We booked our vacation at Iberostar Punta Cana thru Apple Vacations. With Apple vacations, our all-inclusive package included airfare, transportation to/from airport, $20 departure tax and room safe.
This was our first all-inclusive vacation. And to be fair, while reading this review you should know that we tend to avoid all-inclusives entirely and prefer to visit islands where you can rent a vehicle and explore the island on your own in safety. However for this trip we were traveling with friends celebrating a 40th Bday so we didn’t pick the itinerary. It was a very fun trip with our friends but it’s unlikely we would ever come back to the Dominican Republic.
According to our friends who have done several all-inclusives, Iberostar PC was a very nice, but typical all-inclusive resort. The grounds are beautiful and immaculately groomed daily. Lots of chickens roam freely, as well as 3 pink flamingos. Beautiful flowering shrubs everywhere, as well as fountains and ponds with large turtles.
Unfortunately, we had issues with the A/C in our room (#5039 – near pools and beach). We called 3 times to get it fixed. First time they didn’t even show up. Second time they showed up around 10:30 pm , fiddled with the knob by the bed, spoke Spanish on the walkie-talkie and then told us to give it 30 mins and it would be all set…which it wasn’t. Third time two guys showed up at 11:00, spent over an hour in the ceiling draining water into our trash bucket (and the floor), fell off the ladder and crashed thru our closet, and then as they were leaving told us it might be a “little better”. It wasn’t... it was worse! That night we had no A/C at all. In the morning I finally got fed up and asked for a new room. The guy at the desk gave me some attitude but we were finally given a new room (#6006 near the lobby) which seemed like somewhat of an upgrade, although now we were at the other end of the resort from our friends and this area of the resort tended to be noisier at night, with the band in the lobby right next door. But at least the room was cold!
We did two excursions – The Marinarium and the Imagine Nightclub. The Marinarium excursion was fun. They take you to a reef with an enclosed area where you can snorkel with nurse sharks and stingrays (optional), and you can also snorkel the reef outside of the enclosure. Then they take you to a natural sandbar where the water is waist deep and serve you drinks, play great music ,etc while everyone enjoys the water. Imagine Nightclub turned out to be a bust. Although they have several “rooms” on the map and in the description (sounded much better than it was), once we got there, it was only one tiny dancing area crowded with mostly young kids. They only played local/Mexican music which after hearing all week we were looking forward to some different music. I must be getting old because it was so loud that it just didn’t seem worth losing a year’s worth of hearing for. We decided to leave early and instead of waiting for the 4am bus, we took a taxi back to the resort ($20 split between 3 couples).
Night Shows at the Dominicana were lame. It was mostly in Spanish so we didn’t understand much… but it was mostly just a lot of silliness and bad karaoke. Again, maybe I’m just getting old but it didn’t seem worth staying up for. We didn’t get to the Disco at the resort which maybe was a mistake. Some reviews say it was a lot of fun. The guys spent a night at the casino. They said it was very smoky and were appalled to see a nearly 9 month pregnant women dealing at one of the tables in all the smoke.
A couple of us girls did take a walk down to the beach huts but we found that the vendors were too aggressive for our liking. However, one night during the week, all of the vendors actually brought their jewelry and other items to the resort. I am told this is common with all-inclusives. So you really don’t even have to leave the resort to go shopping. We also shopped in the lobby gift shops – a little expensive but nothing too outrageous.
The highlight of our trip was getting certified to dive. We did it thru Dressel Divers who is on-site at the resort. They were great and although there were some language barriers with some of the people in our classes, it was a great way to get certified in a short time period. They are very flexible with their schedule and you can adjust your classes and dives around your other activities thru the week. For our certification dives, we were able to dive with our friends who are already certified. We dove a reef and a wreck, both located very near the resort (15 min boat ride). It was kind of rough the days we dived so visibility was a bit cloudy. We could have done our dives in one day on the Saona Island trip, but it is an all day excursion and we didn’t want to be away from the resort that long. Although I understand that the water is much calmer and has better visibility on the other side of the island.
We had most of our meals at either the pool buffet (breakfast & lunch) or dinner at the Punta Cana buffet. Food was okay. Started to get a little old by the end of the week, but you won’t go hungry. More food than you could ever eat and many, many choices! I found that the best food was the items that they cook for you while you wait (omelets, some grilled items and the pasta bar) as well as the carving station. That was the freshest food available. Fruit was always good of course. We also ate at 3 of the specialty restaurants – the Oriental, the Steak House, and the French restaurant. The girls liked the French restaurant the best, but the guys seemed to think the portions were small. All of the restaurants were pretty good. Unfortunately we didn’t find the self-serve ice cream machine until the day before we were leaving. It is in the beachside buffet (Steakhouse at night).
Based on tips from other reviewers, we brought our own plastic mugs (thanks for the tips everyone!). I brought several of the insulated type with lids and straws ($3 at WalMart). They worked out great, especially for the frozen drinks.
$13 gave us 24 hours internet usage. Wi-fi available only in Lobby. If you have problems plugging into the outlets, don’t panic! They sell adapters at the lobby gift shop for $1.
***BEWARE: At customs, they hand you a very small Dominican Republic Immigration Form (printed only in Spanish - This is the same form that they give you on the plane to fill out which is in both English and Spanish) and tell you to fill it out in extremely poor lighting. Then when you can’t read it or understand it (it’s in Spanish), they tell you they will fill it out for you if you give them $5! It is a scam. We didn’t pay it. I wrote down a few things (not even sure if it was correct) and then handed it back to the customs agent. They didn’t even look at it. We traveled with two other couples. One couple decided to pay the $5, but the other couple refused as we did.
I know this sounds like a bit of a negative review, but I just thought I’d point out some things that we had problems with or didn’t like. All-in all we had a really great vacation with our friends and are very glad we went. If you like all-inclusive resorts than I think you will very much enjoy Iberostar Punta Cana!
Avoid Room #5039
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
26 May 2012
Dear guest PDinger,
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Thank you for taking the time to comment your experience at the Iberostar Punta Cana. In the name of the Hotel Manager, Ms. Kawana Polanco, we want to thank you for your nice comments about our facilities and about the variety of our food. We regret that our hotel could not fulfill all your expectations. In Iberostar we are committed to ensure a memorable holiday to our beloved guest. We are sorry to hear this was not entirely the case.
On the other hand, we apologize for the inconveniences related to the air conditioning. I have shared your comments with our technicians and receptionist so we can take measures to improve our procedures regarding the velocity to answer a complaint.
In case you decide to visit us again, please feel free to contact to help you enjoy.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC