Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda – a comprehensive review for this Punta Cana all-inclusive resort

 Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda is part of the large Bahía Resort in Punta Cana. It is one of the premium tiers of the brand and offers upscale services for a pretty affordable price. Especially with some of the recent renovations in parts of the all-inclusive resort, Bahía Principe Esmeralda offers a great value for money.

 But what is Bahía Esmeralda all about? What can you expect? Is it suitable for families and adults? That’s what we are going to explain in this comprehensive Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda review, where we include all the details you need to know: rooms, restaurants, entertainment, location, the beach and also which access you do have to the other Bahía resorts in Punta Cana.

If not sure which all-inclusive resort to book, you can continue reading here about how to find the best all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana.

Completely UPDATED: October 2023

Quick link: the best prices for Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda Resort

 As always in our resort reviews here at Punta Cana Travel Blog we try to give you the most comprehensive information about a resort – the same we do here at this extensive Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda review. Below there is a section about booking and prices with all the tips and tricks you need to know when you want to score the cheapest prices for Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda Punta Cana Resort.

 However, if you don’t want to read that much (which would be a pity) and are not interested in the full Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda review (we also tell you the latest and most exciting news about this resort further below), you can also use this highly recommended search engine to see the latest deals and promotions* for this newly renovated family resort in Punta Cana.

Where is Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda?

 Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda is located in Punta Cana in the area of Arena Gorda. The airport of Punta Cana is 15 miles and a 25-minute drive away. The neighboring all-inclusive resorts of Bahía Esmeralda and the entire Bahía Principe resort in Punta Cana are Riu (with its Riu Palace Punta Cana and Riu Palace Macao) and Royalton Bavaro.

 When planning your vacation to Bahía Principe Esmeralda, it is recommended to prebook your airport transfer* for the sake of a smooth arrival and peace of mind. Prearranged airport shuttles in Punta Cana are usually cheaper and less time-consuming than taxis or public transport.

 Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda is located right at the beach. When leaving the resort shoreside, there is not much to do as it is located in an area of Punta Cana with pretty much only resort life. However, public busses are passing right at the front of the resort with direct connections to Higuey, the capital of the La Altagracia province. 

Overview of the entire Bahía Resort: Punta Cana, Bavaro, Turquesa, Fantasía, Esmeralda, Ambar, Aquamarine

 Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda is part of the larga Bahía Resort complex in Punta Cana, consisting of 7 all-inclusive resorts:

  • Bahía Principe Fantasia Punta Cana
  • Bahía Principe Grand Aquamarine (adults-only)
  • Bahía Principe Grand Bavaro
  • Bahía Principe Grand Punta Cana
  • Bahía Principe Grand Turquesa
  • Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar (adults-only)
  • Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda
Overview of Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda, a beautiful all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana

 Bahía Principe Grand Bavaro, Bahía Principe Grand Punta Cana and Bahía Principe Grand Turquesa belong to the lowest tier of all the Bahía Principe Hotels. They usually offer very affordable prices and sometimes can make it into the top 10 of the cheapest resorts in Punta Cana. Like all Bahía resorts, they offer a very good value for money, even though they are located some minutes away from the beach – behind the other Bahía resorts in Punta Cana.

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 Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar and Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda belong to the top tier of the Bahía complex in Punta Cana. They offer premium services and amenities and are in line with the typical luxury all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana – at least those which you can call “affordable luxury”. By no means Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar or Esmeralda can be compared with the high-end resorts in Punta Cana, such as Hyatt Ziva, Sanctuary Cap Cana, Zoetry Agua, The Finest Punta Cana, Excellence El Carmen or Iberostar Grand. But I guess that’s pretty obvious when comparing a resort in the price range of 200-300 USD per couple per night with much more expensive resorts of 500 USD and more.

Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar and Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda are both located right at the beach. Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda was extensively renovated in 2023 and Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar in 2020/2021.

The new and modern swim-up suites at Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar
Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar

 Bahía Principe Fantasia Punta Cana, a popular family resort in Punta Cana, and Bahía Principe Grand Aquamarine are somewhat (service-wise) located between the Bahía Grand Resorts (Bavaro, Turquesa, Punta Cana) and the Bahía Luxury Resorts (Esmeralda, Ambar), even though they are quality-wise more attached to the services of the Luxury Resorts. However, their main characteristic is their specific theme. While Bahía Principe Fantasia Punta Cana with its fairytale castle and the resort water park is particularly suitable for families traveling to Punta Cana, the adults-only resort Bahía Principe Grand Aquamarine focuses on social activities, entertainment and a cool Caribbean vibe to attract a younger and more active crowd. 

