With more visitors than any other area in the Caribbean, Punta Cana is a highly coveted hotspot for tropical dream destination adventure travel. Set on the eastern side of the Dominican Republic, it’s most known for white sandy shores with warm turquoise waters and palm trees swaying in the sea breeze.
Punta Cana is a resort town that has been blessed with so much beauty to offer. We’ve picked all the best pastimes to partake in paradise with the best things to do in Punta Cana.
The Best Things to Do in Punta Cana
Start your adventure off right and head straight to one of the most breathtaking beaches around. Macao is a public shore, meaning locals and visitors alike will often flock here to enjoy the sun and the sea, especially on weekends.
The soft white sand and crystal clear waters make for an unforgettable experience here, even if all you do is kick back and relax. For a more active endeavor, it’s one of the best spots to grab a board and catch some serious waves.
A pristine island just off the coast of Punta Cana, this is a serene spot for soaking up all the untouched beauty the Caribbean has to offer. It’s a great way to escape the crowds, as it’s a protected nature preserve and part of East National Park.
Keep your eyes out for native wildlife as you explore this enchanting landscape. It’s the perfect place to swim, snorkel, or scuba dive around the reefs of the island. You can arrive by catamaran, speed boat, or book a private and all-inclusive tour.
Los Haitises is a stunning national park in Punta Cana. It’s marked with impressive rock formations, rushing rivers, and towering mountain tops to explore. There’s plenty of local wildlife within this rugged wilderness reserve.
It’s the ideal itinerary item for any nature lovers, and it’s easy to navigate by boat or by foot, traveling through a variety of terrains like caves and mangroves. You’ll even be able to see some ancient rock paintings here as well.
Bavaro Beach is a tropical haven for sunbathers and water sports enthusiasts alike. With stark white sands and calm turquoise seas, it’s gained a reputation as one of the most spectacular shores anywhere.
The strip of fancy hotels along the back offers any equipment you may need, like for snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, or paragliding. The natural pools created by reefs down below are idyllic for swimming as well.
Venture Around Higuey
One of the larger cities in the Dominican Republic is just a short journey away from Punta Cana. It’s famous for its unique and alluring architecture, with beautiful buildings such as the Basilica Cathedral of Nuestra Señora de La Altagracia.
Fascinating techniques were used to construct the ancient local tobacco plantations as well. Strolling around here and admiring the architecture is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana.
Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve
Visiting the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve is one of the coolest things to do in Punta Cana, with 1,500 acres of subtropical forest and freshwater lagoons making for a gorgeous getaway into the wondrous wilds of the region. It’s a protected nature reserve that’s privately owned, yet open to the public.
It’s a great way to learn more about the special ecology of the land, with educational opportunities abounding. Hike to your heart’s content and then cool off with a cliff jump into one of the refreshing natural pools below.
Visit the ChocoMuseo
The Dominican Republic is known for its thriving cocoa plantations and of course the delicious chocolate that’s crafted here as a result. It may come as no surprise then that there’s an entire museum dedicated to chocolate, called ChocoMuseo!
Displays delve deep into the history of the famous treat beloved by all, as well as some more interactive exhibits like making your very own chocolate by hand!
The Samana Peninsula of Punta Cana offers an abundance of natural beauty to bask in. It’s home to the iconic El Limon National Park and Waterfall. There are several local fishing villages to wander around as well that have everything from authentic markets to fancy resorts.
You can arrive by land, boat, plane, or helicopter depending on your time frame. Samana also happens to be the best spot for whale watching. These gorgeous and gentle giants of the sea spend the beginning of the year breeding in the bay here, and it’s an unreal sight to behold.
Coco Bongo is the world-famous hotspot for nightlife in the Dominican Republic. It’s a vibrant club (to say the least) that always has some sort of spectacle on show, from elaborate cover performances, to trapeze artists, to professional dancers.
You can pay a single entrance fee at the door and enjoy the open bar all night long. It’s one of the most impressive venues in the Caribbean and an amazing way to experience the colorful rhythms (and drinks) of the area.
Home to a stunning natural cenote, Juanillo Beach is another enchanting choice for a tropical excursion in Punta Cana.
There’s plenty of local food and drink to indulge in here as well as waterfront sports like beach volleyball. As a lesser known shore, you’re likely to avoid some crowds of tourists and have a more authentic experience.
Altos de Chavon
Altos de Chavon is actually a replica of an entire Mediterranean village from the 16th century. It’s set on a rocky outcrop above the Chavon River on the southern coast. It was originally designed by a Dominican architect and Italian cinematographer and carefully handcrafted with meticulous detail by local artisans in 1982.
Inside you’ll find many charming attractions like the amphitheater, archeological museum, art galleries, and eateries along picturesque cobblestone streets.
Bahía de Las Águilas
Local experts offer tours of what’s been deemed one of the must-see seashores of the world, Aguilas Bay. It’s a pristine stretch of sandy shore that looks like something off of a computer desktop.
