Honeymoon Discussions

Jamaica vs. DR

Hello everyone!

So I decided to come here to try to get some first hand experiences from people. My fiancé and I were DEAD set on going to Punta Cana. We had picked the Hard Rock resort for where we wanted to stay, and looked online briefly to check out some excursions. We met with two travel agents (one was a preferred vendor through our venue, another was at a bridal show), and they both kind of hinted that DR might not be the way to go. They told us that the DR isn't really safe outside of the resort, and there isn't much to do. The first agent sort of mentioned other islands, but the second agent was pushing Jamaica. I have never been to either island. I went on a cruise when I was younger with my fam and visited a ton of islands, so I don't want to go to an island I've already been to. It will be my fiances first time being in the Caribbean at all, and everybody is telling us Jamaica will be more "us" with more to do and more safe off the resort. We would ideally like to go for 10 nights, with doing an excursion probably every other day or so. The lady at the bridal show was REALLY pushing Sandals, but we didn't really like their honeymoon packages they offered (Hard Rock has an AWESOME one)

Now my questions are, has anybody ever been to both of these islands? Which did you like better? Was there more to do in one vs the other? Any resort recommendations if we decide to do a Jamaica trip? I guess I'm just looking for experiences and opinions so we can base where we want to go off of that. Thanks!

Re: Jamaica vs. DR

  • I've been to Jamaica. Stayed at a hotel called Little Bay Cabins about 30 minutes outside of Negril. It is not all inclusive but it is extremely affordable. There are cabins right on the water, but it is not really a resort. You can do lots of local excursions for a very affordable rate. I would say it is more adventure-oriented than luxury. No TV, no clocks, no internet. Totally unplugged. They run specials and are on Groupon frequently.

    If you like that kind of thing check it out here: http://www.littlebaycabins.com/ 
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  • I personally loved punta cana. We were also warned that outside the resorts are a little dangerous, but we went out in the town with a group of people we met and it was fine. You really don't need to go out of the resort though. We stayed at an AI (Occidental) and they had tons of stuff to do. We booked a few excursions through them and had no issues. and a lot of resorts are right after each other so its not like you are confined to a tiny area. I never felt like i wasn't in a safe environment. I think you really just need to be smart about it.
  • JamieLynn913JamieLynn913 Watertown, CT member
    Fifth Anniversary 10 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    Thanks 714, we will look into that.

    Miclan, thanks for the advice. I'm a very cautious person by nature so I know he will not anything happen to me and vice versa. We are always safe when we travel but the way they made it sound was very unsettling. I went to the Bahamas in May with a group of girlfriends and that's exactly what we did was book the excursions through the resort. I feel like that is a safer bet because they work with these people constantly and will be known through them. I will definitely look at the resort you mentioned. thanks!

  • I haven't been to DR although we keep thinking about it.  We went to Montego Bay, Jamaica a few years ago and weren't fans.  We ventured off resort once to a shopping area across the street and it was a bit notsogreat, hit up right away by multiple people for drugs and then just the random pushy "come in here" that you get a lot of places.  Montego Bay was nice in terms of being close to the airport but I've heard better things about some other cities in Jamaica so that could be worth it.


    Have you looked into Riviera Maya in Mexico?  that's where we keep heading back to.  When we priced it vs Punta Cana it was less expensive and we got a longer stay.  Plus we like the area, never felt unsafe on any excursions or walking around Playa etc.

  • Haven't been to Jamaica but did 7 days in Punta Cana two years ago and had a great time.. we did a zipline tour that took us outside the resort and we never felt like we weren't safe. The people working the resort were super friendly and the all inclusive package was very reasonable with lots of things to do right at the resort. 

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  • JamieLynn913JamieLynn913 Watertown, CT member
    Fifth Anniversary 10 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its

    I haven't been to DR although we keep thinking about it.  We went to Montego Bay, Jamaica a few years ago and weren't fans.  We ventured off resort once to a shopping area across the street and it was a bit notsogreat, hit up right away by multiple people for drugs and then just the random pushy "come in here" that you get a lot of places.  Montego Bay was nice in terms of being close to the airport but I've heard better things about some other cities in Jamaica so that could be worth it.


    Have you looked into Riviera Maya in Mexico?  that's where we keep heading back to.  When we priced it vs Punta Cana it was less expensive and we got a longer stay.  Plus we like the area, never felt unsafe on any excursions or walking around Playa etc.

    I have not looked into the Riviera Maya, although a lot of people have told me to look into it, as there are tons of stuff to do and it's cheaper than going to some of the islands. My fiancé only has two requirements apparently. The water needs to be crystal clear and they need to have at least 2 swim up bars haha. If I can give him those I am golden. I will definitely check into some of the suggestions when we get a chance. I think because our wedding is 21 months away, the travel people are having a hard time putting together packages. So we will see. Thank you!

  • Miclan88 said, there really isn't a reason to venture off property at an AI unless you are doing any excursions.

