IFA Bavaro Village Resort & Spa
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Historical Traveler Reviews IFA Bavaro Village Resort & Spa Punta Cana
Amazing Beach, relax, read, sun & fun !
We just got back from a last minute summer trip for 7nights (All Inclusive) July 18 - July 25 2003.
Always interested in ages of people who write these reviews .. so .. Our review is based on a married cpl (both early 30's no kids) who both work in the city, thus are stressed & overworked by traffic & deadlines. We get away 1 or 2 times a year to the caribbean so we know what we like and what to expect from a resort.
Our arrival was pain free and found ourselves only a 15-20 mins bus trip from the lovely airport. Check- in was a bit congested, but we took our bags to the bar about 100 feet away and had some drinks and waited till all the freaked out people had checked in. My wife used a friendly smile and "ola" and actually managed to get us a room in the Ocean section, as we were suppose to be in the Village (stones thow distance between the 2 sections).
Our room was perfect, clean room, cold A/C, clean sheets & towels, cold mini fridge, and TV. As for the bug complaints that everyone wrote about .. we saw none and it was the rainy season so you'd think there would be lots of bugs (here's a tip, bring a vanilla scented candle and lay a towel under the door to avoid bugs). Only thing we saw in our room was a little "gecko" which i named "Jose", let him stay in the room as long as he didn't drink my beer. Bathrooms are a little dated and need a face lift but to say it is a complaint is just being petty and selfish. I like lumpy pillows so I was "cool" but my wife would suggest to bring a pillow if you are picky with your sleep. We rate the room with a solid "A". We "tipped" the maid every morning with a US $1.00 along with nail polishes and lipsticks and soaps (new of course) and some candies; got us excellent service and a friendly thank you from her.
TV - they love the show "Law & Order", plus numerous English channels to watch if you retire early to the room and just want to relax at night.
The grounds and pools are stunning and the people who look after them are friendly and very good at what they do (they love tootsie lollypops / handed them out to them everyday, huge smiles I rec'd and many thanks). Do not worry about getting a chair as there were chairs available all day (just not ones in the shade - very hot in Dominican).
For those drinkers (I love my beer, canadian thing I guess, eh?) .. there are bars everwhere ! One bar for each section of the resort and all restaurants have bar service. The nicest bar is @ the Villas for a night drink as it is elevated and looks over lavish & biggest pool (swim up pool underneath). To be safe my wife and I stayed with the "cold & delicious" beer all week and didn't have one complaint. As for the Rum, watch out as it is powerful and plenty. If you are a "specialy brand" drinker, then bring your own as it is not included. It's there, but you have to pay for it (not overly expenssive). Glasses (we used plastic) were always clean. I would suggest bringing a bottle of wine or two with you for the room. We love our wine so having some wine on our balcony at night was heaven !
Water is given out freely at all bars and is normally cold and new. DO NOT DRINK the tap water and tell the kids not to drink the water when in the shower.
Ok, Ok .. finally the best part of the resort ... BEACH is wicked and is just what wife and I wanted .. long white sand with that caribbean blue tint to the water. There are "no waves" so do not be disappointed if you and the kids want to bodysurf or boogie-board. My wife and I walk each morning @ 7am for hours along the beach in both directions .. even at 7am it's hot ! Yes there are patches of seaweed which wash up in tiny bits but it is minimal and the beach crew cleans it up 2 times a day. Put it this way .. I would have to walk out to about over my head before my foot touch a patch of seaweed. The beach has "no" rocks and is so clean we would swim for hours. I'd go back again just for this beach alone ..
MY ONE COMPLAINT .. North Americans/Europeans/South Americans are ALL PIGS when it comes to keeping the beach clean. My wife would yell @ me because i was continually picking up water bottles and cups. For heaven sakes people, look to your right or left and you'll see a garbage.
The walk to the beach from the Village and the Ocean sections is minimal and very scenic. It takes no more than 5mins and your walking on lovely white sand the whole way. Kick off your sandles, enjoy the view of the large palm trees and "chill out" as you'll be there before your beer gets cold. The Villas section, yes is a longer walk but the shuttle runs so ofton it's not a bother. Walk from the Villa's and have a beer at each bar and then you'll be at the beach in no time ready for a nice "ciesta" .. Chairs on the beach are numerous but go a bit early to reserve one with shade under a tree. By 1pm you'll be willing to pay for some shade !!
Nudity .. It's everywhere on the beach so if it bothers you, then just go to the ends of the resort beach or the pools and you should be fine. I thought it was awesome, but after the first day it becomes no big deal. My wife even felt European and went topless. We spent every day on the beach from 7am - 3pm. We both read, enjoyed many cold beers, and never bothered by anyone. Rest & Relaxation is what we wanted and what we got. Ohh I almost forgot, there is no service on the beach so if you want a drink you must walk 50 feet or so from the beach to the beach bar. If this bothers you, then pay for a 5star resort.
On the beach you "will not" be hounded by locals trying to sell you stuff. The only locals (which are friendly and really cool) are the ones running the beach market in between the 2 Barcelo Complex. They walk along the beach to get to work. Be ready to bargain if you go in there. Be firm with the "no gracias" but also be polite when entering the market. Here is where you can go Deep Sea Fishing, Para-Sailing, art work or buy cigars (read up on cigars before you go).
Scuba - never did it but there were lots of people going out at all times during the day. And it was not a far boat trip for the dive. From what I hear it was an added pleasure to the trip.
Food - I am not a picky eater and love local dishes and spices. My motto is "the hot the better" but my wife is more of a picky eater; guys you know, the women who are more concerned about how it looks rather then how it tastes. My Review is that the food is great. If your not a "whimp" then try the local dishes and you'll be happy. Sure there were dishes that I couldn't eat, but over all I found something every night that I couldn't get enough of. The Beef is fine, the Chicken dishes are AWESOME. We met 2 vegetarians who just ate @ Los Colibri (Village Restaurant) because this is where the fresh pasta bar was and it was made for you and very hot to serve. My wife and I ate mostly @ La Casano (Ocean restaurant) and were content. All restaurants are open air so eat a bit later to avoid the heat and enjoy the ocean breeze.
Our favorite meal was breakfast, the coffee is unbeatable (have it black for the taste / cream they use is not good). Fresh omelette's and fruit filled pastries .. wow !
Lunches - We ate everyday @ the beach bar. People this is where you will witness " SAVAGES " when it comes to eating and manners. The local cooks and wait staff must look @ us visitors with complete disgust. It's only food people, and plenty of it. My wife and I were so "grossed out" by people that we would take away lunch and eat @ our beach chairs. AGAIN - people throw out your food and plates. You'll know what I mean when you go there for your holiday.
TIPS - We tipped $1.00 US everyday to our maid, breakfast staff member, lunch staff, dinner staff. We also tipped the bell boy and the bar staff (but not the bar staff for each drink, just tipped them near end of night). I brought out candies and lollypops for the Beach/Garden/Security staff and they loved the gesture. The added cost for all the tips was very little for the happiness it brought them.
MEN - if you have old work boots that are in ok shape, bring them to give to the beach/garden cleaners as they work in DRESS SHOES !! Give them a pair and you'll see just how happy such a small gift can make them.
Art Work - the Dominican art is very cool and unique. We bought several paintings and paid pennies for what it would cost us in the city of Toronto. The Taino Beach Art shop @ the resort has unique pcs. not found @ the beach markets. We bargained a bit but were happy paying the price for what we got. The owners/girls there are cool and fun.
Language - Please learn some Spanish or you'll be in trouble. It was tough to communicate some times. i.e taxi's, airport, bartenders, restaurants.
Disco .. we never went to it but heard it was pretty fun as the Euro's love to dance and enjoy the nightlife. Disco is at the beach so you do not hear it at night.
Rain - it was totally sunny all day long and would rain @ night. And when i say rain, I mean wicked tropical rain storm .. grab a beer sit on your balcony or at the bar and enjoy the rain show.
Bank Machines .. if you run out of cash, do not take a Taxi (big argument, tried to rip us off). Simply walk along the beach to Barcelo Caribe (12-15min walk along beach to the right of the resort) & walk across the street to the Casino and use the bank machine there. It is so hard to find US Cash.
Leaving .. Remeber it costs each person $20.00 US CASH ONLY to leave the airport. I was totally amazed at how many people got in check in line with no money thus holding up the line which felt like hours. Hide money in your passport at beginning of the week. Don't make the rest of us suffer because you didn't listen to the tour representative.
