The sophisticated East Coast of Dominican Republic attracts vacationers from around the world who come to explore and savor the luxuries of Punta Cana. Nestled across 100 miles (160 kilometers) of the world’s top beaches lapped by turquoise waters and dotted with swaying palm trees, Punta Cana is Dominican Republic’s most lavish and popular destination. Your inspiration begins at touchdown, where the picture-perfect coastline beckons with a seemingly endless strip of frost-white sand shelving into reef-protected lagoons of irresistible peacock blues and greens.
These silvery sands stretch virtually unbroken for 40 miles (64 kilometers) and are the reason for Dominican Republic’s astonishing assemblage of all-inclusive hotels and convention centers. Punta Cana’s beaches and resorts may be its biggest draw, but its world-renowned golf courses and entertainment, like swimming with dolphins and zip lining through the exotic vegetation, promise to capture your imagination and refresh your soul. To the north of Punta Cana is the equally luxe resort area of Bávaro. Together, Bávaro and Punta Cana feature Dominican Republic’s largest hotel and resort infrastructure. Year after year, this region, where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean Sea, has been the venue for international fishing competitions and has also become the number one golf destination in the Caribbean, among the top in the world. The following guide to Punta Cana includes descriptions of the amazing attractions, golf courses and beaches and more that await you.
The main draw to the luxurious and exotic area of Punta Cana are the pristine beaches that stretch more than 40 miles (64 kilometers) and border the meeting point between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The multi-shaded blue waters are complemented by pristine white sands and create lasting impressions for all beach goers.
PLAYA PUNTA CANA: Punta Cana is any beach lover’s dream with its glorious white sand lined with palms and lapped by turquoise waters. Punta Cana’s sands stretch for 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) of the best beaches of the region.
PLAYA BLANCA: This beach is part of Puntacana Resort & Club’s gated community, but admission is free for those heading to the popular Playa Blanca Restaurant or that have booked kitesurfing lessons at The Kite Club. For those looking to brush up on their skills, professional kitesurfing and SUP surfing instruction is offered at this extensive white sand beach by certified Puntacana Resort & Club staff.
PLAYA CABEZA DE TORO: Cabeza de Toro Beach’s “Blue Flag” European certification guarantees that the beach is always in fantastic shape and therefore is a popular beach for tourists. Cabeza de Toro Yacht Club is a departure point for fishing trips and fishing tournament sites.
PLAYA BÁVARO: The most developed section of the East Coast resort strip, Bávaro, is dotted with hotels, restaurants and gift shops right on the beach. The area is one strip of sparkling white sand that extends 30 miles (48 kilometers) surrounded by coral reefs. Most of this stretch of beach is walkable and is the perfect place to book beach activities, ranging from parasailing to speed-boat riding.
PLAYA UVERO ALTO: Located at the northern-most end of Punta Cana, this fine bronze-colored sand beach allows you to either enjoy open areas with large waves or calm waters protected by reefs, depending on the part of the beach you visit.
PLAYA MACAO: Declared by UNESCO as one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, Macao is a public beach located 20 to 30 minutes away from most hotels. Surfing classes are available if the conditions are appropriate and various shacks serving refreshments and food can be found along the beach.
PLAYA EL CORTECITO-LOS CORALES: With no access restrictions, El Cortecito Beach and Los Corales, in the heart of Bávaro, is like a small fisherman’s village where you will find beautiful beaches, restaurants, bars, supermarkets, shopping centers and many gift and craft shops nearby. Many sea excursions depart from this beach.
PLAYA JUANILLO: Juanillo Beach at Cap Cana offers miles of pristine, white sand beaches with turquoise waters so clear that it is often referred to one of the best beaches in Dominican Republic. A wide selection of tropical food and drinks and formal events and concerts are available at Juanillo Beach as well as beach activities such as volleyball, snorkeling, kite surfing, kayaking and horseback riding.
