Punta Cana, located on the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic, is a sun-soaked paradise known for its palm-fringed beaches, turquoise waters, and luxurious resorts. For those considering things to do in Punta Cana, lounging on the pristine shores of Bávaro Beach and taking a catamaran cruise to the idyllic Saona Island, with its natural pools and abundant marine life, are top activities.
The Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve offers a series of freshwater lagoons set amidst a lush tropical forest, providing a refreshing escape from the beach. Nearby, the Hoyo Azul, a natural sinkhole filled with crystal-clear water, is a hidden gem that beckons travelers for a rejuvenating dip.
Beyond its natural beauty, Punta Cana is a hub for water sports, from windsurfing to deep-sea fishing. For those seeking the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana’s blend of tropical allure, adventure activities, and resort luxury makes it a premier Caribbean destination.
Table of Contents
Attractions & Things to Do in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
1. Bávaro Beach
Bávaro Beach is celebrated for its soft white sands, crystalline waters, and vibrant atmosphere, stretching for miles along Punta Cana’s northeastern coast. Tourists and locals visit to bask in the sun, indulge in water sports, or enjoy the stunning surroundings.
Travel tip: While the beach can get crowded, especially near the resorts, consider walking farther from the main areas to find a quieter, relaxing spot.
2. Hoyo Azul
A hidden gem located at the base of a cliff, Hoyo Azul is a natural limestone sinkhole filled with crystal-clear blue water. The contrast between the lush greenery surrounding the sinkhole and the vivid blue waters is mesmerizing.
Travel tip: Wear good shoes for the short hike to the sinkhole, and consider joining a guided tour to learn about the local flora and fauna.
3. Dolphin Island Park
Offering visitors the chance to interact and swim with dolphins in the open ocean, Dolphin Island Park is a must-visit for animal enthusiasts. Besides dolphins, the park also has sea lions and rays, allowing guests a whole marine life experience.
Travel tip: Always remember to follow the guidelines provided by the park to ensure the safety and well-being of visitors and animals.
4. Manati Park
This is an amusement and cultural park centered on showcasing both the region’s flora and fauna as well as its rich Taino culture. Alongside animal exhibits, there are dance performances and other cultural shows.
Travel tip: Visit during the weekday mornings to avoid the biggest crowds and enjoy the park leisurely.
5. La Cana Golf Course
A golfer’s paradise, La Cana Golf Course, designed by P.B. Dye, boasts 27 holes spread out over three nines, with several playing directly along the ocean. The course is beautiful and challenging, offering panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea.
Travel tip: Even if you’re not into golfing, consider visiting the clubhouse for its breathtaking views and superb dining options.
6. Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park & Reserve
This privately owned reserve is a haven for nature lovers. The park is named after the series of freshwater lagoons (or ‘eyes’) open for swimming. Apart from this, there are exhibits about the Dominican Republic’s indigenous people and various trails showcasing local flora and fauna.
Travel tip: Wear comfortable walking shoes, and don’t forget your swimsuit if you plan to dip in one of the lagoons.
7. Scape Park
An adventure lover’s dream, Scape Park offers numerous activities like zip-lining, cave expeditions, cultural tours, and more. Located in the heart of Cap Cana Resort, the park combines natural beauty with thrilling experiences.
Travel tip: It’s easy to spend a whole day here, so come early and be prepared with sunscreen, water, and comfortable clothing.
8. Macao Beach
One of the few public beaches in Punta Cana, Macao Beach is renowned for its pristine sands and powerful waves, making it a favorite spot for surfers. Besides surfing, the beach is a popular location for local fishermen, providing a glimpse of local life.
Travel tip: If you’re new to surfing, several schools nearby offer lessons. It’s a perfect opportunity to learn in a beautiful setting.
9. Altos de Chavón
A re-created 16th-century Mediterranean village set atop the Chavón River, Altos de Chavón is both an architectural marvel and a cultural center. With cobbled streets, historical buildings, and an impressive amphitheater, the village is a hub for arts, featuring various studios, galleries, and craft shops.
Travel tip: The evening offers a different ambiance with the setting sun, making it a romantic spot for dinner and strolls.
10. Punta Cana Ecological Foundation
Dedicated to environmental research and conservation, this foundation preserves a large area of lowland subtropical forest. Visitors can explore the grounds, which include a petting zoo, a sugarcane exhibition, and beautiful gardens full of local flora.
Travel tip: The Foundation often hosts educational events and workshops, so check their schedule before your visit.
11. Cave Oleg Bat House
This unique attraction provides insight into the world of bats. Led by Oleg, a passionate conservationist, visitors learn about the various species and their role in the ecosystem and even see them up close in the cave environment.
Travel tip: Remember, bats are wild animals. Be quiet and respectful during your visit to avoid disturbing them.
12. Playa Juanillo
With its tranquil waters and soft sands, Playa Juanillo offers a more secluded experience than some of Punta Cana’s busier beaches. The serene ambiance and picturesque surroundings make it an ideal spot for relaxation.
Travel tip: There’s a chic beach club nearby where you can rent loungers and enjoy delicious food and drinks right on the sand.
FAQ About Things to Do in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
What are the top attractions in Punta Cana?
Punta Cana is renowned for its pristine beaches, clear waters, and vibrant nightlife. Some top attractions include Bavaro Beach, Hoyo Azul, and the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park.
Is it worth taking a day trip to Saona Island from Punta Cana?
Absolutely! Saona Island is a tropical paradise with white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. It’s a popular day trip from Punta Cana, offering opportunities for snorkeling, beach relaxation, and observing local wildlife.
Are there any adventure activities available in Punta Cana?
Yes, Punta Cana offers a variety of adventure activities such as zip-lining, dune buggy rides, horseback riding, and scuba diving among the vibrant coral reefs.
Can I go whale watching in Punta Cana?
While Punta Cana isn’t a primary whale-watching destination, the nearby Samaná Bay is famous for humpback whale sightings between January and March.
Are there any cultural experiences to explore in Punta Cana?
Certainly! You can visit the Altos de Chavón, a replica of a 16th-century Mediterranean village, or take a cultural tour to learn about the Dominican Republic’s history, traditions, and local crafts.
Is Punta Cana suitable for family vacations?
Yes, Punta Cana is family-friendly, with numerous resorts catering to families. Various activities like dolphin encounters, water parks, and family-friendly excursions are also available.
What local dishes should I try in Punta Cana?
Don’t miss out on trying the “bandera dominicana” (rice, beans, and meat), “mofongo” (mashed plantains with garlic and pork), and “tostones” (fried plantain slices). Pair it with a refreshing “morir soñando” (a creamy orange and milk beverage).
Is it safe to explore Punta Cana outside of the resorts?
While Punta Cana is generally safe for tourists, it’s always advisable to exercise caution, avoid isolated areas after dark, and be aware of your surroundings. Joining guided tours can be a safer way to explore the region.