This is me, in what feels like a lifetime ago, but is actually 12 years ago on my honeymoon in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Aside from the fact I’m sporting a pre-baby body here, I love this picture because I remember how wonderful our time there was. Sand so white and soft it was like flour, turquoise waters, and gentle breezes. It was a slice of heaven. Fast forward to this January and I had an opportunity to take my daughters back and view Punta Cana through a different lens — that of a mother. I couldn’t remember if Punta Cana was family friendly or not. The last thing on my mind in this picture was that I would lose my abs for two minions, let alone that I would travel back here.
In January of this year I was back on the same beach with my daughters, ages 10 and 8, as part of the Thomas Cook Kids First Parent Approved program. After 12 years, I can tell you nothing has changed as far as the landscape but, where the heck did all these kids come from? 🙂 I must have had blinders on the first time. Family resorts abound in Punta Cana and we were able to visit two of the best.
First up was the Grand Bahia Principe Bavaro.
What do you need to know about the Grand Bahia Principe Bavaro? Well, if water is what you’re looking for, water is what you’ll find. The Grand Bahia Principe Punta Cana borders on the white sand beaches of Bavaro Beach. But if you prefer pool water to sea water it also has two large lake-style pools and a water park for the kids.
Since this is a family holiday, you’re probably wondering what there is to do with the kids? Cries of “I’m bored” won’t be heard here. With over 1200 rooms, the first thing you can be almost certain of is that there will be other kids to play with. Activities are scheduled daily for kids with the Bahia Scouts, plus you can take part in beach games as a family, play mini-golf, take a stroll through the shops, attend a show or just chill. The Grand Bahia Principe Bavaro has nine restaurants to choose from so even the pickiest of eaters will find something to their liking.
But it’s not all about the kids, right? The resort spa is ready to whisk you off to a state of bliss, while your kids are amused with the Bahia Scouts. Parents can also take advantage of resort babysitting services if they feel like catching an evening show or dancing up a storm.
Check out my daughter’s review below.
Next we visited the Iberostar Bavaro Punta Cana
This family resort still borders on the amazing Bavaro beach but had a slightly more chill vibe to it, which is no doubt due to the fact that there are only 596 rooms compared with 1296 at the Grand Bahia Principe Bavaro. Smaller does not equal less to do though. The waterpark, the lake-style pool and the beach are all close together which means you can set up for the day in one spot and take advantage of all three. Plus there’s Lucy’s Kids Club to keep the kids hopping when you’re ready to sit down and read your book. A wide selection of restaurants is also available here with six to choose from.
I really loved the intimate feel of the Iberostar, but I tend to lean towards smaller resorts than larger ones as a rule. Either way, you can’t go wrong visiting Punta Cana with your family. The weather remains consistently in the 80s year round, direct flights are available from most major international airports and Bavaro beach is one of the best in the world.
You can check out my daughter’s video on the Iberostar Punta Cana below.
For a listing of family friendly resorts in the Dominican Republic and other warm destinations check out the amazing spreadsheet Thomas Cook has put together listing which resorts take families of 5 in one room, which are great for single parents, who has a kids club or even who let’s the kids stay for free.