Tropical Princess Beach Resort & Spa
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Historical Traveler Reviews Tropical Princess Beach Resort & Spa Punta Cana
Terrible - from a traveller who has travelled.
The highlights of this unfortunate and pretty terrible holiday are highlighted below. We travelled from Toronto to Punta Cana 12/26/04 - 1/3/05. We are really discouraged with the individuals who post positive comments about resorts, when they have nothing to compare them to. We have stayed at Mexican resorts, Jamaican resorts, Bahamas, and Grand Cayman, in 3, 4, and 5 stars. Some are great, some are average but this Punta Cana resort was by far the worst we've ever seen. If you have travelled, have expectations, this is not the place. If you are going there to just gaze at the beach, don't care about your room, food, bar service, or any other creature comfort .... go for it.
In short: overall the hotel was dirty, and understaffed, and the rooms we were assigned to were never cleaned and dirty. Now keep in mind, this was the day after Christmas and the front desk admitted they were "badly understaffed". We observed German guests and stood outside their rooms and personally observed their buildings were upscale, same size rooms but clean and we watched maids cleaning and making towel animals. We could not even get a maid to give us a clean towel for 3 days. The food was really under expectation, very starchy, and mostly inedible (and covered with disgusting black flies) and the bar service was inexcusable. Bartenders making mixed drinks that didn't resemble anything consumable. Wrong liquors, too much alcohol and just no attention to service or pleasantness. We were very discouraged at the lack of customer service throughout. We drank beer all week, how wrong could they get that. Most of the bar staff throughout the resort were demonstratably rude. English was not high on anyone's agenda (yet German, French etc. was openly heard). The only plus, the beaches were absolutely stunning. Such an irony, some of the most beautiful beaches in the world - surpassing Mexico's coastline, yet located in this underdeveloped travel industry country. The best advice, don't settle for anything but 5 Stars here and pay the top price, you'll be sorry if you don't, we should have paid the additional $1500 in the beginning .... we ended up paying in the end.
This was so bad, we wanted to come home after day 1 and ended up paying additional money to come home early by 3 days. The details follow:
We were not greeted by our tour representative (we've left their name off as we're negotiating reimbursement now) at the airport, and they did not have us on their bus list for the hotel, so we got on anyway - never received a brochure with instructions, welcome meeting or the rep's name for our hotel.
Checked into Tropical Princess with a 6 month old baby and 2 adults, received a 3rd floor bungalow room - no elevators. A crib was delivered for our baby to this room. Later in the day after realizing we could not carry our baby carriage up and down 6 flights of stairs all week, we requested a new first floor room to accommodate baby carriages and baby equipment. We noticed right away the lobby was not very nice, modest and pale in comparison to the beautiful marble foyers of Mexico.
Room #2 was on the first floor - same building, and was dirty, dusty and had a mildew odor so bad we awoke later at 2:00 am choking and gagging from the stench, burning our throats. This was not healthy environment for a 6month old baby.
2:00 am we called for a new room to be ready first thing in AM. We visited the desk at 7:00 am and were taken to a first floor walk-in room - this room was dirty and missing light fixtures, which had been torn out from the ceiling in the bathroom with wires hanging, there was also a large hole in the wooden entry door with no key entry system. We said no.
Next room was down the row another walk-in first floor. This room was cleaner, had light fixtures, however it had no lightbulbs. The bellman left and never came back. Our bags were moved to this room. We had to go into an unlocked empty room and "steal" lightbulbs out of existing lights to have light in our room. Our room was not cleaned at all on Monday after we moved into this room, and no response from front desk after calls to bring us the baby crib. Our 6 month old had to sleep between us in the double bed.
Now in Room #4 for past 2 days, no maid came to clean our room or bring fresh towels. Our bed was not made all day. We spoke to a maid at 5:00 PM and asked her to come back. She agreed, but never returned. There were bugs under the night stand, ran out of toilet paper and had to find a maid's closet to "steal toilet paper" for ourselves. We also took towels and sheets to change our bed.
Woke at 7:00 am after being bitten by something on the foot that was under the bed. At this point we saw bites all over both our legs. The room had spiders coming down from the ceiling, mosquitos and bed fleas. Again, we had a 6month old baby to be concerned with. We decided to call the holidays tour operator at the Punta Cana airport to get out of this hotel.
