Vista Sol Punta Cana Beach Resort & Spa
10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"If you want to go and see what Punta Cana has to offer, DO NOT stay at the Carabela. I just got back and the experience was horrible. To begin, my boyfriend and I get a room in the 3000 building that is old and dirty. The view was nice, we overlooked the big pool. However, we were infested with cockroaches and the hotel employees did NOTHING about it. We complained and I think my boyfriend and I were pretty nice about it considering. And their response was, "It's normal." All they did was spray the room which only led to us finding 2 more dead ones. DISGUSTING!! We tried not to let this ruin our experience in Punta Cana but how could it not. We complained and demanded a new room. That only took them three days to finally give us one. Now we had to waste three hours of our vacation packing up to re-locate. They didn't even do send someone to carry our bags. So two nights before we are to leave we move to the 2000 building. Those accomodations were a little better. The room looked newer and we actually had a card to get in the room. In the 3000 building you get a key that doesn't even work and the door was bascially broken. The television was fuzzy and they do not have remote controls. The lighting is horrible; you get one little lamp. Furthermore, the night before we leave our room in the 2000 building is completely humid from the AC. It was pumping out moist air. So again we had to complain and they finally changed our sheets but it didn't help. You felt like you were sleeping on a wet towel, not to mention that the mattresses are terrible. So we slept with the air off and the sliding door open. The cleaning people do not change your sheets or your towels. You have to literally pull them off the bed and from the bathroom, and throw them in the tub in order to get new ones. So we slept in dirty sheets until finding this out and probably were using the same towels too. We got no special room treatments or ammenities. Housekeeping was non-existent. Moreover, the food was disgusting in the buffet. Don't do all-inclusive. If anything, eat in the Mexican restaurant which was very good or go down the marketplace to "Langoste Del Caribe." Very good and cheap. Overall, the grounds are beautiful but the quality and interior is pathetic. I would never recommend this resort or "CoCo Tours" for that matter. We complained to them and they did nothing about it. This is rated as a four star resort, it is more like 2 star. The roaches alone are enough to make you puke. And what was more annoying was the fact that there is nobody to complain to, nobody helps you and nobody gave us any kind of refund or comp for living in those conditions for 6 days. It is unsanitary. We also heard of people seeing roaches in the other buildings as well. Punta Cana has beautiful weather and beaches, but you need to stay at a 5 star resort in order to enjoy yourself. I would never go back and we DO NOT recommend this resort to anyone!!!!!!!!!"
- Travel date: 26th August 2004
"Best vacation ever! i have never had a better vacation then i did at hotel carabela! the people are friendly, food is delicious, great service and its just a great place to vacation with the whole family. I went with my family and we all enjoyed ourselves very much! As soon as we got off the plane and entered tha airport, i knew this was going to be a great vacation. We were welcomed with a live group of musicians playing their instruments, and also took pictures with women dressed in traditional dominican clothing. we were able to purchase the pictures before our flight back home. once we got to the resort, we had dinner and went to the show they had on that night. it was wonderful and entertaining. we had so much fun on the days that followed. there was something to do for everyone. there were activities for people of all ages, always sports, water activities, aerobics, tons of music and everyone trying to get a tan under the beautiful carribean sun. the beach was also very beautiful, we enjoyed just walking along the sand, and taking in the breathtaking view. I assure you, on this vacation u will never be hungry! theres something to satisfy everyones tastes, from salad bars, to seafood, pasta to any kind of meat or poultry you can think of, youll definantly enjoy your dining experience. also, on the beach there is a place where you can get fries, hot dogs, burgers and drinks all included. near each pool there is a bar where you can get any drink you want. Although we didnt go, there was also a night club which we heard was reaaally good. There was only one thing we didnt enjoy and that was, there werent many Americans there, mostly french and german, there were probably in 5 american families in the whole resort, but we still had a GREAT time. ive already started to book our next vacation and its definantly going to be there...i hope u guys go there, definantly a vacation we will never forget! p.s. soooo much more that i left out, go and see for yourself!"
- Travel date: 22nd April 2004
Great place for an inexpensive vacation!
