ClubHotel Riu Bachata
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Pünktliche Ankunft in Puerto Plata nach Zwischenlandung in Punta Cana. (Nachdem ich vor Jahren bereits Punta Cana kennengelernt habe, bin ich nun also in der zweiten Touristen-Hochburg des Landes angekommen.)
Fahrt mit dem Bus zum Hotel an der Bahia de Maimon etwas ausserhalb von Puerto Plata. Check-in klappt problemlos. Mini-Bar gefüllt …
So I'm a little behind on my posts...but as most of you know, I'm coming home in 2 days!! So in honor of this, I'm going to do two posts today: Things I will miss/Things I will not miss.
THINGS I WILL MISS!
- Having the housekeeper bring me juice when I am home in the afternoon
- My host family and especially watching Tangled and Pocahontas in Spanish with my 3 year old mini me
- Being able to take a two hour bus ride and ...
... Unfortunately we were introduced to them during orientation week and can't stop ordering them now! I'm also addicted to their iced coffee which was even better when I figured out how to say skim milk! They put a little bit of cinnamon on top and it is just fantastic. They have some Dominican food and some American food so it's great for when I want a break from rice and beans!
... have looked down upon Haitians and dark skin. We had a group discussion about racial tensions during orientation week and it was really interesting to learn about the mentality here. Basically, the idea of race doesn't exist here. Dominicans are a mix of Spanish, African, and Taino (native people of the island) heritage. This essentially means some may have very light skin, and some may have very dark skin; but all are ...
... So to make this natural water springs into a water source, we used rocks to protect the stream of water, and then filled concrete over the rocks so that rain water couldn't get in. The engineer of the project (Peace Corp volunteer) built a box at the end of the concrete where the water could be caught and funneled through a pipe. Basically, this will eventually become the water source for the community and SOMEDAY the families will be able to use the water in their ...
How has this resort rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews ClubHotel Riu Bachata Puerto Plata
Best Ever Vacation
We stayed at the Riu Bachata April 22 - April 29th, 2003. My son had his wedding there and everything was perfect. The resort earned a 100 percent mark from all 23 of us who went there. Food was fantastic, varied. Accomodations were bright, clean and the maids did a fantastic job with their little 'animal' towels. Drinks were abundant anything you wanted. The grounds were immaculate and the staff was exceptionally friendly, day in and day out. Would definitely go to a Riu Resort again. Possibly Jamaica or Cancun. Just one warning, be careful around the pools! Bricks can be dangerous. And watch your children with tap water in bathrooms. There are warning stickers. Hola!
The Bachata hotel and the two sister hotels are like a paradise dream. Our holiday began on March 9, 2003 for one week. We had a wonderful ocean view room, room 313 in building 3. We had e-mailed our request and were told that they could not take request due to high volume as it was our March break. When we arrived and had such a wonderful view of the sports beach, we were thrilled. The food was delicous with lots of variety. We enjoyed the casino and had lots of fun on the five cent slots. There are 8 of these and about fifteen 25 cent machines as well as a few tables which we did not play. You could get a cash advance on your visa without a pin number at the casino if you run out of money. My husband and I both enjoyed a half hour massage above the fitness center on Carribean Street. It seemed a bit more private than the travelling girls that would give you a massage on your chaisse lounge on the beach or by the pool. Also, that must be very uncomfortable for the girl and their backs. The staff seemed truly appreciative of the small gifts we brought down to give away.We would give this resort a ten out of ten and hope to someday go back
Definitely like this all-inclusive
My husband and I stayed here for the week of April 4th to 11th, 2003. Having already stayed in La Romana at the Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus I was eager to compare the two all-inclusive packages. La Romana beats anywhere that I have been so far including Mexico and the Caribbean for the white sandy beach. The ocean was great and I hardly used the pool at all. However, the food at the Riu Bachata deserves a better rating than the Iberostar. It depends on what you prefer. The bathrooms have walk-in showers in the Iberostar, while the shower is part of the bathtub at the Riu. The Riu is more intimate and you don't have to walk as far to get to the different activities. It is also nice to walk between the complexes - Merengue and Bambu. At the Iberostar you get the single complex but much more spread out in design. Both are nice resorts, it just depends on what you consider more important - for me it is the beach, and I would return to La Romana in an instant, but would think about Puerto Plata before going again. Also, although this might not affect everyone, I got lots of mosquito bites while there and I react with the red bumps and itching, while my husband does not. This is probably due to the fact that there is more rain in Puerto Plata. That is another reason that I would think twice about returning.
