Punta Cana Feature

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All-Inclusive: The Concept

All-inclusive resorts are the most common type of accommodations you'll find in Punta Cana. Here's a primer for anyone unfamiliar with this style of lodging.

Meals: At least one buffet restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Often, at least one, and usually more, à la carte specialty restaurant is included (e.g., Mexican, Italian, Japanese, Asian Fusion, and Dominican). A few restaurants such as premium steak houses might carry an extra charge. Snack bars will get you through the interim periods.

Beverages: Soft drinks, bottled water, alcoholic beverages (generally nonpremium brands, whether domestic or international), and domestic beer are included, as well as a stocked minibar in all guest rooms. Some resorts even have liquor dispensers in the rooms.

Room Service: Policies vary. Where available, it may cost extra, have limited hours, or be an option only on upgraded packages.

Kids' Clubs: Most resorts have special kids' programs, and they are typically geared to ages 4-12; a few hotels stand out with offerings in an extended (or more limited) range. Babysitters cost extra.

Activities: Nonmotorized water sports are generally included. Some resorts include one diving lesson in the pool. Diving and motorized sports are extra. There's always a slew of arranged activities going on—usually by the pool or in a games area. These might include dance lessons, Spanish lessons, stretching, yoga, water aerobics, volleyball, or pool tournaments. Some places have extras like bowling, rock climbing, or a trapeze.

Animation Teams: These are the folks who enthusiastically run the activities and try to generate a buzz among guests.

Tips: Though usually included, additional tipping for good service is not uncommon and is highly appreciated. Carrying extra $1 bills comes in handy.

Gym & Spa: Use of the gym is included; personal trainers cost extra. Most resorts have a spa. Sometimes use of steam rooms, saunas, and hot tubs is included. Massages and other treatments cost extra.

Nightlife: Some resorts are renowned for a show that stands out; generally, non-esort guests can attend by purchasing a night pass. Entertainment usually rotates on a 7-day or 14-day cycle. Discos are standard; a few of the better ones are open to nonguests.

Casino: Many resorts have casinos with slot machines; some offer roulette and a few card tables with blackjack and assorted poker games. Texas Hold 'em tables are not in abundance.

Excursions: Off-site excursions are not included.

Medical Care: Care is available 24 hours at onsite clinics. Charges for doctor services and medications are not included. International health insurance is accepted, but you must have the appropriate coverage.

Bracelets: When you arrive, most resorts will band you with a bracelet that identifies you as a guest and indicates your package level.

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