Debbie's Dominican Old Reviews - Don Juan Beach Resort
Don Juan Beach Resort - Boca Chica
Originally Mississauga, Ontario - living in Niagara Falls, NY
March 2008
Arrival and Flight
March 14, 2008, Sunwing 400. Our flight to La Romana was excellent. Sunwing staff were very attentive. I had an omelette on the way down with my glass of champagne. Sunwing, as usual, provides free earphones for the movie, but remember to hang onto them because they will charge you if you need a pair on the return flight. Attendants came by many times throughout our flight for pop, water, drinks etc. The return was much different unfortunately. The cabin was extremely warm, and we had kicking screaming kids directly behind us. The meals were either chicken or tortellini. We were offered wine with it and when my husband requested pop instead, he was told they didn't have it at that time. And no one ever came back with it. We received a drink of water just as the descent to Toronto started.

Our room was adequate. It was very nice and clean but location was poor. It was our 6th or 7th time there so I did leave a comment with hotel mentioning that maybe with the use of computers they could offer return guests a slightly better room. In my review from last year's trip, we had received an upgraded room which was beautiful. We don't spend a lot of time in the room so this was a very small problem for us. We could have requested a room change but didn't bother.

We didn't enjoy the a la carte restaurant last trip so didn't bother with it this time either. The buffet always had something good - we definitely didn't starve and actually gained about 4 lbs. Both of the pool bars had snacks as well. The one near large pool had pizza and the other near the conference centre had burgers, hot dogs and fries - all very good

Bars, three in total, (there are 4 but one of them I have 'never' seen open), were all good, well staffed and friendly. They have changed their beer from Presidente to Brahma. Unsure of reasoning for this.

Beach and Pools
Pools, especially the large one, was maintained fairly constantly. And the beach was as white as ever. Saw no evidence of the oil spill from two weeks before our trip. The beach on Thursday was quite crowded, due to Semana Santa but fun too. They had a huge inflatable Presidente bottle out by the reef, that took almost all day to inflate. They also had an inflatable 'castle' of some kind at the end of the beach, which had bars inside. Again, this was all for Semana Santa.

The grounds at the Don Juan were, and always have been, extremely well maintained.

Activities and Entertainment
We weren't as impressed this year as we have been in the past, with the nightly entertainment.

We did one tour, (a first for us), which was the Outback Safari. Very good but VERY dusty/dirty. We actually got back to hotel and got in the shower with our clothes on. The waterfalls we went to were beautiful.

Departure and Check Out
Very efficient and speedy.

We love Boca Chica and have for years, however, we are now thinking of a possible change in scenery for next year. This has nothing to do with our trip experience, just the fact that we have gone so many times. We have always been big Boca Chica boosters, and we go into town everyday at least once, for our cappuccino if nothing else and have never had a problem. Hint** Take candy for the shoe shine boys. We usually go into town once or twice at night for a change from the hotel. We have never, ever felt threatened or the slightest bit nervous in doing so.

There is a new cigar place on Duarte, across from the banco populaire. And what looks like a couple new restaurants. I saw a NY pizza place called Joey's (on Duarte also) but we didn't try the pizza, so cannot comment. Our cappuccino bar, (on Duarte, about halfway to Hamaca) is still there with the same staff, so we had our daily fix.
Don Juan Beach Resort - Boca Chica

February 2008
After reading the review posted in December 2007, I figured I would write my long overdue review.

I am Canadian, from Mississauga and husband is an American. We have both traveled extensively in our previous lives and together have gone to the Dominican five times. Our first trip was to Punta Cana, which we did not like. In 2004, we stayed at the Don Juan and love the resort and the village itself. I have never not felt safe there. In 2005, we stayed the Dominican Bay, and although we had a good time, found the hotel not comparable to the Don Juan.

In 2006 and 2007, we again stayed at the Don Juan. We walked through the village at all hours, day & night. There is an awesome cappuccino cafe right in the middle of town where we would stop every morning. The 2005 trip was with my two daughters and again, never once felt unsafe, even at night.

Last year in 2007, we even got an upgraded room without requesting or paying extra for it. It was fantastic and if treated properly, the service you receive from the housekeeping staff, restaurant staff etc is wonderful too.

