Punta Cana Vacation Guide (What to See and Where to Go)

Boasting some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful stretches of beach and a perfect tropical climate, Punta Cana is a popular getaway. Although some visitors choose to remain within the confines of their all-inclusive resorts, Punta Cana offers many places to see and go that are worth leaving your hotel for.
Punta Cana
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In Punta Cana, sun-seekers can head to the pure golden sand beaches to work on their tans.

Active vacationers can also perfect their golf swings at the fantastic local golf courses.

And families traveling with kids can enjoy close up encounters with diverse tropical wildlife at the fun animal parks.

But these are but a few of the amazing things you can see and fantastic places you can go in Punta Cana. Once you get there, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to the activities to enjoy at this tropical island paradise.

Read on for the ultimate Punta Cana vacation guide.

Is Punta Cana a Good Vacation Spot?

Yes, Punta Cana is a good vacation spot.

The Caribbean paradise caters completely to the needs of sun-seeking vacationers who enjoy all-inclusive resorts and care little about venturing away from their hotel. Offering over 20,000 hotel rooms at affordable rates, Punta Cana attracts jetsetters, particularly the cost-conscious kind.

In addition to relaxation on beaches with sands so soft and perfectly golden, Punta Cana also offers opportunities for adventure. Active vacationers can get their fill of thrills while hiking to Hoyo Azul or taking on challenging golf courses at La Cana or Punta Espada.

All in all, this reasonably priced Caribbean getaway is ideal for tourists of all ages seeking a relaxing escape.

What is Punta Cana Known for?

A breathtaking resort town nestled on the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is known for:

  • A beautiful tropical vacation paradise with luxurious, eco-chic, great value accommodation
  • The best beaches in the Dominican Republic
  • Incredible scenery and picture-postcard white sandy beaches
  • The #1 tourist destination in the whole Caribbean

Why is Punta Cana So Popular?

Boasting the distinction of being the most popular tourist destination in the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is popular for:

  • An abundance of sun, sea and sand
  • A rich diversity of tropical flora and fauna
  • Beautiful pristine beaches lined with swaying palms

Is Punta Cana Beautiful?

Yes, Punta Cana is beautiful.

In fact, Punta Cana is the most beautiful part of the Dominican Republic. The resort town boasts the best beaches in the country, including Playa Bavaro which is consistently ranked among the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Simply gorgeous, Punta Cana offers endless white-sand beaches with clear, warm turquoise waters lapping at the shoreline. The sea in Punta Cana is so inviting it calls you in – seduces you even.

Add to this the thick grove of coconut palm trees swaying in the tropical breeze along the coast and you have the iconic Caribbean picture-postcard destination.

What Do the Locals Do in Punta Cana?

Locals in Punta Cana engage in a variety of activities. These include:

  • Beach: Locals in Punta Cana like to unwind at the magnificent Macao Beach, where they get to frolic about on the pristine and unspoiled shores.
  • Rappelling: Locals who enjoy hardcore adventure often head out to Fun Fun Cave for some rappelling fun, exploring the caves and swimming in underground lakes.
  • Snorkeling: A marine life oasis in the middle of the sea, the Marinarium attracts locals in Punta Cana with the opportunity to swim with stingrays and nurse sharks!
  • Zip-Lining: At the Horseplay Ranch, Punta Cana locals get to enjoy zip-lining high above the ground through tree canopies and across open mountain valleys.
  • Clubbing: Locals love to club at Coco Bongo because of its unique shows, great musical selection, and the very latest in audio and video entertainment.

What Excursions Can You Do in Punta Cana?

Visitors to Punta Cana can do the following excursions:

  • Sailing and Snorkeling Catamaran Tour: Head offshore on a sailing and snorkeling catamaran tour. Sail along on the sparkling turquoise waters of the Caribbean, past untouched beaches with unspoiled beauty. Stop at the Cabeza De Toro Natural Reserve for some snorkeling fun where you are likely to see sea urchins and other tropical fish.
  • Monkeyland and Plantation Safari Tour: Spend quality time with monkeys in the lush jungle interior near Punta Cana. The Monkeyland and Plantation Tour takes visitors through cacao and coffee plantations to taste local fruit and learn about organic farming. The adventure ends with a visit to the squirrel monkey habitat nestled within a botanical garden.
  • Santo Domingo City Tour: Day trips are available to Santo Domingo, the capital and largest city of the Dominican Republic. Located a 2.5 hours’ drive from Punta Cana, the UNESCO World Heritage site offers beautiful historic structures such as the Columbus Alcazar museum, the National Palace government building, and the 16th century Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor.
  • Day Trip to Fun Fun Cave: The largest cave in the Caribbean, Fun Fun Cave comprises a series of tunnels and passages. A full-day tour to Fun Fun Cave includes a horseback ride through Los Haitises National Park, followed by a hike through the park’s rainforest. Once up the mountain, visitors will rappel 20m (65 feet) down to the cave where they can swim and explore.
  • Scape Park and Hoyo Azul Tour: Scape Park is an adventure park that offers: twelve zip-lines stretching 457m (1,500 feet) through the rainforest – the last one ending inside a pool, suspension bridges, scenic trails, and the beautiful Hoyo Azul lagoon where you can swim in turquoise waters. This excursion provides fun for the whole family.

Are There Waterfalls in Punta Cana?

No, there are no waterfalls in Punta Cana.

However, the inland area near Punta Cana is home to some interesting hidden spots.