CAP CANA HARBOR & MARINA: The largest world-class marina in the Caribbean, Cap Cana Harbor & Marina is designed to be the most complete and modern one in the area where, in waters just beyond the Marina, you can experience some of the best angling in the Caribbean. The facility features 1,200 slips handling yachts up to 250 feet long (75 meters) and is equipped with meteorological buoyancy services unique to the Caribbean. When operating, the buoy measures wind and sea conditions, which are transmitted to the crews. Other facilities include government authorities such as harbor officials and customs departments, wireless internet and courtesy shuttle services. Contact or Vacation Rental Service and outstanding Concierge Service at www.360Luxury.com
PUNTACANA RESORT & CLUB MARINA: The full-service marina is located at the Puntacana Resort & Club. With two docks and mooring for 43 yachts up to 70 feet (21 meters) LOA, the marina is well-liked by big game fishermen and is one of the most popular areas to hold billfish tournaments in Dominican Republic. The established marina includes a swimming pool, restaurant, cable television, telephone, laundry facilities, ice bags and drinking water.
INDIGENOUS EYES ECOLOGICAL PARK: The southern end of Punta Cana harbors more than 500 species of exotic plants and trails that snake along 11 natural lagoons, each with a unique name from the native Taino language. The park has 1,500 acres (600 hectares) set aside as conservation land and is owned and managed by the Puntacana Ecological Foundation. The reserve is also categorized as a “transition zone sub-tropical forest” due to the flora and fauna exhibiting characteristics of both the dry and humid sub-tropical forests. The reserve, owned by the Puntacana Resort & Club, is open to the public daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and guided tours are also offered. www.360Luxury.com
DOLPHIN ISLAND PARK: Located between the beach and coral barrier of Bávaro, Dolphin Island Park takes visitors swimming with the delicate and graceful sea animals in the midst of their natural habitat. Trained professionals boat visitors out to a platform where they can snorkel, swim and take pictures with dolphins, stingrays and sea lions. www.dolphinislandpark.com
MANATI PARK: Tropical birds, reptiles and animal entertainment shows are dispersed throughout this 80-square-mile (210-squarekilometer) attraction, centered in magnificent gardens abundant with orchids and tropical plants. The park and its exhibits feature an insight into Dominican culture, folklore and artistry of the Taino Indians, the island’s inhabitants at the time of the Spanish conquest. www.manatipark.com
MARINARIUM: The Marinarium is the perfect tour for lovers of the wonders hidden in the marine world. It is an experience that allows you to enjoy and rediscover the beauty of coral reefs, as well as swimming with nurse sharks and stingrays. Excursions set off from the company’s Cabeza de Toro base. www.marinarium.com
SEAQUARIUM: This underwater walking adventure tour lets visitors get up close and personal with sea creatures. Discover colorful tropical fish, friendly sting rays, amazing corals, sunken objects and more with the help of a guide, special breathing helmet and your own two feet.
SIRENIS AQUAGAMES: Located at the Sirenis Cocotal Beach Resort Casino & Spa and the Sirenis Tropical Suites Casino & Spa, Sirenis Aquagames covers 14,400 square yards (11,200 square meters) and offers fun entertainment and slides for the entire family. The park includes a swimming pool, 4-land speed slides, a tower with multiple water tubes, two open toboggans and much more.
BÁVARO ADVENTURE PARK: Ideal for those seeking an adrenaline rush, Bávaro Adventure Park offers nature-friendly and sustainable activities such as ziplining, a climbing garden, a Segway circuit, paintball, a bungee trampoline, flight simulators, a mountain bike track and more. It also includes a Jurassic Park, featuring more than 20 animatronic dinosaurs within a natural setting. The park operates to meet world-class standards and provides guests with knowledgeable international and multilingual staff, each with the proper certification. The park is open daily from 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. www.bavaroadventurepark.com
SCAPE PARK: Located at world-class Cap Cana, Scape Park includes the top tourist, athletic, cultural and entertainment activities within the property. The area’s design and architecture create a versatile array of landscapes that provide attractions for travelers of all ages. Activities here include a zipline eco-tour, adventure buggies, Hoyo Azul Natural Lagoon, water activities, horseback riding and more. The park’s latest attraction, the Cave Expedition, takes visitors on a hike up the El Farallon Cliff and into the vast underground network of chambers and tunnels below. www.scapepark.com
DEEP SEA FISHING: The waters surrounding Punta Cana and Bávaro are some of the best spots in the world for deep sea fishing and are regarded as one of the world’s top five billfish areas. For this reason, annual tournaments attract international participants during the summer months. At the end of October, the waters are calm enough to fish for mahi-mahi, tuna, mackerel, swordfish, blue marlin, barracuda and dorado among others.
