Trip Calendar

Trip Calendar ( Tripcalendar.org ) is a cool new website that allows users to add their trip dates in a secure environment. Unlike Facebook where everyone knows who you are and where you live TripCalender.org hides your identity using a nickname.

Trip Calendar Login Page

One of the best uses of Trip Calendar is that you can add people you meet on a resort to trip calendar without adding them to your Facebook page.  This is safer for work etc. “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”.

The trip dates are shown in a monthly calendar per resort or a roll call count down of who is travelling next.

Trip Calendar also has a smartphone web app countdown timer to your next trip in days or seconds.  You can create Travel business cards, postcards, add a trip report review, upload images for your use only or sure with friends, repeaters hall of fame, private message others and more.

New features added weekly.

Current Resorts

o Beaches, Turks & Caicos
o Beaches Negril, Jamaica
o Beaches Ocho Rios, Jamaica
o Breezes Bella Costa, Cuba
o Breezes Jibacoa, Cuba
o Breezes Varadero, Cuba
o Couples Negril, Jamaica
o Couples Sans Souci, Jamaica
o Couples Swept Away, Jamaica
o Couples Tower Isle, Jamaica
o Grand Lido, Negril, Jamaica
o Hedonism II, Negril, Jamaica
o Iberostar Dominicana, DR
o Iberostar Grand Paraiso, Mexico
o Iberostar Punta Cana, DR
o Punca Cana Princess, Punta Cana, DR
o RIU Negril, Jamaica
o RIU Palace Punta Cana, DR
o RIU Palace Tropical Bay, Jamaica
o Sandals Royal Carribean,
o Sandals Royal Hicacos,
o Temptation Cancun, Mexico

IBEROSTAR Costa Dorada, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

The IBEROSTAR Costa Dorada, Puerto Plata is located 10 minutes from the city of Puerto Plata on the north coast of Dominican Republic. It is rated as a 5 star hotel with 498 double rooms and 18 suites and was renovated in 2011. It is a very nice resort for family with children under 10.  The lobby, grounds, pool and room are excellent.  Lot of entertainment for the younger traveller giving parents a chance to relax.  We travelled with our grandson who is 13 going on 17 so there was not as much for his age group but he was very happy to relax and be independent.

IBEROSTAR Costa Dorada

Overall 

There are 516 rooms in 9 buildings and two pools with exceptional gardens.  The layout of the nine three story buildings have four on one side with five on the other creating a wide garden down the middle to the beach front.  The grounds have a large fish pond with bridge and two water falls.  There are several water fountains around the court yard and grounds and you always hear running water.

They say two pools but it is more like four pools interconnected.  The grounds and pools are never crowded and you can always get a beach chair anytime of the day. They obviously have  way more chairs than guests.  We could always  get a chair on the beach or in front of the pool.

The lobby and main buffet were large and spacious, clean and fresh with covered walkways to get back to your rooms in case of rain.

Check-in

Check in was fast but then again we checked in at 9pm.  Only one other couple checking in at  that time.  They drive you to your room in a golf cart and take your bags.

Lobby

The lobby is large and impressive.  A bar off the side of the lobby and a court yard that has access to the stage and entertainment and two restaurants and buffet. There is also a beach buffet that has everything that the main buffet has but you don’t need to cover up.

Room

Rooms or the beds and furniture are very dated.  We had a double bed which is way too  small. When I called the front desk to ask for a room with a queen bed they delivered a blanket. After a few minutes of trying to explain to the handyman , he dragged in another complete bed. Anyway it worked out OK.  I find language is always a bit of an issue in DR but you have to go with the flow.  There is no dresser for your clothes and all the sun screen etc you take on vacation so you have to work out of your suitcase.  Just a long table like piece of furniture.  The room smelled a bit and the bed spread looked old (maybe just the design and small size of the bed) but after the second day I didn’t notice.  The beds were comfortable and there is a mini fridge stocked with pop, water and beer at no extra charge.  There is a flat screen TV with lots of channels to chose.

The tub is a little small to shower in but lots of hot water.

There is a nice big patio deck with a table and two comfortable chairs.

There is no free internet in the hotel at all.  You need to purchase a password for an hour, day, 3, 5 or 7 days.  At first this was annoying but it is not a bad deal and you can use it in your room and good reception everywhere. We purchased the 5 day for $25.

