveling to the Dominican Republic for the first time, I read some of the reviews that were posted here in Debbie's reviews by other visitors. There were so many different reactions and I was excited, disheartened, and ambivalent all at the same time. To put my review in context, one must first know more about me and the details of my trip. I am a 28 year old female who was traveling with my best friend who is 34. We are both African American and from Ohio, USA. We booked our trip at the last minute through Fare Deals/Vacation Express as a celebration of my friend's birthday. We flew out of Cincinnati on Friday, February 25, 2005, stopped over in Orlando/Sanford, FL and arrived in Punta Cana Friday afternoon for our 4 day/3 night getaway.
We stayed at the Riu Naiboa. Many of the others on this website who had visited the hotel complained that the hotel was 3 star at best, although it was listed as 4 star. I had NO complaints about the hotel. The staff spoke enough English to meet our needs. I also brushed up on my Spanish before traveling, which was extremely helpful because we made many friends while in Punta Cana since we spoke a little of the language. The hotel room was clean and the mini bar in the room was lovely! Always plenty of free drink--alcoholic and non-alcoholic! They insist on being of service by delivering our bags to our room (in the States, we carry bags twice our weight to our rooms, and no one EVER lifts a finger to help). Most people didn't expect tips for their service, but were very grateful to receive them. The people there make so little money ($250 a month when working a good job such as in one of the resorts, we were told by a native...and the cost of living there in some ways is comparable to L.A. or NYC) so not to tip would be incredibly cruel. Check-in was quite easy. When our group arrived, we were asked to fill out a card and given our room key, safe key, and towel cards.
The tips that we received from this website were very valuable. I purchased little knick-knacks...make up, crayons, toy cars, bouncy balls, scented candles, decorative soaps and candy (little stuff from the dollar store) for the maid and her children (if she had any) and left them as tips along with a few dollars each day. She was so grateful and we always had beautiful fresh flower creations in our room after it was serviced. Whatever you do...do NOT put the tap water in your mouth. My friend had never traveled outside of the States and made that mistake. She had a little trouble with diarrhea the whole time we were there. They provide you with a large bottle of Dasani bottle water each day in your room (I prefer Aquafina, personally), but that is actually bottled in the Dominican Republic which I thought was funny. The bottled water didn't harm me, but my friend swore that that water was not good for drinking either. Summary: bring your own bottled water; I'd meant to, but I forgot to pack it. I also started taking two Pepto Bismo caplets twice a day before my trip and throughout the duration of my trip. The only stomach upset I had was after eating the milk on my cold cereal. And on to the food...
I'm a very finicky eater, but I will say that there was variety to the food. The food is European cuisine which doesn't really appeal to me much, but I was able to find something to eat everyday. The eggs for breakfast were extremely runny, but if you can find someone to translate for you, they are more than willing to cook them a little longer to accommodate your tastes. Beware of the orange juice...it's more like Tang (powdered orange drink). I love calamari...they had it on the buffet every night for dinner in one way, shape or form--fried, baked, broiled. But honestly, I didn't recognize 2/3 of the food on the buffet because it was European. I will say that as a Generation X American, I was desperately craving a hamburger by the time it was time to leave.
The pool is beautiful and there seemed to be lots of activities going on there...I wouldn't know. I was looking for something a little more exciting and adventurous. Vacation Express's subsidiary, Coco Tours offered a large number of excursions to choose from. Since the vacation was all-inclusive, it freed up my funds to do some other things. The second day we were there, we went swimming with the dolphins at Manati Park. I thought the excursion was over-priced @ $70. This included the $25 admission into the wildlife park and the dolphin swim. The dolphin swim was very short, but it was sooooo much fun. We got some great pictures.
The second day of our trip/Saturday night, we ventured outside of the Riu complex, caught a cab with a few others from the States and went to a night club (Discoteca) called Mongu. It was really nice if you like loud, smoky clubs and lots of dancing. The cover was only $5 and the tequila shots were about $5...comparable to here in the Midwest. At Mongu, they played mostly Merengue and Bachata, but actually mixed in a little Hip Hop and Reggae. The party never ends there. I left at 4am only because the rest of the group I was with was leaving. I heard that the party was still going on there at 6am!