The representative took our information and promised to find another hotel or discuss other options to help us - asked us to call back in ½ hr. When we called back in 45 min. she was very rude, said she had no time and didn't even get to us yet. She advised us to call back in 1 hour.
When we called back she told us we could leave Punta Cana the following evening on a different holidays carrier - Sky Service flight - if we paid another $275.00 US per person funds. We agreed, and she set it up immediately.
Noone came to clean our room again on Wednesday, after calling the front desk, and stopping several maids in the hallway.
We checked out of the hotel on Thursday evening, went to the airport, and the Signature representative made us sign a receipt for $900.00 Canadian for the 2 seats on Sky Service - not the $275 US each that our Holidays tour operator person told us. There was nothing we could do, we had no hotel now, no place to go so we signed the receipt and left on the 10:30 pm flight to Toronto.
When we returned home, our luggage was ruined because of the mildew smell - and had to be thrown away - a value of $350.00 for 4 suitcases and backpacks.
Our clothes had to be washed twice in hot water to kill the stench and drycleaning cost us another $150.00 to get the smell out of drycleanables. Our baby's toys and items needed to be sterilized - all again adding to the stress and ridiculous nature of all this - we worked harder and were more tired after this experience - and were not rested and rejuvenated as one should be after vacation. We have now received our credit card bill and were charged $771.36 for the 2 flights to get home, not the $550 that the Holiday tour operator person promised us.
In summary, the mere fact that we had to pay $771.36, in addition to the original cost of $2208.28, plus luggage destroyed at $350 and another $150 in drycleaning, for this miserable experience which ended up at a cost of $3,479.64. And for that money we could have gone to a wonderful 5 star property - and had quality food, clean rooms, good service and a pleasant vacation. Instead, we were bitten, left in a filthy room, unattended, ignored and came home upset, disappointed, stressed ..... and to a mountain of laundry.
And to make matters worse, probably the worst experience was the cab ride back to the airport. 7:00 PM in the dark, going 80-90 miles per hour in a little cab with no headlights and no shocks. We nearly hit a woman and her baby which she craddled in her arms as she stepped out into the dark road, not seeing the cab coming. I cried all the way to the airport in sheer fright, holding our 6 month old baby in his car seat praying we would get there in one piece. For the first time since I met him, I saw fear on my husbands face. We had the feeling of no control, being at the mercy of this foreign country and the horrible, rude people that inhabit it. When we arrived they said the baby didn't need the Tourist Card, and stamped his birth certificate. When we tried to leave, they kept arguing with us we could not take the baby because we had no tourist card; I was dying. We kept showing them his birth certificate with the stamp they put on it on 12/26. They pretended not to understand us. Imagine the stress. They also tried to charge us $76.00 American Cash for luggage being overweight . Add it up: $20 for each of us departure tax, now $20 more for the baby, and $76.00 for luggage - we didn't have that much American money. So we dumped personal toiletries right in the airport baggage line to get out of there!! We will not return ever in this lifetime to Punta Cana. They have a long way to go and could learn from the Mexicans. Mexican Riveria, you can't beat it. Riu and Iberostar resorts have it all over these other chains, I wish we would have checked into those. Lesson learned, we won't hastily book whatever is available to get away ever again.
Note on Food: the specialty restaurants weren't really worth the extra money; seems the food was the same from the buffets. However, the Japanese Sushi specialty restaurant was excellent. We could not believe they were able to make Sushi, sashimi and the entres they served here! We kept watching for a little Japanese Chef to emerge - surely no Dominican chef could do this. But someone did.
We hope we save someone from coming home disappointed.
To have a great vacation you have to go with an open mind. Dominican Republic is a 3rd world country and the pace is much slower than we are used to. This slower pace can either frustrate you or help you get into relax mode. We went for the last 2 weeks in January 2005 with another couple and had a fabulous time. Our rooms weren't ready until 3 pm so we ventured down to the beach and had a few cocktails while we waited. When we went back to the lobby to pick up our room cards a couple that had arrived at the same time as us (approx 10:30 am) were absolutely irate about their room not being ready for them and had spent the entire time at the front desk arguing with them. This couple had a terrible time and left saying that they would never return. As I said it is all in your mind set.