We have never had a bad stay at the Don Juan. One year we had an ant problem in the room but a trip to the supermarket in town resolved that quick enough.
We must be weird because we even love the 'land sharks' (beach vendors). We buy cigars on the beach. And normally about mid-afternoon, I would purchase a plate of fruit from vendors as well.

There is a pharmacy on Duarte to the left of the resort, where you can purchase stuff you may have forgotten from home. They don't speak much English, but with our bits & pieces of Spanish we got by. This year I have been taking Spanish lessons and will be putting them to good use, as we leave for the Don Juan again on March 14/08. I won't wait so long to post after next trip. Hasta Luego!
Don Juan Beach Resort - Boca Chica

December 2007
I stayed here from november 2-9 2007. I will start buy saying that there was about 40 other guests at the resort. I like to talk with many people when I am on a holiday and this was not very easy do to the lack of guests. Many of the guests were from germany, france, austria, a few from America and many from the dominican republic. Most guests could not speak english or spanish witch made it very difficult to make friends.

The resort is in the town of boca chica and is not to safe. I did not feel to safe at the don juan. I have stayed at the hamaca witch is 10 minute walk east and find it much safer. The hamaca has a casino so there is much better security. I left early in the morning of the 9th and when I checked out the guard that is soposed to be watching out for guests was sleeping on a couch in the lobby. Not to safe ehh. The disco is full of hookers at night and when you go to leave there are hookers walking around the resort trying to sell them selfs. The don juan is the only 3 star resort I have stayed at and I can see the difference from 3 star to 4 star here. My advice is if you do plan to go here and want to have a good time, don't go in early november. The place was so empty that I was very bored. The only good thing was I never had to wait for a beer or in line for meals. I am not happy with what I spent to stay here. Would I return. Mabey if I could go in the busy season and got the package cheaper.
Don Juan Beach Resort - Boca Chica
Wil & Will 

January 2007
We spent a wonderful week at the Don Juan!

We are an easy going couple who rolls with the punches. High on our list of priorities is good food and for this, the Don Juan rates 4 stars! There was always a wide variety of delicious meats/ vegetables/ salads and sweets. Authentic Dominican dishes were offered at every meal and we discovered some that we loved. Hats off to the chef and kitchen staff! Burgers on the beach were excellent, but may not be to your liking if you were raised on “MacDonald’s” fare. Thick meat patties that you dressed yourself. The afternoon pizzas, served by the pool, were ok and popular.

The house wine was acceptable for the first few days, but seemed to change to something unpalatable near the end of our week. Beer was always good. Hard liquor, probably is watered down as I suspect is at most of these all-inclusives. One rarely sees a guest who is unbearably intoxicated, which ultimately is a good thing.

The waiting staff in the El Corral (buffet) restaurant was mediocre to good - good if you were in their line of vision. They need some coaching on scanning the crowd (ex-waitress here). However, it was no big deal, for the food is buffet style and the bar is totally accessible to patrons. On many nights a fantastic trio serenaded the tables; one of the guitarists was EXTRAORDINARY! And I mean EXTRAORDINARY!

The guests at the Don Juan were from all over the globe. We heard Italian, French, German, English, Russian and more. It made for quite an interesting volleyball game on the beach. Some of the staff spoke several languages and some spoke only Spanish. We found the staff warm and friendly, as all Dominicans are, when treated in kind.

I enjoyed the nightly entertainment on stage, the two nights we took it in. There are no pretenses to Vegas type shows (as you find at other resorts) but there was a lot of enthusiasm, genuine enjoyment and budding talent.

The hot water was tepid for the first two days and the maid service was erratic. Our room was gorgeous - a living room with separate bedroom (very comfy bed).

The beach was fantastic! It is enjoyed by both Dominicans and tourists as it is public. You may find the beach peddlars annoying, but they are licensed and this is their livelihood. "No gracias" three times is effective. However, against our tour rep's cautions, I eventually got into bargaining and got quite good at it. (Come up a bit from your lowest bid so that they can save face.) Only once did we discover that we paid more than what could be had in town...and it wasn't so much that we felt ripped off. Everyone has a story to tell and is interested in yours, including the peddlars.

