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Gran Bahia Principie Esmeralda - dining, tours and transfer

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Gran Bahia Principie Esmeralda - dining, tours and transfer

Traveling to Gran Bahia Principie Esmeralda in November and looking for some recommendations...

We will be there 5 nights, which Ala Cartes should we make reservations for? Love Italian, Mexican/Spanish, steak and seafood.

We will be there for Thanksgiving, will any of the restaurants offer an American Thanksgiving dinner.

Any recommendations on private transfers to/from the airport?

We love nature tours, hiking, snorkeling, etc. any recommendations on tours and tour companies? Also does the resort have a tour desk.

Thanks in advance!

Punta Cana Mike's Private Dominican Adventure
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Brooklin, Canada
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1. Re: Gran Bahia Principie Esmeralda - dining, tours and transfer


In the event that others are reading this post that may be staying at the Esmeralda resort, it is worthy to note that guests of the Esmeralda resort may not use any of the a la cartes or other amenities of the adult only Bahia Ambar resort if they have children under 18 years of age in attendance.

Guests of the Esmeralda resort can dine at an a la carte each night of their stay and may also dine at the same a la carte on more than one occasion.

Here are the a la cartes available to you starting with the most popular.

The Don Pablo - gourmet - located at the Ambar resort

The Bella Italia - Italian - located at the Esmeralda

The Garden Grill - steakhouse - located at the Punta Cana resort

The Takara - Asian - located at the Esmeralda resort

The El Olivio - Mediterranean - located at the Ambar

The Portofino - Italian - located at the Ambar

The Mikado - Japanese - located at the Punta Cana resort (designated for Esmeralda guests)

The Sante Fe - Tex-Mex - located at the Bavaro resort

The El Meson - Spanish - located at the Bavaro resort

Olas lYll – BBQ – located at the Bavaro resort

Conuco – Dominican – located at the Premier resort

There will be a "special dinner" offered for American Thankgiving - likely available at the buffet and one of the a la cartes - just inquire when you email the resort at the address/link I will provide later on in this reply.

The main buffets at the Esmeralda offer a very nice selection of foods and are themed each evening as follows:

Monday ........ Española

Tuesday ....... Gala night - seafood galore - the most popular night

Wednesday .....Oriental

Thursday ... Italian

Friday ......... Dominicana

Saturday ............... Mexican

Sunday .......... American (Like BBQ - different meats)

The regular assortment of foods are still available, with the emphasis and displays put on the foods relating to the "theme" for that evening.

Here is the Bahia resort dress code policy for all of the a la cartes - this covers all of the 5 resorts in the complex - with the exception of the "gourmet" a la carte called the "Don Pablo" for the guests of the Ambar and Esmeralda resorts and the "Le Gourmet", which is for guests of the other 3 resorts. (Note - Esmeralda guests may not have children under 18 years of age in attendance when dining at the Don Pablo).

No bathing-suits or sleeveless shirts or open toed shoes - dress shoes or a nice sandal is acceptable. Dress shorts, long pants, long or short sleeve shirts for men are fine - ladies are good with shorts, capris, dresses, pants.

Here is the dress code for the gourmet a la carte's - For men, long pants or trousers are acceptable (including jean pants) - shorts or sleeveless shirts are not acceptable - long or short sleeve shirts are acceptable- no open toed shoes are permitted - dress shoes or a nice sandal is fine. For the ladies, any shoe is acceptable, but not swimming sandals - flip flops as they refer to them.

For the buffet, open toed footwear, including flip flops, dress shorts, pants are permitted for all meals including breakfast, lunch and dinner - bathing suits or sleeveless shirts are not permitted.

You will find that many men will wear a pair of kahki long pants to dinner and the ladies very often are dressed in capris or a dress. "

Below is a copy of a previous post I did on the Bahia resorts that may also assist you. It contains more information than you had asked for, including a map of the resort itself - good for you to look at as this is a large resort complex and it can save you time if you know what to expect and look for:

" Let me firstly provide you a map of the resorts in Punta Cana, so you can see where the Bahia resorts are positioned in relation to the other 100 plus very nice resorts that the area has to offer.


The different beaches which make up what is referred to as Punta Cana, are all shown here - the Bahia resorts are located in the beach area referred to as Arena Gorda Beach.