Our rooms were spacious and clean. We did see 2 cockroaches and some tiny gechos but they were as friendly as the Domincan people. The buffet is well run and has a vast variety of food. We tried the Seafood, Italian and Mexican Restaurants and were not impressed. You might as well save your money and eat at the buffet. The Brazilian Restaurant is great, however hard to get a booking. The 3 pools are kept very clean and the activities are great. You can get involved in them or simply observe - always entertaining anyways. The beach is beautiful. Lots of lounge chairs and cabanas. The ocean does have quite a strong surf so we found swimming in the pools more enjoyable. On cloudy or rainy days there is still lots to do. We played shuffleboard, miniature golf and bocci ball. We did venture down the beach to the shops and did buy some things there but we found the peddlers too pushy. We bought some jewellry at the store at the resort as it is much higher quality than you find at the markets.
We went on 2 great tours. The Saona Island tour and the Bavarro Runners tour. Try to have breakfast before the 7 am bus arrives to take you to Saona Island as the rum starts flowing on the catamaran ride and continues until you arrive back at the bus to return to your resort. The Bavarro Runners tour is very informative. If you want to learn about the people and their culture this is fantastic. They even group you into nationalities and this worked great as our guide only had to explain things once in english.
The beach is topless but don't worry, you become accustomed to it within 2 or 3 days and your husbands finally stop giggling everytime they see bare -------!
I had a terrible knot in my back and had a $30 half hour deep muscle massage..............FABULOUS!
Lunch or dinner packages are sold in the resort for Captain Cooks. Lunch with a boat ride there is $40 US and dinner with a taxi ride is $45. We felt this was highly overpriced. You can simply walk down the beach to Captain Cook's and order off the menu. The set meal you get with the package is far too much to eat. The restaurant on the beach is a beautiful place to be. Tip your maid, bartenders, waiters and waitresses They really appreciate tips and you'll find that you will get better service. They also love hats, t-shirts, purfume, candy and toys. Anything Canadian is sought after.
There doesn't seem to be much consistancy with how they make some of their drinks. Cocoa Loco's are yummy when made with cocoanut milk but sometimes you get them with pineapple juice instead???? The Tropicle Caribe was also delicious when we got a orange one. The green one didn't tantalize our taste buds!!!!!!! Presidente beer and Cuba Libras are great!
Go there expecting to have a great time, relax and slow down to Dominican time and I hope you have as much fun as we did!
Tropical Princess is perfection!
Our young family of four just returned from a week's vacation at the Tropical Princess in Punta Cana (January 21st-28th /2005). The hotel rating of 4 star is a fair rating, however if you are looking for a fantastic vacation without paying a 5-star price, then this resort is for you. The hotel offers: 3 separate pools (which includes one swim up bar, 2 beachside bars and 7 restaurants. Of the seven restaurants, there are 4 a la carte (mexican, italian, chinese and seafood), which we did not get the opportunity to dine at. We did however eat at the other three restaurants (domincan, brazilian and of course the main buffet. However you can't go wrong at the main buffet restaurant. Plenty of selections to meet all tastes and a nightly dinner theme. As for entertainment there is a casino, a nightclub, a kids play centre and plenty of poolside activities to keep you busy during your stay. If you do get the opportunity, I would recommend the 2 hour bus trip to the Caribbean side of the island for snorkeling or scuba. If you do plan on taking any money, I would recommend U.S. dollars in denominations of $20.00's. The hotel does exchange traveller's cheques, but only into Dominican pesos. The best thing we did was to take $50.00 U.S. in one dollar bills. Although not expected, at each meal we would tip our server and bartender $1.00 U.S. As well each morning I would tip our housekeeper who kept the room spotlessly clean. Although you do not need to speak Spanish, it is fun to say some simple words and phrases (and believe me the staff really do appreciate any effort you make). The weather was partly cloudy with comfortable temperatures in the 80's.
Other recommendations: pre-select your seat selection on the Air Transat website. Ask your travel agent for an oceanview room (there are plenty of rooms that face the ocean without the need to upgrade your room). Don't get too hung up on the weather forecasts listed on the internet (they are usually incorrect). Besides it is out of your control so go with the flow!