Time of a life
My husband and I stayed in the Riu Bachata from March28-April4, 2003. We had the time of our lives. We have done a lot of traveling in the islands and Mexico. The Dominican is our favorite. The Riu Bachata is also our favorite resort so far. The Resort is gorgous and the people are very kind. The food was great and there was something for everyone. You do not have to worry about using American money. They are good about giving you change in American if you pay in American. Be sure not to take large american bills. The mini-bar in the rooms is a great touch and it is always stocked. The drinks were great and we found that they will make them as strong as you would like. At the Riu, just ask and they will do everything they can to make your wish reality. We were even given an oceanview room ( I emailed ahead and asked for one). We think this resort is great and we are looking forward to seeing other Riu resorts.
Time of my life
I have been to many resorts in the DR and travel a few times a year. In November I took a 2 week vacation to the Rui Bachata. The first week all by myself and the second my girlfriend joined me for. I had never travelled alone so it was a new experiance for me. The staff was so wonderful and always remebered my name. Jose and Lady worked the Pool bar and always had smiles on there faces. I met so many people from Germany and England and Toronto. Jesus and Louisie always made room for my new friends at the table. My hat goes off to them. We all danced up the storm at the disco & spent lots of money at the casino. I met so many go people. Since then I have been back 2 times once in January and once in Febuary. Now I am packing my bags and moving there to live with the guy that teachs windsurf at the Batchata (Saul). So Have fun and enjoy your stay and say hi to Saul. The Rui Batchata was the tripped that got me to look at life a little different and enjoy your vacation. PS call my travel agent she is amazing her name is Elana at Prominet travel in Toronto.Debbie
When you arrive you receive your room assignments on the bus. This is not set in stone...we were in 1119...overlooking the ocean on the sports beach. The meals are excellent...there were a la carte places by reservation for 2 people...but we prefered the Buffet and became friendly with the servers. You will be assigned a specific table for dinner only...lunch and breaky u can sit anywhere. Our fave was on the Pation...It is non stop action in the pool area...a little more quiet by the ocean...and the sprts peach was our fav..as it was quiet and we sat under the plam trees. Snorkeling is best at Sousa beach...and the Monster truck....was great..We did the tour of the town...went to Bruga rum factory...buy a bottle of 151 rum...the strongest in my opinion on the planet.Take your time...the night life is good in the resort...kids shows till 9 then adult shows. Made some mone in a very tasteful Casino there...Black Jack..Slots....Roulette.It is impossible to have a bad time here..food ...rooms...people...all excellent...and I read the beach was dirty in previous reviews...it was clean...but a bit stony in parts. You will be in Pardise for a week. David
The bachata was in a great location, the best of the three hotels on the beach. The food was great, and i have been to quite a few destinations and hotels down in the Caribbean and mexico area, and the bachata out shoots them all. excellent stay, had a blast, will be returning again this year !
