The Riu Merenge in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, was the first vacation out of Canada that we did with Cooper. He was around 8 months old.
People questioned us when we took a baby out of the country. We felt safe, really enjoyed our time, and made some incredible memories! If a family with young children asked us if we recommend traveling with a baby, we’d say go for it!
Cooper did quite well on the plane. He cried a little bit when we were descending into the Dominican Republic, but that’s totally normal. Babies don’t know to pop their ears, and they don’t understand what’s bothering them. To keep him calm and make sure that he was clearing his ears, we gave him snacks, his water, or I would breastfeed him.
The food at the hotel was really good! There was an abundance of yogurt and fruit which was Cooper’s favourite. Every morning we started off with omelettes or pancakes, and fruit. For lunch and dinner we often went to the buffet since it was so easy with a little one, who didn’t exactly love sitting in a restaurant waiting for his food.
We were in the Dominican Republic on Mitch’s birthday, and we decided to go out for dinner to an á lacarte. Typically at all-inclusive resorts, you have to make reservations ahead of time. When I went to make the reservations, I let them know it was his birthday. So after we ate, all of the staff from the restaurant came out singing for Mitch, and gave him a cake.
The beaches were pretty good. In Puerto Plata the sand is often a yellow-golden colour, and the water is a little rough compared to somewhere like Punta Cana. With an 8 month old it was hard to have him sit by the shore and not get a wave in the face, so we spent a lot of time near the pools.
The resort was quite large, and had 3 Riu resorts which made up the complex. Each resort had a buffet and pools on site. We had to walk to get to some of the á lacarte restaurants though, so keep that in mind if you don’t enjoy walking. There was a shopping strip on the far side of the complex, that you could get souvenirs and what not at. The resort also had a little hike and a lookout on the far side of the resort, which was really nice!
Night time shows at this resort are enjoyable! They have an assortment of shows that rotate every week. We seen a magic show, a water show, dancing, singing, and comedy skits.
All in all, we enjoyed our time at this resort, and it made for a good first vacation with our little one!