Secondly, here is the link to a map of the Bahia resorts in Punta Cana that I will refer to shortly.


There is a legend at the bottom of the map that will also assist you. The Esmeralda is located in the bottom right corner of the map link.

The Bahia resort complex in Punta Cana actually consists of 5 different resorts - all of which are 5 star resorts. It is the largest resort complex on one property in Punta Cana with a total combined rooms from the Bahia 5 resorts of 3,174 rooms - all room buildings are in 2 or 3 story high buildings (no elevators) and worthy to note that they all have separate private washrooms, versus the open-concept style commonly found at some other resorts - numerous daily & nightly activities with a large shopping and entertainment area on site, called the Pueblo Principe (map blue #14), which is exclusive to Bahia guests only.

Each resort has it's own lobby/check in, lobby bar, gourmet a la carte and main buffet, free wifi in their main lobbies, Water Sports Centre on the beach, where guests may book the non-motorized items such as catamarans (hobbie cats) for sailing as part of the all inclusive. There are a total of 15 a la carte's in the resort complex (reservations are required), 5 snack bars, 7 pools (all of which have swim up bars), & 2 jacuzzi pools - some of which are exclusive to guests of the Luxury Bahia Ambar and the Luxury Bahia Esmeralda.

The resort offers all guests, bicycles for on resort use, mini golf, tennis courts and tennis pro for those so inclined to obtain lessons at a small fee, beach volleyball, archery, soccer field, and a segway guided tour(which is at a small fee), throughout the resort, at the Sports Centre (map blue #11), Presidente beer in the mini fridge and robes & slippers in the rooms along with an iron & ironing board.

Also located at the Sports Centre is a "Fun Maker Park" which has bumper cars, sorb Ball, eco skating, F1 remote control cars race and some arcade games like Basket, air hockey, eco-ice skating surface, kikkers, trampoline apparatus and is open every day from 10am to 10pm and also is at a small fee for both children and adults. Babysitting service is also available 24 hours a day with no age restriction.

Lets start with the Grand Bahia Principe Bavaro resort

- 816 rooms - a family resort - lobby is shown on the map as the pink #1 - guest rooms are the white numbers 23, 25 to 35,37,39 and 71-79.

The Grand Bahia Principe Punta Cana resort

- 756 rooms - a family resort - lobby is shown on the map as the yellow #1 - guest rooms are building numbers 1-19, 20 to 22, 24, 36 & 38.

Each of these two resorts have their own upgrades - the Bavaro resort has an upgrade referred to as Club Diamond or as some tour operators will name it, Club Hacienda - these are room numbers 23 & 25-29.

The Punta Cana resort has it's upgrade called Club Golden - these are room numbers 1-10 and 20 to 22 & 24 - as you can see, the primary difference is the location to the beach, and there are some other benefits, which are provided below.

Both of these resorts are basically a mirror image of each other - all guest rooms are identical - the guest room buildings are primarily 3 stories in height with a few next to the beach that are 2 stories in height. They share all amenities including the pools - map blue #4,#18 & to the left of #17. All rooms will shortly have 4 poster canopy style beds, flat screen plasma TV’s, new styled sinks and rain style showerheads.

Here is what you get with each upgrade:

Club Golden available through the Bahia Punta Cana resort:

There is no difference in the Club Golden rooms to any of the other rooms throughout the entire resort - as mentioned above, it is the room location that is different - other amenities are 4 a la cartes versus 3 for non Club Golden rooms, 24 hour room service (no breakfast menu), Welcome letter and a bottle of rum in your room, beach towels, bathrobes and slippers in room upon arrival, turn down service at night, full access to the Royal Golden Club House, free printed press and Internet access at Club House, and a private lounge exclusive to Royal Golden guests. The cost of the room safe is not included – otherwise it is $4US per day.

For Club Diamond or Hacienda as some tour operators refer to it as, available through the Bahia Bavaro resort, is as follows:

Club Diamond/Hacienda rooms are closer to the beach and are building numbers 23, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29.