"Me and my husband stayed at the Carabela during March 17-24, 2004. The airport was incredible was open with no windows and leaves from Cana trees' as a roof. The resort grounds are beautiful and always kept clean. There are about 7 male and 7 female peacocks that roam around. Not sure why other reviews had a problem with them, but we didn't. It makes the resort more exotic and tropical. Don't forget to get a safe key for $10 when you first check-in because they don't ask you. The day before our departure I called to check which room we will be in. We were scheduled to be in the #3000 building so after hanging up I e-mailed the resort to request a room in the #6000 building which faces the beach and quieter pool. At check in I found out they granted our request and got a room on 2nd floor of the #6000 building. Check in went quick as there were only 2 couples on our transfer bus that were dropped off at Carabela. You need to ask questions when you check otherwise they don't tell you anything about the property other than give you a room key.The language barrier was tough but we made do. We really just kept to ourself as everyone looks like they would speak english but really almost all the tourist speak French.The room was okay. There were two beds with no box springs which made them very uncomfortable. A frig with quiet ac. The housekeeper did not make the bed with clean sheets the whole week and often forgot to put clean towels in the bathroom. If you like to shower with a wash cloth, I suggest bring your own because they don't use them at the resort. The t.v. was no bigger than my computer screen and only had 3 english channels; hbo, sci-fi and cinemax. The rooms do not have alarm clocks only wake up calls from the lobby.The beach was great! There are a lot of trees but plenty of sun at the shore line. Chairs get claimed quick so before lunch I would go reserve a few with your towels otherwise you will not get one until the end of the day. The whole week was windy so the waves were pretty big. There were a few dogs on the beach but were very nice to pet if you wanted to. You could tell what women were French because they all walk around topless.The food was terrible! All the meat tastes wild so I didn't eat any of it. I stayed away from anything with eggs as I didn't want any poisioning. I only ate bread, pasta, potatoes and fruit. Every night we went to the buffet to see if there was anything good (never was) then we went to the Italian resaurant which was better for me as the pizza and pasta was better than anything at the buffet. Between the both we were able to find something to make us full. The one thing that totally grossed me out was at the buffets black birds flew around and picked at the food. We made sure we brought our own snacks.I did not go in any of the two pools as the beach was probably more sanitary and was overall more appealing. I did not drink any alcohol but was told it was good but much stronger than in the US. We were told not to drink the tap water as it will make you sick so we always made sure we had bottled water in our frig.There was basically no nightlife. The show that starts at 10:00 pm is very corney with really weird dancing. It was okay as I am open to all kinds of dancing but overall don't recommed going to see it. At night I got bit by bugs (maybe mosquitos) so I suggest bringing some Caladryl. Other than supper at 7:00 pm I didn't know of anything else to do but sleep which was okay after a long day.We did quite a few tours/excursions. The first was deep sea fishing. When we were in the D.R. it was windly every day so the waves were high. The fishing boat we went on was small and with 5-7 foot waves we all vomitted. In the D.R. safety is not thought about. Good thing we got back on land because I was getting scared with the high waves and the boat being thrown around and no land in sight. The other thing was snorkling which was very fun to see tons of fish because the guides would feed them to get them to come up. Another was 4-wheeling in the countryside/jungle. This was 3 hours long and you get dirty but the beautiful views were gorgous. We stopped to drink/eat coconut and water. Last thing as Monster Truck Safari was expensive at $85 pp but was well worth it. Took a but to Higuey which is the capital of the D.R. got to see the 2nd largest Basilica in the world. You take a big open bus which drives thru rivers and the countryside. Get to tour a tipical dominican house, school, sugar cane field and try sugar cane also tour a witch doctors house.Overall I would recommed going to Carabela Bavaro Resort. The food was terrible but what do you expect being in a different country...? I was very pleased with everything and would consider returning in the distant future."
