RIU Bambu: Seven Days to Recharge

Pulling up to the sleek front entrance of the RIU Bambu you can see right through the lobby, past the pool and to the sun-filled, palm tree populated beach and, you know you’ve come to the right place.

The recently renovated, Riu Bambu sits among of cluster of five separate RIU properties all on Playa Arena Gorda close to Punta Cana. The 1000-room resort is large. Long winding pathways connect all the “casitas” to the beach, tennis courts, seven restaurants and five pools.

It can be a bit of a hike from your room to the main pool area and the beach but the lush manicured grounds make the walk zen-like if not therapeutic. Maintenance staff riding over-sized tricycles pass — always with a friendly nod and a ‘beunos dias”.

The staff are all pleasant and Spanish speaking. The personnel at the front desk are all multi-lingual but if you’re in language limbo, unlimited free wifi and Google translate will fill any gaps.

The white sands of Playa Arena Gorda are beautiful. Palm trees are peppered across the beach and help to shade our very white skin from the hot sun. For those looking for more than assuming the horizontal position and catching up on a good book, a detailed list of back-to-back daily activities is posted next to the beach towel hut near the main pool.

There are plenty of off-resort day trips too but if you prefer to soak in the heat and recharge head to a lounger. The resort was at capacity during our visit but there was never a problem finding a spot on the beach.

There are five pools to choose from but we preferred to hang out on the beach. There is something about lying in the shade of an enormous palm tree and cooling off in the ocean. The water was warm and the surf was, for the most part, gentle.

The waves wash algae up on to the shore. Not the slimy stuff that comes to mind, this resembles more the plastic plants that embellish a child’s gold fish bowl.

Volleyball is a big draw. It is heart warming to see vacationer from so many countries, who don’t share a language, stow their electronic devices, join together and have fun on the beach.

There are people from everywhere here. Lots of Spanish, Argentinians, English, German and Russians. While enjoying afternoon cocktails at the beach-side bar, we chatted with couples from as far away as Poland and the Ukraine.

Our young-adult children spent their time working out at the gym, visiting the shops on Caribbean Street, swimming in the ocean, chatting up the beach vendors, and hitting the Pachá discotheque at night. We all visited Splash Water World for an adrenaline rush on the water slides. The park is tucked behind the resort and is free to all RIU guests.

The RiuLand kid’s club area is adorable an offers daily programming for kids from 4-12. Older kids take part in the RIU4U teen activities.

RIU continues to uphold their reputation for great food. There are Spanish, Italian, Asian, and Mexican restaurants, as well as a steakhouse but we alternated between the two buffets. 

Buffets are great for families with picky eaters. Our family vegan was in veggie-utopia with the selection of fresh produce while the meat eaters enjoyed the daily themed buffet offering. 

After dinner we took in the nightly show. The massive area is filled with tables and chairs and all ages take in the performances. It’s a fun, family-friendly vibe.

With direct flights from Ottawa, RIU Bambu, Punta Cana is easy to get to. Relax, rest and repeat at RIU for a week that’s guaranteed to recharge.