Punta Cana, Cancun and Jamaica consistently top the list of popular sunny holiday spots.
All three destinations boast beautiful white-sand beaches, year-round tropical climate and seemingly infinite all-inclusive resorts to choose from.
But with so many similarities, how do they compare to each other?
We’ve matched off these amazing tourist places in several categories to help you discover which makes for a better holiday destination for you.
Read on for the ultimate guide to help you decide on whether to vacation in Punta Cana, Cancun or Jamaica.
Is Punta Cana or Cancun Better?
Here are some pointers to help you decide:
- Relaxation: For a relaxing vacation, Punta Cana is a better choice than Cancun. If you’re looking for a calm getaway, go to Punta Cana which is more tropical than Cancun. Avoid Cancun which is busier, more populated and more commercial with high-rises and a lot of traffic.
- Beaches: If you’re visiting for the beach, go to Punta Cana which has better beaches than Cancun, and is perfect for beach activities, watersports and eco-tourism. That said, the Atlantic-facing surf in Punta Cana is rougher than that in Cancun which lies on the Caribbean Sea.
- Safety: With regards to safety, Cancun and Punta Cana are comparable. Both destinations are generally safe to for holidaymakers to visit. Just be sure to use your common sense and keep to the well-traveled areas.
- Language: English-speaking visitors in Cancun can get by with limited Spanish as the locals are used to meeting tourists from the US and Canada. On the other hand, tourists speaking English may encounter language barriers in Punta Cana.
- History & Culture: As the gateway to the ancient Mayan civilization, Cancun boasts many daytrip options, including Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Chichen Itza and Tulum. On the other hand, Punta Cana doesn’t have a historic center nor any ancient ruins.
- Activities: Most visitors to Punta Cana come to enjoy the beaches, spas, watersports and nightlife, and are perfectly ok with not leaving the resort. On the other hand, Cancun offers more diverse activities outside the resort, including tours to ancient Mayan sites.
- Food: Boasting many eateries within the Hotel Zone and by the oceanfront, Cancun has better food than Punta Cana. In Downtown Cancun, foodies can enjoy a variety of Mexican restaurants, fresh seafood spots and international cuisine.
- Shopping: Boasting upscale malls and modern, exclusive shopping centers, Cancun offers much better shopping options than Punta Cana. Shoppers can find both local and international brands at the many shops and boutiques located in the hotel zone and downtown Cancun.
- Nightlife: When it comes to the nightlife, Cancun is a better party destination than Punta Cana. Popular for spring break, Cancun is a party hotspot that draws steady crowds year round with plenty of discos, bars, nightclubs and more.
- Vibe: All-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana offer more diversity in terms of tour groups coming from Canada, Italy, Russia, Germany, France, and Scandinavia. This gives Punta Cana a more international vibe than Cancun, which tends to feel more American.
- Honeymoon: Punta Cana is a better honeymoon destination than Cancun. In fact, Punta Cana is ranked among the world’s best destinations for newly-weds. This is because the Dominican getaway offers luxurious relaxation, unlike Cancun which has more of a party atmosphere.
Is Punta Cana Cheaper than Cancun?
Yes, Punta Cana is cheaper than Cancun.
Travelers on a budget will find that prices for hotels, restaurants, spa facilities and recreational activities are generally more expensive in Cancun than in Punta Cana.
However, flights to Cancun are cheaper than to Punta Cana.
Is Jamaica or Punta Cana Better?
Your choice between Jamaica and Punta Cana will ultimately depend on your holiday needs. Each spot has its pros and cons that should be considered carefully when deciding where to vacation.
Below are some pointers to help you choose:
- Relaxation: For a relaxing holiday, Punta Cana is a much better option than Jamaica. This is because Punta Cana offers a calmer getaway than Jamaica, which is busier, more crowded and more commercial with lots of development and traffic.
- Beaches: Beach lovers will find their niche in Punta Cana which offers better beaches than Jamaica. Punta Cana’s beaches are great for both sunbathing and watersports. That said, Punta Cana’s Atlantic-facing surf is rougher than Jamaica’s which faces the Caribbean Sea.
- Budget: If traveling on a budget, you will find that Punta Cana is generally cheaper than Jamaica, in terms of hotels, restaurants, spa facilities and recreational activities. That said, flights to Jamaica are cheaper than to Punta Cana.
- Language: Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic, therefore English-speaking visitors may encounter language barriers in Punta Cana. However, they shouldn’t have a problem in Jamaica whose official language is English.
- Culture: The birthplace of the legendary Bob Marley, reggae music and Rastafarianism, Jamaica is world famous for its interesting culture. On the other hand, Punta Cana simply doesn’t compare with Jamaica in terms of cultural attractions.
- Activities: Most tourists come to Punta Cana for the beach, spa, watersports, and party scene, and are perfectly fine with not getting off their resorts. But Jamaica offers a wider variety of activities outside the resort, including tours to historical sites.
- Food: Famous for its delicious jerk cuisine, Jamaica offers better food than Punta Cana. Traveling foodies must visit Boston Bay, the original home of jerk food, to enjoy an authentic taste at the beachfront restaurants.
- Shopping: Jamaica offers better shopping than Punta Cana, with its upscale malls and modern shopping centers. Shoppers can purchase local and international brands at the numerous shops and boutiques scattered across the island.
- Nightlife: In terms of the nightlife, Jamaica is a better destination than Punta Cana. Its capital Montego Bay is a party hotspot that draws crowds throughout the year with lots of bars, nightclubs, discos and live music venues.
- Honeymoon: Rated among the top destinations for newly-weds in the world, Punta Cana is a better honeymoon destination than Jamaica. Here, recently married couples can relax and bond in privacy, unlike in Jamaica where there is more of a party vibe.
- Families: For traveling families, Punta Cana is a better choice than Jamaica. This is because Punta Cana offers a more calm and relaxing getaway ideal for children, than Jamaica which has more of a party atmosphere.
Which is Safer Punta Cana or Jamaica?
In terms of safety, Jamaica and Punta Cana rate similarly.
As long as visitors use their common sense and stick to the well-traveled tourist areas, both destinations are generally safe to visit.
Besides opportunistic crimes such as petty theft, bag-snatching and pickpocketing that are common in major tourist destinations, crimes against tourists are rare in both Jamaica and Punta Cana.