Punta Cana

Many people often debate which ocean offers the best beaches: the Atlantic or the Caribbean? There are pros and cons for each, and die-hard devotees for both, but if you’re visiting Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, it’s something you needn’t worry about because it has beaches that actually face both. With 25 miles of crisp white sand, gently swaying coconut trees and crystal clear water, the beaches in Punta Cana are befitting of any Caribbean postcard. With its many all-inclusive resorts, Punta Cana has long been a popular destination for European tourists, and it’s easy to see why. 
First port of call for your visit in Punta Cana should perhaps be the ticking off of the three S’s: sun, sand and sea. And boy is there a lot of all three. The picturesque coastline is guarded by a seemingly endless supply of nut-bearing palm trees and has thus been given the nickname of the ‘Coconut Coast’.  The breath-taking beaches in Punta Cana have gained something of a celebrity following, with singers, former presidents, and fashion designers among those spotted on the region’s paper-white sands. Facilities like water sports and restaurants are thick on the ground, with diving in the area particularly popular. On top of all that, the sun loungers on the beach are the best seats in the Dominican Republic’s house for watching the staggering sunset - especially when you’ve got a piña colada in hand!
Punta Cana also has twin sets of tropical islands, which are sure to entice both first-time visitors to the area as well as returning ones, who can’t wait to see it all again. Isla Saona and Catalina Island are such idyllic and peaceful locales that you’d be forgiven for looking around to spot Tom Hanks, as these remote islands look like real castaway territory. Both pieces of land lie off the south coast of the resort and are protected as national parks, ensuring that they are completely untainted by the tourism the resort experiences every year.
Though you’d be forgiven for spending every possible moment lying on the beach and soaking up the sunshine, those looking to experience something different have many other options, as Punta Canta is home to many historic cities. Santo Domingo is one of the oldest settlements in the New World and there is also Higuey, which has a long enduring history as the site of a legendary battle between Christoper Columbus and the Taino tribespeople. 

 

Overview

If you're looking for sunshine and stunning beaches then Punta Cana is the perfect destination for you. Punta Cana lies on the East coast of the Dominican Republic and rather uniquely, has beaches that face not only the Caribbean Sea but also the Atlantic Ocean. Punta Cana is part of the La Altagracia Province, and a great place to visit whilst staying at Punta Cana is Higuey, the five-hundred-year-old Capital city of the Province. A main site to see is the French-designed Basilica Catholic Monument as although only built in 1962 the building is impressive in both size and architectural design.

One of the main draws of Punta Cana is the picturesque beaches with their white sand, bright blue waters and an abundance of palm trees and views that would look at home on a postcard. Having so many beaches on your doorstep means there are numerous water attractions and activities including, but not limited to: speedboat racing, sailing, swimming with dolphins, exploring the reef via scuba diving and for those feeling a little braver, swimming with sharks. Punta Cana is the perfect destination to relax in the sun and get away from the hubbub of everyday life but it goes that one step further with the opportunity to experience its floating spas and the natural marine pools offer further chance to relax.

In Punta Cana the most important meal of the day is lunch, so restaurants should be taken advantage of during the day, in keeping with local tradition. Traditional Dominican Republic dishes are heavily influenced by Spanish and African food and full of flavour. However, if you're struggling to make a choice between all the delicious delicacies then ask for a recommendation, as locals are passionate about their food and will be more than happy to help.

One aspect of Punta Cana that cannot go unmentioned is the nightlife. Punta Cana at night is just as vibrant and full of character as it is during the day due to the lively nightlife. With a plethora of nightclubs and bars to visit there is never a dull evening in Punta Cana. Arguably the most spectacular nightclub on offer is the Imagine Punta Cana Disco. A nightclub that resides inside natural caves that were formed thousands of years ago. A must see for everyone. 

