Punta Cana Dominican Republic, has become a reference in beaches for the whole world. If you are planning your next vacation in this paradise, stay tuned to this post where we tell you things to do in Punta Cana: attractions, beaches and excursions.
Until a few decades ago, this sector of the Dominican Republic was wilderness. Punta Cana was born in 1969 when a group of businessmen bought this sector for the timber industry, but realized that it had tourism potential. This is how this piece of jungle, with nothing more than a small fishing village, became one of the most visited areas by tourists in the Caribbean.
📜 TABLE OF CONTENTS
Things to do in Punta Cana for couples or with kids
1) Marvel at the beauty of Bávaro Beach
It is considered one of the best beaches in Punta Cana, even UNESCO has it on its list of the best beaches in the world. Its transparent waters and white sands provide a unique postcard among the palm trees, ideal for enjoying time outdoors doing sports activities or resting.
This stretch of beaches has a coral reef and is famous for the marine life that inhabits it, such as dolphins, turtles, seahorses and manatees.
Some of the most common activities in these waters are catamaran sailing, where parties are held, snorkeling and swimming in the deeper waters. Of course, if you practice diving, this point is ideal.
⚠️ DISCLAIMER This beach is part of the Bávaro municipality. It is not the only one in the area since it has a coastline of more than 48 kilometers.
🔘 Check out the rest of the World Heritage Sites we have visited.
📷 Do you want to explore the seabed of the beaches of Punta Cana? Book the excursion to ride an underwater scooter and ride underwater.
2) Enjoy Los Corales, another best beaches in Punta Cana
One of the few public beaches in Punta Cana. Of course, its landscape is the classic Caribbean style beach of palm trees, white sand, and the further south you go, the prettier and more turquoise the water becomes.
Its waves are moderate to gentle thanks to breakwater barriers that contain the movement, making it ideal for visiting with children. It is a very lively area, with bars and restaurants that operate both day and night.
📌 The surroundings of this beach is a good area to stay if you are not going to choose an all inclusive resort.
3) Relax at Juanillo Beach
This beach in the Cap Cana area has everything to spend an unforgettable day between the calm water and white sand. There is a varied offer of bars and restaurants serving cocktails and food. It is possible to enjoy beach activities such as volleyball, snorkeling, kayaking, and kite surfing, thanks to the excellent wind conditions.
To enjoy a day here, the Cap Cana administration charges an entrance fee of US$20 for the use of lounge chairs, bathrooms and showers, which is reimbursed in consumption. It is necessary to make a reservation to gain access and present identification.
Besides being one of the most beautiful beaches, it is a favorite of many, both tourists and locals, because it is not crowded and there are no street vendors.
4) Have fun doing activities in Macao Beach.
To the north of the Bávaro area in Punta Cana, you will find this beautiful public beach that combines incredible landscapes with outdoor activities. This beach is very wide and has magnificent waves, making it ideal for those who want to surf. If you are looking to take your first steps in this sport, north of the beach there is a surf school that can prepare you to learn how to stand up on the board.
In case you prefer to make plans on land, it is a good place for buggy rides, horseback riding or guided hikes.
📷 Book here the excursion to Playa Macao by buggy and catamaran ride in Bibijagua. There is also the option of taking a buggy tour to the town of Macao and its beach, reaching the cenote of the so-called Manantiales Indígenas.
5) Explore the natural beauties at Scape Park
Scape Park is a jungle park where you can enjoy adventure activities such as zip-lining over pools, canopy, walks along cultural routes and trails to discover caves and cenotes.
El Hoyo Azul is a cenote 14 meters deep inside the forest. The deep blue waters give this place its name. The colors are produced by the halocline phenomenon, which occurs when different types of minerals and salinity create different layers of water.
Another of the wonders of this park is the Iguabonita Cave. Walk through its tunnels and caverns full of stalactites and stalagmites and enjoy a wonder hidden among the rocks.
The park has all the services, and an entrance fee is charged to access the park, which includes all the activities.
🐘 As a traveler you should be watchful, be aware of possible abuses of animals during your holiday, not participating in them. We also encourage the tourism industry to identify practices that put animals at risk and to make informed decisions to avoid promoting them.