Here you’ll find jungle landscapes filled with unique tropical plant and animal species not found anywhere else in the world, along with an array of beautiful waterfalls.

These include:

  • El Limon: Officially known as “El Salto del Limón”, this waterfall is one of the most popular on the island due to its lush surroundings. Rising 50m, the falls offer the perfect escape from the Dominican city life. Situated on the Samana peninsula, the falls can be accessed by car. Visitors can also go to the top of the El Limon Waterfall by horseback.
  • Socoa: Socoa is an impressive waterfall situated amid beautiful nature within the Los Haitises National Park. Much of Socoa’s charm lies in the fact that the waterfall culminates in a natural pool fed by freshwater streams. This only serves to add to the splendid rainforest atmosphere that surrounds the waterfall.
  • La Jalda: Rising to a height of 120m, La Jalda is the highest waterfall in the Caribbean. Visiting La Jalda Waterfall requires a day trip from Punta Cana. Once there, visitors can go hiking or via horseback on a round trip that offers a great opportunity to see diverse native species. Although popular, La Jalda is not very busy with tourists, thereby making it even more authentic.

Can You See Whales in Punta Cana?

Yes, it is possible to see whales in Punta Cana.

Every year, humpback whales can be seen in Punta Cana as they head on their way on a months’ long trip from the cold polar regions of the North Atlantic to the warm waters of Samana Bay where they will mate and give birth.

What to Do in Punta Cana When It Rains?

Because Punta Cana is a tropical destination, you shouldn’t be surprised if it rains at some point during your vacation.

While some guests may prefer to spend a rainy morning in the comfort of their luxury all-inclusive resort room, others prefer to get out for some fun.

Fortunately, rainfall in Punta Cana is mostly brief. Nevertheless, it is recommended to have some half-day activities on hand to keep you occupied in the event that it rains.

Here is a list of things you can do when it rains in Punta Cana:

  • Underground: The best place to be during a heavy downpour is indoors, but even better is to go underground! At Los Haitises National Park, visitors can go on a spelunking tour in Fun Fun Cave. This can be a half- or full-day adventure that involves everything from rappelling to dining inside stunning caves and horse-riding through the park.
  • Chocolate Tasting: Cacao farming is huge in the Dominican Republic, and there’s no better place to experience it all than at the ChocoMuseo. Here, visitors can learn about the chocolate industry and the chocolate-making process, as well as taste lots of samples. Or even attend one of the workshops and learn how to make your own chocolate at home!
  • Underwater: Luckily, rain doesn’t spoil what’s beneath the waves, and you can escape the crowds at Punta Cana’s most popular dive spots by choosing to scuba dive during rainy days. There’s a lot to see including 2 sunken ships and beautiful coral reefs. Many diving schools are happy to take guests diving on rainy days as long as there are no strong winds.
  • Classes: Punta Cana is home to some of the region’s finest cultural institutions, many of which offer diverse learning opportunities such as art classes and language lessons. Therefore instead of waiting for the rain to stop, use it as an opportunity to take up salsa dancing with an expert or master local cuisine inside the kitchen of a 4-star resort.
  • Spas: Punta Cana offers an array of spa services that make up ideal indoor activities for a rainy day. Whether you decide to head out to a spa to spend the rainy day or get some in-villa treatments, some luxurious pampering could add a wonderful touch to your relaxing and rejuvenating holiday.

Is Punta Cana a Good Honeymoon Destination?

Yes, Punta Cana is a good honeymoon destination.

In fact, Punta Cana is rated among the top destinations for newly-weds in the world. This is because the Dominican getaway offers couples lavish relaxation in the lap of luxury, as well as exciting adventure opportunities.

Here are some reasons why Punta Cana is the perfect hideaway for a honeymoon:

  • It boasts crystal clear waters and pristine white-sand beaches lined with beautiful coconut palms
  • It has many all-inclusive luxury resorts that offer great service at a reasonable price
  • It offers many adventure travel excursions, including opportunities to see exotic marine life

What is the Best Area to Stay in Punta Cana?

Bavaro is the best area to stay in Punta Cana.

Bavaro is where the main tourist hub is located, with most of Punta Cana’s resorts being found here.

Straddling the coastline, the neighborhood boasts pristine white-sand beaches with some of the cleanest waters in the world, where you can enjoy an array of aquatic activities.

Bavaro also offers a vibrant nightlife, plenty of shops and other tourist attractions.

Is There a Town in Punta Cana?

No, there is no town in Punta Cana.

The closest town to Punta Cana is Bavaro, which is located about a 5 minutes’ drive away.

Rather than your conventional town, Punta Cana is a resort town that offers miles of gorgeous beaches ideal for taking long walks. The beaches are lined with many all-inclusive resorts, as well as shacks that sell trinkets such as carved wooden crafts and jewelry.

In Punta Cana, you can go horseback riding on the beach or take an excursion to Saona Island, a national reserve with good snorkeling.

How big is Punta Cana?

Punta Cana spans a total area of 475.3 square kilometers or 183.5 square miles.

How Many Days Do You Need in Punta Cana?

You need at least three days in Punta Cana.

With three days in Punta Cana, not only can you spend some time on the beach, but you’ll also be able to discover Punta Cana’s legendary nightlife, and still have time to explore outside the resort.

Be sure to avoid overbooking yourself in Punta Cana as the whole point of a Dominican vacation is to relax.