Your Ultimate Punta Cana Vacation Guide

Your Ultimate Punta Cana Vacation Guide

Are you wondering where to stay and what to do in Punta Cana? Let this guide help you make the best Punta Cana vacation ever!

Did you know in Punta Cana the water rarely drops below 78 degrees? That means you can bask in warm waters and tropical sunshine even in the middle of January.

This is just one of the reasons it is a must-visit vacation destination.

In this guide to Punta Cana, we cover where to stay, what to do, and what to eat. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about for an unforgettable Punta Cana vacation. 

Where to Stay in Punta Cana 

The obvious answer is to lounge around on the beach. With the spectacular weather that stays around 80 degrees year-round, it is the perfect place to escape from day-to-day reality. March to May is peak season, but there is no bad time to take a vacation in this Dominican Republic resort town. 

There are plenty of other outdoor activities to keep you busy during your stay. You can find places to let your wild side out ziplining, windsurfing, kayaking, and much more. 

If you like to shop for things to take home with you then visit Cap Cana to check out their upscale shops. For a glimpse of the nightlife look no further than Bavaro Beach. 

If you are looking for a local experience then El Cortecito might be the right place for you, offering authentic stays and experiences outside of the all-inclusive resort appeal. 


Bavaro is a famous beach area that is home to one-of-a-kind experiences like coral reef exploration, golfing, and adventure parks. Located on the shores of Costa del Coco, resorts are available to give you a comfortable and luxurious stay. 

This neighborhood is a great home base for all types of travelers. Most of the resorts and hotels have their restaurants, spas, bars, nightclubs, and fitness centers.

They are surrounded by calm, crystal-clear waters with coral reefs hiding under the surface. You can explore them during the day. After you’ve had your fill exploring the waves there are many vendors selling food and local goods like authentic Dominican cigars to check out. 

There are plenty of shopping options, with the Punta Blanca Mall, Palma Real, or Plaza San Juan all close by. As well as Avenida Espana, the street near the beach is dotted with fun nightclubs and other nightlife venues. 

El Cortecito

This is another Costa del Coco beach that is below Playa Bavaro. It is a modern and well-developed area that shines with its water sports options. 

Snorkeling, diving, surfing, parasailing, and sky diving are some of the activities travelers regularly participate in. 

While you can still find top-rated all-inclusive resorts here, there are more affordable options than in Bavaro, lending to a laid-back and local vibe. You can also choose to stay in boutique hotels or a small inn.

There are plenty of restaurants and cafes to try out local cuisines and nightlife options to keep you entertained.

Cap Cana

This location is still developing, but it is already a hot spot for tourists visiting the Costa del Coco. This is an exclusive option with first-class spas, gourmet restaurants, gyms, five-star hotels, convention centers, and more. It’s also home to Hoyo Azul, which is a must-see for visitors who enjoy being outdoors. 

Hoyo Azul

In the area of Hoyo Azul, you can find Scape Park and enjoy some cave exploration. This is where you can also find the Manati Park and the Marinarium Excursions. 

You can also zipline, sail, windsurf, kayak, and explore the local culture. There's also upscale shopping at Cap Cana, plus more beaches to sunbathe on.

Uvero Alto

This beach spot is different from the rest with wild waves crashing over long, wide beaches. This is a great place to stay for couples who want a romantic getaway, as it is a remote spot.

Since it is somewhat removed from other average tourist areas there is a great local feel with a relaxed atmosphere. You can snorkel and dive off the house reef or get in some surfing on the high waves. 

Getting Around

If you are staying in a central location you can benefit from walking to many attractions. Otherwise, take some time to plan how you will get around as it will make your trip more stress-free. 

You can rent a vehicle if you have room in your Punta Cana vacation budget. This way you can be more flexible with planning excursions around public transportation schedules. But this option can quickly become pricey, and you will bear the responsibility of navigating the town on your own. 

You can catch the bus, but the schedule is not the most accommodating. Make sure to pre-plan your daily activities or you can miss out on excursions that are on a set time frame. 

You can also stay in an all-inclusive resort so that you don't have to worry about getting around. However, with this option, you may go home feeling like you missed out on some of the hidden gems to be found in Punta Cana. 

Punta Cana Transfer

A great solution to the limited transportation options is to book a transfer service like Punta Cana Transfer. You can find a well-priced, safe, reliable, and comfortable transportation service that will take you anywhere you want to go in the Dominican Republic.

With excellent customer service and a wide area of operation, this is an easy way to explore during your stay. You can even schedule private transfers if you would like.  

Hotels in Punta Cana 

Whether you are planning an adult-only vacation full of luxury and delight, or you are planning a family stay packed with memorable activities, you can find Punta Cana hotels that will meet your needs. There are plenty of resorts or hotels to choose from that will fit any traveler's budget. 

Barcelo Bavaro

This is a five-star resort that is perfect for a kids-free vacation. It holds a private beachfront where you can picnic on the beach. It is within walking distance from other popular attractions and food.  