SPAS : Whether it is for a girlfriend getaway, a romantic trip for two or a stress-relief holiday from the hustle and bustle, a visit to Punta Cana and Bávaro’s all-inclusive resorts and spa facilities is an ideal way to decompress. The world-class properties specialize in some of today’s hottest and most luxurious spa services.
SHOPPING: Visitors can embrace the lifestyle of the rich and famous in Punta Cana or seek out Dominican Republic souvenirs at local shops. Upscale boutiques can be found at places like Puntacana Village, Palma Real Shopping Village and San Juan Shopping Center, while local vendors and shops can be found scattered along beaches, such as Plaza Bibijagua at Bávaro Beach. Traditional Dominican products like amber, larimar, ceramic dolls, chocolate, coffee, rum, cigars, macadamia nuts, merengue music and more can be bought from these local stands.
NIGHTLIFE: Effervescent nightlife and world-class gambling can be found at most resorts throughout the region, and are a great way to unwind after a day filled with adventure. You can experience the nightlife of Punta Cana like a local at one of many discos and nightspots, such as Oro, Mangú, Pachá, Dux and Jewel. Enjoy an evening visiting the new nightspot in the region, the internationally famous Coco Bongo. Also at the Puntacana Village you can find a large variety of bars and restaurants, which can be lively or laid back to suit your style. Partygoers can also enjoy a mystical night of dancing and animation in an unparalleled location at Imagine Nightclub, a club dispersed throughout a network of caves spanning 115,500 feet (35,000 meters).
RESTAURANTS: Punta Cana offers a wide selection of restaurants ranging from family-friendly to romantic, many of them by the beach. Popular options include Poseidón, La Yola, Capitán Cook, Jellyfish, Huracán Café, and Noah among others, as well as a variety of places to enjoy at The Puntacana Village. HIGÜEY: Located less than an hour away from the resort area,
Higüey was founded in 1494 by Spanish colonist Juan de Esquivela. A city deep in history, Higüey was originally one of the Taino Kingdoms that occupied the land and is a great way to better understand the Dominican way of life. Higüey is home to the basilica in honor of Our Lady of Altagracia, Patroness of the Dominican Republic, as well as the Basilica Museum that reflects the Catholic history and cultural expressions of the Dominican people in their piety to the Virgin Mary. The museum is open Tues. – Sun. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
BOCA DE YUMA: Situated an hour southwest of Punta Cana, this hidden paradise remains a humble village surrounded by beautiful beaches. Boca de Yuma is an authentic fishing village that used to be a favorite hangout for pirates, most notably Roberto
Cofresí. High coral bluffs surround the bay that is home to a fleet of small colorful fishing boats and wildlife such as iguanas, pelicans and seabirds.The delightful attractions around the Punta Cana region are at your fingertips. For these tours and more, please contact your hotel’s tour desk or representative.
INLAND SAFARIS: Jeep, truck and 8-wheel military truck in-country safari tours are offered at all resort hotels. These high vehicles take you inland across rivers and rough terrain using one of several routes, usually traveling through jungles and sugarcane plantations, stopping for a refreshing swim in a river or at an unspoiled beach, enjoying a Dominican food buffet, listening to typical “perico ripiao” music, visiting a small village with a stopover at the local “colmado” (grocery store), and taking an inside peek into a country home for a cup of home-brewed Dominican coffee.