We did two tours through our travel agent "Go Travel Direct". Not for the faint of heart, the "Gran Safari" takes you over rough, dusty roads into the interior, where you see and experience Dominican life and landscape. I hope you get our guide, Ishmael, who was a storehouse of knowledge and lots of fun! I highly recommend this tour. However, the tour to Santo Domingo was disappointing. We were taken to some extraordinary places, but our guide had little to say in the midst of a city rich in architecture and history. We expected and yearned for more.

If you are looking for a tourist compound isolated from the culture, if you want to be catered to exclusively in your own language, if you want a beach posted "whites only", the Don Juan is not for you. However, we would go back in a heartbeat!
Don Juan Beach Resort - Boca Chica
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
May 2006
Just returned from the Don Juan, on April 28th,2006. It was my first time to the DR and I travelled with my two daughters aged 14 and 8. From the moment we landed at La Romana airport, we felt welcome and safe. The 90 minute bus ride to the resort was an eye opener. To see the way these people live in their impoverished country was an education to myself and my children. We found the resort to be clean, and comfortable. We were given a room in the older section, which had no view but was acceptabe, except for the extremley loud air conditioning. I couldn't sleep with the racket it was making and finally had my room changed. It was a newer room and much nicer with quiet air conditioning. The food was excellent and we ate at the a la carte restaurant twice. The animation staff was a big hit with my children and we all enjoyed the dancing and the shows at nite. The beach is gorgeous. There are a lot of vendors on the beach but we enjoyed them. I think it would be boring to sit there all day and have no vendors, unless you are a complete sun worshipper( unlike us) None of us wanted to come home when the time came and I would definitely return to this resort in the future
Don Juan Beach Resort - Boca Chica
Bill & Wendy Bluenosers 
April 2006
We have never wrote into Debbie's before, because everything we had experienced at the resorts we have visited, had already been reviewed extensively by other travellers. Debbie's reviews are so important to our travel plans that only what vacation dates we can arrange comes next. To our surprise there was very little information on the Duan Juan Resort. We have used Debbie's reviews previously, to our advantage ,so now I feel obligated to sharpen my two index fingers and submit my wife's and my review. This is my first review so please take this in account with my awful grammar and rambling on.

First off we are 3.5 star, budget minded travellers. We have been to Cuba Quatra Palmas Varedaredo Santa Lucia Club Caracol Dominica Republic Playo naco Luperon and Duan Juan. Go Travel, because of there great prices, has afforded us the opportunity to travel once a year. If there are ten reviews on a given resort and five are for the resort and five are against, I know we will be part of the 50% that found the resort up to their standards.

The airport at La Romana to say the least is an unexpected surprise. This is a private airport ,so there is no unwanted people trying to get you to hire them to carry your luggage 50 feet to your bus. The bus trip is about an 1.5 hours but goes fairly fast with your Rep giving you all the details about your stay. You have to enter the town of Boca Chica to get to the Duan Juan Resort. This is an eye opener.

ON the bus they had given us our room numbers. At the receptionist desk everything went smoothly. Our room was not acceptable, complained, and we were given a nice room overlooking the pool and the beach with a balcony.

There was always somebody cleaning,whether it was the grounds or the leaves that fall from the trees into the pool. Our maid always kept our room perfect. We gave her money and various items my wife brought down to give away. This is my own personal opinion but I found the bartenders much more appreciative of tips than the bartenders in Varedaro. The beer was Presintinte? not bad. The rum, they don't know when to stop unless you tell them. The other drinks, well , they all start to taste the same after a while. The food starts at 7am and goes until 1or2 am. There is only one a la carte,good. Now if there is a a 3.5 resort with better food than Don Juan I haven't been there and I hope somebody writes in and says where it is at.

They have two pools. One medium and one small. Cleran. We really miss the fact there is no swim up bar. We always find this a great place to meet people and brake the ice. I have not been to Punta Cana but people that where there told me that they liked this beach as much as Punta Cana.