On Sunday morning, we went Parasailing. It was awesome. There is an excursion group company called Caribe Tours who have a stand right down on the beach. They sell all types of excursions as well. It was $85 for the two of us (so divide that in half). That afternoon, we went on the best excursion ever! We went snorkeling and swimming with sharks/stingrays. This was called Caribbean Festival. We went out on a mini cruise where there were dancers (one exceptionally cute one named Leo who made me want to learn more Spanish very quickly!) and complimentary drinks. We made two different snorkeling stops and played some pretty fun group interaction games (one of which I plan to introduce to my own staff). After snorkeling, we even played a drinking game with mamajuana that they provided. Drinking games are always fun. Later that night, we went to the Discotecha there on the Riu complex. I think it was called Paccha. It was ok. Nowhere near as exciting as the Mongu, but played similar music. It started to thin out around 4am. Eventhough it's on the Riu complex, the drinks there are NOT free, so take money with you if you want do drink and don't feel like going all the way back to your room to get the free stuff. We actually ran into a few of the locals there because it's free and they only have to pay for drinks. We saw two of the dancers from the earlier excursion and a few others that we'd met while they were working around our hotel.
I've vacationed in the Bahamas (Port Lucaya, Grand Bahama Island), but the Bahamas had absolutely nothing on Punta Cana. The people in the Bahamas were not as friendly as the people I met in Punta Cana...and the people in the Bahamas actually speak English. I think we met so many people because most of them thought we were Domincans because of my very fair and her caramel skin complexion. They would approach us (mostly men...and really cute ones) and begin speaking Spanish. I would respond in Spanish as much as I could and then when I didn't understand, I'd just tell them 'No Comprende'. Then they'd usually ask in astonishment "habla Espanol?" and we'd just tell them "No. Hablo Ingles". Those who could speak any English would try to accommodate us. The men gave us so many compliments while we were there. We had the biggest heads by the time we were ready to leave. The women are respectful, but not as friendly (I guess they don't like to see their men falling all over the tourists...I can't blame them). We spoke to them too, but it seemed like it almost killed them to speak back.
We didn't really venture out to the other hotels in the complex. We really felt like we had all we needed at the Naiboa. Also, we kept ourselves busy with the excursions we went on. Just a rule of thumb...don't buy into the slow life/island time stereotype. When you book excursions and they come to pick you up, often times, they are EARLY and they DON'T wait. For one excursion we were told to be at the bus stop at 12:50. We got there at 12:30. The bus came at 12:40, picked us up and left. They drive like bats outta hell, which I don't mind...I do too. But I really thought that I would have seen at least one person on a scooter get creamed by a passing bus. The excursions were some of the best experiences. Maybe if we'd booked a 7 day trip, we would have visited the other hotels, but we were intent on packing as many activities as possible into 4 days. Our hotel room was only for sleeping. And speaking of which...our room had one full sized bed and one twin bed. The twin bed mattress was extremely hard...just a warning.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me: email@example.com. I'll be glad to answer any questions anyone might have. Happy vacation!
Riu Naiboa - Punta Cana
Bonnie, Ersilia, Santino & Walt Canada
Our group, two married couples all aged in our 50’s, vacationed at the Riu Naiboa hotel which is part of the Riu Resort five hotel complex about a 35 minute drive (22 miles) south of the Punta Cana airport on the eastern shores of Dominican Republic.
In order to provide some background to our comments, it should be noted that we are seasoned travelers and take a bit of a non jaded/realistic approach to evaluating the locations we go to. We do not mind paying top dollar, but do look for high quality and honest value, not just fluff. Our group has traveled together on over 10 trips that include many destinations within the USA , Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Hawaii, plus multiple trips to Europe (mostly Italy & France). One couple has lived and traveled extensively in the southern USA and South America plus both couples have traveled many times in North America with their respective families. Three of our group were born in Europe, so the global perspective does fit well within our comfort zone. By that I mean we do not look for everything to be just like back home, but rather see each destination as a unique experience and accept it for what it is.
The Riu Naiboa hotel is 4 stories high, has 372 rooms in a single building & is rated as 4 star by Sunquest & Riu hotel chain, but 3 to 3.5 star by most others. This is probably a reasonable appraisal, but the fact that one can utilize the facilities of three other hotels (excluding the Palace), makes the Naiboa effectively at least a 4 + star as far as value is concerned. The whole complex is laid out so that it resembles a neighborhood and that is what makes this unique & special.
