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Punta Cana

Tips on What To Do in Punta Cana

Punta Cana's beaches aren't quite white; instead they're better described as a pure golden color that goes well with the DR's Amber Coast associations. But in recent years Punta Cana has also become closely tied with the links -- those vacationers not working on their tan can often be found perfecting their golf swing.

  • Activities abound, not only scuba diving but snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaking, water biking, sailing, beach volleyball or soccer, even water polo, along with aqua aerobics and tons of children's activities." -- Frommer's

Beaches

Most visitors to the Dominican Republic, not just Punta Cana, end up on the beaches of Bávaro. So your enjoyment of the area's honeyed shores might be lessened by the number of vacationers sharing sand with you. In fact, travel writers choose to give suggestions of when to visit Punta Cana's beaches as opposed to where in Punta Cana to find them. For the best weather and fewer crowds, consider traveling in April or May. Also be sure to plan your shore time for mid-afternoon, after the hotel employees have cleared the morning seaweed and perfected your view.

  • Also within Bávaro, farther north along the coast is a stretch of beach known as Arena Gorda, literally 'fat sand.' About 20 mi (32 km) from Punta Cana International Airport, it's an area replete with coconut groves and is home to several resorts." -- Fodor's
  • Though many beaches are protected from powerful ocean currents by natural barriers, others have dangerous riptides along them, and should be avoided by all but the strongest of swimmers." -- Rough Guides
  • The beaches themselves are not as dazzling as some in the Caribbean but offer a mix of shade and sun because of the trees, and are spotlessly clean after the resort workers have scraped up the seaweed that washes ashore each morning." -- New York Times

Sports & Leisure

Punta Cana hotels offer all the usual Caribbean watersports, but the Dominican Republic's underwater exploration isn't as exciting as that in the Cayman Islands or Aruba. Golfing is especially popular, though, given the number of professional golfer-designed facilities in the vicinity. Writers also suggest a horseback ride or a day at an area tennis court. 

  • The afternoon breezes are consistent enough for windsurfing, but snorkeling off the beach everywhere but in the roped-off swimming areas can be terrifying because of the constant motorboat traffic." -- New York Times
  • Most resorts have tennis courts where you can play for free during the day. Some have night lighting, but there's usually an extra charge to play after dark. If you're looking for a club atmosphere, PuntaCana Resort & Club has a tennis center open to nonguests." -- Fodor's
  • Thanks to dramatic coastal terrain and an agreeable year-round climate, golf in the Dominican Republic is fast becoming a draw in its own right. … a slew of links dreamed up by A-list designers have followed: Playa Grande on the north coast, from Robert Trent Jones, Sr.; Dye's La Cana in Punta Cana; and Jack Nicklaus's Punta Espada, where 15 holes overlook the ocean." -- Concierge.com

Shopping

Opportunities to shop in Punta Cana aren't spectacular, but they are available. Though it's best to leave many of the stereotypical Caribbean souvenirs at their beachside kiosks here, travel writers and recent guests do suggest you pick up some DR coffee to take home. Amber jewelry and the local mamajuana liquor are also popular items.

  • Many resorts have a few retail shops, but prices tend to be higher than what you would pay for similar goods in the nearby shopping plazas or at kiosks on the beach." -- Fodor's
  • Plaza Punta Cana: Located across from Occidental Flamenco, this shopping center offers a wide variety of the Dominican Souvenirs and to help you choose you will find an excited group of vendors." -- TripAdvisor

Nightlife

Punta Cana will not appeal to the partier in you. Unlike Puerto Plata, another popular DR getaway, Punta Cana's night spots are almost universally located in the hotel complexes. There are some dance clubs in Bávaro, however, if you're itching for a night out.

  • Bávaro Disco, on the grounds of the Barcelo Bávaro Beach, Golf & Casino Resort, has emerged as the hottest, most popular, and sexiest dance club in Punta Cana, thanks to a superb sound system. The venue is more European than North American, thanks to a heavy concentration of clients from Italy, Spain, and Holland." -- Frommer's