All in all I'd refer this place to anyone wanting a quiet resort with an awesome beach, friendly staff, and comfotable surroundings. If you keep in mind that you are in the Caribbean and remember they do not have the luxuries we take for granted then you'll be fine. If you are Rich & Cranky and expect & demand hands on service for everything, then go to a 5star. Why even bother looking at this resort. If you are a hard working person (who saves all year for a trip) and wants a nice resort, then you'll be extremely satisfied. This beach has bettered many of the 5 star resorts we have stayed.
People .. wife & I laughed at all the people who made a "stink" over ever little thing (german lady almost in tears because her coffee was not filled up right away each morning, same production from her every morning).. "chill out" .. if your life is really that bad, then stay home and be miserable.
Sorry last thing .. The sun is very powerful, hotter than Mexico so bring 30 or 50 sunscreen for first cpl of days until you get a base. It's VERY expenssive to buy there, so bring lots. Your kids will love the beach and pools, so keep them covered.
Well .. tried to cover everything so hope it helps !! All the best.
Go Leafs Go #13
The rooms were okay, we kept the patio door closed since the staff said to keep it closed unless you want bugs in your room. The food wasn't anything to write home about. Only 2 resturants in our part of the resort, if you walked across the street there was another resturant. Their food was better, they actually had american food. The grill on the beach was okay. I mainly ate chicken and salad, since everything else looked suspicious. They have one resturant you have to make reservations at. Its where the beach grill is located in the day. The food is great, we ate most of our dinner meals there. The drinks were great! The beach was unbelievable. Thats the only thing that made the stay worthwhile. We must have had the best part of the beach lots of room and chairs. The staff had fun activies during the day and the evening. After the evening activities are over, which is around 11pm, the place pretty much closes down. They have a disco, but NO ONE is there. We sat there literaly for an hour and no one was dancing, only a handful of people were there. We wondered where everyone went after 11pm. We asked about the trip to the Casino down the beach and you need to take a bus there, but it only goes there a couple times a week and it starts at 9pm and brings you back at midnight. If you want to leave early you need to find your own transportation back. If you go out of the resorts good luck, kinda slumy. We took a trip to Seona Island. Not worth the money we paid, we were on the bus for 2 hours then we had to get on a Catamaran for 3 hours to get to the island, kinda neat, but could they make the thing move faster, we were getting passed by people in canoes!!! We were on the island for an hour, they brought lunch which was okay. We took a speedboat back to the mainland and it took us 45 mintues....mmmmm, then we sat on the bus for the 2 hour trip to our hotel. Definitly not worth the money! Best thing about this hotel is the location on the beach and the staff that makes the beach soooo clean. Don't worry about people begging for money or anything, that isn't allowed. Overall if you don't care about your sleeping arrangements or food come here, the beach rocks!!
My husband and I went to this resort on July 7th, 2003 for our honeymoon and it was a terrible experience! Our rooms were very small, worn and dirty. The beach was beautiful and our view from our room was fantastic, but those are the only two positive things I can say. We witnessed so many people getting sick. There is was a buffett and there is no airconditioning so everything spoils. The ambulance was constantly making runs to the local hospital for food poisioning. My husband and I ate steak and pizza for a week and we did not get sick, but every American that we met had gotten sick. And I am not talking about a little case of travelers discomfort, I am talking about getting wheeled out in a wheel chair with an IV! One couple that we met on the plane ended up in the local hospital for 4 of the 5 days they were there. The beds were as hard as rocks. Our "king" bed was literaly two small beds pushed together. Not very romantic for honeymooners. After a rain storm, there were hundreds of bugs in our room. Very few people spoke English, so getting things for our rooms was very difficult.
Please spend the extra money and go to a different resort. I do not want anyone to waste their money like we did!
If you hate huge roaches....
