The waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea meet near the coast of Punta Cana. The beaches of this Dominican resort, located in the eastern part of the island of Haiti, are among the most beautiful in the world. Their sugar-white sand remains cool even in the burning sun, and palms and mango trees give a deep shadow. The coral reef protects the coast from high waves and serves as a home for hundreds of fish and marine animals. Islanders welcome tourists as the dearest guests and generously share the ability to live without worries in this real paradise on earth.
Districts of Punta Cana
The area of Arena Gorda is famous for its spectacular beach. The water on its shore has a rare shade of turquoise. There is also no coral reef, so there are often high waves (to the delight of surfers).
The Bavaro district is located nearby. It is especially popular with tourists, and life here is bustling at any time of day. First-line hotels are located right on the beach of the same name, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful and safe in the country and is perfect for holidays with children. The strip of coral reefs creates natural protection from the waves. There are many restaurants and bars, nightclubs and discos, sports fields, and golf courses. The city's infrastructure (banks, health centers, pharmacies, and shops) is also concentrated in this area.
The Cabeza de Toro is perfect for lovers of a quiet and measured beach holiday. There are no nightlife facilities, but a few excellent fish restaurants. And Plaza Artisanal offers handicraft products and colorful paintings by local artists depicting simple scenes of Haitian life.
Uvero Alto has another international airport. The beach in this area is perfectly landscaped on the property of the hotels. But there are also wild places with lush tropical greenery. There are often winds and waves, which are great for sailing. Tourists can also go scuba diving, snorkeling, canoeing, try catamarans, fishing, and volleyball.
El Cortecito is famous for its beach, fish restaurants (near the fishing village), and souvenir shops. Los Corales Beach is a hangout place for young people. There are many discos and bars here.
The beach of Cabo Engaño is, on the contrary, tranquil, away from the bustling tourist areas, and additionally isolated by mango groves. The water by the coast has a marvelous emerald shade. Here you can relax in quiet serenity.
Map Punta Cana
Attractions of Punta Cana
A brief history
The first hotels were small tropical-style houses 80 meters away from the water. They were built here in 1971. Tourists appreciated the local flavor, and the resort became popular. It attracted foreign investors. The flow of guests grew so fast that in 1984, the first private international airport in the world was opened here. There is also a convenient anchorage for 25 vessels on the territory of the resort.
Within a few decades, Punta Cana has become the most beloved and chic holiday destination in the Dominican Republic. This is where 40% of the country's guests come (about 4 million people a year). They are warmly welcomed by more than 60 comfortable and beautiful hotels. The architecture of the resort is maintained in a single style - an eclectic mix of Dominican and Spanish cultures. It is buried in the greenery of mango trees and coconut palms.
Before the trip, you should calculate the approximate budget that you will require for the travel:
The best time to visit Punta Cana
The high season at the resort begins in November and lasts until April. The price peaks are in winter. The lowest costs for a vacation are in May and September-October.
The Dominicans like to have fun. Every year, at the end of winter, Punta Cana hosts a magnificent carnival and beauty contest, the Miss Dominican Republic. On August 4th, the whole country celebrates Independence Day, and on the eve of Halloween, there are the loudest parties for the youth.
The "guagua" shuttle buses are the cheapest way of public transport here. Their technical condition is often miserable, and stops are difficult to find, as they are not marked in any way. You can stop a bus with a raised hand. "Motoconchos are not the most comfortable and safe motorcycle taxis. The fare practically does not differ from the price of a ticket on "guagua". A real city taxi will cost ten times more, and a special tourist taxi (the newest and safest cars) is even 20 times more!
Most locals in Punta Cana do not speak English. Before you travel, you should learn a few basic phrases in Spanish or have a phrasebook.
The Dominicans are very sociable and friendly. During a conversation, they tend to stand close to each other, touch each other, and look into each other eyes. Trying to keep the usual distance typical for Europeans will be regarded as rudeness. Locals can easily invite a tourist to their place. If you refuse, it will be considered to be a serious offense. When getting ready for a visit, you should put on some beautiful clothes and make sure you take chocolate as a present.
The tap water in Punta Cana is heavily chlorinated, and you can't drink it.
You can eat delicious and inexpensive dishes in small family places on the coast. Lunch here will cost 3-6 times cheaper than in a pompous restaurant, and the quality of dishes does not yield to the competitors.
The best souvenirs from Punta Cana include cigars, rum, chocolate, coffee, wooden decor in the Dominican style, and jewelry.
What should a tourist do in Punta Cana?
- Get real relaxation at one of the many beaches. They all belong to the municipality, so entrance is free. But there is one feature — they close for the night.
- Visit one of the three national parks near Punta Cana. There are many species of exotic animals and birds in the territory of Manati. Here you can visit the reconstructed village of the Caribbean Taino Indians, watch a show, and ride horses. Marinarium Marine Park & Aquarium Underwater Park is right in the ocean. Guests are invited to get a closer look at the marine world of the Dominican coast. Eyes Ecological Park is home to over 500 exotic animal species. A walk through the wild places will be a memorable adventure.
- Devote time to active sports. It can be surfing or windsurfing, snorkeling, yachting, golf, beach volleyball, or basketball. Diving has a particular place in Punta Cana. Coral reefs in the Caribbean Sea are stunning. The diving depth here is perfect for beginners (up to 18 meters), and visibility in the water is just great — 30 meters. The Marinarium Reef, the Astron shipwreck near Bavaro Beach, and the Taino Caves near Macau are popular destinations for divers.
- Catch marlin in the Atlantic Ocean. The best time for this adventure is in September. However, moray, dorado, wahoo, yellowfin tuna, or sailfish can be caught in any month.
- Have fun hanging out at a nightclub. There are plenty of them on the territory of hotels and entertainment complexes between the beaches of Bavaro and El Cortecito. But one of them is exceptional. The Imagine Club is located in a real cave. It has a very strict dress code. To get inside, you need to match the style and theme of the current party.
- Shop till you drop. Free shuttles run from the beach areas to the best shopping centers, "Punta Cana San Juan" and "Palma Real". If you are looking for souvenirs and exotic items, head to the El Cortecito district with its many shops and markets.
- Get to know the national cuisine of the Dominican Republic. It has a tradition of combining food in quite an original way. For example, bananas are stewed here and served with cheese, onions, and bacon. The dish is called "Mangu". If you want to grab a quick and delicious meal during a walk, you should order taino (pancakes stuffed with meat) or asopao (thick soup with rice, meat, and vegetables). And do not forget about the abundance of exotic fruits for which Punta Cana is famous. Soursop and pitaya are must-try!
- Arrange a photoshoot on the beach of Macau or Montaña Redonda, which offers a breathtaking view of Lake El Limón and Samana Bay.