I loved it but, if your going for a sunny beach, forget it, it's all shaded by palm trees
Went in Nov/2003. Flight was with Sky service. IT was cramped and too warm, i reccommend getting changed into light clothing in the airport. They told us the air conditioning was broken but miraculously it came on before landing. Food- Generally very good, lots to choose from, lots of fruit, salads, seafood, vegetarian dishes. Not a lot of repetition. Steak at the grill was amazing, and tender. I had read other reviews where it was like rubber, but in our case it wasn't. I wasnt too stuck on the salad dressings, next time I'd bring my own. Some of the dairy products had a strange aftertaste, I dont know if it's because it was made with goats milk or because it's not pateurized, like their butter. Some of the cheese was good, so if you dont mind cheese made with goats milk, you wont have a problem with any of it. Lots of different types of buns/bread and ommelettes to choose from in the mornings, including bacon ,back bacon, and potatoes. Service- Amazing!!! No line-ups for food. They bring your luggage to your room when you arrive, keep your carry-ons with you,as they could be a while. WE didnt wait long -maybe 20 min. They also called us right away to make sure everything was okay. We were very impressed with the fully stocked mini-bar(free) complete with your four basics- gin,rum,whiskey and rye. The mini-fridge contained water, coke,soda water etc. When you run out ,they come and fill it up again(even the liquor) They were all very polite and happy. They waited on us hand and foot! I found them to be very accommodating, everything was always "no problem". My only complaint was our maid in particular, was lazy and didnt do a good job cleaning, there was always sand on the floor,and she didnt change the sheets, even though I tipped her. Another couple we met down there,had a great maid, she kept their room spotless. Dress code -relaxed,as long as you dont wear a bikini to dinner,and men -as long as they're wearing a shirt and shorts. View- breathtaking!!! We had ground floor terrace, oceanview. Entertainment-was nightly, some nights were better than others, but there's always the disco. Or you could always entertain yourselves in your rooms with a fully stocked mini-bar. The bartenders make many different cocktails to choose from. Not many bugs this time of year for them(Nov) We ate outside on the veranda alot. There was only one night when a lot of bugs came out because it rained. Beach- Way too many palm trees planted too close together, too much shade, all the sunny spots were taken, because there werent very many. In this case you'd have to go to the pool, which isnt too bad because of the swim- up bar. Way too many rocks in the ocean, the waves were strong, I hurt my foot so I had to wear my sandles in the water. My husband found that too. Tips- buy the rum,and coffee at the airport, it's about half the price from what we paid at the resort. Never pay more than half of what venders ask, they will try to rip you off. Dont do the catamaran $70us per person if your hoping to see some dolphins,because you might not see any. Dont snorkle at the resort, you cant see 3 ft in front of your face.If you want to go snorkeling ,do it in Sosua. Bring facecloths-they dont provide any. It's also a good idea to bring you own goggles, snorkle gear,some "OFF" and dont foget to bring something to treat your sunburns with. Make sure you rub the sunscreen in very well, as it can attract the sun and burn you. Shop around first, then go back to buy it, chances are you would find that same item elsewhere for less. The staff down there love pringles especially "Wilson" the bartender. Wilson makes a good specialty drink and good banana mammas. Be sure to try a banana Mamma. Front desk lends out adaptor pieces if you need to plug something in. Would i go back? No, only because I'm a beach bum, I'd like to try the other Riu's on the other side of the island for the better beach.
Restful Vacation at Riu Bachata
My 16-year-old daughter and I stayed at the Riu Bachata January 10 -17, 2003. We were looking for a peaceful--and Warm--escape and got it. Never strayed from the resort grounds at all, as everything we needed was right there. Facility is beautiful and sparkling clean. Food in the buffet dining room, Bahia de Maimon, was well-prepared and of excellent variety and quality. The entertainment leaders, the Animators, led the daytime activities (just enough of them to keep things interesting) and the children's program. Sad to say, the evening activities fell short of our expectations. Watching the kids activity on stage for an hour, and then a 90-minute lull before a lackluster 10 pm performance was not our idea of fun. The Bachata would do well to steal some cruise ship ideas for evening entertainment-- having a choice of activities available, giving two featured shows at staggered times for both dinner seatings, bringing in a professional entertainer for an evening. A couple of the Dominican dancing shows were quite good, but there were too many of that type of show, and not all of the routines were performance-ready. I'd pay a few dollars more for the vacation package to have better evening entertainment.
Also, there seemed to be a problem with little houseflies--everywhere but in our room. This was especially annoying at meal time; with all that great food around, the one thing I didn't want to do was lose my appetite! The one restaurant that seemed to have the fly problem under control was the Dominican specialty restaurant, the Macambo, at the Riu Merengue. They had fans set up at the salad and dessert bars and there were no flies hovering around the tables. The food was excellent, and they accommodated my vegetarian daughter "no problem". Make sure you bring enough otc medicines and sunscreen with you, they are very expensive at the hotel. Also some small bags of chips, pretzels, etc. for the few and far between times when you're hungry for that sort of thing. Our weather was gorgeous all week. No need for that complimentary umbrella in the room.
Service was friendly and efficient. The only real decisions I had to make all week were, shall I sit by the beach or the pool? Never a problem finding a deck chair, though pool tended to be more crowded than the beach. I plunked myself down in a chaise on the beach each day, under a tree, with a pina colada and a good book in hand. Life is good!
Enjoy the Riu Bachata!