- Travel date: 29th March 2004
What a great hotel, service, location
"Me and my girlfriend just got back from Punta Cana during march 12-18 and it was amazing. We booked with discount vacation which we found through travelzoo for $900 a person. Our package included airfare and transfers. We arrived to Punta Cana on the 12 of march and the airport is amazing because everything is open with no windows. RESORT: The grounds are amazing. The garden is really nice and well kept. Their are also peacocks all around. I read some of the other reviews and have no idea in what resort they stayed at, cause i had an amazing time. Check in at the resort was quick. One thing to remember is to get a safe key for $10. You could also get a towel service for $20. Let them know what u need because they won't ask you. Also email the resort with some request and they will do they're best. when I emailed them i got all my request, and they are really nice. ROOMS: I stayed at the 6000's which face the beach. The rooms are really nice there, and clean. Everything worked, and the shower had lots of pressure. The room had two full size beds. The only thing that wasn't too good was the TV, which had static. Besides that the room was amazing. The rooms also had a fridge and ac. The maid came everyday, and made our beds and put flowers on the bed. We also had her leave us extra towels and sheets and it was never aproblem with that. I always tipped her two to three bucks. BEACH: The beach is really never packed and there are always chairs. There was only one time that we had trouble finding a chair. I would recommend getting a chair around 9:30, because its when all the chairs are open. The beach is nice with lots of shade. It also has lots of sun, but u have to go to the right side near the suites where their is no palm trees. The water also has no waves and is very clam. The water is also very blue :). I have pictures if anyone wants to see. I read some reviews about dogs on the beach, i saw some and they do not bother us. They are very friendly and stay away from us. FOOD: Breakfast is served from 8 until 10. Lunch from 11 to 3 and dinner from 7 to 10. The food was amazing. Breakfast included sunny side up eggs, omelets any style, pancakes, or cereal as much more. For lunch there were two choices either buffet or snack bar which had burgers, hotdogs and fries. For dinner you had a choice between two restaurants (all inclusive) for which you need to make reservations during lunch or buffet. Everyday the buffet was different and the two restaurants were amazing. DRINKS: Drinks included beer, hard liquior or soft drinks. The drinks were okay. I was amazed the they had expressos, which were really good. they also have plenty of bottle water, which i would get a few extra and stack up the fridge in case you get thrist at night. POOLS: The resort has two pools one near the 6000's building and the suites. The same pools had a near by bar and is clean. The other pool near the lobby has a swim-up bar, and is a little cooler. It is also a little dirt with leaves, but they try to clean it every other day. NIGHTLIFE: Can't say much about it, cause i was always tired and never stayed up to watch it. It starts at 10 to 11. and then the disco starts. One thing i liked was their was a casino in the resort. It is new and it is part of carabela. It is across the street and the tables are really cheap to play. Blackjack is only $5, roulette only $1. I won $40 the first night i played :)SIDE TRIPS: We did a few trips. The first was the james bond or delta boats. You drive your own boat and then Snorkeling. It cost $55 per person. I would book it with the water sport deck on the beach cause Its only cost $75 per boat. THe other trip was horseback riding for two hours. We paid $35 and it was really nice. You go to the beach and then through the jungle. THe other was the carabellia resturant. Not sure if i spelled it right, but for $45 per person, you go snorkeling and then go to a resturant to get a big platter of seafood. It is amazing. You could book this in the water sport deck on the beach where u get your water equiment. We also ate a capitan Cooks which was ok. Make sure if u eat their u ask for the seafood platter cause its $64 for two and include lobster, shrimp, fish, etc. With drinks included its $80. The service there is not good. So be very, very patient. Punta cana is an amzing place, and staying a Club carabela will make the trip better. I hope I was helpful and feel free emailing me at [email protected] with any questions."
- Travel date: 23rd March 2004
Great time and CHEAPE CHEAPE!