    I spent one night at Zoetry & then 4 nights at Breathless. They were both absolutely amazing, and I also toured Dreams La Romana. We were mostly there to relax, and had enough to do in the resort so we decided to skip any excursions. I have heard really great things about the Hard Rock in Punta Cana, and I know they are on groupon every once in awhile.
  • JamieLynn913JamieLynn913 Watertown, CT member
    Fifth Anniversary 10 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    Miclan88 said, there really isn't a reason to venture off property at an AI unless you are doing any excursions.

    I spent one night at Zoetry & then 4 nights at Breathless. They were both absolutely amazing, and I also toured Dreams La Romana. We were mostly there to relax, and had enough to do in the resort so we decided to skip any excursions. I have heard really great things about the Hard Rock in Punta Cana, and I know they are on groupon every once in awhile.
    I actually noticed they were on Groupon the other day. We really want to do an excursion once every other day or so since this will be the first time my fiancé has been out of the country. He wants to do as much as we can since it will be our honeymoon and it's not often we can take trips like this with our work schedules. I have read that the water in PC was very choppy. Did you notice this? I only ask because we definitely want to do water tours (snorkeling, scuba diving, etc) and I don't want to waste my time there if it's going to not be nice.

  • @JamieLynn913 If I remember correctly (and I'm awful with this kind of stuff so don't quote me!) both hotels were on different sides of the island. We had lunch on the beach at Zoetry, but never ended up in the ocean.  At Breathless we spent a decent amount of time in the water and I don't remember having many problems. I know there was one morning where there were a lot of waves, but that was the day it looked like it was going to rain (it didn't) and by the afternoon when we went in it was fine
  • I think the travel agents may have been pushing a resort that they are affiliated with in some way ;). I've had the opposite experience that Jamaica is much more "dangerous", and Punta Cana is less risky away from the hotels. Obviously anywhere you go there are pickpockets and scamers but if you want to be more on the cautious side I would recommend Punta Cana, you'll be safe heading off the resort grounds, and see many others doing the same.   It was your first choice anyway!
    JerseyBeachGal22
  • AprilH81AprilH81 Columbus, OH member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    We honeymooned in Punta Cana (Excellence Punta Cana) and while I don't regret it if I had it to do over again I would go somewhere else.

    There isn't a lot to do so if you want an active honeymoon Jamaica might be a better fit.

    Both the DR and Jamaica are third world countries where you should pay attention to your surroundings and watch your stuff but I wouldn't consider either one "dangerous".
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  • I have to disagree that there is not a lot to do. At the resort they had kayaks and catamarans for you to use daily, we snorkeled, they had volleyball. They also had programs set up all day long although we didn't really take advantage of those. Outside excursions that we did included scuba diving, parasailing, and horseback riding on the beach.
  • Last year I hot engaged in Punta Cana. Stayed at The Grand Bahia Ambar. Bavaro beach was gorgeous and there were tons of excursions to do. We did a trip on dune buggies and had a blast.

    Year prior we were in Ochios Rios Jamaica and totally fell in love with Jamaica. We' stayed at Coupkes Tower Isle which includes a lot of excursions. We are going back to the island for our honeymoon in Negril at Couples Swept Away in September. Can't wait!!

    Out of the two I loved our resort better and the service and people in Jamaica. Punta Cana is more of a European vacation destination. First couple of days we were the only ones (including guests) who spoke English!! I think every where in the Caribbean has a little bit of danger. Just have to be mindful.
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I just got back from DR. I absolutely loved it. We didn't stay at a resort - we stayed at a private home in Puerto Plata and then a hotel in Samana. I never felt that we were in any kind of danger. We were in touristy areas and I not once felt unsafe.

    I've been to Jamaica (Sandals) and I would pick DR any day.

  • Let me tell you Punta Cana has some of the best beaches in the world and the resorts are sooo affordable!! When we went last year we stayed at an all inclusive, however, we also went around town to different local spots to eat actual Dominican food. The food was out of this world!! 
    haleyk620
  • Saw some great responses.

    I have been to DR and loved it. I swam with the Dolphins, stingrays and even baby Sharks. I can't remember what Resort I stayed at but it was a lot of fun. I didn't experience anything dangerous when I left the Resort but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't heed to their advice.

    I am from Jamaica and I may be a little bias. Jamaica is also dangerous in Kingston where I was born (I have also never experienced any danger on my visits but that doesn't mean that it's not dangerous).
    I visited Jamaica last year for a family reunion and we stayed at the Riu Resort (I enjoyed myself soooooo much). The food was great they a variety of food for all. I did a few excursions and of course it was great. I have also stayed Jamaica Grand hotel which is a very Fun hotel.

    I think a lot of countries have some sort of danger but if you are in the U.S. you can google the Travel Advisory and it will advise you which countries are high risk and how to keep safe.

    I personally think both places are great for a honeymoon.

    Also search the Resorts on Tripavisor website the consumers who post reviews are very truthful & are usually accurate & they provide great pics.
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