Dominican Republic Travel During the Pandemic: Is it Safe?

Most people know that Dominican Republic has incredible beaches and an abundance of all-inclusive resorts. Dominican Republic is sometimes referred to as the country with the “endless summer.” It has a tropical maritime climate with little seasonal variation in temperature, so it is warm and sunny for the most part of the year. While very popular amongst families, honeymooners, and spring breakers – Dominican Republic is also a fabulous country for solo travel. You can explore cities modeled after medieval Spain or get lost in history at the oldest cathedral in the world. You can go hiking or river rafting or swimming in the crystal blue cenotes, just to name a few. The pre-COVID Dominican Republic was the most visited country in the Caribbean. Now, even with the pandemic still hovering over the travel space, DR is doing a great job ensuring that travelers are safe.

Traveling to Dominican Republic:

  • Entry Requirements & International Travel Information

  • Club Med  + Hotel Safety Protocols

    • Club Med Punta Cana
    • Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda
  • “Socially-Distanced” Activities you can’t miss!

Dominican Republic Entry Requirements

  • Travelers do not need to provide a negative PCR or COVID-19 test upon arrival. Airports and other ports of entry will perform a quick, aleatory breath test to between 3% and 15% of passengers, and all those who present symptoms, upon arrival. Passengers under the age of five and crew members are exempt from this procedure. All passengers will also need to perform a temperature check. Passengers who present symptoms or whose test results are positive will be isolated and attended at authorized locations.
  • COVID-19 Testing: As of January 26, 2021, the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism is offering viral antigen testing to international visitors staying at a hotel. At an additional cost, some hotels will also offer PCR tests to guests. You can also make an appointment for viral antigen testing or PCR testing across the country. Click here for more information on the various testing centers.
  • Free Health Coverage Plan: All international tourists arriving on commercial flights and staying at a hotel will be granted a temporary, free health coverage plan that provides coverage for emergencies in the event of an infection or exposure to COVID-19 while in-country. The coverage includes medical attention by specialists, medical transfers, transfer of a relative, the penalty for airfare changes, lodging for prolonged stays, and more. This insurance will be provided at no cost to visitors arriving on or before March 31, 2021, and will be 100% paid for by the Dominican government.

Note: Traveling is ultimately your personal decision and it is your responsibility to be responsible. Please do your research and monitor official embassy websites for the most up-to-date information. Only travel if you are ready to follow all the necessary procedures to be safe … and to keep others around you safe, too. 

Club Med Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic is known for its plethora of all-inclusive resorts and Club Med sets the bar quite high with its two properties in Punta Cana and Miches. If you’re not familiar with Club Med, here is a quick rundown: Club Med is a French brand that specializes in all-inclusive holidays. It operates all-inclusive resorts known as “resort-villages” all over the world. The resort-villages are anywhere from typical 3-4 star resorts to the Exclusive Collection 5-star properties and even private chalets in the French Alps.  The concept of “village” makes sense, because Club Med is not just a brand but essentially an entire culture. Regardless of which Club Med you visit, you will find many cultural similarities: communal dances, drinking games, activities, songs, and events. This was my first time staying at a Club Med property and I was genuinely amazed. It is evident that most guests are not just there because of the versatile vacation packages (that easily appeal to a broad range of travelers); they are there because they are part of the culture and they are loyal.

Club Med Punta Cana Dominican Republic

The Club Med Punta Cana property is HUGE! I stayed in a part of the resort called Zen Oasis – it is an adults-only area with a separate pool, lounge area, and bar. On the grounds of the resort, you can experience virtually everything: there is a golf school, archery school, fitness school, trapeze, spa, children’s center, and more. One of my favorite experiences was the Cirque de Soleil, which I’ve only seen one other time in my life and both shows blew me away. Club Med implemented new and improved hygiene and safety protocols in light of the pandemic. Guests are required to wear masks in public places and temperature checks are done before guests enter restaurants, shops, etc. Staff members wear masks everywhere and at all times. Rooms are sanitized and stickers are placed on the door so guests know when the rooms were cleaned. Restaurant menus are accessible via QR codes to limit the need to touch various surfaces. The [Club Med] hotels are also operating at a lower occupancy. At the end of the day, while the properties are doing everything they can to maintain certain levels of safety, it ultimately depends on the guests to do their part. During my stay at the Punta Cana property, there were moments where places felt overcrowded and people were not maintaining social distancing.  However, because the property is so big, I always had the option of being away from the crowded areas. Throughout my travels during the pandemic, I realized that people all over the world have different takes on “risk.” I am no one to judge the decisions that other people make so for me the important thing is that I have the flexibility and freedom to be comfortable in the way I see the best fit. The latter was not an issue in Club Med Punta Cana – there was plenty of space and open areas to relax in total privacy.

Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda Dominican Republic

The Club Med Michès property is part of Club Med’s Exclusive Collection: it is an eco-chic and environmentally friendly all-inclusive resort. Club Med describes it as the first of its kind and it is designed with four distinct “boutique-villages” providing for a one-of-a-kind getaway with exclusive services. The four boutique villages are:

1- Archipelago: A sophisticated oceanfront sanctuary exclusively for adults steps away from the unspoiled beach.
2- Caribbean Paradise: The alluring heart of our resort, full of lush tropical gardens and colorful surprises for couples and families.
3- Emerald Jungle: An adults-exclusive relaxing eco-chic haven where peace and wellness await.
4- Explorer Cove: A dynamic refuge that offers families a treasure trove of activities.

I stayed at the oceanfront, private pool, king bed, Archipelago suite from which you can quite literally get out of bed and walk into your private pool or better yet, the ocean. The property itself is spacious and colorful and designed to perfection. I loved it there so much that I extended my stay! Club Med has pioneered the way in all-inclusive vacations and Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda is their first-ever Exclusive Collection resort in the Americas. Rather recently, a new highway connecting Punta Cana to Miches opened and the tourism industry is expected to grow in the area substantially over the next few years. The property boasts a design that was especially done to minimize its environmental footprint and the hotel has a “green-minded mentality in its everyday operations.”
Because of its French DNA, Club Med is very popular amongst French travelers. In fact, all the staff members speak French and there is an incredible selection of French wines. On both properties, it felt like I was living in a little area of France nestled in the Caribbean.

“Socially-Distanced” Activities you can’t miss in Dominican Republic!

Scape Park

Scape Park is a [HUGE] natural theme park with cliff zip-lining (more than a dozen of them), ancient underground caves, hiking trails, waterfalls, cenotes, a reptile island, and more.⁣ Because there is so much space in the park and fewer tourists visiting now – it almost feels like a private experience. Current prices for admission are $129 for adults and $69 for kids which includes access to the entire park + transportation to and from the hotel. ⁣For an extra $30 you can also experience a catamaran snorkeling cruise around the Cap Cana Marina. Cap Cana is one of the most luxurious parts of Dominican Republic – famous for kitesurfing, kayaking, snorkeling, and also dining, shops, and cigar lounges!

Montaña Redonda

I am willing to bet money that you didn’t have Michès on your itinerary in Dominican Republic. Michès is a town on the Northeastern Coast of Dominican Republic about 45 minutes away from Punta Cana. Club Med’s first Exclusive Collection resort in the Caribbean, Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda is the first eco-luxury hotel in the area. Club Med is known to be the pioneer in the hospitality space: often opening new resorts in up-and-coming destinations. Michès is just that! Montaña Redonda an isolated ~1,000ft mountain on the shoreline on the northeastern coast.  Montaña Redonda has stunning spectacular 360-degree-panoramic-views panoramic views for miles and miles. You can swing above the clouds and take beautiful photos, or drink delicious coffee in a hammock overlooking the horizon … and try homemade Dominican food! If there is any “local gem” – this is it.

You can drive to Montaña Redonda on your own or opt-in for a tour. The parking fee is $ 100.00 Pesos (around US $ 3.00). Local drivers with open-air trucks that fit up to 30 passengers will offer to take you to the top and back. You will want to go with one of them. The road is steep and narrow and, let’s just say, not for the faint-hearted. Any time of the day is beautiful up on the mountain, however, I recommend sunrise or sunset for the best experience.

VIP Lounge at PUJ Airport (Terminal B)

The VIP Lounge in Terminal B of Punta Cana International Airport is an Avgeek’s dream come true! The lounge has a beautiful interior with a lot of natural light. Floor-to-ceiling windows give you a perfect view of the pool and the runway. Fun fact: it is the first airport pool in the Caribbean. The lounge is open to Priority Pass, DragonPass, and Lounge Pass card holders, as well as first- and business-class passengers. Fliers who purchase the airport’s VIP service can also enter, as can residence owners at the Puntacana Resort & Club. You can also purchase a one time access pass (price depends on the season, typically $25-50 per person).

Thank you to my friends at GoDomRep for trusting me again and inviting me to visit the beautiful country and experience firsthand how it is handling traveler safety during the pandemic. This post is sponsored by GoDomRep, while all opinions are honest and my own. 

More on Dominican Republic!