The fairytale castle at Bahia Principe Fantasia Punta Cana
Bahia Principe Fantasia Punta Cana

 To make the resort allocation a bit more visible, you can check out the following map. The colors of the building represent one specific all-inclusive resort:

  • Light Blue: Bahía Principe Fantasia Punta Cana
  • Purple: Bahía Principe Grand Aquamarine (adults-only)
  • Yellow: Bahía Principe Grand Bavaro
  • Green: Bahía Principe Grand Punta Cana
  • Orange: Bahía Principe Grand Turquesa
  • Red: Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar (adults-only)
  • Pink: Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda
The map of all the Bahia Resorts in Punta Cana

 Further below in this Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda review, I am talking more about the interchanging facilities between the hotels, especially regarding Bahía Principe Esmeralda.

 When booking one of the Grands (Turquesa, Punta Cana, Bavaro), you still can access the other 2 Grand hotels you are not staying at. They are forming one large all-inclusive resort. 

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 Guests of Bahía Principe Fantasía Punta Cana also have access to the three low-tier resorts (Turquesa, Punta Cana, Bavaro). 

 Guests of Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar and Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda can use amenities among each other and in some instance also the amenities of the Grand Hotels of Bahía in Punta Cana.

 And Bahía Principe Grand Aquamarine is kind of a stand-alone resort in Punta Cana without official access to the other Bahía hotels. 

Definition of Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda

 Just in the previous section of this Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda review, we have mentioned all 7 resorts of Bahía Principe Punta Cana. Even though you know now that Esmeralda is right on the beach and what is the difference compared to for example Bahía Principe Ambar or Aquamarine, you might still get confused with some of the names.

 The official resort name is Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda Resort, but different variations are circulating. The most common one is Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda, but Luxury Bahía Principe Esmeralda Punta Cana is common as well as this was the official name before. Further names you might read are Bahía Principe Esmeralda, Esmeralda Punta Cana or Bahía Esmeralda. Whatever name will be used, it is always about the resort this extensive review is about.

Overview of Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda

 This was a short summary of the entire Bahía Principe complex in Punta Cana with a total of more than 3000 rooms – which is the largest all-inclusive property in Punta Cana combining multiple hotels (the largest stand-alone all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana is still Hard Rock Punta Cana with approx. 1800 rooms). Let’s continue with the Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda review and some specific information about the hotel.

 Even though it is part of this large Bahía Resort, the Esmeralda Punta Cana is actually pretty small and compact. The entire resort is just 800 feet long, which is pretty short compared to other Punta Cana all-inclusive resorts. Therefore, the room furthest away from the beach is also a maximum of 800 feet, which is not more than 3-4 minutes walking. Most rooms are located much closer. The lobby of Bahía Principe Esmeralda is only 250 feet away from the beach, not more than a 1-minute walk. The lobby is home to the main bar, a neighboring restaurant and some light evening entertainment. You can also get a trolley train from here running to the other parts of the Bahía Resort (but not to other parts of the Bahía Esmeralda Hotel as this is not necessary). 

The lobby at Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda

 In front of the lobby, you can find the main pool and the large pool bar with a swim-up section and dry area to get drinks. The main pool is also home to activities and the usual gathering. 

The pool at Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda, an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana

When walking left (landward) from the lobby you can find three other pools:
– a small adults-only section with one pool including three jacuzzis and a bar
– a quiet pool without much entertainment 
– a separate small water park exclusively for Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda

 Next to the quiet pool and the water park, there is the main buffet restaurant and a snack bar, which will be discussed further below in this Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda review among the restaurant and bar section.

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 As mentioned, the lobby is very close to the beach, so after passing two of the restaurants, among them one buffet with a prime beach location, you directly reach the large stretch of white-golden sand. 

View from the beach restaurant at all-inclusive resort Esmeralda Punta Cana

 There are two more important locations within the Bahía Resort that you might want to use, even though they don’t belong exclusively to Esmeralda Punta Cana (but are included in your stay): the Bahía Principe Village and the Beach Club Las Olas.

 The Bahía Principe Village is your place to go for all kinds of entertainment, especially at night, as all the large shows are presented there, either open-air or in the theatre. 

