A Beginner’s Guide to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
If your idea of the perfect summer vacation includes endless stretches of soft white sand, beautiful clear waters and free-flowing tropical drinks, look no further than beautiful Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
Nestled at the top of the country near the coast, Punta Cana boasts an impressive 30 miles of coastline. This means more beaches than you could possibly explore in one trip, and plenty of white sand to go around.
Considering it is pretty close to a tropical paradise, it is perhaps no surprise that Punta Cana is a very popular holiday destination. To help you make the most of your stay in this beautiful location, here’s our “beginner’s guide”.
If traveling from the US, getting to Punta Cana is easy – it is home to the second most popular airport in the Caribbean (second only to Puerto Rico) and is serviced by more than fifty American airlines. There are direct flights from many American cities, as well as a selection of other destinations. For visitors from further afield, a quick stopover in an American capital may be required.
You can also drive from the Dominican Republic’s capital of Santo Domingo. The roads have been significantly upgraded in recent years, and it takes about two hours to drive the 220km between Santo Domingo and Punta Cana.
What to Do
Relax at the Beaches
The main attraction of Punta Cana is the beach, so make sure you leave plenty of time in your itinerary to simply relax on the sand. Given the enviable length of Punta Cana’s coastline, there’s no shortages of beaches to enjoy – some of our favourites include popular Playa Bavaro, secluded Arena
Gordo and heavily forested Cabeza de Toro.
Visit the Theme Parks
Great fun for the young, and the young at heart, Punta Cana is home to several fun-filled theme parks which are a great family day out. There is Manati Park, which was the first theme park in the Caribbean and is home to many different animal species as well as interactive and educational exhibits. There’s also the Bavaro Adventure Park, which is an outdoor lover’s dream, with lots of fun activities such as ziplining, trampolining and mountain biking.
Snorkeling and Diving
Around Punta Cana there are many great places to try snorkeling and diving amongst the region’s beautiful wildlife. Many companies such as Dressel Divers offer excursions ranging from a few hours to a full-day of diving or snorkeling. There’s also Marinarium, a Marine Park and Aquarium that has a focus on education and conservation, and is great for younger visitors.
If you enjoy a round of golf then it’s probably atop your agenda of things to do while in Punta Cana – the courses here are world-renowned and considered some of the best on earth. One of the most popular is the Punta Blanca Golf Course, which was designed by a worldclass designer, Nick Price, and features an excellent course as well as a well-stocked shop.
Not only does Punta Cana boast some of the most beautiful beaches on earth, but it also offers some picturesque natural pools that feature crystal clear water and lush surrounds. We love Hoyo Azul, perhaps the most famous natural pool which offers a beautiful view as you relax. There are many great tours to take you there as it is a little perilous to reach the pool.
What to Eat
You can’t have a tropical island paradise without delicious seafood, and Punta Cana is certainly no exception. Here you’ll find a number of fantastic seafood restaurants that will prepare fresh and delicious meals for you. We love Ceviche 301, which offers a unique and innovative menu inspired by Peruvian cuisine and featuring amazingly fresh seafood.
For a more Caribbean inspired menu, try La Palapa, which not only offers delectable food but also has a stunning view over the beach, and warm, friendly service.
After the sun goes down, Punta Cana comes alive with many chic bars and lounges offering amazing cocktails and the opportunity to dance the night away. For cigar lovers, there’s the Don Queco Cigar Bar with its old-fashioned elegance, or, if you prefer your nights a little upbeat – there's the local favorite Drink Point or hedonistic ORO Nightclub.
With its sprawling coastline, plethora of fun activities and luxurious beach clubs, Punta Cana looks much like the island paradise you dream of while waiting for your next vacation! With its dynamic Caribbean influence, it's the perfect place to spend lazy days in the sunshine and then enjoy rum and festive beats once the sun goes down.
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