The dos and don’ts of traveling to a new destination can be overwhelming. If you’ve never been to that place before how do you know what to expect, what to do or what to bring?
A vacation should be a relaxing, enlightening and educational.
There are some things to keep in mind when visiting Punta Cana, so as to make the most of your trip. Knowledge is power, and taking these factors into account will help you enjoy a stress-free vacation.
Read on for the most important things to know before you travel to Punta Cana.
What Should I Know Before I Go to Punta Cana?
Here are some important things to know before going to Punta Cana.
1. Resorts are mostly all-inclusive
An estimated 90% of Punta Cana resorts are all-inclusive.
This means that tourists get to pay in advance for packages that include accommodation, food, drinks and entertainment.
This way you can find great deals and enjoy a more relaxing vacation without having to take your wallet everywhere with you.
2. Bring cash
Even if you will be staying at an all-inclusive resort, you will still need some cash in Punta Cana.
Upon landing at the airport in Punta Cana, American tourists are required to purchase a US $10 visitor’s card which is valid for 30 days.
Payment must be made in cash. If you pay using a larger bill, you’ll be given change in U.S. dollars.
At your resort, be sure to tip the staff as much as you would back home.
3. The beaches are gorgeous
Punta Cana’s beaches are what made the seaside town famous.
And everything that’s been said about the soft white sands and clear turquoise waters is absolutely true.
Punta Cana has ten beaches, which can be explored by foot, horseback, Jeep or on a snorkeling/ scuba-diving tour.
4. Rain rarely lasts long
For most of the year, Punta Cana enjoys warm sunny weather.
Temperatures spike in summer, while the hurricane season hits in September/ October.
As such, visitors to Punta Cana can generally expect pleasant weather, albeit with a few surprise heavy rain showers.
Nevertheless, the rains tend to go away as quickly as they came.
5. Nightclubs and discos are all the rage
Dominicans are serious about music and dancing.
Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many resorts in Punta Cana normally feature a disco that remains open well into the wee hours.
While budget-friendly resorts may offer just a DJ booth and dance floor, the higher-end ones go all out with lounges, and light & smoke shows.
6. Taxis are expensive
Unless you have a large group with whom to split the fare, you will find hiring a taxi to be rather expensive in Punta Cana.
Because the Punta Cana airport is around a 30 minute drive from most resorts, arranging for a transfer with your resort is the cheapest and most convenient option.
Uber services are not available in Punta Cana.
7. Resort spas are worth it
Generally, spa facilities in Punta Cana cost extra – even with an all-inclusive package.
However, most resorts provide free access or a day pass to their hydrotherapy circuits which may include open-air pools, whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms and relaxation areas with tea and fresh fruit.
8. Taste some Mama Juana
Mama Juana is a traditional alcoholic drink that is homemade using rum, red wine, honey, local herbs and tree bark.
Quite flavorful, the concoction is said to be an aphrodisiac and is even humorously referred to as “liquid Viagra.”
Mama Juana was invented in the Fifties as a tonic for cleansing the kidneys and helping with digestion.
9. Nudity is taboo
With a majority Catholic population, the Dominican Republic’s laws prohibit being nude or topless in public.
While you may see some nipples on the beach or at an adults-only pool at the party resorts, it is recommended that visitors cover up as a sign of respect.
If you’d like to remove your top to avoid tan lines, it’s best to stay at a resort with a private rooftop plunge pool.
10. Try Dominican food
The main problem with staying at all-inclusive resorts is the lack of local culture.
In an effort to cater to a wide variety of palates, Punta Cana resort restaurants tend to offer international fare such as Italian and Japanese.
But it would be a mistake to skip out on Dominican cuisine, when visiting Punta Cana.
Check your resort buffet for Dominican dishes like fried green plantains, rice & beans and goat stew.
What Does Punta Cana Mean?
“Punta Cana” means “Cana Point” or “Point of Cana”.
“Punta” is a geographical feature, equivalent in English to “point”, “tip” or “cape”. Looking at a map of the Dominican Republic, you will notice that the country has a pointed shape. Punta Cana is located on the sharpest point of the country’s territory, which juts outward to the east.
“Cana” derives from “Palma Cana,” a native Caribbean palm tree species that has historically been an important roofing material in the Dominican Republic. In fact, the thatched roofs of the Punta Cana Airport are made from Palma Cana fronds.
Conceptually, the Palma Cana serves as a symbol of the main attractions of the Caribbean: sun, sea and sand.
And this is exactly what the pioneer developers of the glitzy seaside resort town wanted to evoke when they named it “Punta Cana.”
Is Punta Cana Caribbean or Atlantic?
Punta Cana is Atlantic.
This is because Punta Cana is situated in the easternmost part of the Dominican Republic which is surrounded by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
To get to the Caribbean Sea from Punta Cana, it takes about 2.5 hours by boat and 1.5 hours by road.
Is Punta Cana an Island?
No, Punta Cana is not an island.
It is a resort town found within the easternmost part of the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic itself is part of the island of Hispaniola.
How Far is Santo Domingo from Punta Cana?
The distance from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana is 193.9km.
It takes about 2.5 hours to drive from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana via the Autopista Del Coral and Autovía Del Este roads.
How Far is Punta Cana from Miami?
It takes about 2.5 hours to fly from Miami to Punta Cana.
Is Punta Cana a U.S. Territory?
No, Punta Cana is not a US territory. Punta Cana is a Dominican territory.
The resort town is situated within the Veron-Punta Cana district, in the Higüey municipality of La Altagracia province, in the eastern part of the Dominican Republic.
As such, tourists will need a valid passport to go to Punta Cana.
Do They Speak English in Punta Cana?
Yes, they do speak English in Punta Cana.
Although Spanish is the official language, English and French are mandatory foreign languages in the Dominican Republic.
The most common languages spoken in Punta Cana are: Dominican Spanish, Haitian Creole and Samana English.