 The other important location is the Beach House Las Olas, which is home to various restaurants and the new (and impressive) beach snack buffet – a fantastic place I am talking more about further below in this Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda review. It is located between Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar and Bavaro/Punta Cana. You can go there with the internal Bahía trolley train, but it is much easier to walk the 1100 feet / 350 meters from Bahía Esmeralda. 

The new beach house, which is shared among all the Bahia Resorts in Punta Cana

The beach at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda

 Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda is located right at the 12-mile long main beach of Punta Cana, stretching from Barceló Resort until shortly before Macao, allowing for endless beach walks. The stretch where Bahía Principe Esmeralda is located is called Arena Gorda, a neighboring section of famous Bavaro Beach. The length of the beach of the entire Bahía Resort is an impressive 2000 feet, while the stretch right at Esmeralda Punta Cana is around 450 feet long. It is a beautiful area with palm trees, soft sand and a nearly perfect ocean with a short shallow part to mingle around and a deeper section behind, which is perfectly swimmable.

The Arena Gorda Beach at Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda

 The beach has plenty of beach chairs, a beach bar and a water sports center. If all 7 hotels of Bahía Punta Cana are opened it might get a bit busy here during the peak hours of the day. 

The wonderful Arena Gorda Beach in Punta Cana, with a view of Bahia Principe and RIU Resort

 If you want to go on a beach walk you can do so in both directions for eternity. You can walk 5-6 miles in both directions without having to leave the sand, hence the location of Bahía Resort is perfect for those wishing to explore the entire length of Punta Canas beaches.

Another thing important to mention when talking about the Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda Beach is the seaweed, also known as sargassum in Punta Cana. This is a natural phenomenon that seems to get stronger in recent years and affects the entire Caribbean. Punta Canas’ resorts usually do a great job in cleaning the beaches, so do the Bahía Resorts in Punta Cana as well. This being said, even though on some days – especially during the seaweed season in Punta Cana – the beach might not be as picturesque as you’re used to, you always can swim in the ocean and have fun in the water. You can read more about the sargassum in Punta Cana and how to avoid it here.

The rooms at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda

With its reopening for the winter season 2023/2024, there is something completely new at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda Resort: the rooms. While they only had one room category before, the Junior Suite Deluxe Room, there is now a second one which will make especially those looking for a Punta Cana resort with swim-out suites very happy: the Junior Suite Deluxe Swim Up.

Not only the new Bahía Principe Esmeralda room category is a great enhancement, but there are also some more amazing news for 2024: all the rooms got completely renovated. This is particularly important to mention as Esmeraldas’ rooms so far have been one of the oldest ones on the market.

 The new rooms all come with canopy beds, either with 1 king-size bed or 2 queen-size beds, a balcony or terrace, air-conditioning, free WiFi (which works well once you are registered), minibar and safe. The bathroom is divided into a shower and toilet and also has a large jacuzzi for those romantic evenings. 

Please note that the following photo is still one from the old Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda rooms back from 2021/2022. As soon as I have a photo available from the new rooms in 2024, I will add it here to the review.

The rooms at Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda all-inclusive

 To compare with, the following photo is from the Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar, which offers the same services, the same quality when it comes to food, drinks and activities (even though it is adults-only and a bit more active though), the same property as Luxury Esmeralda Punta Cana – but renovated and gorgeous rooms.

The new and modern rooms at Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar
Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar

 However, Ambar usually is also more expensive than Bahía Esmeralda, so you know that you are paying more for these upgraded rooms. The price difference varies by season, but you can check the difference for your travel dates here.

However, with the renovation of Bahía Principe Esmeraldas’ rooms, this price difference between Ambar and Esmeralda might get smaller or vanish completely in 2024.

Booking and Prices at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda

 When booking Bahía Principe Esmeralda you can choose between different tour operators and booking engines. The good thing is, with having just two room categories, you can’t do much wrong and just have to check for the right cancellation conditions, the best price and the most reputable company.

 To check the current prices of Bahía Principe Esmeralda, you can check one of the following recommendable websites.