Here are our experiences: Flight: We flew in from Calgary on Skyservice on November 25. It took about 7 hours. It was your basic long flight….. movies were ok and the food was acceptable. I must complement Skyservice on the surprisingly good service . This is an economy carrier, but the service was actually comparable to many of the full fare North American airlines that I have traveled with within the past couple of years. Few people were boarding in Calgary (Vancouver originating flight) , so check in was a breeze.
Hotel Check in : Check in was very quick & easy, but the crowd checking in was small so this should have been and was a no brainer. They had all the keys and towel cards etc on a table in the middle of the lobby. You give them your name and get the key. Yes, you do end up writing out the information again that was previously given. You then had to go to the lobby desk if you wanted a safe key. No VISA imprint was required as one would typically expect in most places.
Orientation Meeting: The first morning an orientation meeting was put on by the Sunquest/Alba Tours hostess. It lasted about an hour and did provide some good information, but even more importantly, a contact in case we needed help. It is a bit of a pain, but really should be attended.
Hotel: For a beach vacation, it was more than adequate. It is hard to talk of the Naiboa as a standalone facility, because this Riu hotel complex is integrated together so very well. In fact, we slept in our hotel and ate most of out evening meals in the Naiboa dining room, but that was pretty well it. Other than that, we simply treated the whole complex as a single entity and that made everything just great. Naiboa in general was clean, well maintained and well staffed. This is especially true when one considers the amount of traffic these places endure.
I have read negative comments about the distances one has to walk in order to get around which sounds absolutely incredible to me. We are talking of total distances of a city block or two, not miles like some would have us believe. There is absolutely no way that anyone should complain about this, unless of course one has some major physical limitations. If that is the case, this is probably the best resort that I have seen as far as handicap access is concerned. There were a couple of individuals in wheel chairs that were using both the beach area and the pool. The beach on the Bambu/Palace side had paved pathways and the Naiboa pool actually has ramps into the water, something I have never seen before. Again, a very well designed facility.
One interesting observation was that all the hotels in this complex put more emphasis on jazzing up their rear entrances ……. most likely due to the fact they face the beach & pool areas and the rear entrances are used much more than the front entrances.
The electrical receptacles use the North American 115 Volt standard, but the receptacles use the European type plug, so North Americans will need to bring a long nose 2 prong European adapter plug if you are to plug in any of your North American devices.
Rooms: We were given a garden view room with Jungle (swamp/palm trees) as a background. We asked for a room change and within 2 days they gave us a pool view. No problem. However, we did feel a bit guilty for doing this because we must have spent all of 20 minutes out on the deck over the next 12 days. Why stay on the deck when the facilities of the whole complex needed to be enjoyed. Same goes for the liquor supplied in the rooms. We only utilized the soft drinks etc in the room fridge. Rooms were clean and well maintained. Not fancy but more than adequate given the fact we spent most of our time throughout the whole complex. The maids were great and the fridge was generally filled up every day. A couple of bucks tip a day generally put a smile on their faces.
Food: This was a pleasant surprise. There was lots to choose from, and for the most part, everything was fresh and reasonably high quality. It got repeatative but most all inclusives do, especially on a 2 week stay. One big surprise was the pizza. In fact, if you could catch the pizzas as they came right out of the oven, I would challenge many of the authentic Italian pizzarias in Calgary, Montreal & Toronto to do better. They reminded us of what we came to expect in Rome and Naples.
Restaurants & Bars: There is a large buffet style restaurant on the main floor of the hotel. Reservations are not required for breakfast or lunch, but are required for dinner. A simple dress code was in effect for dinner only. On the first night, one chooses either the early or late dinner sitting and that becomes your time for the duration. Once each week, we asked the Matre’D to book us a dinner at the Taino and the Bambu which he did with no problem. We did discover that the menu was actually very similar and that we were not missing anything by dining at the Naiboa. Probably had something to do with common food preparation areas etc.
There are bars & snack bars by the Naiboa and other pools that are open during the day & late evening. Between the 4 hotels in the complex that you are allowed to eat/drink at, there is nearly always a bar, restaurant or snack bar open somewhere. It's all included in your package so you have no need to carry money with you if you stay on the complex (other than for tips of course).
