For the past few years, every offseason, the Chicago Bears have invited us to go on a trip with a handful of crazy Bears fans! Unfortunately, two years ago I had plans to be in California and last year we were on our Eurotrip (posts coming soon!), so we have not been able to attend the trip! This year, we were moving right after the season ended so we didn’t have time to plan an offseason trip like the years before. When the Bears approached Len this season and asked if we wanted to go to Punta Cana he was hesitant…until he came home and I said YES WE CAN GO! I was so excited to go on a tropical vacation…I literally had not been on one since 8th grade when I went with my grandma and grandpa on a Caribbean cruise… As it got closer to the trip we began to regret saying we could go though… we moved in our new home on a Wednesday and then we had to leave on our trip Sunday morning…I was a little worried and definitely stressed out like no other. I just wanted our house to be put together for when we got home, and luckily, by the grace of God, it was.
If you don’t know Len or I personally, or haven’t noticed from our pictures, Len is a VERY large human being standing at roughly 6’4, over 300+ pounds. Most of the time when we fly places, I tell Len I’ll just book my flight in economy and he can sit in first class because I know that there is no way in hell that he will be able to fit in a regular seat and my cheap ass refuses to pay to sit in first class (unless it is a super long flight or Len is just feeling sweet and wants to sit by me). The week of the trip we received an email with our flight information and I saw that it read “Frontier”. All I could think was there is no first class on Frontier (as boujee as that sounds). I could not imagine Len squeezing into a little seat for over four hours! We were reassured that the big boys would get the emergency exit row so I felt a LITTLE better about our flight.
The morning of our trip was great. I had full intentions to wake up early (didn’t happen), go to the gym (didn’t happen), and to make breakfast for Len and I before our car service came and picked us up (also, didn’t happen). Instead, we slept in a little, woke up and got breakfast at one of our favorite breakfast spots, Egg Harbor. After breakfast we went home, enjoyed our new home for a few moments, and then were picked up by our driver and the Bears staff. We picked up another player and their guest and then headed to the airport. In all honesty, I had NO clue what to expect on this trip. A whole trip with ALL Bears fans…all here to engage with our men, something that Len still thinks is strange to this day. He’s always like why do there grown adults get so excited to meet me, I am just like them. In my opinion, it is pretty cute.
When we arrived to the airport (first ones there), I met a few Bears fans who proved to me that this was going to be one hell of a trip. Bright and early around 9AM I had Bears fans surrounding me in their blue and orange, in the bar buying drinks, making toasts, and laughing louder than teenage girls (and it wasn’t even a football Sunday!) It was awesome. I was like this is totally my element. ANYWAYS, lets skip to the good stuff. Me personally, I had never been on an all inclusive trip before so I was excited to get to go for a whole week. I had heard great things about them and in all honesty, and what is there not to love about an open bar 24/7 and a beach in the Dominican Republic?
When we arrived to Riu Republica we were greeted with these huge pineapples filled with deliciousness! Of course, I downed mine instantly to only find out they were non-alcoholic so it was only natural to get another one and have rum added! I also, downed that one! We had a beautiful room that overlooked the pools and so many palm trees! At night when the resort was silent and music wasn’t being played, you could even hear the waves of the ocean. Our first night was great. We decided to just hang out with the crew of players and their guests. We all ate at the buffet, and hey it was buffet food, so nothing special, walked around, enjoyed the mini bar in our rooms, and then headed to a club that was in a cave called Imagine. If you are ever in Punta Cana and decide you want to go clubbing, check out Imagine. By all means, it is a club, but in a cave; interesting I know. After leaving Imagine, we went to this dive food place that seemed to be the only thing open at all hours of the night. I ordered a quesadilla…but to my knowledge they did not know what that was in the Dominican Republic so I could not tell you what I was eating that night… Come 4AM, we were rolling back into the hotel and crawling into bed. Day 1, success.
As much as I would love to share all 7 days of our trip with you, it would get repetitive, food, drinks, beach, repeat… so, I want to share a few things that made our trip extra special, and a few things I would recommend for if you are in Punta Cana or staying at the Riu Republica. Some neat things that you probably wont get to experience since you wont be on “Da Bears trip” will be listed too, but I promise to keep those limited!
