Nexus San Domingo City Tour Review

We booked a tour from our resort in Punta Cana to visit San Domingo (Santo Domingo) city. The Dominican Republic isn’t really somewhere you want to explore on your own and we booked through Nexus Tours again.

I’m not really one for really structured, tourist-y tours. I like to see cool things, explore the culture but know that I am in a safe place. Safety is really at the core of why we booked these tours otherwise we would have done it on our own.

We were first bused to a cenote on the outskirts of the city. There’s a bunch of deep fresh water caves that are pretty to explore. You are expected to tip at the end and there’s a lot of pressure to.

As with most touristy areas, there’s people everywhere to sell you crap. And generally speaking, it really is crap. They’re not too in your face but they will annoy you.

The city is very rundown on the edges and starts to improve as you reach the city centre. I’d be interested to learn more about how the Dominican Republic people live and wheat their houses are like inside. You very rarely see local women on the streets, only the men.

We visited a church and Christopher Columbus’ Old House (castle) to begin with – both were cool to see for about three minutes but half an hour later I was dying to do something else.

The lunch was disappointing too. It would have been great to visit a local eatery but instead we went into a hotel and had a buffet. Rice, chicken, salad.

We took a train around the city from there and they play an educational guide about the city which was quite fun. We got to see a lot of the streets (architecture in my fave to see and just normal life) so when we finally got a little free time, and it was a safe area, I knew where I wanted to go. We simply walked around, looking at the streets and taking photos. It was quite quiet, not the bustling, vibrant, noisy scenes I had imagined.

There are tourist shops EVERYWHERE. They take you to one on the tour and expect you to browse for 45 minutes. 45 minutes looking at crap. That was actually the ‘free time’ I was talking about. The guide was unhappy we left but there was no way I was hanging out in that tourist trap wasting my time.

After that we did get free time on the main street. About 20 minutes. I went and got a beer and people watched on the sidewalk, it was lovely!

So, there’s really not much choice than to do a tour from Punta Cana. Hopefully there are better ones. I would consider simply hiring a driver for the day (recommended by the hotel) to take you around so you aren’t forced into a bunch of activities you won’t enjoy. Approx $90USD

Nexus Dominican Republic Catalina Island Snorkeling Tour Review

The night before this trip we approached our Nexus agent in Punta Cana to discuss whether we should cancel as the weather looked terrible. He agreed it did but convinced us the weather was better on the other side of the island and we would be fine.

It was raining as soon as we hopped on the boat. We went out over large swells to the island where we stopped on a coral wall to go snorkeling. The snorkeling was pretty good. Lots of tropical fish and coral to look at, great safety protocols and clean, new equipment.

One of the tour guides shared bread with me so I could be surrounded by the fish and also dived down to grab a crazy starfish that resembled a spider for me to play with.

The crew were great and tried to lift spirits besides the weather.

We arrived to Catalina island to transfer by open (read no roof) speedboat in torrential rain. The trip only last a few minutes but we were all absolutely soaked and running for cover. We all stood under the bar until it eased a little and we could see where we would have our lunch etc.

Lunch was nothing to be excited about. Some salads and BBQ’d chicken. We paid $40USD extra for a lobster to share. I highly recommend trying some.

There are masseuses there – $25USD for 25minutes so we indulged and had a massage in an open tent on the beach while the rain come down. At the hotel it was double that price!

All this time, I should add we are drinking lots of beer as it is included and well, what else do you do on a rainy tropical island in the Caribbean?!

We made some new friends and went back in for a swim to waste time and try warm up after lunch before torrential rain came down again. I managed to get pulled backwards over coral, scraping my toes and bending by big toenail in half. Blood everywhere, the lovely locals gave me a Cuban cigar to suck on and some Dominican rum to ease the pain.

The rain was so hard again that we could barely see outside the bar. Once it subsided we were back on the open transfer boat, soaked and drinking rum, commiserating with new friends.

We had fun but this is definitely a tour you need to do in good weather. I would love to go back in some sunshine and see this island in a whole new light!

We paid approx. $100USD per person, departimg from the Punta Cana Caribe Club Princess Resort. It’s a full day tour with nearly a two hour bus ride to the boat each way.

Nexus Dominican Republic Punta Cana Crazy Gators Fishing Tour Review

The very first tour I wanted to book in Punta Cana was the fishing tour. I was so, so excited. Fishing for Mahi Mahi and Marlin in the deep seas outside the Caribbean – how fun!

Unfortunately, the Crazy Gators Fishing Tour (approx. $125USD pp) that we booked through Nexus at the Caribe Club Princess Resort wasn’t quite all I had dreamed of.

Merica and I were picked up late (no surprise – island time) and taken to the port where we had to wait another hour and twenty minutes for the captain of the boat to show up.

Eventually when we got there, the boat wasn’t the one advertised, it was smaller as there were only four of us booked on the tour with two staff.

Back to the fishing. So essentially, the team member baits all the hooks, then casts out all the lines for trawling without a word. You just sit there are watch. No safety instructions either. Eventually one of the lines runs with a fish on the end and a guest is called up to sit down and reel it in. Once the fish is close to the side of the boat the team member hooks it in and puts it straight in the fish bin. Really quite underwhelming.

We did catch four Mahi Mahi and it is super exciting to reel the fish in but when you’re out on the water nearly four hours and 80% of the guests are sea sick, there’s definitely a lot of time to pass.

The tour didn’t last the full amount of time and we were dropped back at shore into thigh high, disgustingly smelly seaweed. No regard for anyone once we had tipped them and they knew we could catch the fish. I literally gagged from the stench.

The only pro’s of this tour are pulling the fish in, the comradery with the other guests and the photos with your fish at the end coming back into port.

With a little more care and some tweaks for the guests to participate in the fishing this tour could be a lot better. I suggest shopping around to see what you can find and booking direct. Nexus did nothing to help us with our complaint of Crazy Gators.

Oh, and I never once saw a life jacket.

Brisbane-based lifestyle and travel blog image featuring mountain and sea scenery

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