Living in Miami, it always looks and feels like spring break or summer vacation with the salty-air breeze, palm trees, and hot Florida sun. Since this is our (mostly) year-long reality, two of my girlfriends and I decided that we’d go somewhere new for spring break this year to experience a different scene than we’re used to—and what better destination than the Dominican Republic?
Originally, we planned to stay in Punta Cana for obvious reasons—it’s dreamy AF and it’s Punta Cana… why wouldn’t you want to go there? But then we stopped ourselves and realized who we are… broke college students on a part-time budget. Upon this sad realization that we couldn’t possibly afford 6 nights at an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana (not even through Groupon), plus airfare and food, we were reminded about Airbnb.
WHY didn’t we think of this before? I am so glad we finally thought of it, though, because if we didn’t, we most likely wouldn’t have gone at all.
Although I had never personally used Airbnb and even had my own concerns about staying in someone else’s home (scenarios of Taken instantly filled my head), the girls both had booked through the site before and enjoyed their experiences. Plus, I’ve seen some fellow travelers from Instagram share their experiences and they all had positive outcomes in some of the cutest low-cost places.
After spending some time trying to find the perfect place (listing out pros and cons), we found a place that we all instantly agreed on because of how stunning the photos looked of the view. Although it wasn’t quite in the location we originally planned, we figured if the view looked as good as it did in the photos, then how could we turn it down at such a great price?
Walking in the door with mixed expectations and a little anxiety, it turned out that the photos did not even do this place justice. I couldn’t believe that we would have this view for the next 7 days.
My favorite part: falling asleep and waking up to the sound of the waves crashing into the rocks (I can almost hear it now, just thinking about it).
The amenities were in the exact condition as stated on the owner’s profile and even better looking in person. And, not pictured, was the great staff that worked at this condominium that were available to help with whatever we needed and whenever we needed it. Although the language barrier was a little difficult at times, it was easy to see that they tried their best to communicate with us (& vice versa). Sometimes this kind of service is hard to find in busy resorts!
Plus, instead of staying in a resort, condos (where many people call their home) just give off a more “homey” and cozy vibe all around that you don’t always get in other accommodations.
Aside from the balcony view, the real reason we immediately wanted to stay here was the pool that overlooked the breath-taking Caribbean Sea. I mean… C’mon!
Everything about this beautiful place was just what we needed for the week. And to be honest, our experience in the Dominican Republic would have been completely different if we had stayed in some all-inclusive tourist resort. Most of the time tourists hardly leave the resort properties, pay for expensive ocean excursions that they can most likely experience anywhere near any ocean, and never really get to experience the unique local culture. Plus, about 90% of the time we had the pool to ourselves, which almost never happens at any resort.
Thankfully for Airbnb, we actually got to experience life with the locals and the occasional seasonal condo owners from the States. There were local supermarkets, restaurants, and bakeries just a few minutes walk down the road, which was nice to not have to pay for transportation to get to.
We may have taken a little risk when choosing this place because it only had two reviews, when others had 50+ comments, and it wasn’t in as touristy of a place as Punta Cana… but I’m so glad we ended up here—on the outskirts of the small coastal community of Guayacanes, just a few minutes walk from the well-known tourist spot of Juan Dolio in the southern province of San Pedro de Macoris.
So, it was pretty much the best of both worlds—the property grounds were calm and peaceful throughout day with beautiful views all around, yet, it was only a short walk to a more lively and populated beach community.
Airbnb in foreign countries, 10/10 would recommend. 🙂