Beautiful beach and food was always very good. The room was not a bad size, but the "beetles" as they call the really huge tropical roaches were what ruined it for me! They were in my room everynite and being petrified of roaches, especially that big, I didn't sleep well to say the least... I was always glad for morning when I could spend the day at the beach! A lot of people were also being bitten on the beach by probably sand fleas, but luckily I didn't have that problem. Did wake up one morning with spider bites all over my one leg and found the critter at the bottom of my sheets. Walked around with big purples blotches for the rest of my vacation. Had a hard time getting the front desk to listen to my requests to have my room cleaned and to have the hair dryer and fire detector installed as they were missing! Took about 3 days of hounding before they finally put the smoke detector in the room. When I raced across the room to kill a huge roach running on the wall, I would whack it with a sandal, and the remains would still be on the wall when I came back at nite, so the maids weren't too observant when they cleaned. On the plus side, I always found the food at either buffet restaurant to be excellent and hot. There was always a wonderful selection. I would go back to Punta Cana someday, but definitely not to this resort. I would probably not even go to the other Barcello resorts, I would pick something else further along, as I spoke with people staying further up the beach and they had no problem with "beetles" or sand fleas. The gounds also had a heavy insecticide smell in the evenings, and sometimes it was very strong and hard to breathe.
When I got home I did complain to Alba Tours, but they really didn't care and sent me a discount for the next time I stayed at that hotel, which in my letter, I had made perfectly clear that I would NEVER go back there. Hope you do not have the same experience as I did!
It blows my mind that people (mostly americans) travel to a third world country for almost nothing and expect the Hilton with marble baths and the whole nine yards! This resort was AWESOME. I have travelled to many Caribbean countries and stayed in 5* star hotels such as Cayman Islands Hyatt Regency. And I will tell you that not only did this resort have the best and biggest beach, I loved PUNTA CANA so much I am going again this Dec. The food is ok same as any AI resort in a third world country. If you are at the Villas the walk through the resort is nothing. The people treat you how you treat them. If you respect them, they will respect you back. We even ventured out of the resort on our own took the local bus and mingled and yes I was scared at first and then realized this was ridiculous they are human beings just like us.
The bus ride was like 50 cents and took you right to Bavaro Plaza which we found was the best place to exchange money. The majority of people were European which I LOVED being from a European heritage, and no offence but Americans tend to whine alot, so thank goodness not many!
If you show them you respect their work and tip you will receive priority service at the bars etc. One final note if the Italians wearing designer clothes don't find fault than maybe its not the hotel or destination that is awful! Bottom line is its a third world country with a gorgeeous beach, show the people of the Dominican who are very intelligent (5 languages) some respect. If you want the marble baths etc. go to Cancun which caters to Americans or stay in America. One last thing if the hotel is too boring at night there are night clubs and other bars to explore off the resort, if you are to afraid to go alone there is a bus every evening. Also, when I went I brought along old but in great condition clothes that my kids outgrew (GAP, etc.) and offered it to the maids and locals with children. Don't mean to offend Americans, respect you, but some are giving the rest of you a bad rap.
The beach was beautiful, only rained twice and it was at night. The resort was nice. Room was clean. The beach is beautiful and we snorkeled right off the beach. I went on an excursion to a local Marina to snorkel with nurse sharks and sting rays, it was awesome! Learn some spanish before you go, because most people speak only spanish and broken english. I new broken sentences in spanish and that was enough.
Most of the staff was friendly. I heard people complain of the lack of service at the bars. The service was very "relaxed"...just remember, you are on vacation and have no where to go!! Other than that I had a wonderful vacation, I got what I paid for.
Great Get away
Spent two weeks End of January into February,2003 all inclusive. First time on a winter vacation and had a fantastic time. Read reviews and other info, but found it was best to see for yourself. Weather was great (no snow or cold),room was good and always clean (nothing fancy, but only there to sleep) food good (different than home, take it easy don't over indulge), service was excellent and the nightly entertainment a must see. A 20 peso tip, a pack of gum or what ever you take along with a smile go a long way. Friendly guests get better attention from all staff. Took the Jungle Runners tour and found it well worth the $'s to see the country side and local people. Manati Park was also worth seeing. Met lots of new friends who we are still in contact with and seems like we have known forever. Would go again in a blink of an eye. Would be an asset to know some basic Spanish and practice the art of bartering.