Key facts

  • Currency: Dominican Peso
    Language: Spanish and English is widely spokenApproximate flight time from the UK: 9 hours (time may vary for connecting flights)Time zone: GMT - 4

Great for

Couples - Punta Cana is the perfect location for couples looking to relax on the beach and soak up the sun in this tropical paradise. Couples can even indulge in a romantic spa day on one of Punta Cana's floating spas followed by a delicious lunch overlooking the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea
Water sport enthusiasts - With extensive water sport opportunities this is a great holiday destination for those looking for a more active holiday and those who love being in the water. There are opportunities to swim up close with both dolphins and sharks, explore the reefs and experience sailing of all kinds, along with deep sea fishingFamilies - Punta Cana has lots to offer to suit people of all ages but the main selling point, the beaches, are appealing to everyone. For a family looking for a sunny getaway then look no further

Higuey

If you choose to holiday in Punta Cana then a day trip to Higuey, the capital of the Province is not to be turned down. If you're looking for a day away from the beach then travel the short distance to Higuey and see a more urban side of the Dominican Republic whilst experiencing the culture and history of the city. More specifically, visitors should make time to visit the sixteenth century Church of San Dionisio for a taste of the country's historical architecture. Higuey also has a wide selection of restaurants to sample, many sitting beside the Yuma River which runs through some parts of the city
Address: Higuey, Dominican Republic. 46km from Punta Cana, 45 minutes in the car

Hoyo Azul

For an unforgettable experience in Punta Cana then visit Scape Park where you can have guided tours of Hoyo Azul; a hidden cenote (a natural sinkhole with groundwater beneath) with the most stunningly clear turquoise waters at the bottom of a 75 metre cliff. During the eco tour at Scape Park you can see the cenote from up close then walk above the beautiful attraction via a wooden bridge. The hoyo Azul is a way to see part of the Dominican Republic's eco system up close. Definitely worth taking your camera, the water provides a picturesque background for the perfect holiday snaps
Address: Cap Cana, 23000, Dominican Republic
Opening Hours: The Park is open daily 8am to 6pm but guided tours of the Hoyo Azul are daily at 9am, 12pm and 3pm
Cost: £48

Dolphin Explorer

Even more friendly than the locals in Punta Cana are the dolphins at Dolphin Explorer. Here you'll get the opportunity to swim with the incredible animals as well as rays, seals and sharks. This provides an excellent experience for all the family as well as lifelong memories of the encounters. The wildlife park where the encounters take place also provides valuable information about the conservation of the animals there and all encounters take place within each animal’s natural environment.
Address: Carretera Cabeza de Toro, Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic
Opening Hours: Open daily, encounters do need to be booked in advance though
Cost: General admission is £17.50 however prices for encounters vary 

Imagine Punta Cana Disco

For an experience that combines nightlife with natural architecture and history then look no further than the Imagine Punta Cana Disco. This is a nightclub that is inside naturally formed caves, carved by the sea thousands of years ago. The caves make a unique setting and add to the atmosphere of the experience. Connected by tunnels, a series of caves make up the nightclub, each with a different music theme, so there is plenty to enjoy. An unmissable experience and an exciting opportunity to party and let your hair down in a completely unique environment
Address: Carretera Arena Gorda, Coco Loco Friusa, Bavaro, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Opening Hours: 10:30pm to 3am Thursdays to Sundays
Cost: Ticket prices start at £28

Here's the highest rated local restaurants and eateries in the area, as kindly recommended by TripAdvisor.

Have you been to Punta Cana recently? What are the must-do experiences that you'd suggest? Do you have tips on how to stretch that holiday budget a bit further or know of a hidden-gem that’s easy to miss?


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La Romana Port
The journey between Punta Cana to La Romana Port will be approximately 1 hour and 35 minutes
A taxi between Punta Cana and La Romana Port will cost from £187.52
La Romana Intl. Airport (LRM)
The journey between Punta Cana to La Romana Intl. Airport (LRM) will be approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes
A taxi between Punta Cana and La Romana Intl. Airport (LRM) will cost from £187.52
Punta Cana Intl. Airport (PUJ)
The journey between Punta Cana to Punta Cana Intl. Airport (PUJ) will be approximately 30 minutes
A taxi between Punta Cana and Punta Cana Intl. Airport (PUJ) will cost from £13.24
Santo Domingo (Las Americas Intl.) (SDQ)
The journey between Punta Cana to Santo Domingo (Las Americas Intl.) (SDQ) will be approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes
A taxi between Punta Cana and Santo Domingo (Las Americas Intl.) (SDQ) will cost from £217.13

Hopping on from Punta Cana

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