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Karibo Punta Cana 3.0

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Located right on White Sands Golf Club's grounds
  • Drive to the nearest beach in five minutes
  • Mixture of standard hotel rooms and aparment-style units
  • Apartments include full kitchens and bright tropical-modern decor
  • Some units have private hot tubs
  • Large and lovely 24-hour pool
  • Cocktail bar with light, well-prepared dinner fare
  • Free shuttle service to shopping and the beach
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
  • Free on-site parking

Cons

  • Some maintenance issues and amenities don't always work
  • Hotel is a bit far from downtown sights and nightlife
  • Beach is not within walking distance
  • Wi-Fi signal can be spotty in guest rooms

Bottom Line

The three-pearl Karibo Punta Cana is a pleasant condo-style option that's right on the grounds of the White Sands Golf Club in the Punta Cana area. There are 66 rooms here, including a mix of traditional hotel rooms and apartments with full kitchens. The look is tropical-modern, with decor that can include marble floors and dark wood furniture, and amenities like flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. While there have been complaints regarding upkeep and maintenance, this mid-range hotel has won over many vacationers with its sparkling 24-hour pool, modern style, and rates that easily beat the competition in Punta Cana. Those seeking a little more action should consider Art Villa Dominicana, which is closer to downtown and nightlife but lacks a pool. 

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Scene

Subdued tropical style for independent travelers and golf enthusiasts, but a few problems

High ceilings, soft lighting, and tasteful tropical-modern decor welcome guests to Karibo Punta Cana, a condo-style hotel in Bavaro. Upon first glance, everything looks shiny and new, with a bright, sparkling pool and lots of polished light marble in seemingly every direction. Things are mostly quiet here, despite the large common area with its thatched roof, bright abstract art, and abundance of wicker seating. The location on the White Sands Golf Course is ideal for golf enthusiasts, but that means that the social scene here is pretty subdued at night. 

It's important to know that details here are a little rougher upon further inspection. Door locks are sometimes broken, some rooms are missing key amenities, and complaints about maintenance aren't uncommon. That said, guests staying here do pay a fraction of what neighboring hotels charge. The subdued vibe and the option for apartment-style rooms often attract families and independent couples on vacation from the U.S. and Europe. 

Location

In touristy Bavaro, a five-minute drive from the beach

The hotel is on a quiet back street in the White Sands Golf Course compound in touristy Bavaro, Punta Cana. It’s not really close to the area's bustling nightlife scene, but Playa de Arena Blanca (White Sands Beach) is only a five-minute drive from the hotel (the hotel also runs a free shuttle to the beach). Dining options like the shops and restaurants at Plaza Bavaro are three minutes away by car, or a 15-minute walk, and it's a 25-minute drive to Punta Cana Village. Popular Bavaro Beach is a 20-minute drive from the hotel and the Punta Cana Ecological Reserve is 30 minutes away. The hotel is a 25-minute drive from Punta Cana International Airport, or just under a three-hour drive from the airport in Santo Domingo. Taxis can be expensive here (and everywhere else in the Dominican Republic), so those sticking around for a while might consider a car rental to avoid pricey fares. 

Rooms

Modern condo-style units and regular rooms, some with private hot tubs

Rooms at the hotel are a mix of traditional hotel rooms and apartments, but all have a pleasantly modern style that consists of dark wood, white, and pops of bright tropical colors. The look is tropical-modern, with richly colored abstract paintings hanging on white walls and seating that comprises a mix of wicker and dark wood pieces. Floors are done in polished tan marble that adds a bit of class to the rooms, while orange accents in the soft furnishings warm things up a bit. 

Standard amenities include air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi (though it can be spotty). Apartments include expansive kitchens with granite countertops, with most amenities that are needed for long-term or independent stays, like microwaves, full-size refrigerators, dishwashers, stove-tops and ovens, though cookware is limited. Some units also have washer/dryers. Despite the beautiful decor, the rooms are not always in the best condition here -- reports are maintenance and upkeep issues aren't uncommon -- so it seems sensible to double-check the functionality of locks, TVs, and outlets. There are also no telephones in any of the rooms, an inconvenient oversight for those staying far from the reception area.

Marble bathrooms have shower/tub combos and a small bit of counter space around the sinks. It might be worth requesting one of the quiet rooms on the upper floor, since they’re farther from the street and offer better views. But the bottom floors have their perks too, like grassy lawn areas, which are nice for those with small children. There are also a few rooms with private hot tubs.

Features

Tiny bar and lounge, 24-hour pool, and a free beach shuttle

The hotel sends an overall impression of class and elegance, starting with the circular, open-air lobby, with a small bar and lounge in one corner. The bar is tiny, and has an equally limited selection of cocktails, but there’s at least wine and beer, and a lovely ambience. The restaurant menu is slim as well, but the dishes they do serve use fresh, local ingredients.

The 24-hour pool is the shining centerpiece of this hotel -- it’s large enough for laps, and the 24-hour rule means there will always be a time when it’s empty. There’s also a round kids' pool on the grassy section next to it, with plenty of space for the little ones to splash and run around.   

The closest beach is a little too far to reach on foot, and the hotel runs a free shuttle with pre-arranged pick-up times at the end of the day. Karibo has a deal with one of the condo complexes on the beach to allow Karibo guests to use their chairs, but otherwise it’s not possible to buy food or drink as this is an all-inclusive stretch of the coast. It seems overly complicated for a simple trip to the beach, but at least it’s free. The shuttle runs to the San Juan Shopping Center. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel, but can get spotty in the rooms, and there is plenty of free parking on-site.

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Address

Av. Italia en White Sands Golf & Beach Resort, Bavaro, Punta Cana, Caribbean

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