Punta Cana is a family-friendly resort destination located on the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana in Spanish means ‘tips of the white palms,’ and is called the Coconut Coast for good reason. Dense palm trees pave the way to the most sought after beaches on the coast. The white sand and warm waters are absolute perfection. Plus, the resort area is known as one of the best golf destinations in the world. With over 11 courses to choose from, Punta Cana is a golfer’s paradise. Whether you’re looking for adventure, R&R, or family time, Punta Cana is where you’ll find the vacation of your dreams and more.
Explore the terrain by going on a safari. Take a cruise atop a monster truck, jeep, motorbike or buggy to off-the-beaten-path beaches and secluded destinations. Zip across the Anamuya forest and see the jungle from a bird’s eye view. Visit the Laguna de Bávaro to explore protected mangroves and wetlands on foot or by boat. Experience Bávaro Adventure Park, Punta Cana’s newest entertainment area. It includes a climbing garden, dinosaur park, paintball arena and pirate ship. The beaches, of course, can’t be missed. Playa Bávaro is one of the highlights of the resort strip. It screams, “resort destination” with its gift shops, hotels and restaurants right on the beachfront. The white sand and coral reefs, however, have maintained their pristine beauty. Playa Macao, located on the northern end of Punta Cana, is a popular surfing destination. The swells attract large crowds, especially on the weekends. Playa Juanillo is known as one of the best beaches of the Dominican Republic for its impossibly clear waters and brilliant sand. The area serves as the perfect natural backdrop for outdoor events and concerts. Activities like kayaking, snorkeling and horseback riding are also available at Playa Juanillo.
La Romana is often overlooked as a vacation destination, more often known as the gateway to nearby resort areas. However, it has plenty of attractions of its own. The city has a world-class marina and a stunning replica of a 16th-century artisan village. It’s 80 kilometers west of Punta Cana, or around an hour drive. Catalina Island, one of the country’s national monuments, is just off the coast of La Romana. This natural treasure is where visitors can see one of the most diverse ecosystems in the Caribbean. Bayahíbe is a town located 10 miles east of La Romana. It’s the starting off point for boat tours to Saona Island and Cotubanamá National Park. Bayahíbe is known for being the best place to go scuba diving in the Dominican Republic. There are over 20 dive sites accessible from the dive boats in the area. The crystal clear water, spectacular coral formations and shipwrecks add to this region’s charm. The National Park of the East nearby is especially popular due to its proximity to Saona Island, one of the must-sees of the Dominican Republic. Los Haitises National Park gets its name from “highlands” or “mountain range.” This area is one of the Dominican Republic’s best eco-tourism destinations. Picture most of the country’s native birds in their natural forest habitat of scenic mangroves and impressionable caverns. The park is located 135 kilometers northwest of Punta Cana, near Puerto Plata. Another great day trip involves hiking in the Jose Armando Bermudez National Park and Jose del Carmen Ramirez National Park. These parks are home to the highest peak in the Caribbean. Pico Duarte, around 10,000 feet tall, is sometimes referred to as the “Dominican Alps.” Visitors to this area enjoy camping and multi-day treks up the peak. This park is located 286 kilometers west of Punta Cana.
As a resort destination, Punta Cana’s accommodations can get a little pricey. Most resorts start off in the 200-dollar range, with higher-end accommodations surpassing the 500-dollar mark. Each resort has unique amenities and distinct characteristics. There are family-friendly resorts with swimming pools and diverse dining options to choose from. There are adult-only resorts that have bars and casinos on the premises. Luxury resorts advertise rest and relaxation. There’s also a music-themed resort with its own golf course and spa! If resorts aren’t your style, there are also apartment-style villas and motels/inns in Punta Cana as well.
Some resorts offer transportation to and from the airport. The closest airport is Punta Cana International Airport, located 8 kilometers from town. There are also taxis and private shuttle services available for hire. Once inside Punta Cana, sightseeing is best recommended on foot. Most resorts are located just off (or right on) the beach. If you want to explore the rest of the Dominican Republic, renting a car is another option. Traffic in Punta Cana itself is a hassle. Local drivers can be aggressive or impatient. However, a car is more reliable than public transportation. Buses may be more affordable, but schedules are irregular and stops are rarely marked.
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