The Getaway
The Best Things to Do in Punta Cana

The resort town of Punta Cana is located in the Dominican Republic, on the eastern coast of La Altagracia Province. It is one of the fastest-growing international resort areas, famous for its 20 miles of soft, white, sandy beaches, its luxurious resorts, and its affordability. The year-round warm temperatures hover around 80 degrees with an average humidity of 80% most of the year. October is its rainiest month. Punta Cana’s coastline touches both the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea. Visitors may find special room rates and smaller crowds during the offseason, between May and June, and from September to October.

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01 Golfer’s Paradise

Punta Espada Golf Course, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic BCWH / Getty Images

The Dominican Republic is quickly becoming a top vacation destination for golfers. A variety of travel and resort packages offer special features including passes to some of the best courses in Punta Cana. Travelers who prefer the total resort experience, including professionally designed golf courses with breathtaking views of the Caribbean, will find a variety of choices to the north of the airport. Those who prefer a five-star hotel, personal golf stands, and less populated beaches should consider one of the golf-resort communities to the south. Experience La Cana, designed by legendary golf course designer Pete Dye. Or, head over to the exclusive resort area of Cap Cana, and try the Punta Espada, a course created by golfing legend Jack Nicklaus.

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02 Isla Saona

 Beautiful caribbean beach on Saona island, Dominican Republic

This government-protected nature reserve, located just off the southeastern coast, is one of the most picturesque sites in Punta Cana. There are no bridges or roads to the island, so visitors arrive by boat. The Isla Saona offers serene beaches, lush coconut palms, and caves to explore. The clear, turquoise-blue waters are ideal for swimming and scuba diving. The island is a sanctuary for more than 112 different species of birds. Visit the only town on the island, Mano Juan, a fishing village and center for local artisans.

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03 Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve

Open from dawn to dusk; the Reserva Ecologica Ojos Indigenas is 1500 acres of lowland, subtropical forest with 12 freshwater lakes. The name of the island comes from its former inhabitants, the Taino Indians, who referred to the lakes as “eyes” or “ojos” due to their distinctive shape. Wildlife fans can visit an iguana habitat and learn about the conservation efforts and ongoing research on the island. Swim in one of the five swimming holes, or visit one of the many cultural exhibits, including a petting zoo.

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04 Bountiful Fishing

Exotic Beach boat in Dominican Republic, Punta Cana

The waters surrounding Punta Cana are on the migratory route for numerous species of popular game fish, making it one of the best places to fish in the Caribbean. The fishing season begins in May and runs through August. Mahi Mahi and Wahoo thrive in the crystal-clear waters within a couple of miles from the coast. Snappers, Jacks, Barracudas, and Triggerfish swim in the protected waters near the coastline. Grab a rod for shore fishing along the Cap Cana channel or Cabo Engano. For those seeking more adventurous method of sports fishing, head to the remote, but beautiful, Laguna de Nisibon to fish for Tarpon. Or, book a seaworthy vessel and troll for Blue or White Marlin. No additional license required!

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05 Shopping in Punta Cana

Head to the Bi2JH2O Artisanal Shopping Plaza to shop for hand-crafted items, cigars, handmade musical instruments, sculptures, coral jewelry, and more in this colorful, bazaar-like atmosphere. The locals pronounce the name as “bibijagua.” Located on Bavaro Beach, the shops are fun to browse and easy to find. Those with more upscale shopping requirements should check out the high-end, Mediterranean-inspired, Palma Real Shopping Village on Avenida Alemania. The semi-open shopping center offers an excellent selection of designer clothing and souvenirs, an exchange bank, a supermarket, a movie theater, and a pharmacy. A great place to spend a rainy day.

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06 Monkeyland

spider monkey dominican republic punta cana

Set in the lush green of the Punta Cana countryside, Monkeyland is a five-acre habitat for squirrel monkeys, open for tours and human visitors. The monkeys are incredibly friendly. When they see humans arriving, they climb out of the trees to greet them. Visitors are not only able to feed the monkeys but photograph them as well. It’s a perfect opportunity for some special selfies. Observe families of squirrel monkeys interact with each other in their own habitat. Knowledgeable guides and amazing outdoor surroundings make it a worthwhile trip, especially for families.

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07 Bavaro Beach

Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Photo by Melisa Popanicic on Unsplash

Punta Cana’s most popular beach is home to parasailers, boaters, and sunbathers. With the continual loading and unloading of tour boats, don’t expect quiet relaxation here. Swimmers will appreciate the option of the safer, roped-off areas along the beach. Bavaro Beach offers 35 miles of clean, powdery white sand, perfect for long strolls. Travelers will love the excellent food selection from restaurants in Bavaro Beach area, such as Toc Beach Bar and Restaurant, which serves a Caribbean, Latin, Fusion, and Contemporary menu.

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08 Manati Park

Aerial view of caribbean resort

Enjoy animal shows featuring sea lions, horses and other animals, visit a recreated Taino village, and enjoy the kid-friendly attractions at Manati Park, the first theme park in the Dominican Republic. Book a 30-minute encounter with a dolphin. Explore the colorful, tropical gardens featuring more than 150 species of Caribbean flora and fauna. Guided tours are available. The park prioritizes the preservation of the area’s animal species and is recognized as the main reproduction center for the endangered Rhinoceros Iguana.

