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.

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 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. Furthermore, compared to Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda, Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar is completely renovated.

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

 Bahía Principe Fantasia 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 is focusing 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. However, if booking one of the other Bahía Principe all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana, please note that the permissions between the individual hotels have changed a bit during the Covid-19 pandemic

 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, but not 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. 

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, but this won’t be the case throughout 2021 or 2022. 

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.

The rooms at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda

 Bahía Principe Esmeralda only has one room category, the Junior Suite Deluxe Room. Hence there is not much you can do wrong when booking your room.

When talking about the Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda rooms it has to be noted that they are pretty old, including the infrastructure of the buildings. They are well-maintained, the bathroom got upgraded and they are super clean, but you shouldn’t expect a modern design or any contemporary art elements. Considering the premium services you get at Bahía Principe Esmeralda and the affordable price you pay, that’s absolutely fine. 

 The 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. 

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.

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 one room category, 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.

Website Your Advantage Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda
Agoda Surprisingly great price for Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda Check resort prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
Apple Vacations Great package deals and interesting promotions Check resort prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
Booking Get up to 10% Genius discount on the already discounted rates Check resort prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
Expedia Online travel agency with great deals, personal service and good reputation Check resort prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
Hotelscombined Powerful hotel search engine by Kayak Check resort prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
Travala Get a 25 USD welcome bonus (register here*) + 2% cashback Check resort prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog Collect reward points at flights and hotels with this NYSE listed online travel agency Check resort prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog
Tripadvisor Compare prices and reviews on one site Check resort prices at Punta Cana Travel Blog

 Usually, prices for Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda start below 200 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 250 USD per room per night and up. 

 However, 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 different websites for their best prices, providing interesting results.

 To get a full overview of the different prices, we assume three different situations:
Scenario 1: a couple traveling in low season (15-22 November) 
Scenario 2: a couple traveling in high season (15-22 February) 
Scenario 3: a family with 2 kids (ages 8 and 14) traveling during the summer holiday (15-22 July)

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

Booking website Rate remarks Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3
    Click on the prices to see the current rate
Expedia refundable rates, no registration necessary 1256 USD 1885 USD 2660 USD Public rates, no registration necessary; refundable rates 1256 USD 1885 USD 2280 USD
Apple Vacations tour operator rates; prices include shared airport transfer 1318 USD 1952 USD 2412 USD
Travala refundable + 2% cashback; optional crypto payment possible + 25 USD bonus if you register here* 1256 USD 1885 USD 2660 USD
Agoda refundable rates 1105 USD 1650 USD n/a
Tripadvisor conditions depend on the partner websites 1105 USD 1650 USD 3134 USD
Hotelscombined conditions depend on the partner websites 1105 USD 1650 USD 3134 USD refundable rates + trip reward points 1256 USD 1751 USD n/a

All prices were taken on the 06th of November 2021.

 As you can see, the prices for Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda are quite diverse and it is not easy to find the booking website which is always the cheapest and best. 

 If traveling as a couple, Agoda* surprisingly could take the lead. 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 the first two scenarios when traveling to Bahía Principe Esmeralda as a single or a couple, 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.

 Talking about Expedia*, the well-known hotel booking engine had decent prices as well. However, they were beaten by*, which offered competitive prices for the first two scenarios (even though not as cheap as Agoda) for the first two scenarios and the best price for the family vacation to Punta Cana at Bahía Esmeralda. 

 Apple 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 Apple 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.

 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 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 10 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:

  • Buffet restaurant “Jasmin”
  • Buffet restaurant “Los Geranios”
  • Beach restaurant at La Esmeralda
  • Beach restaurant at Las Olas Beach House
  • Rodizio restaurant “El Dominicano / Las Olas” (for dinner)
  • Asian à-la-carte restaurant “Takara”
  • Italian à-la-carte restaurant “Bella Italia”
  • Mexican à-la-carte restaurant “Tequila”
  • Indian à-la-carte restaurant “Thali”
  • Greek à-la-carte restaurant “The Greek”
  • International à-la-carte restaurant “Fish Market / Garden Grill”

 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 can expect. 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

 Besides the two main buffet restaurants 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), 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.

