The Dominican Republic is one of the most visited island countries in the Caribbean. In the easternmost part of the Dominican Republic lies a little resort town called Punta Cana. Punta Cana is a tropical destination known for its luxury resorts, white sandy beaches, and abundant marine life that is famous for diving and snorkeling.
Need some help planning your activities for this trip? Here are the 10 things to do in the Dominican Republic, specifically, Punta Cana:
1. Visit Bavaro
Bavaro is one of the popular places to stay in Punta Cana. The area is made up of a lot of beach resorts which have been frequented by tourists over the years. The oldest and most historic resort in the area is Barcelo. Bavaro’s beaches are made of honey-colored sand and tall palm trees. This is a great place to spend quality beach time with family and friends. If you would like to go shopping, shopping mall and gift shops are plentiful in the area. Bavaro is one of the reasons why Punta Cana made it on our list the best Caribbean islands to for family vacation.
2. Seaquarium Punta Cana
The Dominican Republic is blessed with a healthy marine life. While you are in Punta Cana, do not miss the Seaquarium experience. How would you like to walk underwater and interact with the fishes in their natural habitat? This is an experience that both kids and adults would surely enjoy. The fun experience starts as you board a catamaran. Live entertainment, tropical music, and on-board drinks will be provided as you sail across the Caribbean Sea. Once you get to the underwater adventure area, you would be asked to slip on a diving helmet attached to an air tube. Once you are all ready, you can start the underwater walk. With professional divers guiding the underwater walk, you would head to a submarine shipwreck which you would be given time to explore. You can also do snorkeling and will be entertained by a sea lion show.
3. Visit Macao Beach
Macao Beach is a favorite among locals and frequent visitors. It has a wide stretch of beach, so you will not feel crowded most of the time. You will have a lot of room to sunbathe, swim, or play beach volleyball or build sand castles. The water is clean, and the beach is sandy and comfortable. During seasons when the waves get bigger, you would normally see locals surf on this area. It also has a picturesque view of the ocean kissing the mountains on the other side.
4. See the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve
Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve, also known as Reserva Ecologica Ojos Indigenas locally, is a privately-owned reserve that covers 1,500 acres of land devoted to conservation, scientific research, and recreation. In here, you can find twelve freshwater lagoons, although you can only swim in five of these. The name of the reserve is based on the lagoons. Historians discovered that the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the island, which are the Taino Indians, referred to the lagoons as eyes because of their shape. Other attractions in this park and reserve include a petting zoo, an iguana habitat, a fruit tree garden, and a sugarcane exhibition. You can do a self-guided tour around the park. The trails are clear, so you won’t have a hard time trying to find your way to the different attractions. If you have enough time, bring your bathing suits and take a dip in the lagoons.
5. Stop by the Aromas Museum
Aromas Museum is a great place to visit to learn more about the culture and history of the Dominican Republic. This museum is dedicated to the importance of coffee, cocoa, and tobacco in the country’s economy and development. During your visit, you can touch, smell, and taste the products that have helped make the Dominican Republic famous. A museum tour guide will explain and give details about the history of the trade in rum, tobacco, coffee, cocoa, and Larimar stone. A Larimar stone, also called Stefilia’s Stone, is a rare blue variety of the silicate mineral pectolite which can only be found in the Dominican Republic. It is usually used in gemstones and jewelry.
6. Play at La Cana Golf Course
Punta Cana is also a popular destination among golfers. The Punta Cana golf course features fourteen holes. You would be playing golf while having the breathtaking Caribbean Sea in the background. This golf course was designed by P.B. Dye, a famous golf course architect, and designer. This is the first golf course in the Caribbean to use paspalum, which is a grass seed that can be watered using sea water. Golf Magazine has called Lana Golf Course the number one course in the Caribbean. Even if you are still learning the sport, you can still visit this golf course. They are offering private sessions and weeklong clinics which are facilitated by certified golf professionals.
7. Swim in the Hoyo Azul
Hoyo Azul, also known as Blue Hole, is one of the best-hidden swimming spots in Punta Cana. This cenote is located within Scape Park. For visiting tourists, a guided tour to Hoyo Azul is highly recommended. This usually includes hotel pick up and drop off, a brief hike, and swim time. If you want to skip all of that, you can also take the zip line tour on the Farallon Zip Line course to the cenote itself. The water in Hoyo Azul could be chilly most times, but taking the trip here is perfect for adrenaline seekers. You can also jump into the cenote from the platform above. If you are looking for some fun and outdoorsy adventure, this is a must visit for you. The cost of the tour is around $70 for adults and $41 for kids. Recent visitors have said that the experience is worth every penny.
8. Stop by Dolphin Discovery Punta Cana
This is a great activity, especially if you are traveling with kids. Dolphin Discovery Punta Cana will let you interact with these gentle creatures. Aside from learning about their life cycle and way of living, you would also get to pet them and take photos with them. It may cost an added fee, but swimming with the dolphins is also possible. You can spend a great deal of time here and the resort will take care of documenting your experience by taking photos and videos and compiling them in a DVD.
9. Visit the Mediterranean village of Altos De Chavon
It may just be a replica, but Altos de Chavon is an architectural wonder. It is a 16th-century replica of a Mediterranean village perched above the Chavon River. This is a product of the combined efforts and talents of Dominican architect Jose Antonio Caro and the Italian designer and cinematographer Robert Coppa. It took six years to complete this masterpiece. The construction started in 1976, and the inauguration of the village happened on 1982 with the Frank Sinatra concert at the amphitheater. Altos de Chavon was built mostly by hand by Dominica artisans. Stone pathways were handcrafted, as well as the decorative ironwork, furniture, and enchanting buildings. This village was built as a cultural center of the Dominican people. On your visit, make sure to check out the fountain, museum, and the amphitheater since these are the jewels of the place. A good variety of restaurants and cafes are also around. If you are looking to shop, convenience stores and art galleries are also available.
10. Stop by Punta Espada Golf Course
The Dominican Republic is all about golf courses- especially Punta Cana. Tourists don’t only come here for the beaches, they also make the trip for the beautiful golf courses. If you play golf, do not forget to pack your golf clubs along with your sunscreen. Punta Espada golf course is a must-visit in Punta Cana, especially if you are into golf and honestly, even if you are not. Getting inside this property will cost you a lot, but it is absolutely worth it- the view in itself is worth every penny. This par-72 golf course is a Jack Nicklaus signature course. Top golf tournaments such as the PGA Champions Tour are being held here. With the green golf course and the crystal blue ocean of the Caribbean, this has been described as a golf heaven. Day rates include the use of a golf cart and a caddy, driving range practice, and water. You need not worry about getting hungry since a great restaurant is available in the area. As you drive along the course, you might get a glimpse of the million-dollar mansions and the private beach club. Do not forget to bring your camera, because Punta Espada is Instagram worthy.
I hope our list of top 10 things to do in Dominican Republic – Punta Cana helps you plan a great vacation. And if you’re looking for somewhere to stay, Punta Cana has a couple of new resorts opening up this year that might offer some great discounts!