"The people who complain about this resort are absolutely nuts! My boyfriend and I went down with anothher couple for our college spring break. We wanted a relaxing , yet exciting vacation and we were 100% satisfied. When we arrived at the resort, we were amazed with how beautiful it really was. The pictures don't even show it's true beauty. Our beach was nicer than the surrounding resorts. The music is addicting and we ended up even buying the CD. The shows at night were kinda corny, but entertaining and a bit comical. The workers were unreal dancers. They mostly spoke spanish so it does help to know some. There were some things that this resort could work on. But if you're not picky, they shouldn't bother you too much. Such as, the bed smelled a bit weird and was extremely hard. However, the water pressure was not too bad as others as complained. The rooms were clean and the maid was willing to give great service and even put cute flowers on our bed. The food was not the highlight of the trip, but the fruit was good. The food was kinda greasy with not enough salt. But, we got by eating the delicious bread and desserts. Some of us did have little stomach aches from time to time and did make friends with the toilet but it was well worth it. What do you expect being in a foreign country? DEAL WITH IT! Make sure you do the banana boat and ask the guy to tip you over. It is AWESOME! The restaruants were decent and they weren't too crowded because most people don't make reservations. Enough with the bad, it was a great trip. This resort is one of the cheaper resorts and it was well worth the money. If you just want a laid back vacation on the beach, then this is the place. If you are looking for some excitement at night, you might want to leave the resort and go to MANGU, a dance club, which is a $8 cab ride to another resort. Some people from our resort stayed there until 7am the next morning. If you have any other questions...feel free to email me."
- Travel date: 16th March 2004
three thumbs up
"we are a family of three and we stayed at the cara bela for two weeks from dec 14 to dec 28 2003. we researched the resort for months prior to booking and found a lot of conflicting opinions on this and other websites (some comments are from people who have never actually stayed at the resort!!??).weve done our share of travelling and we absolutely loved this resort. the grounds of this hotel are lush and beautiful with lots of interesting wildlife .....stunning (we took 7 rolls of film and 2 hours of video on this trip...i cant say enough about how gorgeous the property is). the room was basic but clean and comfortable and situated between the beach and the "quiet" pool. the larger pool with the swim up bar was where the activities were staged by the staff (not our thing) ,it was nice to have the choice. tip:the cappachino at the quiet pool bar is incredible. we thought the food at this resort was excellent..in fact, we stayed at the allegro in oct/nov 2002 and we all agree (including our 12 year old daughter) that the food at the carabela was far superior. the 2 alacarte restaurants were great as were the buffets...the staff put on an amazing gala christmas eve dinner...very classy. (if you dont like the food here..i'd love to come to your house for dinner..lol) they even had burgers and fries on the beach. the staff at this resort are friendly and helpful and seem genuinely surprised and pleased when you are polite and make an effort to speak the language ( we just printed some phrases off the net).as usual the dominicans were lovely people. it's mostly europeans staying at this hotel and they seemed to just want a quiet holiday...there was no drunkeness or hooliganism. we quite enjoyed the fact that you didnt hear much english...it felt like you were truly getting away from it all. (that said..we did meet some smashing canadians,americans, and brit's while we were there). be aware that a lot of people take advantage of the wide open smoking policy in this country. the village next door is an interesting diversion and has a grocery store,a pharmacy,and some restaurants to visit. the village also has the stalls hawking the tourist stuff. tip: it's a lot cheaper and stress free at the carabela gift shop. we never had a problem getting a sunny spot on the beach although i will admit that it would be better if they cut down some more trees.the beach frontage is very long so theres sun and shade whatever you wish. we found that the beaches at each hotel along this stretch had its own merits ie; the ocean bavaro had a huge expanse of open beach but the water was discusting-dirty with lots of seaweed. the fiesta's on the other side had large waves which you like or not (i loved it...me and my 12 y.o played there).the water at the carabela was clear and beautiful..mostly calm. we walked for miles in both directions and had a nose around some of the other resorts.you could walk down to a place called panama jacks to get a drink or capachino on your travels. overall we had a great time (with the pictures to prove it).looking forward to our next trip and hope you have a great one"
- Travel date: 13th March 2004
"Do you like tepid water for a shower? How about a box spring for a nice comfortable sleep filled week? Pillows that felt like knotted up rags in a pillow case? Getting up at the crack of dawn, off your box spring, to claim your territory on a lounge chair for the day? And above all the warm and friendly acceptance from the French as they curse at you under their breath, cut in front of others in line for food, not move when coming towards each other on the side walk, so you end up sending them on their way Detroit style off on the grass!!! Iey, eye, yaiah!!! Real simple folks... dont go!! The French? What a bunch of rude, dirty, no stylin slugs... The only thing i can thank them for is for allowing me to look at their women topless, and their was plent of that! Oui, Oui!!!!!!!!!"
