Excellence El Carmen Travel Diary & Outfits

Every year since we’ve been married, we have taken an all-inclusive resort vacation. We try to make these our one “big” trip a year so we can unwind and get some quality time together. I love this little tradition because it gives us something to look forward to every year and we make so many great memories. Our most recent trip was to Excellence El Carmen in the Dominican Republic. 

Before I jump into our travel diary and review, I want to mention the other resorts we’ve been to together so you can kind of get an idea of what I’m comparing our experience to in case any of you have been there too. We stayed at Sanctuary Cap Cana for our honeymoon, Finest Playa Mujeres (blog review HERE), Secrets Maroma in Riviera Maya, and this resort. 
Overall, we absolutely loved it here and I definitely recommend going! There were a few hiccups that were a huge inconvenience for us (from the trip in general & not necessarily with the resort itself) but I want to share them so you all don’t go through what we went through! I’ll also be sharing some of my favorite outfits from the trip- almost all of them are on sale & fully in stock!! 🙂

First, we chose this resort because
we could only stay five nights and Punta Cana is a quick one-way flight close to us as opposed to something more out west like Mexico. It was very similar to Finest Playa Mujeres in Mexico which we loved, so I was automatically in love at first site with this new resort when I first saw it online!

DRESS (on sale & comes in white) || SHOES (also sold HERE…size up!) || SUNNIES (similar HERE) || HAT || WATCH
(Full blog post HERE)
TANK (more colors) || SHORTS || SHOES (also sold HERE…size up!) || SUNNIES (similar HERE) || HAT || BRACELETS 
(Full blog post HERE)


When we got to the airport, a van took us to our resort. We booked it at the same time we booked our stay and shared with one other family (way cheaper option). They got dropped off first but the resorts in Punta Cana are kind of in a line, so it was only like a five or ten minute ordeal. The trip was less than thirty minutes. 
Back to the airport real quick…. before you get outside, you’ll pass through a bunch of people trying to get you rides if you don’t have one or book excursions. We almost made it out and one guy stopped us. We told him we weren’t here for long and didn’t plan on doing any excursions. We did the dune buggies and zip lining when we were here for our honeymoon so we really just wanted to relax at the resort the whole time. He gave us a million options and we kept saying no and then finally he’s like, listen… this is how I feed my family and make a living and blah blah blah so I’ll give you a free excursion if you just go to this resort five minutes away and “try their breakfast and then you go back to your resort. Just one hour.” He was super nice but when he started pulling at our heart strings we’re just like ugh! fine! He told us the name of the resort and it was one of the top ones on the list when we were choosing a resort and it was only five minutes or so away from ours so I figured it couldn’t be all that bad to just go, get breakfast, and go back to our resort. None of that was true. Don’t fall for it. Long story short it was a total Timeshare scheme. When we got there we could not believe we got sucked into it again (the first time was in Secrets Maroma last year… at that time they were pretty straight forward as to what the breakfast would be and it sounded great but when we did our research we couldn’t find a single good thing about signing up so thank the Lord we didn’t go through with it). This time they were so sneaky and when we got to the other hotel the next day and the guy came up to us we both were like you have got to be kidding me because we realized what this was. They said it wouldn’t take more than an hour and a half but when the guy filled out the papers and asked us if we had anything scheduled in the afternoon we said no and dragged it on until almost TWO O’CLOCK. TWO! It ended up being like a five hour ordeal. I was so mad! Haha! You could probably tell from my story lol! Sorry! But anyways that’s the gist of it and I wouldn’t wish for this to happen to anyone! Especially on your vacation! So that’s how we ended up horseback riding… I’ll tell you more about that in a bit.

STRIPE SWEATER (also in red) || WHITE JEANS (similar I just got & love HERE) || SHOES (more colors) || SUNNIES || WATCH
TOP (70% off & fully in stock) || SHORTS (similar HERE) || SHOES (more colors) || SUNNIES (similar HERE) || BRACELETS || BAG (more from this designer HERE) || LIPSTICK 

DRESS || SHOES (more colors) 


So, we arrived to the Excellence El Carmen and they were super welcoming with drinks, a cold wet towel, and took care of our luggage. We had to wait a bit to go to the room so we ate at the The Kitchen Table, which is a buffet style restaurant, until our room was ready. We booked the Junior Suite- Ocean view and don’t have complaints. It had a jacuzzi on an open deck with two outside beds, table and chairs. You could see the ocean but it was from an angle not a full ocean front view, which would be the upgrade. There is also an option to get the Excellence Club perks which gave you an ocean front room with a private pool I believe and your own secluded section on the beach just for members. Personally, we are not picky with rooms on vacations because we are usually at the pool/beach anyways. As far as amenities, our room came with drinks and snacks although I have seen better (more Americanized) snack options at the other resorts. They did refill them upon request and we kind of chose what we wanted more or less of and they accompanied that, although it did take some time or a few attempts. Which leads me to service….
TOP (THIS ONE is similar and love!!) || SHORTS (similar HERE) || SANDALS (also in mustard yellow) || WATCH || SUNNIES (similar HERE
(Full blog post HERE)
ROMPER (on sale…similar also on sale HERE) || BAG (more from this designer HERE) || WATCH
(Full blog post HERE)


