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Help with Puerto Plata logistics

We have terrible flights into Santiago (Cibao) to visit Puerto Plata. Any ideas on the logistics? As it stands now, we are staying at Lifestyles near Cofresi beach. No, we cannot cancel the air!

1. We arrive at 1 am. Taxis and shuttles charge a premium. We are a family of 5 and I am not up for a 3 am check-in nor does it make sense for an all inclusive at $500 per night. So, best I could do was book an inexpensive Santaigo hotel with a free shuttle. The Hodelpa Centro Plaza looks adequate at $85 per night for each room, $20 shuttle supplemental. $13 extra kid supplemental, breakfast buffet included, about $250. The next morning, we take a leisurely transfer from the airport to the resort (shuttle will be free for the one mile back to the airport where the transfer is easier to book out of). We are fit. My kids can carry luggage and don't whine (ages 10, 12, 15).

Any better ideas?

2. The more grande problem. We depart on a Sunday at 1:50 a.m. which I think of as Saturday night. The latest we can leave the resort is 3. Ideally, we check out at 12 avoiding the day use supplemental for food that has mediocre reviews. How can we kill, or,possibly enjoy those 12 hours?

My possibilities without knowing the routes: take a cab to Playa Dorada plaza (do what with the luggage?). See a movie? Shop? When we head back to Santiago there is a decent sounding Western themed steakhouse where we could stretch out a meal then take a can the few miles to the airport.

So many questions! Can you just grab cabs for 5? What are the costs for these distances? Is there a better way to spend the day/evening all cleaned up with luggage (light)?

Any other ideas would be welcome. Other than cancel. Complex reasons why we booked this! I just think there has to be a solution better than paying $500 for Saturday night and leaving at 10 pm for the airport. ...

I also need a recommendation for a good transfer company.

Thanks in advance!

PS. Our resort does come with free fix to Ocean Adventure. If that is open late, and we don't want to swim there (?) or they have lockers and showers (and luggage storage? Or come back to the hotel after (transportation free) and claim bags) maybe that would work out... The date is March 30.

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