Bachata better than Merengue and Mambo
Sarah & Alex (both 22)
We were at the resort from January 1st – 8th 2003. We traveled with Sunquest/Alba Tours. We booked through ..., got great service and saved over $400 CAD each.
As we approached customs, I noticed a man in uniform behind a counter, and another man in a different uniform on the other side, who reached for our bags, and so I thought he was helping out with customs. Then he turned around and it said ‘Porter’ on his back, so I quickly verified with the customs agent, who just waved us through. We probably could have carried our bags ourselves, but it wasn’t a big deal. The bus for the Merengue was your standard greyhound type bus, bus as there were less people going to the Bachata we had to make due with a smaller bus which was quite cramped.
There were drinks and appetizers waiting for us as soon as we arrived at the hotel. Check in was smooth, and then a porter offered to take our bags. We were under the impression that he would be following us to the room, so we left him with our carry on bagss as well (he had a cart), however he waited until everyone on the bus had checked in so it was 45 mins to an hour later when we received our bags in the room. So – don’t leave you carry on with the porter!
There was no bottled water in the room initially, but before we even had a chance to call the front desk, they called us, and within 30 mins water was sent up. Later in the day we received another call to ensure that it had arrived.
The room was very nice. We had requested a king size bed and an ocean view, and we got both, even though the brochure had only mentioned 2 ¾ size beds. The bathtub might have been awkward for seniors or those with less mobility – you had to enter from the rear and the tub wall was quite high and thick. Also the edges were sharp. There was a slight musty smell when we entered, but this quickly disappeared once we turned on the fan and the air conditioner.
After we received our bags on the first day, we headed down to find some food (it was about 4:30). We found the restaurant by the pool, but were disappointed, as there was very little to choose from, and what was left had obviously been sitting for a while. When we mentioned this to the assistant manager who inquired about our stay a few days in she said that the food is not replenished after 3pm, so in the future we made sure to eat before then. I was also a little disappointed with the food during the first evening meal, but by the second day, I had more of an idea of what to choose and what to avoid, and from then on I was quite happy with the food. In general we avoided eating at the casual restaurant by the pool though, for both the continental breakfast and the lunch as there wasn’t much choice. The continental breakfast (10am -12) had fresh bread, croissants, and fruit, whereas the regular breakfast at the ‘Bahia de Maimon’ restaurant was fantastic (7am-10am) – 5 types of eggs, bacon, back bacon, fresh squeezed juice, pancakes, French toast, homemade yogurt, cereals, toast, several interesting jams etc. The lunch at the casual restaurant consisted generally consisted of hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken burgers, a pasta dish, fresh bread, a salad bar and a couple of other dishes which changed daily. By contrast the lunch buffet at the fancier Bahia de Maimon restaurant was comparable to the dinner, with about 25 hot dishes to choose from, in addition to 2 soups, the salad bar, and the fresh bread. There was little repetition in the buffets at the fancier ‘Bahia de Maimon’ restaurant, except around Epiphany, which is a major holiday in the DR. As for dress codes, we found them to be quite relaxed, we would just dry off a bit and add a shirt/shorts to go in at lunch, and even for dinner Alex often wore shorts and a t-shirt.
On the second day the Bahia de Maimon restaurant never opened for lunch, we noticed a couple of other times that it opened late – once about an hour late. One of the reasons we had chosen the Bachata was that the main restaurant was air conditioned, however perhaps it was broken because they always seemed to keep the doors open. Although we never found it hot inside so perhaps they were just conserving energy.
We lined up three times to try and get in the steak house, unfortunately we never succeeded. We found the reservation system to be confusing – they told us they only took reservations for the current and next days, but they seemed to be taking reservations 3 days ahead for the steakhouse. It was also unclear as to whether they would book the whole restaurant on the first day of reservation or if they kept some space open for those that arrived later in the week. Frankly, since the steakhouse is so popular, I think they should simply allocate more tables to it – the tables for the casual lunch place are in the same building and go unused in the evening. But of course it does probably save them money by leaving them empty and not serving the expensive food to as many people.
We did go to the Mediterranean restaurant, and were quite pleased with it. The salmon in the saffron sauce was exceptional, the chicken dish was just ordinary. The beef dish looked good.