📷 Book the excursion to Scape Park from here.
6) View of Boca de Yuma town
Boca de Yuma is a picturesque fishing village. Beautiful white sand beaches are enjoyed, with a variety of boat trips along the rivers for bird watching and cavern watching. From high in the mountains there are beautiful panoramic views of the clear waters.
This place was the starting point for many of the explorations that took place in America. You can visit the residence of Juan Ponce de León, who was the conqueror of Puerto Rico. The stone house was converted into a museum, and its interior is decorated with artifacts and utensils of the time.
In addition, the town has an entrance to the Cotubanamá National Park and the gigantic Berna Cave, full of petroglyphs.
7) Visit the Chocomuseum
Dominican Republic cocoa is one of the best in the world. This small museum in the Cap Cana neighborhood takes you through the history and process of chocolate making. During this guided tour there are tastings of milk chocolate and dark or white chocolate, prepared with the best raw materials.
If you are interested in learning more about chocolate, we recommend a visit to a cocoa plantation, with guided tours of nearby plantations, or a chocolate cooking workshop to learn how to make your own preparations.
📷 Book your chocolate cooking workshop or cocoa plantation tour.
8) Have fun at a night out in Coco Bongo
Coco bongo is a discotheque that offers themed music and dance shows, as well as drinks and many hours of partying. A fun activity to enjoy dancing and acrobatics in the different acts of the show.
In addition, the place offers a wide variety of drinks that can be purchased with the entrance to the place with different subscriptions with free drinks with and without alcohol. We recommend that you make your reservation in advance because it is the most demanded disc in the area.
📷 Book your ticket to Coco Bongo in advance and secure your night of fun in Punta Cana.
The best tours in Punta Cana
1) Enjoy Saona Island from Punta Cana
One of the best and most popular excursions to do from Punta Cana is to Saona Island. To get there you have to take a vehicle to Bayahibe for a little more than an hour approximately and then embark to the island. Saona Island gained popularity for being the setting of the 80’s movie “Blue Lagoon” with Brooke Shields.
The island is part of the Cotubanama National Park, which is one of the most important ecological reserves in the country. Saona has a large number of plant and animal species such as sea turtles, seagulls and the rhinoceros iguana. In its waters there is a reef with more than 10 types of coral and 40 species of fish.
One of its most interesting attractions is the natural pool in the middle of the sea, which is only 1 meter deep. It is ideal to relax for a while, swimming among marine species such as starfish, corals, tropical fish and snails.
📷 Book here the tour to Saona Island by catamaran.
2) Take the excursion to Montaña Redonda.
Montaña Redonda is located on the coast of Punta Cana, 300 meters high, and has one of the best panoramic views of the area.
In this excursion from Punta Cana, you will go up with a 4×4 van on an unpaved trail with incredible views of nature, between the countryside and the mountains. At its summit it is possible to enjoy a 360° panoramic view that on the clearest days you can see as far as the bay of Samana, the Redonda lagoon and even the mountains in Samaná.
Several souvenir stores and small restaurants can also be found at the top of the hill. In addition, there are some photo spots such as the vacuum swing and the flying broom.
✏️ If you are going to have your photo taken at the points, keep in mind that there is a photographer and you must pay for it.
📷 Book here the tour to the Montaña Redonda in 4×4 vehicle.
3) Get to know Catalina Island
This small island, also known as Ikiita Island, is only 10 kilometers in area and is completely uninhabited. Catalina Island was discovered by Cristobal Colon on his second voyage to America.
It has paradisiacal beaches of white sand and crystal clear waters where you can see different types of fish and birds. It is ideal for snorkeling and diving activities thanks to the transparency of its waters and the absence of waves. Here you swim among coral reefs frequented by colorful fish.
On the beach there are a few small paradors with snacks and drinks. It is best to bring a snack because the gastronomic offer is limited. There is little shade on the beach and umbrellas are paid for.
📷 Book here the excursion to Catalina Island with snorkeling.
4) Walk through the streets of Santo Domingo.