It’s located in Jaragua National Park, the largest protected national area in the Caribbean covering a wide array of habitats and terrains. It’s home to caves, salty lakes, mangroves, and subtropical forest, along with miles of untouched beach. It can be reached by boat or rugged road.
Montana Redonda is famous for massive swings sitting atop the picturesque peak, offering sweeping 360 vistas looking out over the verdant hillsides. Heading here at any time of the day is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana!
It’s a photo op that’s sure to make it onto your main feed, with pastoral panoramas as far as the eye can see. It’s a short but steep climb to reach the scenic edge, though you can also take a safari tour up to the top as well.
Anamuya Mountain is jungle hiking for those who prefer more of a leisurely stroll in nature than the hardcore trekking trails. Enjoy a relaxing exploration of nature, and soak up all of the scenery without having to break a serious sweat.
The views from the peak are breathtaking and there’s plenty to stop and see along the way besides the lush landscape, like coffee plantations and a ziplining course.
Scape Park is a natural theme park unlike any other. Limestone formations and pristine jungle cover the land, providing plenty of impressive trails, vistas, and even historical attractions, such as replica homes of the ancient Taino tribes.
The Farallon Cliff is especially famous, extending over 2,000 feet along the coast. There’s also a zipline course and some caves, though Hoyo Aotye, a captivating hidden cenote, and natural phenomenon, is often the main draw.
Punta Cana Beach
Set on the eastern side of Hispaniola, Punta Cana Beach is one of the most recognizable stretches of shore around. As the namesake of the town, it can get quite crowded, with visitors from the resorts seeking a beach chair and some sun in their own little slice of paradise.
The Corales Golf Club is right nearby as well if you wish to play a round with a scenic backdrop.
As the name suggests, Seaquarium is the place to go for underwater adventures in Punta Cana. It’s a theme park dedicated entirely to marine life and offers an array of engaging activities.
You can walk underneath the sea and snorkel with the fish, manta rays, and sharks. There’s a natural sea pool for a relaxing swim as well. If feeling festive, you can also indulge in one of their party cruises aboard a catamaran.
A tropical paradise like Punta Cana of course offers an array of amazing options to head out onto the crystalline waters. One popular way to do it up in style is to take a Catamaran tour. Along the way you can snorkel, scuba, parasail, swim, or simply soak up some rays from aboard your beautiful vessel, ideally with a cold beverage in hand.
There are so many options all easily arranged with charter companies all over town. Pick a theme based on your interest like a sustainable cruise, deep-sea fishing, or a rum-tasting day sail.
Uvero Alto provides a dramatic coastline setting to take in all of the stunning scenery of Punta Cana. It’s a laid-back environment dotted with a few high-end resorts and casinos that are always fun to visit.
With a pretty decent swell, it’s super popular for water sports like surfing. Plus it happens to be home to Sirenis Aquagames, a waterpark that’s a great time for the whole family. It’s an amazing spot to try some locally caught seafood and go horseback riding on the beach.
Punta Cana Resort and Club
Punta Cana Resort and Club is both a resort and residential community in the area. It offers a wide range of activities including a tennis center, kite surfing, golf, a PADI scuba diving center, water skiing, deep-sea fishing, horseback riding, natural springs, kayaks, a petting zoo, and more (if you can believe it).
It’s a hub for tourist adventures, and they’ll plan any excursion desired down to the smallest detail. Set on 15,000 acres, it really is the ultimate playground in paradise.
The Dominican Republic is famous for its specialty products, like coffee, chocolate, rum, cigars, jewelry, and more. It makes it hard to want to leave this Caribbean paradise without going on a major shopping spree to stock up and find the perfect souvenirs.
Palma Real Shopping Center is an upscale destination with plenty of trendy stores to check out. BlueMall is one of the largest shopping centers in the Caribbean, so you’re sure to find whatever you need here.
Check Out Santo Domingo
The capital of the island is Santo Domingo, and it’s definitely worth checking out while in the area. Zona Colonial is the oldest part of the city and is filled with charming streets lined with beautiful examples of ancient architecture.
Take a walking tour or wander on your own, and there’s a lot of lovely little cafes and bars to stop and try out along the journey.
Arena Gorda Beach
Arena Gorda Beach is a particularly gorgeous stretch of sugary coastline in Punta Cana. It boasts a very peaceful vibe, with a stunning sea that’s as calm and warm as a pool.
Lifeguards are on duty here and there are many free and fun waterfront activities to partake in with designated volleyball and soccer spaces. It’s also a popular place to kayak, swim, snorkel, or kitesurf.
Cueva de las Maravillas
A national park named after its cave of wonders, the allure of this site speaks for itself. It’s known for its ancient cave paintings and is set on the nearby island of Hispaniola. There are over 500 historic etchings made in black and red on stone walls by the original inhabitants, the Tainos.
It has more than just pictographs, with an expansive network of rock formations and bodies of water inside to discover as well.