One the second day when the fancy restaurant wasn’t open for lunch and we felt like a walk, we checked out all three casual restaurants and found that the Merengue and the Bachata had the same food whereas the Mambo had a few different dishes so we ended up eating there.
BACHATA vs MERENGUE vs MAMBO
We were glad that we paid a bit extra to go to the Bachata.
The Mambo is the furthest from the Bachata and the closest to the highway. Some of the rooms are probably close enough to hear the cars go by. Also, none of the Mambo rooms appear to have ocean views.
The Disco is between the Mambo and the Merengue.
So the Merengue is centrally located, however the ocean views are not quite as nice as the Bachata’s since you are behind a good stretch of palm tree covered beach. Also, the ocean view rooms are located right over the path from the disco back to the Bachata. Many of the ocean view rooms at the Merengue had bigger balconies with two sets of sliding doors, we figured that these were the more expensive suites.
The Bachata ocean view rooms are located on a bit of a cliff overlooking a small bay, so the views are really great.
On the last day we tried out the Merengue fancy restaurant for lunch, however it was nowhere near as nice inside as the Bachata’s – it was dark and not very well laid out. I didn’t notice a patio for eating (which the Bahia de Maimon restaurant has). In addition, the food was not labeled and the selection seemed poorer.
We booked the Puerto Plata/Sosua Beach full day tour through our rep for $35 US. This is essentially a ‘spend your money tour’. First we drove through the rich section of town, which was quite interesting. Then we went to the Brugal rum bottling plant – not much to see and huge lineups to buy the rum as all the other tours seemed to get there at the same time. After that we went to the Amber Gallery, it was slightly interesting, plus Alex deemed that they had the best prices in the gift shop for rum and vanilla and coffee. It’s also a good place to buy any Amber or Larimar jewelry because you’ll know that it’s authentic. Although the tour guide had mentioned taking us to a supermarket in the poor section of town, he instead took us to a ‘souvenir factory’ as he deemed that we had had enough opportunity to buy coffee, rum and vanilla at the Amber Gallery. The souvenir factory was boring, we didn’t actually see the factory, just the shop which had ugly knickknacks and more jewelry. Everything in the store was 20% off (and always is), so the prices here were better than at the Sosua flea market. I had hoped to see some of the nicer souvenirs I had seen on Carribean street at the hotel, either in town or in Sosua, but it was mainly just ugly stuff. I tried doing some bargaining in Sosua, it was very difficult to get the vendors to accept the reasonable prices I had seen in the previous stores. After walking out of about 5 stores (and wasting precious snorkeling time) I finally found a guy willing to give a reasonable price after much haggling. He accepted American dollars too, even gave me change in American. All the vendors there have calculators and know basic English phrases such as ‘final offer’ so the language barrier was not a huge problem.
The snorkeling off Sosua beach was excellent. We were able to leave some items in the bus (the bus driver stayed in the bus the whole time), however since there was glass on the path towards the beach we couldn’t leave our shoes up there. We ended up taking turns – we didn’t want to trust the guy who rented us the snorkeling gear with Alex’s new Nikes. The waves were very rough the day we were there, which made it difficult for me to swim (I’m not a strong swimmer) however I didn’t see anyone renting life jackets. The snorkel gear cost $10US.
There is also a glass bottom boat tour available from Sosua beach – it lasts 35 mins and costs $10US as well – probably a good choice for weak swimmers. We had 2 hours in Sosua beach to split between the snorkeling and shopping. Lunch was included in this tour, we stopped at an Italian restaurant which had taken precautions for foreigners.
A couple we met did the ‘Paradise Island’ excursion. They enjoyed themselves, however at one point were completely surrounded by jelly fish. Instead of booking through the Sunquest rep they went down to the watersports beach and booked through a tour operator there for $55US instead of $79. There is also a Sosua beach only half day tour available there for $30US, basically you take a motor boat out to a couple of spots to snorkel from.
