This evening (7:30 p.m.), I depart Santa Barbara for the Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe in Punta Cana (Dominican Republic).
I won’t arrive until Wednesday afternoon – it’s a long trip – but that’s where the magic happens. What kind of travel writer would I be if I didn’t love airports, if I didn’t love talking to strangers? As an added treat, it will be my first trip out of the new and improved Santa Barbara airport.
It is sad to see the old, quaint buildings now in a pile of rubble, yet it will be nice to finally have bathrooms and concessions beyond security.
Before I leave, I’m going to stop by my friend’s – he’s hosting a German-themed barbecue. I picked up a six-pack of Guinness Black Lager to represent my Irish roots. I’ve never had it before, and I’m curious to see if Guinness is more than a one-trick pony (the Stout).
Man, I’ve got to say – I’m really pumped for this trip. Playa Bavaro is highly regarded as one of the world’s top beaches (National Geographic had it in the top ten). I’m not sure what they base those rating scales on, but I will be sure to throw my two cents your way.
Another reason to be excited: I will be getting a spa treatment of some sort at the Barcelo’s U Spa. I’ve had two massages in my life, and they’ve both been out of this world. Spa experiences have impressed me – very sensual and relaxing – good things as far as Wake and Wander is concerned.
The Barcelo is an all-inclusive resort that appears to have enough to do right on the property (although I will be doing my best to venture out of the resort). It features a new “Club House” that boasts restaurants, shops, a sports bar, spa, and casino. They say it is “designed as a Las Vegas-style promenade with a Caribbean flair.” I believe we are going to see a show or two – interested to see what the vibe is.
Food types I will eat: Spanish Tapas, Italian, Asian, Mexican, in that order, if I remember correctly. I believe these are all restaurants right on-site at the Barcelo.
All right, time to get a meal and try out this Black Lager. First stop Phoenix, then Charlotte.
I land in Punta Cana tomorrow around 1 p.m. local time.