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09 Party at Coco Bongo Show & Disco

Explosive confetti at an entertainment party concert

Trapeze artists, acrobats, amazing light shows, and an eclectic selection of music make Congo Bongo one of the hottest nightlife spots in the Dominican Republic. Enjoy an open bar, offering drinks with or without alcohol. The atmosphere is energetic, loud, and exciting, creating a full-on party arena experience. VIP tables are available and the establishment is a popular destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties. Coco Bongo is located in downtown Punta Cana, and some tours offer hotel pickup and delivery to this well-known destination.

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10 Adults-Only Resorts

Majestic Elegance Punta Cana, Bávaro - Provincia La Altagracia, Dominican Republic Photo by Justin Aikin on Unsplash

Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway with someone special or prefer the company of adults rather than children, Punta Cana offers a wide array of adults-only resorts. Most of these resorts are all-inclusive. Choose between luxury suites or villas. Some resorts offer around-the-clock room, concierge, and butler services. The Iberostar Grand Bavaro earns high marks from guests for its full-service spa and selection of seven kid-free restaurants serving a variety of international cuisines.

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11 Isla Catalina day trip

Just off the southeastern coast of the Dominican Republic lies the idyllic Isla Catalina, a haven of tranquility and untouched beauty. This semi-deserted island offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle, with its pristine white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. A day trip here is not just about relaxation; it's an immersive experience in nature, with a simple bar for refreshments and the serene environment as your primary entertainment. It's the perfect spot for those seeking a quieter, more intimate beach experience.

12 Los Haitises National Park

Discover the ecological wonder of Los Haitises National Park, a treasure trove of mangroves, rare birds, and ancient Taino petroglyphs. This park is a testament to the Dominican Republic's commitment to preserving its natural heritage. A guided tour through this lush landscape reveals hidden caves, secluded waterways, and a rich tapestry of biodiversity. It's an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike, offering a unique glimpse into the island's past and present.

13 Cueva de Chico

For a magical and slightly off-the-beaten-path experience, Cueva de Chico is a must-visit. This natural pool, nestled in a cenote-style setting, offers visitors a chance to swim in crystal-clear waters surrounded by stunning rock formations. It's an hour's drive from Punta Cana, but the journey adds to the adventure, leading you to one of the most serene and picturesque swimming spots in the region. Perfect for those seeking a tranquil retreat in nature.

14 Juanillo Beach

Escape to the serene Juanillo Beach, where the sands are pristine and the ambiance is peaceful. Unlike the more bustling beaches of Punta Cana, Juanillo offers a laid-back vibe, ideal for those seeking tranquility and relaxation. The beach's shallow, lapping waters and nearly empty rows of deck chairs make it a perfect spot for sunbathing or a quiet stroll along the shore. It's a hidden gem for visitors looking for a more secluded beach experience.

15 Dune buggy adventure

Thrill-seekers, get ready for an exhilarating dune buggy adventure through Punta Cana's stunning landscapes. This off-road experience takes you zipping through lush forests, tropical gardens, and along picturesque beaches. It's a heart-pounding way to explore the natural beauty of the region, offering a unique perspective and an adrenaline rush that's hard to beat. Suitable for all skill levels, this adventure promises fun and excitement for everyone.

16 Rent a speedboat

Elevate your Punta Cana experience by renting a speedboat and exploring the Caribbean coastline at your own pace. Feel the thrill of the wind in your hair and the sun on your face as you navigate the azure waters. This luxurious activity not only offers a sense of freedom and adventure but also provides an opportunity to discover secluded beaches and hidden coves inaccessible by land. It's an unforgettable way to experience the beauty of Punta Cana from a different angle.

17 Whale watching tours

Embark on a romantic and awe-inspiring whale watching tour in Punta Cana, a hotspot for observing humpback whales in their natural habitat. These majestic creatures' annual migration offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness them up close. The tours are not only educational but also provide a unique chance to connect with nature in a profound way. It's an experience that will leave you with lasting memories and a deeper appreciation for marine life.

18 Bavaro Lagoon

Nature lovers will find a paradise in Bavaro Lagoon, a protected natural area brimming with biodiversity. This hidden gem, adjacent to the bustling Bavaro Beach, is a sanctuary for over 200 plant species and a myriad of birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Kayaking through the lagoon offers an intimate encounter with its thriving ecosystem. The dense vegetation and tranquil waters make it an ideal spot for birdwatching and enjoying the serene beauty of nature, providing a peaceful contrast to the lively beach scene nearby.

19 Altos de Chavon

Step into a different world at Altos de Chavon, a remarkable 16th-century Mediterranean village replica nestled in the heart of the Dominican Republic. This architectural marvel transports you to a bygone era with its Grecian-style amphitheater, charming St. Stanislaus Church, and cobblestone pathways. It's not just a feast for the eyes; the village serves as a vibrant cultural hub, hosting music events and offering a unique glimpse into the island's diverse artistic heritage. A visit here is like walking through a living museum, blending history, art, and culture in an unforgettable setting.

20 Higuey cultural visit

aerial view to La Basilica of Higuey Dominican Republic. selective focus

Venture beyond the beach to the bustling city of Higuey, a cultural melting pot known for its religious monuments and rich history. The city's centerpiece, the Basilica Nuestra Senora De La Altagracia, is an architectural wonder, drawing visitors from around the world. Exploring Higuey offers a deeper understanding of the Dominican Republic's religious and cultural fabric. From its vibrant street life to its historical museums, Higuey is a destination that provides a meaningful and enriching experience for those looking to immerse themselves in the local culture.

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