Where is Punta Cana?
On the easternmost tip of the island of Hispaniola, Punta Cana is a relatively new resort destination. It has become well known for its spectacular beaches and crystal clear waters, with over twenty miles of white sand and palm trees and dry, sunny days. Unlike its rival island resort destination, Puerto Plata on the northern side of the Dominican Republic, the Bavaro Beach area is calm and great for swimming and water sports. The tip that My Vacation Lady gives to her clients is, the closer you are to the airport, the calmer the beach since as you travel further east, the Caribbean starts to meet the Atlantic and the water can become a bit rougher and not as turquoise in color.
According to TripAdvisor “Punta Cana is the Caribbean’s perfect postcard destination, boasting more than 37 kilometers of white-sand beaches, majestic coconut trees and more than 35 resorts (which, by law, cannot be taller than a palm tree).
Why Punta Cana?
With hundreds of miles of beaches and reefs, there is no shortage of sand and sun for vacationers to the Caribbean’s Dominican Republic. Just west of Puerto Rico, you can compare the sand texture to sugar, but the crystal blue waters are an equally attractive asset. These beaches are slowly becoming the destination of choice for leisure travelers from the United States and Canada looking for real value and extraordinary all-inclusive vacations.
What started out as a playground for European vacationers, has quickly become one of the most popular resort destinations for Americans. You can still see the European influence in many of the resorts and the variety of European hotel chains such as Riu, Iberostar, Barcelo and Sol Melia. Since the introduction of charter flights from many US and Canadian cities, North Americans have discovered Punta Cana, and many luxury all-inclusive resorts have been added to the European brands. The introduction of AMResorts (Secrets, Dreams and Now resorts), Majestic resorts, as well as, a new Hard Rock resort has added more to the mix of luxury resort hotels catering to the North American market. The newer resorts have added winding river and lagoon pools, spas to die for, fitness centers, multiple sit down dining options, large casinos, kids programs and so much more. The introduction of many more Adult only resorts (like Secrets, Excellence, Iberostar Grand) and the adult only sections of resorts like the Elegance Club of Majestic Elegance have really brought Punta Cana into focus as a great honeymoon or romantic vacation destination.
This naturally calm, clear and warm water makes Punta Cana an ideal location for water sports and swimming. The beaches are flat and surprisingly wide- great for walking or even for travel by horseback. These fabulous beaches are safe to swim year-round, and visitors can enjoy loads of activities like scuba diving (Punta Cana has 22 diving sites), snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaking, water biking, sailing, beach volleyball or soccer.
If you are looking for golf, Punta Cana currently has 12 professional golf courses from designed by pro and designers such as Jack Nicklaus, P.B. Dye, Tom Fazio and Nick Faldo all within a short drive from each other. With several more in the planning stages, it’s clear that the Dominican Republic is quickly moving forward toward becoming a premiere golf destination in the Caribbean.
What is there to see and do in during your Punta Cana vacation:
- Visit Santo Domingo: This is the first European settlement of the Western Hemisphere. It has preserved its colonial heritage for more than five centuries, and is recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Come to visit the first Cathedral of the Americas or the Alcazar de Colon, the palace of Diego, son of Christopher Columbus.
- Visit Altos de Chavon: A modern-day artist’s village resembling a 16th century Mediterranean town. It is set upon a spectacular hillside cliff overlooking the winding Chavon River. It is home to a 5000 seat amphitheater, an archeological museum, craft workshops, artist’s studios and an assortment of galleries and restaurants.
- Take a Bavaro Runners Tour: A highly popular safari excursion in the area, experience the real people, scenery and life of the Dominican Republic. During your day, visit typical Dominican homes, authentic sugarcane plantations, and go horseback riding on a spectacular beach.
- Spend the day at Saona Island: Take a day trip to this spectacular island set in the natural reserve of The Parque Nacional del Este. Relax on powder white sands, where palm-studded beaches meet the soft surf of the Caribbean waters, and sometimes even dolphins swim alongside your catamaran!
- Swim with the dolphins at Manati Park: For the animal lovers this park features exotic fish, horses, parrots and the chance to swim with real dolphins! Stroll along the lush gardens, take pictures of the beautiful orchids and tropical plants, or buy some local crafts in the souvenir shops.
- Visit the Marinarium: In this unique water park you can experience some of the best snorkeling in the area, complete with nurse sharks and sting rays! Enjoy a Coco Loco as you cruise along the coast to your final stop, a waist deep natural pool in the sea.
- Zip by on an Aquatic Tours: Spectacular 2-passenger speed boats where you can cruise the coastline in style. Snorkel equipment and instructions included!
- Sail to Dolphin Island: A short boat ride takes you to a floating platform where visitors can swim with trained dolphins right in the sea. The package includes 15 minutes of free time with these unique creatures.
- Walk on the ocean floor at the Seaquarium: Scuba diving with a twist; Seaquarium is the unique tour that pairs you with a diving helmet and allows you to walk the bottom of the clear waters with an unforgettable view of reef and coral life- no certification required!
- Take a Helicopter Tour: Change perspective and take your pictures of the Punta Cana coastline from hundreds of feet in the air. Fly over lush palm-studded coastlines, golf courses, vast stretches of white sandy beaches, and an array of shipwrecks.
- Segway Tours: Inside Bavaro Hotel’s Complex, take an interesting trip over one of the popular Segway vehicles available for rent by the hour. Accompanied by local guides, in a matter of minutes they will teach you how to control one of the company´s All Terrain X2, running through rough terrain and accessing beautiful beaches with it.
- Deep Sea Fishing: Try to catch a Barracuda or even a Marlin while driving out to the Atlantic Sea.
- Drive a Buggies to Rancho Pancho Llano: An unforgettable, crazy half-day adventure where you will take on the trails of the Dominican countryside. Take a thrilling, “low to the ground” buggie adventure to see a stunning view of Macao Beach. Ride the secluded beach, stop for a swim in the gorgeous blue waters. Speed down the path to an ancient cave, to find yourself not only exploring but also swimming in the cave’s natural pool. A fun filled day for those searching for a “down and dirty” ride to see the natural beauty of the Dominican Republic.
- Zip Line Adventure: Enter a whole new dimension of entertainment and face the challenge of “flying”. A Tarzan swing from platform to platform high up in the tree tops of the Taino Anamuya Mountains. Marvel at the stunning, lush setting as you traverse effortlessly through the terrain. Feel the breeze of the mountain air as you “Zip” throughout 1 mile of 10 lines across the magnificent Anamuya Lake. An incredible journey of priceless memories.
- Try your luck or make a donation at your resort casino!If that isn’t enough to do, there is always the beach, beach and beach!
Best of all, Punta Cana remains a real value. Prices here can range hundreds of dollars less than better known, Caribbean destinations. So if it’s value you seek, sugary white sand and swaying lines of coconut palms, Punta Cana should be on your short list of destinations to get to know.