CARIBBEAN BUCCANEERS: The perfect show for the whole family, Pirates of the Caribbean style. Enter an authentic pirate village, board the pirate vessel, and celebrate with a spectacular feast and a pirate toast with rum. Open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the show starts at 6 p.m. and transportation is available and complimentary from most hotels. www.oceanadventures-puntacana.com/caribbeanbuccaneers
ALTOS DE CHAVÓN: Half an hour away you will find La Romana’s hidden gem, Altos de Chavón. This replica of a 16th-century European artists’ village offers winding cobblestone streets lined by beautiful coral block and terra cotta buildings. Overlooking a magnificent scenic view of the Chavón River, the village is home to a handful of bars, restaurants, art galleries and shops, as well as the St. Stanislaus Church and a Grecian-style amphitheater. www.360Luxury.com concierge Service
CARIBBEAN FESTIVAL: Enjoy the crystal-clear waters, snorkeling, open bar and Caribbean rhythms onboard Caribbean Festival, a double-decker catamaran with a glass bottom used to explore underwater marine life. Check out the baby sharks and stingrays at the Stingray Bay Aquarium or take a sunset cruise to get an ocean view of all the resorts lined up along the coastline. Many of these trips are billed as “party boats” for the open bar and nonstop music on board.
BEACH BUGGY & QUAD ADVENTURES: Macao beach territory, to the north of most Punta Cana resorts, is chosen for the many beach buggy, quad adventure (4-wheel ATV motorbikes) and other off-road excursions that put the tourist behind the wheel. The beach buggy vehicle provides the smoothest ride of those that take you inland through rugged territory, with time for racing across the sands of the expansive Macao beach.
ZIPLINE & CANOPY TOURS: Fly across the magnificent Anamuya River, where a nature guide will lead the way in this adventure to unlock the secrets of the Taino Anamuya Mountains. Get an adrenaline rush as you ride the zip lines through exuberant vegetation to explore sugarcane fields or hike into the real jungle following the Anamuya River. www.bavarorunners.com and www.canopyadventurezipline.com
HORSEBACK RIDING: Several hotels feature horseback riding excursions that take tourists into the hillsides and to seldom-visited beaches.
MACAO SURF CAMP: Macao Surf Camp at Macao Beach is the best place for anyone looking to learn how to surf. The camp provides learners with step-by-step lessons that are targeted on improving your individual technique. The camp is open daily from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
ISLA SAONA: Saona Island, separated from dry land by the Catuano Channel, is the most popular excursion taken by tourists visiting the Punta Cana area. Part of the National Park of the East and voted as one of the Caribbean’s Top Dream Beaches by Caribbean Travel & Life, Saona Island’s unspoiled beaches, lush palms and turquoise water make it one of Dominican Republic’s most enchanted regions. Boat tours depart from neighboring town Bayahibe.
TABACALERA LA MATILDE: Located in La Estancia, La Romana, visitors can appreciate the pride and hard work of the most experienced cigar crafters. On this tour you can learn from the aging cellar of the cigar, its preparation, blends, handcrafting and the final packaging. The exclusive cigar shop offers the best selection and prices for premium Dominican tobacco, including La Flor Dominicana, the most recognized Dominican premium cigar from the last decade. The factory is open daily from 8 a.m – 7 p.m. www.cigarcountrytours.com
CUEVA FUN FUN: Thrill seekers can rappel down into a mysterious cave and explore sections of its underground caverns that are joined by a 4 mile (7 kilometer) long subterranean river flowing within. Be sure to look at the walls, as they are decorated with displays of cave paintings by the Tainos. Visitors can ride to the cave on horseback and can even descend 55 feet (16 meters) into the entrance of Los Haitises National Park. It is a full day excursion. www.cuevafunfun.net
HELICOPTER TOURS: Discover the beauty of Punta Cana from the air, taking in panoramic flight views of the exotic landscapes. A truly unique and unforgettable experience.