Time with the Bears
What is so neat about this trip put on by the Bears and Apple Vacations is that they bring a huge group of Bears fans on this trip that get to spend the whole week with a handful of players. Throughout the week the fans and players got to engage with one another participating in a Beach Clinic & Beach Olympics, a Q&A Panel, and Welcome Party & Good Bye Party. For anyone who is a fan of a team and has the opportunity to take a trip like this, DO IT!
The hotel that we stayed at was beautiful. There were multiple pools with swim up bars, water slides, pool volleyball, and activities that were going on throughout the day. My only downside to the pool environment is that the pools closed at 6PM and no night swims were allowed. The
beach was just on the opposite side of the palm trees that separated the pools from the ocean, in the perfect walking distance! The beach was absolutely beautiful. Perfect white sand for as long as you could see, with the most fun waves to jump in. You would have thought we were little kids by the way we wanted to play in the waves daily. As for the food on the resort, we tried about it all. Len seemed to think their pancakes were out of this world, he filled up on them every morning. I would suggest that you eat their Jerk Chicken daily, if not multiple times a day. For dinner I would definitely suggest eating at the Steakhouse, more than once as well, as it is by far the best choice for dinner. We did luck out at the Italian restaurant with some very good pizza though! As for the food, my downsides were that food is only served at certain times, and after 10PM, there really isn’t anything to eat on the resort, which was a bummer. Get ready to drink lots of Mama Juana, the drink of choice in the Dominican Republic, and a natural aphrodisiac. The drink is a combination of Red Wine, Rum, and Honey that soaks in a bottle of tree bark and herbs and is served in what we would say, a shot form. Our room bar was stocked every other day, as well as our fridge! My only complaint about the hotel room, was that our bed wasn’t made everyday (I know, sounds dumb, right). They would come in and bring us new towels but wouldn’t make our bed, which I found really strange…The last thing I wanted to do while on vacation was make my own bed!
I think my favorite things about our trip were the excursions that we did! For one, it was nice to just get off the resort and away from the same scenery. I felt like I was going a little stir-fry crazy by day three. I only can lay by the pool for so many hours a day! The first excursion we went on was to Monkey Land! I knew the second I saw this excursion that I had to go! Monkeys are one of my favorite animals and I just could not pass up on the opportunity to go! During this excursion, not only did you get to feed the monkeys as they climbed all over you (watch out, they may pee on you too…sorry Len!) but you got to go to a house and learn about all the things that are grown in Punta Cana. It really gave me an appreciation for everything that I have and live with. My biggest suggestion for this trip is to make sure that you bring cash if you want any photos and some snacks because it is a long day!
The second excursion I would suggest was called the Marinarium. Throughout this trip we went out on a big boat with a glass bottom where you could see the fish as we floated by, which was pretty neat. Once we got to our first destination, we all got our snorkeling gear on and jumped into the ocean where we got to snorkel with fish, stingrays, and even sharks! It was an awesome experience! After we spent about an hour snorkeling, we then loaded back up into the boat and went to our next destination, which was a natural swimmingpool in the middle of the ocean. We enjoyed a few drinks and then took our boat back to the shore. It was a great trip, especially with a large group of people! Again, bring some snacks to enjoy while on the boat ride as you are out on the water for nearly five hours.
The last excursion that Len and I did, was swimming with the dolphins, and not just one dolphin, but two. This was easily the most excited I have ever seen Len in my life (other than opening day of football season of course). This excursion was pretty awesome. Not only did we get to swim with the dolphins and do tricks with them, but we also had the opportunity to see a bird show, kiss a sea lion, and again, swim with the stingrays!
Overall, we learned a lot while on this trip. One, Len and I CANNOT take 7 day tropical trip unless we plan A LOT of excursions (we get bored easily). Two, we love dolphins and monkeys. Three, crazy bears fans are actually pretty awesome. And lastly, Frontier airlines did its thing, and was not bad at all. I hope that we get to go on many more trips with our fellow Bears fans in the future and that if any of you get the chance to go to Punta Cana, that you take it!