(mobile users: please turn your device to landscape mode to enjoy the best view of this table)

WebsiteYour AdvantageBahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda
AgodaSurprisingly great price for Bahía Principe Luxury EsmeraldaCheck resort prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
Bahia Principe WebsiteBook directly with the hotel and get a 5-10% member’s discount if you regsiter for freeCheck resort prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
BookingGet up to 10% Genius discount on the already discounted ratesCheck resort prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
ExpediaOnline travel agency with great deals, personal service and good reputationCheck resort prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
HotelscombinedPowerful hotel search engine by KayakCheck resort prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
JetBlue VacationsGreat package deals and interesting promotions for US travelersCheck resort prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
TravalaGet 2% cashback + additional (crypto) rewardsCheck resort prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
Trip.comCollect reward points at flights and hotels with this NYSE listed online travel agencyCheck resort prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
TripadvisorCompare prices and reviews on one siteCheck resort prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog

 Usually, prices for Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda start at a bit more than 220-250 USD per double room per night in the low season (May – before Christmas), which is a bargain compared to other Punta Cana resorts, particularly compared to the premium services you receive at this hotel. In the high season (Christmas to the end of April), prices start at 300 USD per room per night and up. Obviously, with the new rooms at Esmeralda Punta Cana, the resort has raised their prices for 2024 a bit as the biggest drawback – the old and outdated rooms – is now gone.

As you can see in the following price comparison table, the prices for Bahía Esmeralda Punta Cana can vary widely. To give you a better overview, we have checked the prices for each month in 2023 and 2024.

All prices stated are per room in double occupancy and are subject to change at any time.

  • Prices at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda Resort Punta Cana in October 2023: resort closed
  • Prices at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda Resort Punta Cana in November 2023: resort closed
  • Prices at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda Resort Punta Cana in December 2023: starting from 270 USD*
  • Prices at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda Resort Punta Cana in January 2024: starting from 330 USD*
  • Prices at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda Resort Punta Cana in February 2024: starting from 350 USD*
  • Prices at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda Resort Punta Cana in March 2024: starting from 350 USD*
  • Prices at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda Resort Punta Cana in April 2024: starting from 290 USD*
  • Prices at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda Resort Punta Cana in May 2024: starting from 250 USD*
  • Prices at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda Resort Punta Cana in June 2024: starting from 250 USD*
  • Prices at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda Resort Punta Cana in July 2024: starting from 280 USD*
  • Prices at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda Resort Punta Cana in August 2024: starting from 280 USD*
  • Prices at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda Resort Punta Cana in September 2024: starting from 230 USD*

 Please note that those prices are all indicative and can vary depending on many factors such as your browser, your country, your time of research, the number of persons traveling and the time you are traveling.

When looking for the best prices, definitely check the website of Bahía Principe Resorts*. As a member (you can register for free) you usually can get a 5-10% discount on the best available rates.

 If traveling as a couple, Agoda* surprisingly had some great rates available as well. Agoda is a well-renowned booking platform, but most popular for the best hotel rates in Asia and the Pacific. It is rare to find great resort deals for Punta Cana at Agoda, but their prices for Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda definitely mark an exception.

 Metasearch engines Tripadvisor* and Hotelscombined* could also score these low prices for some rates, linking to Agoda’s special deals.

 However, when traveling to Punta Cana as a family, neither Agoda nor Tripadvisor or Hotelscombined could find a competitive price. Agoda didn’t show availability at all, Tripadvisor and Hotelscombined linked to an expensive offer from Expedia, which is much more expensive than booking at Expedia directly.

 JetBlue Vacations* earns a closer look as well. Even though the US package holiday tour operator couldn’t score the best price on any occasion, they offered competitive rates throughout the price comparison. Especially when traveling as a family to Punta Canas’ Bahía Esmeralda, they had the second-best price on offer. When booking JetBlue Vacations, you also have to consider that the airport transfer from Punta Cana Airport is already included in the price.

 In the end, you can book with any of these providers as long as you are ok with the price and their services. It might be worth checking at least 2 or 3 offers to make sure you score the best package – and to also have a look at Bahia Principes Homepage.

 Mentioning the word package, it might also be an option to book your stay at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda as a holiday package, which combines flight and hotel. Depending on the availability, this might be a cheaper option, but it not always is. If you haven’t booked your flight to Punta Cana yet, simply check with the button below if a package deal is better for you.

 Very important: Prices can vary from one day to another, they might also be different depending on the country where you are located. Make sure to check booking, payment and cancellation conditions, as they might vary widely. It pays off to compare different platforms, but it is also worth to skip some of the cheapest offers if you don’t know and/or trust the company. If booking directly with the hotel or with renowned platforms like Booking.com or Expedia or leading tour operators like Apple Vacations, Sunwing Vacations or Virgin Holidays, you are usually making a good decision.

