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Top 9 things to do in Punta Cana for a trip to paradise

Considering that Punta Cana has more than 30 miles of fine, white sand—making it one of the longest coastlines in the Caribbean—this idyllic destination caters to all the senses, offering rest and relaxation, as well as adventure, history, excellent food and sports.

Punta Cana is home to 11 beaches that hold the Blue Flag distinction, a certification granted since 1987 by the European Foundation for Environmental Education, making it possible to preserve a stunning natural habitat and support sustainable tourism.

Located in the eastern part of the Dominican Republic, the Punta Cana region is also the place where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. The average temperature is 79 °F, inviting visitors to take a dip into the crystal-clear water and allowing scuba divers to enjoy their sport like never before.

Punta Cana International Airport also happens to have the most connections in all of the Caribbean and Central America, and close to 64% of the flights that arrive in the Dominican Republic do so at this facility.

The best accommodations in Punta Cana have something for everyone as well as all-inclusive resort alternatives, in addition to the top wellness spas in the Dominican Republic.

 

 

Breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, and all types of adventures, await Punta Cana’s visitors. Aside from the gorgeous beaches, there are also fresh water lagoons, cave expeditions, plantation tours, the Basilica-Cathedral of Our Lady of Altagracia, churches, museums, cigar factories and rum tastings.

In Punta Cana, foodies can look forward to the local Creole cuisine (a blend of Taino, Spanish and African influences, oftentimes featuring plantains in a variety of formats) as well as Dominican creations based on rice and beans, a vast assortment of seafood dishes, and desserts that showcase coconut from the countless palm trees in the region.

For those who want to stay active, a wide variety of water sports are available in Punta Cana, including scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, fishing, kite surfing and windsurfing, in addition to golf at the best courses featuring stunning designs, tennis, gyms and various sports facilities.

Bávaro beach, one of Punta Cana’s jewels

playa bavaro

Playa bávaro

Bávaro Beach is highly rated internationally and has been named by UNESCO as one of the best beaches in the world.

As one of Punta Cana’s treasures, it is adorned by row after row of coconut trees that provide shade to visitors and grow fruit for making the tropical drinks that everyone loves.

Originally established as a commuter town for people who work in Punta Cana, the Bávaro region, which leads to the beach with the same name, transformed as hotels expanded their presence, a great deal through Spanish investments. It now boasts a number of tourist attractions, such as Manatí Park. This large theme park features the Dominican Republic’s flora and fauna, swimming with dolphins and various water activities.

Macao beach, an untouched public landscape

playa macao

Playa Macao

Punta Cana is also home to the gorgeous Macao Beach. Its fine sand is surrounded by an idyllic landscape that is not owned by hotels, so visitors are free to choose their perfect spot to take in the surroundings.

Saona island, coming face to face with caribbean fauna

isla saona

Isla Saona

Saona Island is a sustainable space that cannot be developed, offering visitors the chance to witness Caribbean fauna first hand, including a large group of manatees, turtles, dolphins, fish, birds, whales and other species.

Beyond the stunning beaches and crystal-clear water of various shades of blue, depending on the sun’s rays, Saona Island also has a number of grottoes and caverns containing a vast amount of indigenous relics that history buffs will appreciate.

Catalina island, a coral reef paradise

isla catalina

Isla Catalina

As the arrival point of cruise ships, water sport enthusiasts who love to scuba dive and snorkel will find heaven on earth at Catalina Island. A far-reaching world of corals awaits on the island, in addition to a Living Museum in the Sea and Captain Kidd’s 300-year-old shipwreck, located 78 feet underwater in an adjacent area.

Los Haitises National Park, a vast mangrove nearby

los haities republica dominicana

Parque nacional los Haitises

A must-see stop in Punta Cana is Los Haitises, which means “mountainous land” in the Taino language. This national park opens a whole new world to ecology, cave and grotto enthusiasts. Covering 320 square miles, biologists, ecologists, nature lovers and anyone who would like to be amazed will be welcomed by a wide stretch of mangroves.

A trip to Punta Cana should always include the beauty of this isolated paradise that can only be reached by boat. This unique adventure features rock formations that emerge from the sea, rainforests, a diverse flora and fauna that includes endangered species such as the Ridgway’s hawk.

Altos de Chavón, a glimpse into the 16th century

los altos del chavon

Los Altos de Chavón

Built in 1976, Altos de Chavón is a re-creation of a 16th-century Mediterranean village that includes a Greek-style outdoor amphitheater for up to 5,000 spectators, where various artists have performed since its grand opening, which was attended by Frank Sinatra.

Altos de Chavón brings together history and culture with an array of stores, jewelry and handicraft shops, bars, restaurants and stunning views of the Chavón River and Dye Fore Golf Course, a masterpiece by the great American designer Pete Dye.

Hoyo Azul, a freshwater cenote in a unique setting

hoyo azul republica dominicana

Hoyo azul

Hoyo Azul is a cenote that is 45 feet deep within a rock cavity located at the bottom of a 250-foot cliff. The freshwater originating from an underground river bathes visitors in the unique surroundings that were at one point sacred.

Reaching Hoyo Azul is an adventure in and of itself and entails crossing a hanging bridge in the middle of lush flora and orchids. It is then up to each person to decide whether to jump into the exotic turquoise water or to walk leisurely down to the pool along the steps.

Theme parks in Punta Cana

parque tematico republica dominicana

Madre con sus hijos en parque de República Dominicana.

Punta Cana has a number of theme parks with different alternatives such as partaking in the Pirates of the Caribbean experience at Caribbean Buccaneers, swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Explorer or Dolphin Island Park, or visiting monkey homes at Monkey Jungle and Monkeyland.

There is also Manatí Park, home to many tropical species, and places like Ocean World Adventure Park, Rad Park and Seaquarium, which have multiple water activities for sports or for learning about the Caribbean’s impressive diversity.

Bávaro Adventure Park draws visitors away from the water and invites them to dive into mountain biking adventures, flight simulators, climbing, paintball activities, bungee jumping and the Segway circuit, while Fun City has three go-kart race tracks for different speeds.

Santo Domingo: History and contemporaneity in the caribbean

santo domingo republica dominicana

Santo domingo

Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, offers visitors the perfect combination of history and modernity in the Caribbean, and proof of this lies in its buildings, museums, Colonial City (declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990), art galleries, shopping malls and exciting nightlife.

The Colonial City, only three hours by car from Punta Cana, welcomes visitors with its labyrinth of narrow streets that hide secrets dating back to the 16th century, and can be explored on a 45-minute Chu Chu Colonial train ride, on foot or by bike.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of year to visit Punta Cana?

Because it is located in the Caribbean, Punta Cana has a pleasant climate year round. However, December to April are optimal because rain is less likely, temperatures range between 84 °F and 86 °F, and close to 8 hours of sun are guaranteed each day.

What is the best way to get around the Dominican Republic?

The Dominican Republic has an extensive network of transportation services for people to move around freely, and there are also many tours featuring all types of activities. The public transportation system is modern, broad and affordable.

Where to stay in Punta Cana?

The best accommodations in Punta Cana can be found at the Barceló Bávaro Palace, an all-inclusive hotel that caters to sun worshipers and has the best technology, Occidental Caribe, Barceló Bávaro Beach (adults only) and Occidental Punta Cana.

What is the best part of Punta Cana to stay in?

The best areas for relaxing and enjoying the beaches and many activities are Bávaro, Arena Gorda and El Cortesito beaches.

What currency should I take to Punta Cana?

The official currency is the Dominican peso, but a number of places accept dollars and others accept euros, although to a lesser degree. It is advisable to exchange your currency upon arrival.

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