I don’t know if I mentioned this earlier, but we are SUPER laid back, especially on vacation. We hardly can find anything to complain about, but it seemed like this resort had the worst service out of all the resorts we have been to so far. Take that lightly though! By worst like I mentioned above, I mean we had to ask a few times before we got our requested snacks, coffee, etc. Or at the beach, there were times we didn’t even see the drink lady/man for hours or maybe just one time during our whole time at the beach. At the other resorts, we would barely finish one drink and they would already come back to check on us. We also never had to get our own food because they would come so often to get our order so we didn’t have to go to the lunch station ourselves. Here they had a little hut with a buffet station close to the beach seats so we would go there to get our food. One lady the last day we were there took our order though which was really nice and we were surprised because up until the last day, we didn’t know that they actually took orders for food to the beach for you if that tells you anything. Again, we’re laid back so it didn’t bother us, but we couldn’t help to compare that luxury that we were used to from past experiences. To some people, not having someone ask you if you need anything every thirty minutes might not be a bad thing lol! BTW… we only stayed at the beach so I can’t compare the poolside service or how the service was at the beach on the Excellence Club side. Overall, nothing major…
Also, my husband speaks pretty good Spanish (thank goodness!) because a lot of the workers didn’t know English almost at all. I can’t expect them to because we are in a mainly Spanish speaking country, but I had a hard time explaining my deepest heart’s desires (a.k.a how I wanted my eggs cooked in the morning) without my husband around. Otherwise the people were beyond kind and no complaints of anyone being rude or not willing to help!


TOP (on sale!) || SHORTS (on sale) || SANDALS || SUNNIES (similar HERE) || LIPGLOSS
(Full outfit post HERE)
HAT || DRESS (on sale & comes in white) || SHOES (also sold HERE…size up!) || BAG (more from this designer HERE) || SUNNIES (similar HERE)
(Full blog post HERE)
There were a ton of restaurants, literally one for any type of food you were craving. We had breakfast at The Kitchen Table every morning (except that one morning lol!). Someone recommended the Magna, which was a French influence restaurant, for breakfast which was part of the Excellence Club members only which we were not a part of. If it’s anything like the French one from from Finest Playa Mujeres that was also Excellence Club members only, it was amazing! Many of the restaurants were similar so I can imagine that Magna was totally worth it because we at there every morning while at Finest! We didn’t mind The Kitchen Table buffet for breakfast and ate there or got room service. I got a ton of fruit and had an omelette every morning. There were plenty of options to choose from though and it was huge so it didn’t feel crowded. The lunch on the beach was probably my least favorite. The pizza was good, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the burgers which was disappointing because every other trip we’ve been on, I got the burgers and fries for lunch everyday. There were al la carte restaurants open during lunch, but we always stayed in late so never felt like wasting time in restaurants for lunch; we preferred to eat on the beach. As far as dinners, we got to try almost all of them and loved everything we had there. 

Our all time favorite spot was the little coffee shop though! They had coffee, pastries, ice cream in the cutest little spot. We were there at least 3-4 times a day and definitely what I missed most about the resort. 

DRESS (only $24!) || HAT || BRACELETS || SHOES (on sale & more colors) || SUNNIES (similar HERE)


There were activities throughout the day and every night there was always some kind of show or event going on. There was definitely plenty to do but you could also find a quiet spot if you didn’t want to be around any of the activities going on during the day or night. We aren’t crazy into nightlight or partying, but the Sport’s bar had pool tables so we played I beat my husband at that a few times, and they also had one outside along with Ping Pong tables. Needless to say, you won’t be bored.
TANK (this year’s style on sale for $15 & tons of colors…stocking up for cardigan season!) || SHORTS (on sale!) || SHOES
HAT || BAG (more from this designer HERE) || SHOES (also sold HERE…size up!) || SUNNIES (similar HERE)
ROMPER (on sale & extra 40% off) || SHOES (more colors)


I have never been horseback riding so I was excited (and so scared) to do it. There were three times during the day you could go so went around 8:30 am which I highly recommend. It sucked waking up so early, but it got so hot halfway through that I couldn’t imagine going on the afternoon run. It was about a two hour ride (around four hours all together with the wait and the ride). Even though the horses were super calm, I was freaking out at the beginning because I could totally see the horse taking off and throwing me off its back (like in Full House if you grew up watching that show too haha!) hence the guy holding the horse on the rope most of the time. He was super nice and easy to talk to and it was nice going through the country side of Punta Cana as well as seeing the pretty turquoise water at a beach we stopped at (same beach we stopped with dune buggies). We did ride through a road where people lived and it was so sad to see the poverty they lived in. Kids were running after us begging for money and it was devastating seeing their living conditions. Definitely didn’t feel good knowing you paid thousands to relax at a resort ten minutes away and saw them live in houses with a metal sheet as their roof. Oh, another stop was through a little hut where these guys advertised a family business of making jars of cinnamon, cocoa, coffee, painting, jewlery etc that you could buy if you wanted. Horseback riding was fun, but not something I would do there again. We woke up the next morning and both died laughing because we both felt like we got beat up we were so sore. If you do go, don’t wear shorts lol…


The resort was great and we really loved it! It was very, very, similar in style to Finest Playa Mujeres in style & restaurants so if you’re looking for something totally different, I don’t think this place is for you. I tried to point out some of the negatives because I know those can make or break it for you all, so I hope that helped a bit. Honestly though, our only main complaint was that we didn’t stay long enough! After taking out two days for travel, half a day for the Timeshare breakfast (scheme), and half a day horseback riding, five days was definitely not enough! Then again, if we could vacation forever, we would haha! 

ROMPER (on sale…similar also on sale HERE) || SUNNIES (similar HERE) || BAG (more from this designer HERE) || LIPSTICK || WATCH
(Full blog post HERE)
ROMPER (on sale & all sizes available) || SHOES (on sale in gold HERE) || SUNNIES (similar HERE)
TEE (more colors) || WHITE JEANS (old from Zara; similar I just got & love HERE) || SUITCASE (currently 50% off…lots of questions about the scuffs & they clean very well with a magic eraser) || BRACELETS 

I would love to hear any resorts you all went to that you loved & recommend or if you have anything else to share/questions on Excellence El Carmen. Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for stopping by! XO!

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