Restaurants and bars at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda 

 When talking about food and drinks at this Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda review, you can count on especially one thing: lots of choices!

 When staying at Esmeralda Punta Cana, you can select between many restaurants and at least 7 bars, including a newly-built sports bar and the bars at the Bahía Principe Village (theatre and disco). Concerning the restaurants, you can choose among the following buffets and beach buffets:

  • Buffet restaurant “Caney”
  • Beach restaurant at La Esmeralda
  • Beach restaurant at Las Olas Beach House

Furthermore, there are basically tons of à-la-carte restaurants you can choose from. Don’t be confused as you can find multiple Italian or Japanese places among the list of Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeraldas’ restaurants. This is because you have access to some restaurants of other neighboring Bahía hotels as well, such as Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar or the Bahía Principe Bavaro Resort.

On the other side, don’t take all of these à-la-carte restaurants at Bahía Esmeralda Punta Cana for granted as access rules might change over time. What you have guaranteed are at least 5-6 à-la-carte restaurants as well as usually a few more in the other resorts. Currently, at the time of writing and editing (October 2023) this Bahía Principe Esmeralda review, you have access to the à-la-carte restaurants of the other resorts as well except for Bahía Principe Fantasia and Aquamarine.

  • Dominican à-la-carte restaurant “Taíno” (open for dinner)
  • Indian à-la-carte restaurant “Naan” (open for dinner)
  • Mongolian à-la-carte restaurant “Yurta” (open for dinner)
  • Italian à-la-carte restaurant “Casa Bella” (open for dinner)
  • Mexican à-la-carte restaurant “Tequila” (open for dinner)
  • Indian à-la-carte restaurant “Indian” (open for dinner)
  • Greek à-la-carte restaurant “The Greek” (open for dinner)
  • Brazilian Rodizio restaurant “Las Olas” (open for dinner)
  • Seafood à-la-carte restaurant “Fish Market” (adults only) (open for dinner)
  • Japanese/Peruvian fusion à-la-carte restaurant “Mashua Nikkei” (adults only) (open for dinner)
  • Italian à-la-carte restaurant “Portofino” (adults only) (open for dinner)
  • Gourmet à-la-carte restaurant “Limbo” (adults only) (open for dinner)
  • Steakhouse à-la-carte restaurant “Garden Grill” (open for dinner)
  • Japanese à-la-carte restaurant “Mikado” (open for dinner)
  • Japanese à-la-carte restaurant “Maiko” (open for dinner)
  • Italien à-la-carte restaurant “Capriccio” (open for dinner)

 As you can see, there are plenty of choices when staying at Bahía Principe Esmeralda and a remarkable quality when it comes to food and drinks.

 The buffet restaurant (Los Geranios, Jasmin was closed when we have been at Esmeralda Punta Cana) is what you can expect from an all-inclusive resort in this price range. A good selection of international food, local Dominican favorites and a good amount of vegetarian and healthy options is what you find here. The outdoor seating at Jasmin restaurant right next to the pool and garden area adds a particular Caribbean vibe to the meals.

Typical food of an Punta Cana all-inclusive resort at BahiaEsmeralda Punta Cana

After the renovation, Caney will be the new main buffet restaurant with a contemporary design.

 Besides the main buffet restaurant at Bahía Principe Esmeralda, you also have the choice between two further beach restaurants for lunch, both with stunning locations and amazing views. There is one beach restaurant exclusively for Bahía Esmeralda which offers everything you need for a filling lunch.

 Another alternative, not less appealing, is the beach snack restaurant at Las Olas Beach House. Even though it is only a snack and serves guests of all the other Bahía resorts, the quality is absolutely satisfying and the selection much higher than in a typical beach snack of other all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana. You can enjoy a wholesome meal and even some of the best pizzas in the entire resort, baked in the woodfire oven with a super-thin crust. 

The Las Olas Beach House, a shared facility of all Bahia Resorts

 For dinner, the entire Bahía Resort in Punta Cana requires a reservation for every restaurant, except the buffet restaurants. When staying at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda, you have 1 à-la-carte dinner reservation included per night, compared to only 3 à-la-carte reservations per week when staying at Grand Bahía Principe Bavaro, Turquesa or Punta Cana. The reservations can be done with the concierge or through an electronic reservation system in the lobby.