An exclusive a la carte for breakfast and lunch which is the "Santa Fe" (Tex - Mex). Private reception for check in and check out, 4 a la cartes (versus 3 for non Club guests) , Welcome Letter and bottle of rum in the room, bathrobes and slippers in room, 15 minutes of free internet access in the club house plus a 20% discount on all Bahia Spa services, turn down service in the evening and beach towel in the room which can be exchanged as required at any of the towel huts next to the pools. For those guests flying from Canada and using “Sunquest Vacations”, the room safe costs are included in their all inclusive price with the Club Diamond booking – otherwise it is not included in the upgrade.

Lets continue with the different Bahia resorts:

The Grand Bahia Principe Bavaro-Premier (As of Nov 1/14 will be renamed to the Grand Bahia Principe Turquesa)

- 504 rooms - a family resort - lobby is shown on map as the orange #1- guests rooms are building numbers 40-53. This resort is the furthest from the beach but is like a resort within a resort - very quaint and is available through selected tour operators. The new "Boy Scout" Water Park is near buildings #52 & #53 & is open from 8am to 6pm for children only ages 3 - 12 years and has the new “Fun Maker Park” located directly opposite it near the tennis courts at the Blue #11 – it is offers excellent value for children.

The Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar resort

- 528 rooms - adult only - lobby is shown on the map as a beige #2 – guest rooms are the beige #60 to 70. Offers all top end services the Bahia has to offer, including a larger selection of top shelf liquors, butler service (request when checking in), waiter service at the beach and pool, pillow menu, room safe included in price, robes & slippers in the rooms, beach towels in the rooms (no towel cards) and exchanged in the room with the nightly turn down service, unlimited a la cartes, spa, gym, private beach area directly in front of it's main beach pool, which also has 10 cabanas for shade and privacy, a "beach party” every Saturday evening at 9pm (weather permitting), nightly entertainment in the main lobby and room service 24/7. No other guests may use any of the facilities (pool, beach, a la cartes, main lobby, lobby bar, for example) at the Ambar other than guests at the next resort I will mention, which is the Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda - and they may only do so provided they do not have children under 18 years of age with them when using any of the Ambar resorts facilities.

Guests of the Ambar and the Esmeralda resorts may use all of the facilities at the other 3 resorts with the exception of their “gourmet” a la carte and main lobby buffets - that provides them a total of 8 pools to use including their own, throughout all of the Bahia resorts.

The Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda

- 570 rooms – main lobby is shown on the map as the green #1 and guest rooms are #90 to 96 - a family resort with the same Top End Services as I mentioned above for the Ambar resort, including a private beach area directly in front of their beach pool (without the cabanas), nightly entertainment on the pool deck in front of the main lobby, 2 buffets, a spa, 2 pools & an adult only jacuzzi pool, and the hallways of all room buildings are carpeted for further noise reduction.

The rooms at the Ambar and the Esmeralda all have 4 poster canopy beds, with pillow top mattress's and a slightly different large private self-contained washroom layout.

Within the confines of the private beach areas at both the Ambar and Esmeralda resorts, there is a small defined private beach area for "Privilege Club" members, which is exclusive to these members.

All resorts share the large shopping and entertainment area called the Pueblo Principe (map blue #14) which contains the Casino (drinks are extra there as it is not owned by the resort), disco, smoke shop, kareoke and sports bar, patio lounge, many clothing, gift and jewellery shops, internet shop, local vendors with their wares, an outdoor stage where a house band and audience participation nights are often held each evening as well as a special event with professional entertainers called "Caribbean Show" on Friday evenings at 8:30pm for a small fee.

There is an “Activity Listing” for day and night activities for each of the resorts, which is provided to each guest in their “Welcome Package”, which they will receive when they check in, along with their room cards, wrist bands, fold out pocket/purse size version of the same resort map etc., which I provided the link to above.

They also all share the large Tropicana Theatre (map blue #1) where the big nightly shows are held - two performances nightly during the high season - one performance at 8:20pm and the other at 9:25pm and one show in the evening during the low season at 9:30pm. The "Boy Scout Water Park" located near buildings #52 & #53 at the Bavaro-Premier resort, has a themed pool with many different games/slides - strictly for children ages 3-12 years who are guests at any of the Bahia resorts. There is also an overnight snack bar called the "Piscis" (map blue #7) that is open from 11pm to 6am - light snacks (burgers, hotdogs, french fries, salads, veggies, beer and wine) which is available to all guests.