MONKEY LAND: The excursion commences with a walk through stunning botanical gardens decorated with medicinal plants, flowers and native fruit trees. The guided tour continues with feeding and interacting with dozens of squirrel monkeys in their natural environment. Although trained, the monkeys are easily amused by shiny materials such as cameras and jewelry. At the end of the excursion, visitors will enjoy organic coffee, cacao and tropical fruits at a typical Dominican village. www.runnersadventures.com
OCEAN SPA DR. FISH: Indulge in one-of-a-kind pampering with Dominican Republic’s Dr. Fish Ocean Spa. The three-hour excursion provides a new level of relaxation with Bio Pilates, floating mattresses, a foot detox, massages, stretching and more on a sailing spa boat. The highlighted service is the Dr. Fish experience, which includes a foot exfoliation by tiny Garra Rufa fish. The fish remove the foot’s dead skin, leaving your feet soft and rejuvenated. Roundtrip transportation, snacks and refreshments are included. www.oceanadventures-puntacana.com
PUNTA CANA CARNIVAL: Visitors and locals alike celebrate the Punta Cana Carnival in Puntacana Village each March. The annual parade features carnival troops from throughout the country, costumed characters and live performances. It showcases more than 1,000 carnival characters from 15 of the island’s provinces. Be one of the hundreds of spectators who gather to watch and join the parade. www.puntacana.com
DOMINICAN ANNUAL TOURISM EXCHANGE (DATE): This annual event was created to provide a professionally organized business exchange where International Wholesalers, Tour Operators, Incentive Groups, Airlines, and Buyers can meet and conduct business with the Dominican Republic’s leading tourism suppliers. www.drdate.net
PUNTA CANA FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL: This is one of the most complete gastronomic events in the country where the audience can enjoy mouthwatering Dominican cuisine along with wines and spirits from around the world. The culture-infused gastronomic event is held in June. www.puntacanafoodandwine.com
ASONAHORES TRADE SHOW: Annual event celebrated in September to promote goods and services offered by hotels and restaurants suppliers. The aim is to strengthen existing and foster new business relationships within the industry. The program of the fair is enriched with tastings, cooking contests, auctions, launches and lectures on topics of interest related to the hospitality industry. www.asonahores.com
MERENGUE & CARIBBEAN RHYTHMS FESTIVAL: Top bands in Bávaro pump out the infectious music that is much loved by Dominicans at the Merengue & Caribbean Rhythms Festival every November. Locals and tourists dance at the San Juan Shopping Center.
ANNUAL OSCAR DE LA RENTA SOCIAL TENNIS TOURNAMENT: The annual Oscar de la Renta Social Tennis Tournament is held in December with men’s and women’s singles, and men’s and women’s doubles. This charity social tennis tournament benefits the education of the tennis center ball boys of Puntacana Resort & Club. Homeowners and guests of Puntacana Resort & Club are invited to participate every year. www.puntacana.com For an updated list of events in the country visit: www.godominicanrepublic.com/en/events
Punta Cana is the destination of choice for those who seek upscale golf amid the luxury lifestyle. With the largest selection of world-class golf courses, Punta Cana is a destination where golfers can treat themselves to challenges created by designers such as Nick Price, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, P.B. Dye and Jose-Pepe-Gancedo. Some of the golf courses in the area include:
THE LAKES BARCELÓ GOLF COURSE www.barcelobavarogolf.net
HARD ROCK GOLF CLUB AT CANA BAY www.hardrockhotelpuntacana.com
CAP CANA: PUNTA ESPADA GOLF CLUB www.puntaespadagolf.com
IBEROSTAR RESORT COMPLEX: IBEROSTATE BÁVARO GOLF CLUB www.iberostar.com
CATALONIA BÁVARO RESORT: CABEZA DE TORO GOLF CLUB www.cataloniacaribbean.com
CATALONIA BÁVARO RESORT: CARIBE GOLF CLUB www.cataloniacaribbean.com
MELÍA HOTELS & RESORTS: COCOTAL GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB www.cocotalgolf.com
PUNTA BLANCA GOLF CLUB www.punta-blanca.com
PUNTACANA RESORT & CLUB: CORALES GOLF CLUB www.puntacana.com
PUNTACANA RESORT & CLUB: LA CANA GOLF CLUB www.puntacana.com
Luxury Golf Villas to Rent in Punta Cana www.360Luxury.com