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 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 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 off the coast of Punta Cana, this is a serene spot for soaking up all the untouched beauty the Caribbean offers. 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 island’s reefs. 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 by 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 foot, traveling through various terrains like caves and mangroves. You’ll even 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 become one of the most spectacular shores.
The strip of fancy hotels along the back offers any equipment you may need for snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, or paragliding. The natural pools created by the reefs below are also idyllic for swimming.
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 the delicious chocolate crafted here as a result. It may be no surprise then that there’s an entire chocolate museum dedicated to chocolate called ChocoMuseo!
Displays delve deep into the history of the famous treat beloved by all, and some more interactive exhibits like making your very own chocolate by hand!
The Samana Peninsula of Punta Cana offers abundant 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.
Depending on your time frame, you can arrive by land, boat, plane, or helicopter. 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 area’s colorful rhythms (and drinks).
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 and 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 replicates an entire Mediterranean village from the 16th century. It’s 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 many habitats and terrains. It’s home to caves, salty lakes, mangroves, subtropical forests, and miles of untouched beaches. It can be reached by boat or rugged road.
Montana Redonda is famous for massive swings 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 will 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.
Anamuya Mountain is jungle hiking for those who prefer a leisurely stroll in nature to 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 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
On the eastern side of Hispaniola, Punta Cana Beach is one of the most recognizable stretches of shore. As the town’s namesake, 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 also nearby 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 various 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 offers an array of amazing options to head out onto the crystalline waters. One popular way to do it in style is to take a Catamaran tour. Along the way, you can snorkel, scuba, parasail, swim, or simply soak up rays from aboard your beautiful vessel, ideally with a cold beverage.
There are so many options easily arranged with charter companies all over town. Pick a theme based on 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 with a few high-end resorts and casinos that are always fun to visit.
With a decent swell, it’s super popular for water sports like surfing. Plus, it is 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 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. 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 island’s capital is Santo Domingo, and it’s 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 are a lot of lovely little cafes and bars to stop and try out along the journey.
Arena Gorda Beach
Arena Gorda Beach is a gorgeous stretch of sugary coastline in Punta Cana. It boasts a 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 to discover.
Best Things to do in Punta Cana Map
Plan For Your Trip
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