We would definitely recommend the Tropical Princess to our friends and family. A truly memorable holiday experience!
Brian Gatcke - Jordan Station, Ontario
Could be better!
We were just there (jan 05) and I have to say that I was not impressed. Rooms are nice, comfortable and clean - no problem there.
Kids club was only suited for small children - my kid is 9 and she was bored! Beach is quite nice, some seaweeds in the water - no big deal!
Available sports with package are not too bad - hard to paddleboat though as the waves are quite big!
Daytime entertainment could use some pep! Night time entertainment was really poor. It felt more like an improv thing than anything else.
My maine beef is with the bars and restaurants. Everything is so spread out that it's almost like the resort makes it difficult to get a drink or food! Snack bars close at 3:30 because they become restaurants at night! So, practically no food available between 3:30 and 6:30. Bars also close at 6:00pm - only a few remain open, far away from most rooms! The main dinning room did not have much to offer. Always the same food - at least we knew where to go!!! We only tried the El Pilon (Dominican Food) restaurant which was not that great!
We did get off the resort without any problems. As always, dominicans are very friendly - it's our 4th trip there!
The grounds of the resort are quite nice and well maintained. Nice gigantic pools (3) - missing some activities there for kids!
We did get ripped off when we exchanged our money/travellers cheques at the resort. They would only give us pesos instead of US$ even if our cheques were US. They only gave us 27 pesos for the dollar while we were able to get 32 in town!
I would not return to this resort simply because I found better ones on the Island. Thank God we had good weather - it made up for it!
Not a bad resort but a little overpriced and over rated!
I Loved Tropical Princess
My family and I went to the Tropical Princess in January of 2003. It was known as Hodelpa Tropical Club at that time.
We had the best time! Beautiful beaches, very friendly maids - who will do anything you ask them, fun staff, and everything was great!
Food- my sister is the pickest eater I know, and she had no problem finding things to eat. There was lots of variety, but they also had things that they would have everyday, such as potatoes, pasta, etc. They had a few a la carte restaurants, we tried the Dominican restaurant, it was ok. The food wasnt that great, and the service was even worse. They forgot to bring us our food, and when they brought everyone elses food, we asked for ours and then they said in a few mintues but we had to wait 10 more mintues. We also went to the Mexican restaurant, VERY GOOD! The food was so good, and the service was great which was good, becuase we were disappointed with the Dominican restaurant.
The sports and activites that are available at this resort are a lot of fun! They have many things that you can do that is included as well as ones that are at extra cost. I suggest that you ride the banana boat! SO MUCH FUN! and Parasailing was a lot of fun!
Sorry that this is soo long! I am done....just one more thing!
Overall this resort is a great resort, friendly staff and a beautiful beach! HAVE FUN!
--if you have any questions, feel free to email me and ask--
Awesome at the Tropical Princess
I went on for the first week in May 2004 with my 17 year old daughter and her 17 year old friend as well as my 26year old son and his 26 year old girlfriend. A great time was had by all!!! The weather was great and the beach was beautiful as well as clean with more than enough shade cabanas and chairs. The people involved in the daily activities and shows were amazing and more than made you feel welcome. We didn't miss a nightly show or the dance after as it was too much fun not to go. Food was fresh and plentiful. The employees were constantly and discreetly cleaning and restocking so you never wanted for anything. Tried the a la carte but were quite happy with the buffet. The rooms were large and clean as well as well stocked with the necessities, clean towels, toilet paper etc... Check-in was fast and ready upon arrival> All in all I had a fabulous time and can't wait to go next year only for 2 weeks this time. HIghly recommend!!!!!!!!
Don't bother if it's high season,not worth it.
the resort is beautiful, but the water is brown and lots of seaweeds. Your best bet is to stay by the pool.
Stick to the buffet room, restaurants r terrible.
make sure u bring U.S$ ,the hotel will rape u on ex- change rate. U much better off changing your money outside the the resort. It is NOT recommened to leave the resort unless u'r with a
Here's the Truth!