Occidental Punta Cana

Another stay that comes with a spectacular beachfront location is the Occidental Punta Cana. Sitting on El Cortesito Beach, this hotel is like a stay in paradise.

You can visit one of the 11 restaurants on-site to try a wide variety of cuisines, all-inclusive. There are also 10 bars spread throughout the property to keep exquisite tropical drinks flowing along with excellent service. 

You can enjoy water sports like windsurfing, scuba diving, water polo, and plenty of others without needing to leave the comfort of the hotel. They also bring the nightlife to you with the famous nightclub, Mangu Nightclub. There is also entertainment like live music, dancers, and more every night. 

Melia Caribe Beach Resort

This hotel located on Bavaro Beach looks out at a long, white, sand beach surrounded by shining turquoise waters. Every detail is designed to achieve maximum comfort for guests. 

This hotel is perfect for a family stay with the Splash Island Water Park. Pools, slides, and waterfalls keep kids busy all day, and there is a Kids Club to help them get involved. While the kids enjoy the park, parents can relax in the YHI Spa, where relaxing treatments and massages are available. 

You'll never get tired of the food at this hotel, which has 13 restaurants offering a variety of international cuisines that aim to please every family member. You can eat inside one of the themed family restaurants or enjoy dinner with your toes in the sand watching the sunset over the beach. 

Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa

This resort is adults-only, making it the ultimate tropical escape for couples. This resort is high-energy with endless entertainment options for guests.

Start with a fitness class in the morning, take a float in the relaxation pool after lunch, and then so on cocktails and watch the live DJ perform at the swim-up bar.  

What to Eat in Punta Cana

Many Dominican dishes get their flavors from African, Middle Eastern, Spanish, and Taino dishes.

Indulge a bit and try a fried breakfast. Everything from salami, cheese, eggs, and more come fried to perfection.

Mangu is also something to try while you are staying here. It is a traditional dish of boiled plantains and onions.

Beans, rice, and roasted meat is also a local favorite, called La Bandera for its representation of the Spanish flag.

Sancocho is another dish you are sure to see here, a hearty stew made of meat and vegetables. Other popular food staples will include seafood, like fried fish. 

What to Do in Punta Cana

There are so many unique experiences waiting to be discovered. One-of-a-kind tourist activities like shopping and exploring the nightlife are just some of the things to do in Punta Cana.

You can also bounce around the many restaurants, cafes, and street vendors to find the food that locals and tourists alike love. Then there are the unique opportunities to see history and nature that can be found nowhere else on the planet. 

Zipline Adventure

Take a ziplining tour and see the forest like never before. Expert adventure guides are there to help you get set up in safety equipment before you take off on one of the 12 cables.

You can ride alone, or take a jump with a partner. You will see unforgettable aerial views of the Caribbean and get to spot natural flora and fauna in the rainforest. You can schedule a transit to pick you up and drop you back off at your hotel. 

Whale Watching in Samana

Schedule a tour to go whale watching. The Sanctuary of the Humpback Whales in Samana is an opportunity to see some of the most breathtaking views in the Dominican Republic.

Every year between December and March around 2,000 humpback whales fill the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean to participate in their mating patterns. This is where all of the humpback populations in the ocean come to reproduce. Whales that travel from Iceland, Greenland, and North America can be seen in the warm waters.

Along with the spectacular views, this excursion includes a buffet lunch, national park admission, an official guide, water, rum, and other soft drinks, as well as hotel pickup and drop-off in an air-conditioned coach or van. 

Catalina Island Tour

Book a full-day tour that takes you across the famous beaches of the Catalina Islands and explore 'the Wall'. There are PADI-certified dive instructors to help you explore this famous snorkeling site.

You will board a catamaran where you will have a 30-minute ride to get comfortable with the captain and dive instructors before you set off to explore the marine animals and plants. Then land on a private beach on the west side of the island where you will enjoy a tasty lunch made by a gourmet chef.

The boat is equipped with an open bar to quench your thirst throughout the day. Round-trip transportation is included along with the catamaran ride, private beach access, a guide, snorkeling equipment, lunch, unlimited drinks, and a beach lounger. 

Safari Tour

If you want to see what everyday life is like for the locals, then take this tour that passes through typical Dominican villages. You will get to see beautiful panoramas of the countryside while visiting the largest church in the area.

You will also pass by schoolhouses and corner stores called colmados that are a part of the culture here. Learn about the importance of the sugar and rice plantations for the economy of the island. Then try some fresh sugar cane juice, watch how cigars are rolled and have a traditional Dominican lunch. 

Book Your Punta Cana Vacation

Now that you have read the ultimate Punta Cana vacation guide, book your trip. You can find helpful information here on our site, such as more things to do and other places to stay.

Once you decide on the details of your trip, contact us to schedule easy and hassle-free transportation around the island!

Leave a Reply