We disembarked directly onto the tarmac at Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ). Deplaning was quick because the flight crew used both the front and back exits. All passengers are directed into an immigration line and there are bathrooms on the front left of the waiting area. (The airport advises that travelers who use a wheelchair should contact their airline to arrange an access ramp.)
We breezed through immigration in less than 20 minutes. The baggage area is nearby and it is well monitored. An airport security worker matched each piece of our luggage to its receipt before releasing our bags.
Before we could say "no thank you," a porter loaded our bags onto a luggage cart. He guided us through the airport and led us to the private transportation service that we arranged. We tipped him $5 and felt like he earned every penny.
Unlike the included airport transfers at Beaches Turks and Caicos, Dreams Punta Cana does not provide transportation to or from the airport. We arranged a private ride with a company called DominicanPlus because it has near-perfect reviews on TripAdvisor. The DominicanPlus counter staff was friendly and our driver greeted us with water bottles and a bag of Santo Domingo coffee.
It took us 30 minutes to get from the airport to the resort. The ride was smooth and the road was well-paved. Our driver told us that every transportation service overstates the length of the drive to justify the not-so-cheap price. (We paid $176.99 for roundtrip passage in a Cadillac Escalade.) According to our driver, Punta Cana is expensive because necessities like food and gas are expensive.
The official check-in time at Dreams Punta Cana is 3 p.m.
When we arrived at the resort, a steward tagged our suitcases and told us they'd be taken to our room after we checked in (they arrived as promised). A waitress brought us sparkling wine and juice cocktails as we waited. Sometime into our second round of drinks, a concierge gave us paper check-in forms on a clipboard. Once we finished filling out our forms (and selecting a preferred hour for housekeeping), another member of the hotel staff sat with us to discuss premium services at the resort. This took mental energy because both women spoke with a strong accent.
The check-in process took an hour. At least 15 minutes of that time felt like an extended sales pitch for premium services and other hotels in the AMResorts family. We were given books of "vouchers" for Dreams' spa and casino, but in reality, these are restricted-use non-combinable coupons. They can't be used without spending additional money out of pocket. We declined to use ours.
Remember to Bring
A pen to fill out customs and immigration forms on the airplane;
The luggage receipts from your departure airport; and
Small bills to tip the airport staff and driver.
Here is a longer list of things to bring to Dreams Punta Cana.