Okay, for all you who are reading these reviews trying to book that perfect week in paradise, this is for you. I vowed to come back to this site and write a detailed, honest review and that's exactly what I intend to do.My boyfriend and I arrived in Punta Cana on April 10/04. We flew JetsGo (which I was a little hesitant on booking as I had heard some horror stories) and much to my delight, everything went very smoothly. This is not a luxury airline but we had seats right by the wing and had more leg room that I have had on other airlines. There is no movie so bring a book, magazine, cards, etc. They will provide you with a cold meal (which is your typical airline food) and you can order drinks too. I always bring my own snacks regardless. There was a little turbulence but it does not matter which airline you fly on, you will experience that from time to time. The airport in Punta Cana is beautiful and we had no trouble going through customs at all. We were in and out in about 15 minutes and that included finding our luggage.The sunwing rep. had someone bring our luggage right to the bus that would be taking us to our hotel. The bus was nice and air-conditioned and it took us about 30 minutes to get to the resort. They give you a little briefing on the bus so you know what is going on. The lobby of the Tropical Princess was just absolutey amazing. I have travelled a fair amount and so I had lots to compare to. Check-in was not bad at all. They provided us with a welcome cocktail while we waited. We were prepared to wait for our rooms from reviews that I had read so we had our beach bag all packed and ready to go. We arrived about 12:30 and were told that we had to wait for our rooms until 3:00 p.m. No big deal! I don't know why so many people make such an issue about this. If you read the reviews you would know this and prepare yourself.We decided to head over to the magnificant lobby bar and ordered a couple of marguaritas and headed on our own little tour of the resort. Once you come down the steps on the other side of the lobby you will see a big stage to the right which is where they hold nightly entertainment at 9:40 p.m. everynight. We only saw a couple of shows but they really did a nice job. To the front of the lobby is where the disco is and the one night we did venture out to check it out, it was quite packed and very lively! We only stayed for one drink and headed back to our room. Great for the younger crowd.As you continue on down to the beach there are about 5 or 6 shops (internet shop, cigar shop, convenience store, souvenier store, jewelry store, etc.) If you plan to do any shopping go into the market or down the beach to the vendors to get better prices. But if you don't like to haggle for the best price and don't like to be pestered, the market is not the place for you. If you like your homeland snacks such as pototoe chips, chocolate bars, etc. buy them before you go. A can of pringles cost us about $5.00 US!Past the stores you walk through a bit of a jungle area, all very nicely manicured and you come across some beautiful vegetation. No critters running around. The whole week we were there I saw one baby lizzard and one cockroach (they were not in our rooms). Once you come to the end of the walkway it opens up into the main resort area. There are three pools i) the main pool is very active and has a swim up bar, jaccuzi (cool water), water polo, activities, etc. ii) the second pool is where the German activities are held (you will notice there are quite a few European tourists who travel to the Dominican) iii) and a siesta pool where there is no music - perfect for R & R. It was right outside the villa where our room was (which was very large and clean with high wooden ceilings and a balcony which faced a back garden area - nice and quiet). All the pools have their own bars off to the side although the main pool is the only one with a sunken pool bar. We had a few drinks there.The beach is just incredible. Like I mentioned before, I have travelled to Mexico, Cuba and Florida and this beach was by far the best I have ever been to. The water so beautiful (lots of shades of green and blue) and the waves were perfect for playing in. We spent most of our time down at the beach. Be warned, it you want a chair under a shady area you must be up very early and we're talking 5:00 am. to get your choice of chair. One of us would get up each morning and go put our towels or a book on a couple of chairs and then go back to sleep. Initially, I kind of felt bad doing that but hey, if you snooze your lose.The resort had two main snack bars which were great for grabbing something at lunch or midafternoon. There was also a buffet restaurant was was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All of our a la cart dinner reservations were not until 8:00 p.m. which was perfect for us because by the time we got back from the beach it was 6:00 or so and then we had time to get ready and unwind before our meal.We had a VIP package which entitled us to a superior room (we requested an upper level with a kind size bed), three cigars per week, massages, a bottle of rum (although we never saw that), robes, and choice of 6 different a la carte restaurants). The VIP package entitled us to book our restaurants with guest services in the lobby ahead of time so we didn't have to go wait in line at 8:30 every morning to book for that night. Plus we received three extra restaurants to choose from. The food was excellent and although there were a few people at the resort who weren't feeling well a couple of nights, we were fine except for an upset stomach one day. But I think you have to expect that because you are in the sun all day, eating different foods, and having a few cocktails. I think if you do everything in moderation you will be fine. The sun is very hot so bring your sunblock. I saw people putting on oil - that's just crazy! I tan very easily and I still had a tanning cream with a 8 protector. My boyfriend burns so he was using a 45 and was okay.The only thing that I have to say that I was a little disappointed in were the drinks! I am a big red wine drinker and was not very happy at all with their red wine. It tastes like homemade and they only seemed to have one brand at all restaurants. Word to the wise, bring a couple bottles of your own. Also, as far as the tropical cocktails went, they were all powered and not very tasty. The best one was the "banana mama" and the margaritas was okay too. At one point I had to show them how to make a cosmopolitan (martini) just to have something half decent to drink. If you like beer the el President is pretty good too.All in all, the staff were very friendly and very appreciative of any gifts or tips they received. If you have something at home your don't wear anymore bring it along and make someone very happy.I have to say this was a beautiful resort but if you are looking for a place with lots of nightlife and shopping this is not the place for you. This place is perfect for a nice relaxing holiday. If you want nightlife and shopping you may want to think about Mexico.Have a great time where ever you decide to go.Hola!