You are on a public beach. There is hotel security on the beach. The locals are mostly to the far right or left of the resort's beach area. They pass along the resort beach area to get where they are going. I heard people complain but I Don't find it a problem. Although I find It more itimitating to walk this stretch of beach than I would at Varadero. There is a breakwater. which makes this ocean part, like a huge swimming pool. You can walk out forever and never go past your waist. The Vendors,the RAVENDOUS Vendors. This has to be the number one complaint that I heard from vacationers, especially those ones that have only been to Cuba. I hav3e been to Puerta Plata and the vendors there seem to be milder. Having said that it is still the same game. The vendors are only allowed on the beach not the resort
If you don't want to be bothered don't buy from the beach until the last day. The price will be the same on the first as the last,in fact you will probably be wiser to the prices on the last day. If you are like me you will go from no gracias ,to no ,to a simple shake of the head. NEVER say later or maybe or I don't have any money on me right now. If you are as aggresive in your no's as they are in trying to sell, after a day it will diminish. If you decide to take a casual look,you've been warned. If for any reason you feel threated, just the mention that you are going to call security will send them scurring away. If you take it all in stride it is really not that big a problem.
If you take a right turn off the resort you will go into a street of small shops and grocery stores. At first we would only go with another a couple but after we got over the fear we made two or three more trips by ourselves,though I don't think I would try it at night. We actually got our best deals on the rum and vanilla at the grocery store.

Took a bus tour into Santo Domingo. I thought it was well worth the money . It included a lunch at a really nice restaurant. Heard a lot of complaints about the other tours. The entertainment at best is once you have seen it ,that's enough. There is a disco ,but we really didn't go,and I never heard any good comments.

If the price is a good deal,and you have adventurous nature with an open mind and don't expect 5 star at 3.5 resort. Why Not! We always try to go somewhere different but if this was the best deal we would come back.
Don Juan Beach Resort - Boca Chica
Sue and Jack 
New Brunswick, Canada
April 2006
My husband and I just returned from this resort on April 15. I have traveled the Caribbean extensively and must say that Boca Chica Beach is the BEST beach I have run into. The water is very clear, sandy bottom (no need for beach shoes), and very shallow because of the reef. The resort keeps their stretch of the beach very clean. It is a public beach however, and the Dominicans enjoy it as much as the tourists. The resort itself is nice enough for a 3.5 star. We had a room in the older section (Building 6). We had a view of the side gardens. The room was exceptionally clean and very spacious. Everything worked and when had a problem (toilet tank leaked) it was fixed in a matter of hours (this is amazing compared to other places I have traveled--where if things got fixed it took days if ever!!!!!). Rooms in the newer section are nicer and the Captains Club rooms are over the buffet and all have an ocean view---would recommend this option if you want to guarantee a good view!!! Some of the staff spoke excellent english while others tried--we found we could always communicate our needs and be understood.

The grounds are well kept. Beautiful flowers and the staff worked hard to keep the pathways clean. Food was adequate--not much selection---but we never went hungry---steer clear of hamburgers. Service in the restaraunt is none existent. (serve yourself--there is a bar at the back). House wine is swill, but other drinks always available. The security around the hotel was very good--always making sure the guests were okay. There are two pools--one big and one small. There are not many chairs at the pool but if you asked at the beach they would bring some up for you if you prefer the pool. Not many stayed around the pools as the beach is so nice.

It was nice being able to walk into town--I recommend you buy your souvenirs in town or on the beach. Coffee, vanilla and liquor is best bought in any of the two grocery stores we saw. We did not do the town at night but other people did and although there were prostitutes everyone said they were safe. We would have liked that the hotel provide a shuttle to the Casino at the Hamaca, as they don't we did not go there, but did walk through the hotel during the day.

We would recommend this resort to other travelers but not those who are expecting the Hilton!!!! We would love to return again especially for the beach. The vendors did not bother us in fact we like to look at what they have and talk to the natives. This resort is what they say it is 3.5 no better and no worse.
Don Juan Beach Resort - Boca Chica
Prince Edward Island
April 2006
If you looking for a cheap, relaxating, no frills vacation this resort if OK for that. I was part of a group of 20 who was at the Don Juan from Mar 30-April 6th. Weather was great and the beach was beautiful.

Rooms: clean and big;
Food: not a big selection but good tasting, only 1 speciality restaurant but it was excellent;
Beach: beautiful but lots of vendors but if you place you chairs by the water's edge, no one bothers you;
Entertainment/Activities: Next to none;
Staff: Pleasant but slow;

Overall a good resort if you are not expecting frills. I personally have been to other 3 star resorts and had a better time but this was my cheapest trip and worth the money ($699).