The Bahia resort complex has a very efficient tram system, should guests wish to use it, that operates 21 hours per day(6am - 3am), but I can tell you that one can walk from the Bavaro lobby buffet (map pink #6) to the large beach pool (near blue #17) in less than 10 minutes, from personal experience.

Guests at each of the Bahia resorts listed above may also "request" room locations and a la cartes preferences prior to their arrival - the latter is highly recommended in my opinion in order to provide a greater opportunity of obtaining the a la cartes of your choice, versus trying to do so no later than the first morning after your arrival. “

This link will provide the details for emailing such “requests.


There are no shortage of reliable taxi's outside the airport as you exit the terminal. Just look for the drivers in the pink or beige shirts - Beron Taxi (beige shirts) and Siutratural (pink shirts) - their company names are always on the windows of their vehicles.

We also recommend a private driver named Franklin Rijio. Franklin works for the largest taxi company in Punta Cana - very reliable - if schedules conflict, he will easily arrange an alternative driver for you - very knowledgeable. Fluent in English, Spanish, French & some German. His rates are the same as those listed at the airport.

His direct number is 809.710.2708 and his email address is:


If you wish to have a few “cold ones” on your way to the resort, just mention this to Franklin and he will arrange this for you.

All resorts offer tours and have a special area for tour operators as well - here are my recommendations for you:

May I also direct you to the green band near the top of this page where it states "Things to Do" - click on that and when the next page opens, click on the "Activities" tab near the top of the page.

Here you will see many great tours available - from zip lining, to truly seeing the life style and meeting the people of the Dominican Republic through "Punta Cana Mikes Private Dominican Adventures" (a must in my opinion and one which not only cannot be booked through the resort or the tour operators, but will provide you memories that will last a lifetime - only in advance through this site - http://www.puntacanamike.com/ , "Extreme Buggy" tours www.xtreme-buggy.com

Catamaran/Snorkeling/Sailing tours at "Marinarium Excursions" http://www.marinarium.com/ as well as a deep sea fishing charter through "Mikes Marina" Fishing Charter www.mikesmarina.info/ or via email at mikesmarinafishingcharters@gmail.com and cannot be booked through the resort - only through this site, the "Macao Surf Camp" for surfing macaosurfcamp@gmail.com ,

and Dr. Fish Ocean Spa for a unique spa experience www.oceanadventures-puntacana.com/

There is also the Catamaran - Teresa where groups can rent a catamaran for 4-6 hours – great for snorkeling and a real party atmosphere : catamarantourspuntacana.com/catamaran-teresa/

Many offer half and full day tours and all will arrange for you to be picked up at your resort and returned.

Hope this does assist you.


Brooklin (Bubba King)

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2. Re: Gran Bahia Principie Esmeralda - dining, tours and transfer

Just came back from this resort about three weeks ago. Awesome resort but the Bahia property is large! I would suggest that you make your reservations in advance for the Ala Cartes, we did not do that and that was a mistake. Everything was booked so we only got reservations to the Italian restaurant and it was not very good. We did however sweet talk the lady at the steak/buffet Ala Carte, we gave her a sob story that we were lost and hungry (true BTW, LOL) and she turned her head as we walked to a table. It was okay but nothing to write home about.

We took a taxi from the Airport to resort - $40.00 each way, in my opinion that is the best way. We did not have to wait on anyone and we were at the resort within 30 minutes if even that long.

The Esmeralda was great and the staff was superb but since we had access to all of the resorts, we found out that we liked the Amber property better and if we go back that is where we will stay. The food was much better at the Amber in my opinion.

There are plenty of tour desk at the resort and the will get your attention! lol

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3. Re: Gran Bahia Principie Esmeralda - dining, tours and transfer

Thank you for all that information Brooklin, very informative!

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4. Re: Gran Bahia Principie Esmeralda - dining, tours and transfer

Thank you for all that information Brooklin, very informative!

One question you say no open toe shoes are allowed but nice sandals are. Does this mean sandals must be closed toe (for women)?

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5. Re: Gran Bahia Principie Esmeralda - dining, tours and transfer

the closed shoes reuirement is only for the Men.


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6. Re: Gran Bahia Principie Esmeralda - dining, tours and transfer

Hi LCameron. The closed toe shoe reQuirement for men isn't enforced so men are generally ok in sandals too



7. Re: Gran Bahia Principie Esmeralda - dining, tours and transfer

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