Punta Cana is a true Bounty World. It is no wonder that this small town with a long coastline, almost entirely built up with low-rise five-star hotels, is so popular with tourists. As a bonus, there are three national parks nearby; mangrove forests, reptiles, tropical birds, all kinds of underwater life, and probably the best fish restaurants in the country. The resort stands out for its eclectic mix of Spanish and Dominican culture in architecture, design, and art. The Punta Cana area is characterized by a lack of strong winds and a favorable climate in general. A large part of the resort's water basin is ocean water; tourists can swim without any danger. The contingent of local holidaymakers - all family tourists and fans of tranquil rest in natural surroundings.
Relax on Punta Cana's beaches
The beaches are the main attraction of Punta Cana. Most of them are public, entry is free. For a secluded vacation, the best place to go in Macau. This is one of the most environmentally friendly corners of the east coast. There are no umbrellas, sun loungers, or water rides, but there are also a few people. In addition, there are good waves that attract surfers. Many beaches in Punta Cana are suitable for a quiet family vacation with children. The coast is covered with clean sand, the entrance to the water is gentle, and the bathing area is separated from the open sea by coral reefs, so it is quite safe. The infrastructure is not very well developed-there is water entertainment and sunbeds with umbrellas (from 50 DOP), but there are no toilets or changing rooms, and in the showers, there is no fresh water. "Bavaro" is the busiest beach in Punta Cana. Bars and discos are open here, and during spring break they are filled with Canadian and American youth. Divers will be interested in coral reefs, underwater caves, and shipwrecks.
Explore the underwater world
Punta Cana has everything you need for exciting dives: the warm Caribbean Sea with colorful corals, bright tropical fish, underwater grottos and shipwrecks, and dive centers and schools on the coast. There are plenty of dive sites along the coast, some of them are so close to shore that you don't have to swim anywhere. For beginners, we have enough experience in shallow water. For professionals, there are areas of depth up to 30 meters, while visibility remains within 15–25 m. The most interesting sites in terms of diving are the largest reef in the Dominican Republic, three sunken ships, which took a fancy to the sea creatures, and a small cave. Prices depend on the particular club and the qualifications of the diver. If you have explored the whole area, you can get on an excursion to nearby islands. The most popular is Catalina, which attracts tourists with its rich underwater world. People come here for diving, snorkeling, and "water safari". And for lunch, you can taste the inhabitants of coastal waters.
The resort has large shopping centers (Plaza Bavaro and Plaza Punta Cana), where you can find clothes and accessories from European and American brands: Puma, Guess, Adidas, Paul & Shark, Swarovski, and others. If you want to save money, it is better to shop away from the major tourist centers. An hour's drive from Punta Cana is the Iberia supermarket, where prices are much lower than on the coast. Small shops and souvenir shops can be found in almost every neighborhood, but the majority of them are in Bavaro. This is also where most shopping and entertainment centers are concentrated, including the most prestigious "Palma Real Shopping". For Dominican souvenirs and clothes, it is better to go to a flea market near the beach "El Cortecito". Here you can buy amber and larimar (semi-precious stone) and the symbol of the Dominican Republic-the doll "lima". Coffee and the local tincture "mamajuana" should be sought in supermarkets; you'll find them cheaper than in the stores.
Taste local cuisine
Dominican cuisine has much in common with other Caribbean countries' cuisines, but at the same time, it has its unique characteristics. Spicy flavors such as garlic, onions, coriander, and oregano are very popular in the Dominican Republic. Europeans will be surprised to find that most meat dishes are made of goat meat. Beef is very expensive here, so it is mainly exported. In general, Dominicans tend to eat a lot of meat and, along with goat meat, are fond of chicken. Seafood is not as popular with the locals because it is expensive, but tourists can treat themselves to delicious delicacies. Most of the fish restaurants are located in the coastal zone, close to the beaches. In addition to traditional dishes, you may enjoy shrimp, lobster, and fish such as mahi-mahi (korijena) and goldfish.
The most popular national dish in the Dominican Republic is La Bandera. It is prepared with rice, red beans (beans), stewed meat, vegetables, and fried green bananas. Another popular Dominican dish, Comida Criolla, consists of the more familiar ingredients of chicken stew with rice and beans. Taino is similar to our pancakes but filled with chicken, meat, or fish. Under the active influence of Spanish culture, recipes from the Iberian Peninsula began to infiltrate Dominican cuisine. The traditional Valencian dish, paella, has long been considered by the Dominicans as their own, and they even adjusted the original recipe. Bananas are presented unusually on the tables of Dominicans. Here they grow varieties resembling our potatoes; they are fried and added to snacks. The most unusual dish is "mangu" (banana puree with optional bacon, cheese, or butter).