Beach

The beach in front on the hotel was great.  There is even a few coral reefs ,waist deep and tons of fish.  The only downside to the beach is outside the control of the hotel.  To the right or left of the hotel is vacant land and the beach is not cleaned and is littered with garbage.  Lots and lots of garbage, pop bottles, plastic , everything.  There is also two streams running into the ocean one on each side with smelly water.  Maybe just algae or maybe more.  Lots of algae in the ocean around these streams too.  I felt there were more people to harass you on the beach than other places we have visited , wanting you to take a day trip or visit the market.

It’s a shame but I also notice this type of garbage in other parts of the island when your driving to the hotels.  It seems to be acceptable to throw your garbage anywhere.  You see many of the small local homes littered with garbage.  They should have returnable bottles at least.  You would think the locals would take it upon themselves to make sure the beach looks nice since they use it too.  This is the public access areas.  In Jamaica you would see the local vendors cleaning a part of the beach to make sure it looked nice where they were selling their goods. In Nigel the public access area was cleaner than some of the hotel areas.

(garbage on the beach)

Food

There was always great food.  There was a variety of food choices for everyone’s taste. Plenty of salad and fresh fruit and yogurt. The meat dishes were plentiful and everyday there was chicken ( yummy) , beef, steak, salmon and other meat choices. Pizza, pasta, hotdogs and hamburgers were also available. The deserts were out of this world!! There were 2 stations for all the food choices so no waiting in line. The beach restaurant served the same items as the main buffet but with out the need to cover your bathing suit.

Grounds 

The grounds are immaculate.  Lots of fountains and trees and plants with a fish pond garden and pink flamingo’s and  peacocks too.    Lots of lighting at night and never a bug.

One funny issue is the signs around the pool.  No topless.  I did see several men that went topless with big man boobs so I guess it’s not enforced. Strange since it’s hotel chain based in Spain. I though Spain was topless friendly.

Iberostar Puerto Plata - No topless at pool

Bottom Line

It’s a beautiful resort.  They need more servers in the entertainment areas.  I only saw two so you wait forever.  At Secrets there were 10 and always standing around the courtyard to wait on you with no more than a few second wait.  The same in the buffet.  We usually move our old plates to another table since they were not removed.

Also the beach is very steep.  It’s over your head in just a few feet from shore and walking along the edge is very sloped.  Also the lots on each side of the resort are public access and littered with garbage and two streams that smelled very bad feeding into the ocean.  It may just be pond water or polluted with much more.

No free internet anywhere.  Most Hotels have at least free internet in the lobby.

Four Stars

Punta Cana Princess, Dominica Republic

IMG_0866

Rooms were a split level , clean with lots of towels.

The grounds had peacocks running around and well maintained with a large pool.

The beach was great.  Very clean and not much seaweed around.

We booked this hotel when it was on sale and make it a great deal. Keep your eyes out for deals.

Dominican Republic, Puna Cana, Iberostar Dominicana

Great place for kids, lots of activities both in the pool and in the evenings.

They have a very large lobby area with covered walkways that are walk ways over waterways.

They have two large pools.

The hotel is unique with inter quads with trees, water and large turtles.  Interesting to watch during a rain shower.

Rooms are great, beach is great, food is great.

They have a ice cream booth by the beach that is cool and a smaller buffet by the beach.  It has everything that is in the main buffet so you don’t have to go back to the big buffet to eat.

Pink flamingos walking around the grounds which are link being in a park or public gardens.

Entertainment is similar to any other hotel in DR.

A nice resort with or without kids..

Five Stars

We stayed there in 2011 with our grandson.

Secrets Punta Cana Dominican Republic

Secrets Dominican Republic is a smaller high end resort for adults.

The main dinning room is on the beach which is unique.  All pathways are covered making it easy to get around in case of rain.  You can visit the sister resort NOW through a pathway.

Food is excellent at the main buffet and you can find anything you want.  Meat is tender and orange juice is freshly squeezed.

Secrets is quieter but this year has much more entertainment than last year.

The grounds are small and the pool is a river that wonders through the grounds making an interesting walk to the lobby.

There is a mini fridge that is free and filled every day with pop, water juice n beer.

Walkways are tight around the pools near the beach making it crowded and there is no other way around.

The main buffet is located on the beach which is nice since that is why you are here.

The beach can gets a lot of the tiny seaweed and even tho  it is raked every morning with a tractor it is back by lunch time.  I think the motor boats stir it up.

Patio decks have a hot tub.

Pool at Secrets Resort Pool at Secrets Resort

Hot tub on deck Main buffet at Secrets Resort

IMG_0673

Four and a half