If you have long hair, it’s really nice to get it braided and not have to worry about it all week. I first saw a hair braider in the children’s hut by the pool, and she quoted me 700 pesos. (my hair goes to about 3 inches below my shoulders) Later, we were exploring the water sports beach, and a woman approached me to get my hair braided. She too, quoted 700 pesos, but when I hesitated offered it for 300 pesos if I had it done immediately. When we inquired about US dollars, she quoted $30US, which is obviously a horrendous exchange rate. She was quite willing to braid my hair, then let me go back to my room to get the cash. Anyways, I decided to have it done then, and she led me over to her station where other hair braiders were hanging around. None of the six women were working at the time, hence the good price. I had inquired in Canada in the summer about getting my hair braided and was told 5 hours and $100 CAD, three women there completed my hair in about 45 mins. If you have layers, it’s best to get a trim and have them removed prior to getting your hair braided, so that they don’t stick out. Also, I saw many women with the style of braids that stick your head for a bit, then go free, however it always seemed as though they let the braids go free too soon. The women speak very little English though, so it’s difficult to communicate guidelines such as these.
We found the guests to be mostly families and couples. There seemed to be a lot of families with 15 year old girls, and there didn’t seem to be many couples our own age (they were mostly a bit older). There weren’t many seniors – mostly just grandmothers joining there families. Definitely not a singles resort.
Geography-wise, the guests seemed to be half European, half Canadian. There were also some Dominican couples who would come for a night or two.
Some of the evening shows were fairly boring unless you enjoy watching a lot of dancing. My favourites were the ‘Voodoo’ show and the international dance competition. The couples competition was fun as well. ‘Spaghetti’ and ‘Rico’ were worth traveling from the other resorts to see – Spaghetti (tall and thin with a fro) is a fantastic dancer, and Rico (Pico?) with one leg has more balance and dancing talent than most men with two.
We went to the disco twice. On Thursday night it was quite empty, and the dance floor didn’t get going until about 12:30. Friday night it was much busier. We made a few song suggestions to the DJ, despite getting nods, we never heard them, so if you’re intent on hearing a song, it might be a good idea to bring a dollar bill to slip to him. The music was a mix of Dominican and hip hop, with a few older songs thrown in. In Canada we often grab something to eat after a night out, but at the Bachata there is no such option unless you plan in advance and buy something at the store or grab extras at the buffet. A vending machine would be a nice addition. There is a sign outside the disco which states that only those over 16 are allowed in, and I did see a few youngsters turned away, although the bouncer didn’t get there until about 11:45. Alex claimed to have seen a group of seemingly Dominican women who would individually approach single men and chat them up as the entered the disco (draw your own conclusions from this…)
On our last day there, it rained steadily all day. The animation team was obviously prepared – they organized darts inside, aerobics on the stage, and even performed a show at 3:30. Despite the rain, the weather was still warm, and a waterpolo game went ahead as well.
We lucked out with great weather all week. It often got a bit windy and cloudy in the late afternoon, but it was generally really nice and not toooo hot, with a good breeze from the ocean. However, on the last evening, it started raining and didn’t let up. Apparently it was forecast to rain for the next 4 days, so we were just leaving in time!
As mentioned, it rained on the last day and was very foggy as well. When the bus arrived to take us to the airport the Sunquest rep told us to put our luggage in the bus but hang around the lobby since the incoming plane had not yet been able to land. One and a half hours later we were told to board the bus. When we got to the airport they told us the flight was still scheduled to leave on time and we thought great, less time to waste in the airport. Shortly after we were informed that it was delayed. After more waiting another guy on our flight went downstairs and back through customs in order to find the Sunquest rep, (who refused to come upstairs and explain the situation to everyone). Basically different people were giving us different information all afternoon, but what really happened is that the plane could not land because of the fog and because the Puerto Plata airport doesn’t have a computerized navigation system. So after circling for awhile, the plane had to go to Punta Cana to land (they do have a navigation system), refuel, return to Puerto Plata and start circling again. We thought we could be there all night, but luckily we only ended up waiting about 4 hours in the airport, then perhaps another hour in the plane waiting for a chance to take off. Since my father was coming to pick us up at the airport, I had left him the 1800 # to check the arrival times, however they were not updated properly so my father had to wait 2 hours at the airport…
As for the duty free shops, I found the rum prices to be better than those on Caribbean street (better selection as well) but more expensive than the rum factory. The amber was cheaper on Carribean Street, but cheapest at the Amber gallery and the souvenir factory.
Overall, we had a great vacation, but I would recommend staying at a Riu hotel in Punta Cana if you can afford the difference for the better weather and better airport. Apparently the beaches are nicer there as well.