Harvard Explained: Spring Break in Punta Cana

This spring break, the hottest Harvard party will be relocated from Mt. Auburn St. to Punta Cana, a popular (and rowdy) beach destination in the Dominican Republic.

The Barcelo Punta Cana hotel, advertised on its website as an “elegant Mediterranean-inspired all inclusive beachfront resort boasting a long stretch of dazzling powder-soft beach,” will soon play host to 118 Harvard students, according to the unofficial Punta Cana Spring Break 2011 Facebook group administered by Charles A. LaCalle ’11 and Kathleen Ma ’12. This crowd includes final club bros, sorority sisters, and various other members of the party-hopping species.

“Some social leaders on campus decided to go there this year, and then everyone followed suit,” said Jeffrey J. Lee ’11, one member of the bandwagon, in an attempt to explain the mass exodus from Cambridge to the Caribbean.

“We wanted to go somewhere tropical and warm, somewhere spring ‘breaky,’” said Bret A. Voith ’11, whose “unit” of four guys decided on their destination in January. “Punta Cana is surprisingly easy to get to and cheap, as far as the Caribbean goes,” he added.

“[The Dominican Republic] is catering especially to students in terms of prices,” said Sociology Professor Orlando Patterson, a native of Jamaica whose area of expertise includes Caribbean studies. “It’s the best time of the year to visit the Caribbean.”

And it’s possible that for spring break, Punta Cana will turn into a collegiate town. Aside from Harvard, other colleges such as Arizona State University and George Washington University are also headed in that direction, according to Punta Cana bound Evan J. Zepfel ’13, who is also a Crimson sports editor.

The predicted pack of Punta Cana partiers is exciting for Lee, who spent last year’s spring break in Antarctica by himself. “The Harvard Hoochies are so ubiquitous on campus that I feel like I party at a state school every time I go out,” he said. “But maybe these state schools’ girls will actually live up to the stereotypes.”

For Voith, the purpose of this trip is clear. “General goals are to not get food poisoning, get a tan, and enjoy the last trip where ‘I’m in college’ is a legitimate explanation for how everyone behaves,” he said.

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