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Best Things To Do in Punta Cana

Punta Cana's beaches aren't quite white; instead they're better described as a pure golden color, which goes well with the DR's Amber Coast associations. But this region has also become closely tied with the links – those vacationers not working on their tans can often be found perfecting their golf swings at the Punta Espada or La Cana golf courses. Meanwhile, those traveling with kids will want to plan a visit to Manati Park or Dolphin Discovery for an up-close view at some of the creatures that call this tropical paradise home. And when you're not lazing on the beach with a good book, cool off in the clear blue water with a boat tour.

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Punta Cana

The green fees to play at Punta Espada are hefty, but hear us out before you write it off: This par-72 course is a Jack Nicklaus signature course and the site of top tournaments like the PGA Champions Tour. It's one of the most gorgeous courses in Punta Cana, with winding pathways and a top-notch view. In fact, the sprawling course is most often described by visitors as "golf heaven" – likely because of its mix of the vibrant colors (from sage greens to the aquamarine surf) and various amenities.
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Golf Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Punta Espada Golf Course
The green fees to play at Punta Espada are hefty, but hear us out before you write it off: This par-72 course is a Jack Nicklaus signature course and the site of top tournaments like the PGA Champions Tour. It's one of the most gorgeous courses in Punta Cana, with winding pathways and a top-notch view. In fact, the sprawling course is most often described by visitors as "golf heaven" – likely because of its mix of the vibrant colors (from sage greens to the aquamarine surf) and various amenities.
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#2

#2 in Punta Cana

One of the best ways to view Punta Cana is to get off the resort and take a boat tour. Various operators offer different experiences, from private catamarans to group snorkeling trips. One of the most well reviewed tour operators is Hispaniola Aquatic Adventures, which has a fleet of catamarans for private and semi-private tours that take visitors to snorkeling reefs, deserted beaches and lagoons. Along with transportation to and from area hotels, Hispaniola Aquatic Adventures also offers guests drinks and lunch. The company's four-hour tour starts at $99 per person for a semi-private tour; private tours for groups of up to seven people cost $650.
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Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Boat Tours
One of the best ways to view Punta Cana is to get off the resort and take a boat tour. Various operators offer different experiences, from private catamarans to group snorkeling trips. One of the most well reviewed tour operators is Hispaniola Aquatic Adventures, which has a fleet of catamarans for private and semi-private tours that take visitors to snorkeling reefs, deserted beaches and lagoons. Along with transportation to and from area hotels, Hispaniola Aquatic Adventures also offers guests drinks and lunch. The company's four-hour tour starts at $99 per person for a semi-private tour; private tours for groups of up to seven people cost $650.
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#3

#3 in Punta Cana

La Cana Golf Course boasts paspalum grass (a grass seed that can be hydrated with sea water), four holes directly along the seafront (and an additional 10 with ocean views), and plenty of prestige. Golf lovers appreciate that it's not as crowded or expensive as Punta Espada, plus they say this P.B. Dye-designed course is more scenic than the Lakes Barceló Golf Course.
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Golf Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
La Cana Golf Course
La Cana Golf Course boasts paspalum grass (a grass seed that can be hydrated with sea water), four holes directly along the seafront (and an additional 10 with ocean views), and plenty of prestige. Golf lovers appreciate that it's not as crowded or expensive as Punta Espada, plus they say this P.B. Dye-designed course is more scenic than the Lakes Barceló Golf Course.
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#4
Beaches Free

#4 in Punta Cana

Free
No trip to Punta Cana would be complete without some time spent on its gorgeous beaches. Playa Bavaro is one of the most popular shorelines in Punta Cana, with its white, powdery sands, swaying palm trees, blue waters and bevy of amenities, including water sports rentals, dining options and nearby accommodations. Visitors will find this beautiful (but busy) beach stretched in between El Cortecito and Cabeza de Toro, but keep in mind that the public access point is a road just south of the Melia Caribe Tropical resort. Boats bound for the Dolphin Island water park embark from Bavaro Beach as well.
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Beaches Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Beaches
No trip to Punta Cana would be complete without some time spent on its gorgeous beaches. Playa Bavaro is one of the most popular shorelines in Punta Cana, with its white, powdery sands, swaying palm trees, blue waters and bevy of amenities, including water sports rentals, dining options and nearby accommodations. Visitors will find this beautiful (but busy) beach stretched in between El Cortecito and Cabeza de Toro, but keep in mind that the public access point is a road just south of the Melia Caribe Tropical resort. Boats bound for the Dolphin Island water park embark from Bavaro Beach as well.
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#5