Would not go back to this Hotel
We just got back from Punta Cana and stayed at the Barcelo Bavaro Ocean Village. Punta Cana is very beautiful no complaints there. Very relaxing, not a lot to do outside the hotel other than excusions which cost a lot. I found a lot of the information we were given and that is advertised was not true. With this hotel you do not get privileges at the other hotel (barcelo gardens, beach, casino and convention center. ) We were informed that they were all conected and you had privileges at each hotel. Not true they even charged you 8us to travel to each of the hotels which were in walking distance but too hot to walk in the sun. Our flight arrived at 4:30 am and we were told not to be concerned if our room was not ready until tomorrow at 3:00pm. We were lucky but I saw many times people arriving that had to sit in the sun all day till there room was ready. Our flight was not until midnight yet we still had to check out of our room at 12:00 in the afternoon which left us roasting all day long and were not even aloud to keep a towel. The staff could be very friendly and nice but we had many occasions when you asked when they were rude and un friendly. I would recomend the Outback jungle safari. It was the best day of our whole trip. I would not go back to this hotel but would go back to Punta Cana. We have been before and stayed at the Fiesta Bavaro which was fantastic. We are sorry we changed hotels this time. Enjoy your trip.
It was so nice here!!
I just got back from punta cana and i stayed in this resort!! it was so beautiful here!! the people are all so nice and friendly. It is definately worth going to and i would go back there!! Its so relaxing. THere are lots of things to do for people of all ages! I highly reccommend going here.
We just got back from the Ocean Village in Bavaro Beach and had a great time! The resort is beautiful with trees and gardens everywhere, nicely lit paths at night, and an excellent white sand beach. The rooms are okay. There is a TV, two beds, a huge closet, lovely balcony, safe deposit box and that is about it. The air conditioning works great and there is even shampoo, conditioner and soap in the shower for you. We did find a coakroach in the bathroom one night however and the maids seem to have missed cleaning it up. The service was okay, the maids and waitstaff all seemed ready to talk to you but they only knew how to speak Spanish. Although, front desk and public relations knew English well enough. There was lots to do at and around the resort, although the good stuff requires money! 9they accept all kinds of money... even Canadian dollars) We went on the Outback Jungle Safari because the watersports and such were shut down for the majority of the week (for the Easter holiday) and when they were not shut down it was raining. It rained 4 days of our week long trip so be prepared to do a lot of stuff indoors. It was also very windy, especially along the beach because it is on the Atlantic Ocean. The food was okay at the beginning of the week, but by the end, you tend to get sick of the same old thing day after day. There are many restaurants to choose from but they basically offer the same food... everyday. There is a nice restaurant that you can eat at on the beach a la carte, but is does not offer much selection. You have to make reservations each day and have to pay for lobster and other nig ticket items, altough most is included with your package. Overall, a beautiful place. The beach gorgeous, the water clear, and the resort good for the price paid.
TripAdvisor Reviews IFA Bavaro Village Resort & Spa Punta Cana
Travel Blogs from Punta Cana
We just got back from a wonderful 10 days in Punta Cana. We stayed at the Esmeralda Punta Cana resort. It was quite hot and humid for my liking, but we had a great time. It was our third visit there and we decided to do an ATV excursion, a parasail excursion off the beach which did not turn out well. And a free shopping excursion which was nice they had a hard rock café restaurant and we had a delicious hamburger the last night we were there. As far as the parasail ...
... Took some more photos around the resort. - I took some great sunset shots of our last night in Paradise. Palm trees, a breeze, the stars. So nice to be relaxed and not scheduled. - Pre-ordered breakfast for the plane Drinks we have tested/indulged in... Coconut Milk...with and without rum Strawberry Daquiri Champagne Dirty Monkey Coco Loco Happy Mango Sex on the Beach Bahama Mama Piña Colada Dominican ...
... but as it was booked we wandered down to the World Cafe for supper. We walked back to the beach to watch a movie, but gave in after being buried in sand with high winds blowing the beach around We went back to the shops and picked up some sweets. Then took in the International Show of dancing. Back to the room to relax and read and check out pizza room ...
... and daughter combo shouting "I love you!" Nothing says fun in the sun like a picture of your mother with a medic after sustaining a head injury. - Dinner at Bordeaux was amazing, complete with a champagne drink to start which was my favourite drink of the whole week. It's a restaurant I would never thought to go to alone so thanks, Stacey! - I think this is the day we discovered the pretzels.....I really liked those ...
The heat hits like a glorious sauna wall. Upon arrival around dawn we enjoyed the sunrise on the bus ride to the Dreams Punta Cana resort. After we checked in, dropped off our bags and checked out our room (and a quick introduction to our resident peacocks) we showered and went for breakfast buffet at the World Cafe. Yum!! We then ...