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Ein insgesamt gelungener Ausflug.
Der kleine Kulturtrip, bevor es aufs Boot geht, nach Altos de Chavon ist eine gelungene Abwechselung. Der Strand in Saona ist wirklich traumhaft, das Buffet-Essen ok. Bei der Rückfahrt auf dem Katamaran wird dann mit Musik und Tanz gefeiert. Es werden während der gesamten Fahrt regelmäßig Rum, Rum-Mix und auch alkoholfreie Getränke ausgeschenkt. Der Busshuttle zurück zum Hotel war dann auch dementsprechend ruhig, da sich die meisten vom anstrengenden Tag erholen mussten. -
Wir hatten leichter Abweichungen zur ursprünglichen Beschreibung des Trips. So sind wir mit einem Speedboot nach Saona Island gefahren und mit Katamaran zurück. Eigentlich sollten beide Fahrten mit Katamaran erfolgen, für die meisten Teilnehmer war die Fahrt mit dem Speedboot definitiv ein Mehrwert. Leider waren wir mit zwei kleinen Kinder 1 und 5 Jahre unterwegs, für sie war das natürlich eine pure Stresssituation und für uns dann dementsprechend auch. Ich vergebe trotzdem 4 Sterne, weil der gute Viator-Kundenservice eine mehr als akzeptable Lösung auf meine nachträgliche Beschwerde gefunden hat. Vielen Dank noch einmal dafür.
The boat ride there on the catamaran was pretty long but Saona Island was beautiful. We had plenty of time to explore and relax. Lunch was okay, probably not was I expected given the description and being told how good the food was. The downside was having to go pick up other people -- one family was over 15 minutes late to the bus. We were in the Bavarro area and so already had a long drive to the marina.
Truth be told this would probably be a 4-star review if not for one bad experience and we'll get that out of the way first. There was a photographer that is part of the crew that takes pictures lots of pictures. It was for this reason that we did not take very many as we had planned to purchase his photographs. The price of almost 90 is high but we wanted to have these pictures as we had a great time and help out the locals. When we got home we received a CD of music and NO PICTURES!!! We tried to resolve this through Viator only to be told that they were forwarding our concerns to their local rep and they have not responded. Originally we thought was just an honest mistake, but now we're not so sure.
On most excursions have the entire crew with you at pick up or when you embark, this one we picked up several individuals along the way that made it difficult to know who to tip.
Now for the excursion itself it was wonderful. Altos de Chavon is very interesting and beautiful, you definitely get a taste of culture on this part of the excursion. After spending time there it's off to Saona Island. We went speedboat out and catamaran back. On the way is gorgeous scenery and the stop at the sand bar was a blast. They have a crew member dive down and bring up starfish for you to see/photograph. They do a very good job of making sure that everyone has a good time. After about 45 minutes there we loaded the speedboat again and off to the island it was. Once we arrived they had a very nice lunch buffet prepared for us and a little hut where you can get your beer, water, rum and sprite or coke. Its a very relaxing time and a beautiful scenery although there are vendors there trying to sell you everything, but they are mostly respectful when you say no. We hung out with a few of our fellow patrons on the beach and playing in the water and it was fantastic. After about three hours it was time to head back via catamaran and this was a really good time. Daddy Benjamin WEPA!!! and J-Lo made sure that all danced and had a good time and of course the music was playing the rum and cervezas were flowing. The staff was engaging and a lot of fun and did and exceptional job. They offer you a bottle of rum with your picture on it for about 20 nice touch! Im not sure about the rums quality but it is something that we will definitely treasure for years. The party doesnt stop until you dock and then you head back to your hotel in reverse order of pickup. Once again since they do this with staff as well its difficult to tell who and when to tip if you are so inclined. All-n-all it was a great day and the only thing that ruined it was the picture incident and the lack of response after we inquired.
The tour was better organized than the trip to Catalina Island. Altos de Chavon was a waste of time. The only reason to go there was the view of the Chavon River. The speed boat ride caused bruising on my best friend's and my back. The natural pool and Saona were beautiful. The food was better than Catalina Island. The music on the catamaran ride back to La Romana was much too loud. My friend had to be given earplugs.
We booked this with Viator, and we were not pleased with their service. They changed our pickup time from 7 a.m. to 6 without notice. They didn't warn us how difficult getting in and out of the boats would be said not recommended for heart patients, medical conditions, or pregnant women, but didn't mention old people. Too much transferring from van to bus, from speedboat to catamaran. Altos de Chavon was interesting, but I was sorry I took someone's advice and wore flip flops--not comfortable on the cobblestones. There was dancing on the catamaran, but not for me--I got seasick. The island was just ok. Buffet lunch was average, open bar was rum and coke they promised wine, didn't see any. Bathrooms were gross. My favorite part was the stop at the natural swimming pool another open bar of rum and coke, but fun in the water. Not a starfish in sight, though. On the bus ride back, we were given the chance to buy pictures they'd taken of us. For 15 we bought the bottle of rum cheap wine with our picture and a music CD. OK souvenir.
Book this trip now! We stayed in Punta Cana for a week and this was the first excursion we booked the day after we arrived. Needless to say this was the highlight of our trip. Ben our tour guide has an amazing personality and had us laughing the whole time! So good we ALMOST booked it again! Thanks!
This trip was really amazing! Benjamin was our Daddy for one day and he really made us to feel like a family. Altos de Chavon is a unique and charming town and Saona Island is paradise on Earth. The people from Dominican Republis have big hearts and they know exactly how to share the beauty of their country with the others!