- Travel date: 5th January 2004
Good Family Resort
"Family of 3,( 2 adults & 1 7 year old) We went with low expectations which were exceeded. This was a good, clean, relaxing place. Mostly Europeans, Germans, Spaniards and French, a few Canadians and any Americans must have been hiding. The food had very good variety, no line ups and was well prepared. ( Every dinner had chicken, fish x2, pork, beef, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc. ) It was a buffet serving approximately 900 people so you do have to allow for that. We tried the extra seafood dinner, as an extra, it was not very good at all and should be avoided. The cappuccino bar at one of the pools was a great treat but it did not open until 11:00 a.m. We saw families with members in wheelchairs and they appeared to be able to access the entire site. There is a doctor on site and we had to use him (diagnosis tonsillitis). The presence of medical care alleviates a lot of anxiety in the moment. We would recommend this place as a very good, affordable, family resort"
- Travel date: 29th December 2003
I can't wait to go back!!!!!!
"I absolutely loved this resort!!! O.K. I should probably add that this was my first resort experience, but I loved it none the less. I was a little leary when my traveling partners told me our vacation was going to be in the Domican Republic. Punta what, never heard of it, but who can beat the price. All the booze I can drink for free, count me in!! I visited the website and thought oh yeah it's beautiful on the site, but what will it really look like. I have to say that the website did not not truly depict the beauty of the grounds. When we stepped off the bus the place took my breath away. I was surprised to find that most of the staff were not fluent in english (thankfully I have 4 yrs of high school Spanish under my belt, so I was a least able to ask for another drink) Two of my 5 travel partners were native Columbians so when in doubt I was always able to defer to them. I liked the rooms, I'm not one for frill, so I found them quite comfortable. The restuarants were good. We ate mostly at the buffet. I was hoping that the food would not be just like home, so when I found that the buffet was packed with local cuisine I was quite happy. For those who are not as adventurous there are lucky 3 other restaurants on the grounds. I loved the beach, there were plenty of activities, banana boating(fun), ocean kayaking(fabulous, quite relaxing) para sailing, snorkeling, ping pong, beach aerobics (with hot instructors), dance lessons, pool side games, etc. You name it, we did it."
- Travel date: 8th November 2003
we had a wonderful time, super holiday
"we have just come back from a great holiday in the dominican republic, punta cana, and stayed in this hotel. The food was excellent, favorites of ours everyday on the menu. Dispayed with care, you could tell, they made it look beautiful everyday.all meals were excellent, and we enjoyed it very much. As for the room, it was good, comfortable, just wish the beds were a little more comfortable.Toilet and shower were very good, and worked well and we find that very important on a holiday.As for the cleaning of the room.................. was good, we had fresh flowers put in our room everyday, gave the girls a few dollars extra for doing a great job, as i know from experience its not an easy job.We loved the little flea market, just outside the hotel, was great to walk thru it , many times.Went to the famous lobster restaurant, captain cook, and a super lobster for dinner, and hubby has a red snapper, never seen such a large one before. The lobster was the best ive ever tasted and didnt cost very much, compaired to european prices for a lobster.As for the other personel, they were great, didnt speak much english, but with hands and feet you get everything done from them. We loved the peacocks wandering around the gardens, the flamingos, the ducks, made you feel very homely.The gardens were well kept, very clean. Lovely flora and fauna to be found in punta cana. This is our second holiday in dominican republic, first time was in sosua, but this one we enjoyed the most. Id recommend this hotel to anyone. We had a super time."
- Travel date: 1st October 2003
Vista Sol Punta Cana Beach Resort & Spa is also called
- Carabela Beach Resort & Casino
- Playa Bavaro
- Carabela Bavaro Hotel