The local cuisine is best tried in small family restaurants on the coast. The dishes are cooked according to original recipes, and the room has a cozy, homey atmosphere. In addition, this is a good way to save money. Inexpensive snacks can also be found in cafes or fast food restaurants. The price range in restaurants is quite large. The average bill at inexpensive eateries does not exceed 1700 DOP. In medium-class establishments, it ranges from 1800 to 4000 DOP. For a dinner for two with wine at an upscale restaurant, you can pay 12,000 DOP. Lovers of heavy music and an informal atmosphere will surely enjoy a branch of the famous Hard Rock Cafe. It serves traditional American food and drinks.
Punta Cana is considered the main center for golf in the Caribbean. The area has 12 professional golf courses for the sport. All of them are within one hour of each other. The first course was built in 1991 for the Barceló complex. Most of the sports facilities were created by some of the world's best designers of such facilities. These include Jack Nicklos, Tom Fassio, and Nick Price. The Punta Espada course is ranked among the top 50 golf courses in the world.
Enjoy jeep safari
Several companies offer tourists a popular excursion — a jeep safari. Vacationers are offered a choice of several means of transportation: four-wheel drive off-road vehicles, bigfoots (huge jeeps on giant wheels), all-terrain vehicles, or even horses. You go on a journey through the tropical jungle, visiting abandoned places and deserted wild beaches. Often, the jeep safari program includes a tasting of Dominican food, and if you choose a horseback ride, you will be offered a tour on horseback along the coast.
This activity will appeal to fans of extreme sports. Near the town of Jarabacoa is a cascade of 18 waterfalls of varying heights and levels of danger. Daredevils can go rafting on the longest mountain river flowing into the Caribbean Sea. It is worth noting that the town of Jarabacoa is a bit far from the hotels of Punta Cana, so do not count on a trip of one day.
One of the most expensive and, at the same time, most memorable excursions that you can take is having a rest at the resort. The cost of such an excursion starts at $90 per person. You will be able to see Punta Cana from a few hundred meters and capture this picture in the photographs. A bird's eye view of modern golf courses, unspoiled wilderness, and a long stretch of the resort's gorgeous beaches are waiting for you.
See the authentic life
Among today's tourists, agritourism is becoming increasingly popular. These tours usually take place in small groups. Vacationers are taken to the remote villages of Punta Cana and shown the real life of the villagers without any embellishment. Tourists get acquainted with the everyday life and way of life of the Dominicans. If you wish, you can even help with household chores and try traditional Dominican crafts. No other tour can so well convey the local color.
Visit Indigenous Ice Reserve
The Indigenous Ice Reserve is an ecological park where the Dominicans have managed to preserve the pristine rainforest. There are over 500 endangered plant species and about 100 bird species. Lianas, large flowers, and century-old trees create an unusual atmosphere. It's worth bringing your bathing suit — clear-water lagoons lurk in the shade of the forest, and sea turtles lay their eggs on the white sand.
Find out about history in Salvaleón de Iguaí
For historical and architectural interests, visit nearby Salvaleón de Iguay. There are many colonial-era monuments and religious buildings here, the most interesting of which include the Church of St. Virgin La Altagracia, St. Virgin's Well, and the Cross of Forgiveness. In addition to idle tourists, they attract Catholic pilgrims from various countries.
Spend the time with your kids
Vacationing with kids in Punta Cana is easy and safe. Most hotels are equipped with play areas and animators. Some have pools with slides. Water attractions are installed on many beaches. The cultural program must include a visit to the two parks — the natural "Manatee" and marine "Marinarium". The first is a large entertainment complex, on the territory of which is laid out a lush garden with orchids and other tropical plants, and also it is a zoo filled with snakes, iguanas, parrots, and other representatives of local fauna. In addition, there is a recreation of the village of the ancient tribe of Taino and an exhibition of clothing and household items of the Aborigines. "Marinarium" is a park in the open sea, where you can admire the inhabitants of the coral reef and even make friends with them. You can also snorkel, pet a real stingray, take a ride on a boat with a transparent bottom along the reef, or go scuba diving.
The best time to visit Punta Cana
Punta Cana enjoys comfortable, hot weather almost year-round with no drastic changes. The average annual temperature is +30 °C, with temperatures reaching +35 °C from May to October. From May to July at the resort, the rainy season lasts with heavy, but brief showers. The hurricane season begins in the fall in the region, but they usually attack the island of Haiti from the west, and as they reach the Dominican resorts, they subside. The temperature is around +20 °C from November to March.
The best time to visit Punta Cana is from December to March.