 The interesting fact about Bahía Principe Esmeraldas’ restaurants is that they offer some options which are quite uncommon in other Punta Cana all-inclusive resorts, among them an Indian restaurant and a Greek restaurant. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to try these themed dinners, but also the other à-la-carte options convinced us. Especially the restaurants at the newly built Las Olas Beach House had a contemporary design and added an elegant touch to the evening. We loved the atmosphere that much that we continued the night with drinks in the same place after finishing our food (which was great as well – it was the first all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana where I got a vegetarian lentil and bean burger). Just some more seasoning might be necessary for the one or other dish, but the creations were unique.

One of the many a-la-carte restaurants at Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda

 Talking about the drinks, there was also nothing to complain about. Bahía Principe Esmeralda offers a full selection of international premium spirits, among them Baileys, Tanqueray, Kahlua, El Jimador, Barcelo Imperial, Frangelico, Liquor 43 and Bacardi. We got good mojitos and Gin Tonics, but as in most other all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, you have to tell the barkeeper how you like your drink. Bars at Esmeralda Punta Cana are open until after 11 pm. Afterwards, you can hop over to the Bahía Principe Village and continue enjoying drinks until 2 am. 

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 The only thing I have to criticize about food and drinks at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda is the room service. Even though you have 24-hour room service included (which is great), the food was simply not eatable (ordered a vegetarian sandwich). Therefore, you are better off filling your tummy at one of the delicious restaurants and buffets mentioned above or at the various snacks bars (also during the night). There is never an hour where you won’t get any food at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda.

Entertainment and service at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda 

 When it comes to entertainment and activities, Bahía in Punta Cana is probably one of the best all-inclusive resorts you can find in the east of the Dominican Republic. That’s not because Bahía is particularly focusing on 24 hours of action and fun, but more because there is something offered for everyone due to the sheer size of the entire resort complex. While Bahía Principe Esmeralda is one of the quieter resorts within Bahía (if you’d like more action you are better off with Ambar or Aquamarine) and caters more towards families, you can use most of the other amenities of the entire resort when it comes to activities and entertainment. Services such as the tennis courts, the minigolf course, the night club or the theatre are located in a centric area and are available for all the hotels within the Bahía Resort in Punta Cana.

The centerpiece of Bahia Resort in Punta Cana, the Bahia Principe Village

 Therefore, there is hardly anything you can’t find when it comes to entertainment at Bahía Resort, even though some of the amenities mentioned are a 10-minute walk or a quick trolley ride away from Esmeralda Punta Cana.

 When talking about the activities right at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda, there is the daily activity program, with yoga, Stand-Up paddle lessons in the pool, beach games or bingo. There is also a water sports center, where you can rent kayaks or Hobie cats for one hour per person per day. The interesting thing about those is that there is a shipwreck (the Astron shipwreck, a former Russian cargo ship) right in front of the Bahía Principe Resort in Punta Cana, which is an interesting destination to kayak to

Watersports at Bahia Principe Esmeralda, an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana

 For the kids between the ages of 3 and 11, there is a separate water park exclusive for Bahía Esmeralda guests, right next to the main buffet restaurant. 

The kids water park in Punta Cana at Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda

 For the nightly entertainment, you also have plenty of choices. You can either attend the more personal performances at Esmeralda Punta Cana or head over to the large theatre at Bahía Principe Village. There are nightly shows and you can continue the night at the disco as well. You can also head over from Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda to Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar and use the recently opened sports bar, which also counts with pool tables and a convenient outdoor terrace.

Privilege Club (VIP Level) at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda

 Bahía also has its VIP Level called Privilege Club. This kind of Preferred Club at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda comes with additional perks such as a separate Privilege Club lounge and a cool infinity pool at the Las Olas Beach House with a fantastic ocean view.

Editor’s Choice: the best experiences 2024

Most unique experience in a small group: Authentic rum tasting* (rating 4.78/5)
Best Rated Punta Cana excursion: Isla Saona Premium in small groups* (rating 4.95/5)
Most booked through Punta Cana Travel Blog: Small-Group Snorkeling* (rating 4.91/5)
Best off-the-beaten-track excursion: Montana Redonda & Costa Esmeralda* (rating 4.79/5)
Best excursion for family fun: Jungle Buggies + Zipline Combo* (rating 4.91/5)
New and trending for 2024: Evening Buggy Tour with Water Cave and Dancing*

Not the right tour for you?
Check out the 45 best Punta Cana excursions here at Punta Cana Travel Blog!