The rms @tropicalprincess were very nice. The langage barrier was unexpected, to say the least. Our travel book had said we could visit other resorts,but that wasn't so, also there were far too many different standards! The line ups every day to make reservations for a'la carte restaurants were unreal. Only to find the other resorts had first choice and were book solid by phone, which our resort wasn't allow to do. P.S. The water wasn't that great. There was alway sea weed around your ankles. Now about chaise lounge's, is there not away to control the use of these?We have seen people put towels on c/lounges @the beach & pool &then only use one place! The food was only ok. most every nite, they were out of red wine.June
Not bad at all
My family and I stayed at the tropical princess. Overall the resort was
beautiful and the beach was amazing (aqua water and power white sand).
However, the snorkling was no good at the resort, you have to pay for a
day trip to enjoy snorkling here (only sand and some weeds). The food
was pretty good with lots of variety. The rooms were very nice,
comfortable beds and clean. The resort was a bit loud and over-run with
kids for my liking and at night all the resorts have big spot lights
here that kill any kind of a romantic night on the beach feel. If u
want a secluded beach area this isn't really the place for u (stay
instead at Barcelo maya resort mayan coast). But if u want an activity
filled family vacation its a pretty good deal. If you can afford it,
stay at the paradisus casino resort next door, it truly did look like
the paradise I was hoping to find (it had lake style pool, trees to
block out wind and even king size beds under canopies by the pool).
TripAdvisor Reviews Tropical Princess Beach Resort & Spa Punta Cana
Travel Blogs from Punta Cana
... get there already. I can't wait to do my own exploring and take my own pictures and see everything for myself. If you're curious as to what our home for the next few months looks like, head on over to Rob's blog @ http://www.travelpod.com/members/roadle sstraveld and you can see some awesome pictures that he's posted.
I'm really excited to be sharing my journey with you guys so I promise to write as frequently as possible!
Lots of love,
concrete structure dating from the 1950s that’s not pretty in the way of a
Gothic or Baroque cathedral but impressive for its uniqueness. The cathedral’s
story dates from the 1500s when an old man believed to be an apostle appeared
to heal a sick child and left behind a small image of the Virgin Mary on his
departure. Another miracle!
I had only driven a short distance from the cathedral parking
lot when I was stopped by ...
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 ...
... the beach and Stacey filled her bottles with sand and we took photos. Saw a Dominican family playing in the surf - We both went topless sunbathing and a man walking with his wife tried not to look. I think we might have even been buzzed by a helicopter! - Took pictures in the surf - Tonight was a meal at the Seaside grill. Best steak I have ever had in a restaurant and the chocolate brownie was a towering monster ...
... we get up here in the Northeast. Still just as delicious! They cut it in half and then grilled it, also different then us boiling ours. And there was no butter! Oh what I would have done for some butter to dip it in. We spent a lot of money ($120 American, something like 4700 pesos) and so they gave us a lot of free stuff.. Free appetizers, free drinks of Mama Juana. It was all very nice.
After dinner we headed back towards our hotel, and on the way ...