Tours: We were glad that we took the day trip into Santo Domingo. It provided a good flavor of the real life in the Dominican Republic and the Christopher Colombus monument/ tomb was great to see. The cost of $130 US per couple was well worth it. Lunch was provided at a typical local restaurant and did remind me of that I was used to in South America …… all good.
The Beach : The beach was absolutely the best. Three of the 5 hotels in this complex have beach front property which is common to the facility as a whole. Riu Naiboa is not directly on the beach, but just a short 5 minute walk away via Caribbean Street. Many of the villas at the Taino and Bambu had a walking distance just as far, depending just where the villas were situated. The beach has very nice light beige sand & the beach is wide & long. What really makes this facility different and special was the finished paved stone pathways in from of the Palace and Bambu plus all the palm trees that provided shade for people like us who really needed it. It didn’t take us long to realize that this was a very well designed facility.
A large percentage of vacationers are European, the beach & pool areas do have lots of topless women. Not a big deal unless you want to make it so.
Pools: Each of the 5 hotels at this Riu complex has a nice pool & you are allowed to go to any of them except the "Palace Macao" Our pool at the Riu Naiboa was probably one of the best in the complex. As in most resorts, you are each given a towel card which you use as a voucher for a beach towel at your pool.
Entertainment: The staff worked hard throughout the day to keep guests active. There were excellent dance & exercise sessions on the beaches and the pools plus evening entertainment shows throughout the various hotels. Typically, after dinner, we would head down to the Taino beach restaurant for coffee and then wander over to check out the show on the outdoor stage at the Bambu.
Las Vegas this is not, so one needs to keep a sense of perspective when watching the evening entertainment. We must remember that the performers do multiple duties throughout the day so singing, dancing & performing in skits is only part of their duties. Add to this the fact there are many cultural differences among the guests and staff, little wonder that sometimes the entertainment does resemble the gong show.
Language Issues: There really wasn’t a problem. Staff at our hotel mostly spoke Spanish though most knew enough English to get by. Dominican Republic is oriented towards European vacationers who speak German, French, Spanish, Dutch etc, since Riu is a German Resort chain, but if you are from North America & only speak English, there should be very little trouble here. The staff at the front desk were very helpful …… their english, like my Spanish, was not great, but more than adequate.
Medical Facilities: Medical Clinic, Pharmacy and Ambulance were all located at the RIU Complex on Caribean Street.
Smoking: Note that unlike North America where smoking is not permitted in most public places, Dominican Republic allows smoking & many Europeans smoke, so this can be quite annoying if you're not a smoker. Having said that it was not nearly as bad as Sandals in Veredero Cuba.
Return Trip: Hotel was good enough to provide a modest changing room for the four of us so we could hang out at the beach/pools until late afternoon as the bus pickup time was 5:20 PM. This was a real win –win situation because we had a change room and they got our rooms at 9:00 AM to get ready for the next influx of check-ins. Actual hotel check out consisted of us dropping off the keys to the room & safe deposit box and the desk clerk simultaneously waving good by to us. No hotel statement to scrutinize, no VISA bill for extras, just good by. Even at our last all inclusive at Sandals in Cuba, there was some formality to the check out process ……. but not here. It just doesn’t get any simpler.
Check-in by Skyservice was quick & easy, flight took off on time and was just like the trip down……….very long, but good. We paid our departure tax and waited along with the rest of the crowd.
Note that prices at the airport are very high. One would be well advised to buy Rum etc in Santo Domingo or even at your Hotel rather than the airport. For example, I bought a 2 bottle pack of “Colombus Anjo” Rum at the tourist trap stop on the way to Santo Domingo for USD $10 while the same at the airport was USD $17 per bottle.
Value: Based on the reasonably good quality of the Naiboa plus the ability to utilize the whole complex as much as were did, overall I would give it a 10 out of 10. It was undoubtedly the best value for the dollar that we have experienced in a tropical getaway.
Negatives : It was a bit worry-some that there was a Malaria outbreak in Punta Cana and we were not informed. It should have been posted so one could have taken precautions by limiting exposure to mosquitoes.
Summary : This was a great vacation and excellent value for the money spent. After spending 2 weeks there, we actually felt that we were staying at the Riu complex rather than just the Naiboa. As I mentioned before, this really helped make the vacation special and served to differentiate this vacation from our other tropical getaways. If the Naiboa maintains the standard we experienced, I would not hesitate to go back. In fact my daughter and some of her friends are going in April during Sp