The capital of the Dominican Republic is only 2 hours away from Punta Cana. Santo Domingo is one of the oldest cities in the Caribbean and one of the first cities where Cristobal Colón visited.
One of the must-see attractions in Santo Domingo is the grotto of Los Tres Ojos. This is a cavern that has 3 round lakes inside. Each has different mineral characteristics that give it unique colors and properties.
You should also visit the Colombo lighthouse, a cross-shaped monument in honor of the navigator. This place is surrounded by controversy, because it is said that the remains of Cristobal Colon are inside, something that researchers have disproved. On the other hand, the light of this lighthouse is very powerful, illuminating up to 64 kilometers.
Once in the colonial area of Santo Domingo you must visit the presidential palace and the temple of Santa María de La Encarnación, the oldest church on the continent. It is also worth visiting the first house of the city and the National Pantheon, where the remains of historical figures of the country rest.
To close the day, you should visit the Plaza de España, with its dazzling terraces overlooking the Ozama River, and the Alcazar de Colon, the former residence of Cristobal’s son.
📷 Book here the tour from Punta Cana and visit the most important points of Santo Domingo.
5) Tour the Los Haitises National Park.
This protected area is one of the most important in the Dominican Republic. Its name means “mountainous land” in the Taino language. The park has mangroves along its bay and is inhabited by bird colonies. Among these can be seen the imposing Ridgway’s hawk, which is in danger of extinction, the Sierra and Hispaniolan woodpecker, pelicans, among other species.
The land has a system of caverns with caves such as La Reyna, San Gabriel and del Ferrocarril. Some of them have the largest number of petroglyphs and pictographs in the country.
✏️ Did you know that this park is famous in Hollywood? This park is the setting for the Jurassic Park movies.
📷 Book here your visit to the Haitises and enjoy an incredible day in contact with nature.
🔝 Looking for more places to see and tips for visiting Punta Cana? Check out this article with a super complete guide to visit Punta Cana.
Is it worth staying at an All Inclusive in Punta Cana?
Depends. If your plan is to relax and do the minimum and indispensable excursions, this is a good option. The price you pay per night at the resort includes all meals and beverages, access to the spas, swimming pools, recreational activities and exclusive beaches.
All of this is excellent if you are really going to enjoy it. Another point to take into account is that these resorts are usually far from the central points because in some cases they have exclusive beaches outside the tourist area.
In case your plan is to make excursions from Punta Cana to the surroundings, the best option is to look for a hotel or inn. This will give you more freedom when looking for dining options because most of the time you will be out of the lodging.
Excursions can be taken from any point in Punta Cana, and many all-inclusive resorts even sell them to you. We recommend arriving with the excursions already booked to save money and secure your place, especially in high season.
It is also important to note that when you are on the beach you will encounter many tour vendors eager to sell you as many tours as possible. We advise you not to buy these options, because in many cases the tours are very cheap and consequently of very low quality, both the transportation and the coordinators.
Recommendations of all inclusive hotels to stay in Punta Cana
There are many options for all-inclusive accommodations in Punta Cana. Based on the experience and quality of the accommodations, our recommendations for sleeping all inclusive in Punta Cana are as follows:
- Lopesan Costa Bávaro Resort: located on the front line of Bavaro beach, one of the best in Punta Cana, has everything to entertain without leaving the place. Six swimming pools, magnificent sea views and if you are traveling with children a playground with water slides.
- Caribe Deluxe Princess: nothing is missing in this all inclusive in Punta Cana. Theater with nightly shows, seven restaurants with different types of food, nine bars and excellent decoration of the rooms.
- Live Aqua Beach Resort: near Macau is an all-inclusive accommodation exclusively for adults. Its facilities include a spa, gym, sauna, 10 restaurants and five swimming pools. And of course the beach at your feet.
- Catalonia Royal Bavaro: on Cabeza de Toro beach, is another accommodation exclusively for adults. It stands out for its two golf courses, casino, discotheque, beach bar with sushi and a natural juice bar. Fun and relaxation guaranteed!
🏨 Find here the best hotels and resorts in Punta Cana.
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