#5 in Punta Cana

The Hoyo Azul Lagoon, also known as the "Blue Hole," is a cenote (or a natural swimming hole usually found in limestone caves) located at the foot of a cliff. The cenote sits within Scape Park, a natural theme park located within the resort and real estate development of Cap Cana. Tours of the swimming hole are offered through the theme park and include transportation to and from any Punta Cana or Bavaro hotels, a brief hike and swim in the turquoise waters. Alternatively, visitors can take a zip line tour of the cenote on the Farallon Zip Line course, which includes 16 platforms and eight lines that travel above cliffs, trees and finally into the cenote itself.
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Natural Wonders Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Hoyo Azul
The Hoyo Azul Lagoon, also known as the "Blue Hole," is a cenote (or a natural swimming hole usually found in limestone caves) located at the foot of a cliff. The cenote sits within Scape Park, a natural theme park located within the resort and real estate development of Cap Cana. Tours of the swimming hole are offered through the theme park and include transportation to and from any Punta Cana or Bavaro hotels, a brief hike and swim in the turquoise waters. Alternatively, visitors can take a zip line tour of the cenote on the Farallon Zip Line course, which includes 16 platforms and eight lines that travel above cliffs, trees and finally into the cenote itself.
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#6

#6 in Punta Cana

Redesigned and remodeled by architect P.B. Dye in 2010, this par-72 course is one of the most popular spots to tee off in Punta Cana. Recent golfers said the only real downside to Barceló Bávaro's 18 holes is that they aren't situated near the ocean. Travelers say compared to the other golf courses located in Punta Cana, though, a round at "The Lakes" is quite a deal, adding that the course is in great condition. Some also recommend bringing extra balls since water is a major feature of the course.
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Golf Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Barcelo Bavaro Golf Course
Redesigned and remodeled by architect P.B. Dye in 2010, this par-72 course is one of the most popular spots to tee off in Punta Cana. Recent golfers said the only real downside to Barceló Bávaro's 18 holes is that they aren't situated near the ocean. Travelers say compared to the other golf courses located in Punta Cana, though, a round at "The Lakes" is quite a deal, adding that the course is in great condition. Some also recommend bringing extra balls since water is a major feature of the course.
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#7

#7 in Punta Cana

For around $100 you'll get a chance to learn about dolphins and even take a 40-minute swim with them. But is it worth it? Some say no. "Swimming" with the dolphins was a stretch – most just got to pet them and take a picture alongside them (which is an additional cost). Some travelers were chagrined by the treatment of the animals and the cost of the pictures.
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Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Dolphin Discovery Punta Cana
For around $100 you'll get a chance to learn about dolphins and even take a 40-minute swim with them. But is it worth it? Some say no. "Swimming" with the dolphins was a stretch – most just got to pet them and take a picture alongside them (which is an additional cost). Some travelers were chagrined by the treatment of the animals and the cost of the pictures.
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#8

#8 in Punta Cana

If you're trying to decide between Manatí Park and Dolphin Discovery Punta Cana (another popular interactive animal excursion), visitors generally agree: visit Manatí if you like birds and reptiles, but make the journey to Dolphin Discovery if you're into marine life. In addition to animal shows, Manatí Park also features Taíno dance performance shows.
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Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Manati Park
If you're trying to decide between Manatí Park and Dolphin Discovery Punta Cana (another popular interactive animal excursion), visitors generally agree: visit Manatí if you like birds and reptiles, but make the journey to Dolphin Discovery if you're into marine life. In addition to animal shows, Manatí Park also features Taíno dance performance shows.
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Recreation Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

Recreation Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend

Free
Entertainment and Nightlife Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
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