Excursions and tours recommended by us

Editor’s Choice: the best Experiences

Most unique experience in a small group: Authentic rum tasting* (rating 5.00/5)
Best Rated Punta Cana excursion: Jungle Buggies + Zipline Combo* (rating 4.92/5)
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 4.78/5)
Best excursion for families: Family Buggy Adventure* (rating 4.64/5)

Not the right tour for you?
Check out the 41 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. 

 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. The gourmet restaurant and the buffet restaurants at Luxury Ambar are exclusively for Ambar guests. 

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.

Safety Protocols and Hygiene Standards at Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda

 From all the all-inclusive resorts we recently visited in Punta Cana, Bahía Principe Luxury Esmeralda was among those with the best implementation of the Covid-19 regulations in Punta Cana. Bahía Principe also developed their own Covid-19 hygiene protocol. Their measures are separated into 4 different categories and include, among others:

1) Covid-19 protocol:

  • Maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet in all customer, employer and supplier areas
  • Use of eco-friendly thermal disinfection systems
  • Adjusted maximum occupancy according to the Covid-19 regulations of the Dominican Republic government
  • Extended deep cleaning in all areas according to Covid-19 protocols and with certified products
  • Supplier checks when entering the all-inclusive resort properties

2) Ensuring people’s health:

  • Extensive staff training to sensitize the staff to the current covid-19 regulations in Punta Cana
  • Use of protective equipment for the staff
  • Use of acrylic dividers in highly frequented public areas (bars, reception, etc.)
  • Designated rooms for isolation of Covid-19 positive tested guests and staff
  • Access control when entering the Bahía Resort during times of Covid-19 in Punta Cana
  • 24-hour on-spot medical services
Covid-19 regulations in Punta Cana at Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda

3) Compliance:

  • Adapted hotel services according to the “new normal” in all areas (reception, rooms, restaurants, bars, beach, pools, water park, entertainment, sports, shops, spa, transportation, elevators, groups, events, weddings) of the Bahía all-inclusive resort
  • Independent audits to validate the sanitary protocols

 4) Digital Services:

  • Offering check-in and pre-check-in digitally
  • Digital restaurant menus via QR-Code
  • Resort information via screens and displays in public areas

 When we have been at the Esmeralda Punta Cana, we particularly noted that the obligation for a face covering was strictly enforced. However, the staff was very gentle with everyone forgetting their mask, there were always disposable masks available for the guests in every place, doesn’t matter if it was a bar, the restaurants or the lobby. You were never turned away. As a matter of course all the employers wore their masks without exceptions.

 Another thing positively noted was that any table in restaurants, bars or the lobby, was properly disinfected and later labeled accordingly after each guest’s use. Therefore, you could rest assured that also highly frequented places were properly cleaned and Covid-19 free.

 When using the buffet during these times of Covid-19 in Punta Cana, you were always handed over a disposable glove when entering the food area, which is according to the protocol of the Dominican Republic’s ministry of health and tourism. With this glove, you were able to put the food on your plate on your own.

 Besides these particularly notable measures, you could note other Covid-19 regulations, which are pretty common nowadays in Punta Canas’ all-inclusive resorts but don’t impact your holiday in the Caribbean in any way. Some of these examples include plexiglass shields at the lobby or on bars, the temporary pause of parties or activities with close social interaction, floor markers for social distancing, the removal of some frequently touched items from the rooms and enhanced deep-cleaning in certain areas.

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.


 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). 

 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 modern rooms and an adults-only experience, you also can book a room at the neighboring hotel Bahía Principe Luxury Ambar.


The face behind Punta Cana Travel Blog: 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.


  2. Andyel Hernandez

    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

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