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  • Writer's pictureJosh Miller

Occidental Caribe

Updated: Jan 10, 2020

Located just 25 minutes from Punta Cana International Airport, Occidental Caribe is a family friendly all-inclusive resort that boasts an unparalleled location facing the crystal-clear waters of the magnificent Playa Arena Gorda, which is considered to be one of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic.

This elegant Mediterranean-inspired resort boasts charming buildings, red-tiled roofs, and exotic tropical gardens. Constructed in 2000 and last renovated in 2007, Occidental Caribe features 798 elegant rooms and suites. You are sure to find something delicious to tickle your taste buds in one of the seven distinct restaurants or eight bars. Two lagoon-type pools and a mini water park just for the kiddos are surrounded by lush gardens and relaxation areas just yards from the beach.

The resort grounds were very well groomed and our room was clean and spacious. We stayed in a Superior room overlooking the pool with a partial ocean view. One thing we love about this resort is just about everything is connected, so in the event of inclement weather or a quick pop up shower, you will still be able to get to numerous restaurants, bars, and nightly entertainment without getting wet. The large open-air Marien lobby bar is a favorite among guests between dinner and when the evening shows begin. With ample amounts of seating, live music, and a beautiful view it was one of our favorite evening spots.

Since our stay at Occidental was a quick one, only three nights, we were unable to try all the restaurants. One thing to note is that reservations are required for dinner at most of the restaurants. You can make reservations between 7:00 am and 3:00 pm in the lobby just across from the Marien Lobby Bar. We never had problems getting dinner reservations to the restaurants we wanted to try.

The resort has two buffet restaurants, the main buffet with seating capacity for 600 people is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The second buffet which is located by the beach is only open during the day and features a grill located by the sea.

Reservations are not needed for the buffets or Don Simón Pizzeria. If you love brick oven pizza like us you'll want to visit the pizzeria. Tokyo was a favorite of ours, modern Japanese cooking prepared Teppanyaki style, very delicious and the chef puts on a great show. We also visited Hacienda, which prepares Mexican specialty dishes, and offers both indoor and outdoor seating options with an oceanview.

If you're looking for a jaw-dropping beach and beautiful turquoise water this is the place, Playa Arena Gorda is one of the largest beaches in the area. Seaweed was never a concern during our stay. Even after an evening storm, if any seaweed washed up, it was quickly removed by hotel staff early the next morning. We consider that a major plus, we have been to some destinations where the seaweed was so thick we never even set foot in the ocean. The beach is one of our favorite aspects of this resort, it is truly stunning.

Two large lagoon-type pools offer different atmospheres. One has a more laid back relaxing atmosphere, while the other offers a swim-up bar and daily afternoon entertainment. While the relaxing pool does not have a swim-up bar, there is a bar very close, located just between the pool and beach. With plenty of loungers and Bali Beds, we never had a problem finding a place to relax.

We love a great pool party, and during our stay, Saturday was Pool Party day including a DJ and foam party. Even though the pool can get crowded during the pool party, the staff at the swim-up bar were excellent and quick to get us drinks. A buffet, pizzeria, and beach bar are located right by the entertainment pool so when you need a quick snack it's right there.

Even though our children did not go with us, we had to check out some of the offerings for the kiddos. Since Josh is pretty much just a big kid he had to try out the Trapeze. Yes, you read that correctly, there is a circus trapeze on-site as well as rock climbing wall and trampoline.

For the youngsters, the Flip Water Park will be the perfect spot to burn off energy and enjoy some fun in the sun while you relax, work on your tan, and enjoy some tasty beverages. With an in-water jungle gym, water-spraying palm tree, ginormous frog, and mini waterslides the little ones are sure to have a great time. In the evening from 8 pm - 9 pm there is even a theater with mini-disco.

Evening entertainment included live music in the lobby and musical shows in the Taino Theater. With a large open-air concept, the Taino Theater is open from 8 pm - 11 pm and offers comfortable seating for up to 800 guests. The tables and chairs are spaced out nicely to provide ample space so you don't feel like you are sitting on top of the guests next to you. The resort also offers an adults-only night club open from 10:30 pm to 2 am, which even offers a family night one night a week. Even though we are not big gamblers, we tried our luck at the onsite casino. No big winners here, so we're not quitting our day jobs anytime soon.

So what would we change? While making dinner reservations is not a deal-breaker for us, we would love to see a first come first served reservation free concept. The beer included in the all-inclusive package is Presidente, which we like, but we would love to see a few more offerings included. 24-hour room service would also be a nice touch, while we do not always take advantage of this at other resorts it always nice to know the option is available.

Even though our stay at Occidental Caribe was a short one, we fell in love with the Playa Arena Gorda area. Even with all the negative media attention the Dominican Republic has received lately, we never felt unsafe or had any worries. We have already scheduled a return trip to the Dominican with our children.

Is the Dominican Republic on your list? If you've already been, we would love to know where you stayed. You never know, we just might add it to our list!

Located just 25 minutes from Punta Cana International Airport, Occidental Caribe is a family-friendly all-inclusive resort that boasts an unparalleled location facing the crystal-clear waters of the magnificent Playa Arena Gorda, which is considered to be one of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic.


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