 However, there isn’t a Privilege Club room category you can simply book. You have to be a member of the Privilege Club which can only be done with a long-lasting (and pretty expensive) membership that is valid for many years and can only be applied to Bahía Principe Hotels (and another affiliation called RCI Hotels).

 Therefore, the Privilege Club won’t be further discussed in this Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda review.

Interchanging facilities between Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda and the other Bahía Resorts in Punta Cana

 As mentioned, Bahía Principe Esmeralda is one of 7 hotels within the Bahía complex in Punta Cana. Therefore, it sometimes might be a bit difficult to keep track of which hotels you can use and which not.

 In general, Bahía Esmeralda Punta Cana is – along with Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar – the top tier of all the Bahía hotels in Punta Cana. Therefore, you have most of the amenities right at Esmeralda and don’t need to head out to other resorts too often.

 The Beach House Las Olas is a shared amenity among all the Bahía Resorts, incl. Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda. You can enjoy the beach restaurant here during the day and dine at night in a pleasant atmosphere. 

 If you want to eat at the buffet restaurants, you can only use the three buffet options at Bahía Principe Esmeralda. The night snack at Bahía Principe Village and/or Las Olas Beach House can be used by every guest of the entire Bahía complex. The sports bar at Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar including their snack menu can be accessed from Bahía Principe Esmeralda (adult) guests as well. 

Most á-la-carte restaurants in the other Bahía hotels can be used as long as you have a reservation.

 There is no official rule or prohibition if you can use the pool or activities at Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar as an Esmeralda guest. As long as you are over 18 (because Ambar Punta Cana is adults-only), that’s absolutely fine.

View at Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar, one of the many Bahia Resorts in Punta Cana
Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar

 The water sports center at the beach and the sports area with tennis or minigolf are for every Bahía guest. Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda guests can’t use the water park or the fairytale castle at Bahía Principe Fantasía, but Esmeralda does have its own Punta Cana water park

 In the end, you don’t have to worry too much. There aren’t common checks and if you happen to be in the wrong restaurant or bar, a friendly staff member of Bahía Principe will approach you and direct you to the right place. If in doubt, feel free to ask for clarification.

Excursions from Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda

 Even Bahía Principe is a super large all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana and one might not feel the necessity to leave the resort, you definitely should head on some excursions to explore more of Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic.

 For a first overview, I’d recommend checking our full Punta Cana excursion guide with a hand-selected list of the best tours and activities in Punta Cana. All these excursions are possible from Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda as well. 

 When choosing a particular tour from Esmeralda Punta Cana, some of the most popular excursions in Punta Cana are a trip to Isla Saona, a catamaran or booze cruise tour right from Punta Canas’ beaches or a dune buggy tour through the countryside of the Dominican Republic.

 If you want to learn a little bit more about the nature and culture of the Dominican Republic, a tour to the Los Haitises National Park or a trip to Santo Domingo are particularly recommendable.

 And if you traveling to the Dominican Republic with kids and are looking for family activities in Punta Cana, you should consider a countryside safari, snorkeling excursion or a zipline adventure.

 Excursion recommendations are one thing and I would highly recommend you to read some of the articles linked above to learn about the exciting things to do in Punta Cana, as I am sharing a lot of our experiences.

 However, another way to find the best Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda excursions is through reviews from other travelers. For this reason, I have filtered more than hundred thousand reviews from verified travelers and created the following table, where you will find 10 best-rated activities. Considering that they come highly recommended by other travelers and all have review scores of 4.7 or more, this can be seen as a satisfaction guarantee for your trips and excursions from Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda Resort.

The best Punta Cana ExcursionReview Score (as of February 2024)DurationPrice (as of February 2024)Further information
Isla Saona Premium Tour*4.95/5.09 hours165 USDCheck excursion prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
Private Boat Snorkeling & Catamaran*4.93/5.04 hours800 USD (per group)Check excursion prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
Small Group Snorkeling & Catamaran*4.91/5.04 hours89 USDCheck excursion prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
Jungle Buggies + Zipline Combo*4.91/5.06 hours184 USDCheck excursion prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
Lux Coral Nursery Snorkeling*4.91/5.04 hours109 USDCheck excursion prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
4×4 Dominican Experience*4.88/5.04 hours64 USDCheck excursion prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
Punta Cana Ziplining*4.84/5.05 hours90 USDCheck excursion prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
ATV & Snorkeling Combo*4.81/5.08 hours129 USDCheck excursion prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
Montana Redonda + Playa Esmeralda*4.79/5.04 hours95 USDCheck excursion prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
Snorkeling Cruise + Dune Buggy Adventure*4.75/5.08 hours129 USDCheck excursion prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog

Summary

 Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda is worth a stay – and absolutely recommendable, if you know, what to expect. Even though Esmeralda Punta Cana is a very compact hotel, those looking for a small intimate all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana will be disappointed, due to the large property of the entire Bahía complex. Those preferring a contemporary design with state-of-the-art technology also won’t be happy at Bahía Luxury Esmeralda (but at Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar), even though this got much better thanks to the recent renovations at Bahía Principe Esmeralda Punta Cana.

 However, everyone else will have a great holiday at this resort, which offers an amazing price-value ratio considering you get all the top-shelf liquor, endless activities, a fantastic beach and unlimited à-la-carte dinners with some not so common themed restaurants such as Greek or Indian. Obviously, there are also plenty of options to try Dominican food. Vegetarians also get their fair share of menu offers at Esmeralda Punta Cana.  Therefore, Bahía Principe Esmeralda is a perfect option if you are looking for some affordable luxury in Punta Cana without breaking the bank. And in case you prefer less family amenities and more adults-only environment, you also can book a room at the neighboring hotel Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar.

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The face behind Punta Cana Travel Blog: Chris

CHRIS

Author, Travel Coach & Punta Cana based digital nomad

Hey, I am Chris, a born and raised German, travel-addictive and Caribbean Soul. Since 2011 I have been living in the Caribbean, among them 5 years in the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana is my home-base here in the country and I’d love to tell you more about how to experience Punta Cana off-the-beaten-track and give you all the advice you want to know for your vacation in Punta Cana.

6 thoughts on “Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda – a comprehensive review for this Punta Cana all-inclusive resort”

  1. Hi Chris – this report is just amazing – so much information! I didn’t realise that all the Bahia hotels were linked like this, it would have taken my whole holiday to get my head round things. My husband and are taking our first holiday in the Dominican Republic in March 2022 saying at the Esmeralda and this has helped so much. Very much looking forward to our two weeks in the sun!

    Best wishes for 2022, keep safe.

    Jan

  2. I booked this hotel directly on their website so I can get status with the hotel. Supposedly, when you book directly with them, you have access to priority check-in and other amenities that were not offered during my stay. The front counter staff is super rude and there is a lot of miscommunication. Service was very poor and they take a long time to assist you. The rooms are hot in the middle of August, I had to change rooms twice due to poor A/C. The food was by far the most disgusting thing I’ve had. I had a reservation in different restaurants from different hotels in the same property and the service is horrible. They take forever to bring you water or even a spoon, if you need one for dessert. I’ve stayed in many all-inclusive hotels around the world, including Punta Cana, and this is by far the most disappointing experience. Please save your money and do not book here. There are much better hotels out there. Luxury esmeralda

    1. Hi Andyel,
      thanks for sharing your experience. I am sorry that your stay at Bahía Esmeralda was not as you expected it. Most of the things you describe I have perceived the opposite way but I understand that services can vary.
      Hope you have more luck with your next all-inclusive stay in Punta Cana.
      Cheers, Chris

  3. Great overview of The Bahia resort. My wife and I almost booked Esmeralda booked ambar instead, but since we booked through RCI we have privilege club privileged.
    Your review is very informative but you do not say anything about the one major negative to this part of DR and that is the seeweed problem. We are going in a few weeks but almost had second thoughts because of the mountains of seeweed

    1. Hi Andy,
      great that this Bahia Esmeralda review was helpful for you.
      The seaweed problem is mentioned in various other posts here at Punta Cana Travel Blog, but usually not in the hotel reviews. This has two major reasons:
      – you never know when the seaweed is coming and how intense it will be. In some years it is rather decent and hardly disturbs while in other years it is pretty heavy.
      – seaweed is not a problem of the Dominican Republic, but of the entire Caribbean, including Mexico, Central America, Florida and many other popular beaches.
      For example, I visted Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda in September – which is usually one of the worst seaweed months in Punta Cana – and the beach has been perfect. The photos you see above in the Bahía Esmeralda review are indeed from September, including the photos of the beaches. Hence the beach was perfect when I visited.
      I hope this helps!
      Let me know if you have any further questions.
      Cheers from Punta Cana
      Chris

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