During your vacation in Punta Cana, you probably want to experience more than just your all-inclusive resort. That’s where this hand-selected list of the most amazing things-to-do in Punta Cana comes in handy. From my years of living in Punta Cana, experiencing all the activities and excursions on my own and compiling unique travel itineraries for guests, I know all of these attractions and places. Therefore I am happy to present you this ultimate list of the best things to do in Punta Cana and Bavaro (Dominican Republic), which will serve you as a perfect guide for your Punta Cana holiday. Make sure to bookmark it and save it to your favorites so that you have it always handy while on vacation in Punta Cana.
- Top things to do in Punta Cana: the best of the best
- Things to do in Punta Cana: visit Punta Canas’ beaches
- Enjoy Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana’s most popular beach
- Visit Macao Beach, the local beach in Punta Cana
- Visit exclusive Cap Cana and its famous white beaches
- Things to do in Punta Cana: have fun in the water
- Sail with a catamaran (booze cruise, party boat, snorkeling)
- A trip to Saona Island
- Isla Catalina – the little sister of Isla Saona
- Go scuba diving
- Charter a yacht
- Blue Lagoon at Scape Park Cap Cana
- Things to do in Punta Cana: organized excursions
- Buggy Tour
- Countryside & Culture tours
- Whale watching in the Dominican Republic
- See Punta Cana from above
- Things to do in Punta Cana: day- and multi-day trips
- Visit Santo Domingo
- Discover the Los Haitises National Park
- Explore the beautiful Samaná peninsula
- Eat the freshest fish in Boca de Yuma
- Play golf at one of Punta Canas world-class golf courses
- Things to do in Punta Cana: unique excursions and out-of-the-box activities
- Fly to Bahía de las Águilas
- Photoshoot on the beach
- Professional Rum Tasting
- Punta Cana Cooking Class
- Punta Cana Overnight Adventure
- Things to do in Punta Cana: (DIY) adventures
- Hiking in Punta Cana
- Take stunning photos at Montaña Redonda
- Explore secluded waterfalls in Punta Cana
- Things to do in Punta Cana: local experiences
- Enjoy the local Punta Cana nightlife and/or visit Coco Bongo
- Visit a local supermarket
- Book an Airbnb in Punta Cana
- The best Punta Cana activities
- The best Punta Cana attractions, landmarks and things-to-see
Are you traveling as a family? Check out the 19 most amazing things to do in Punta Cana with kids for an unforgettable Caribbean holiday with your kids.
Are you interested in further Punta Cana tours? If so, check out our comprehensive Punta Cana Excursion Guide with the most exciting 40+ activities for your vacation.
For further adventurous activities incl. some DIY activities, check out the best Punta Cana adventures here.
COMPLETELY UPDATED: December 2022
Top things to do in Punta Cana: the best of the best
As you can see when reading this article with over 30 things to do in Punta Cana, there are tons of activities, places to visit and attractions in Punta Cana. It all depends on what you’d like to experience: a comfortable guided excursion in Punta Cana, an unforgettable outdoor adventure in Punta Cana, an easy day with your family along Punta Canas’ beaches or a cool but chilled day trip to some of the best things to see in Punta Cana.
If you don’t want to read a lot and are rather just looking for quick recommendations, here are the 10 top things to do in Punta Cana while on vacation – depending on which type of traveler you are:
- For beach lovers: explore popular, beautiful and local Macao Beach
- For families: visit Scape Park Punta Cana with its amazing Punta Cana attractions (including the Blue Lagoon) or head to Montaña Redonda with its giant swings
- For water lovers: head on a snorkeling respectively catamaran excursion in Punta Cana
- For nature lovers: go on a hiking trip, either on your own or on a guided excursion with a local guide*
- For road-trip lovers: rent a car and visit one of the attractions near Punta Cana
- For adventurers: go ziplining, book a dune buggy excursion or – if you’re looking for DIY adventures – spend a night out from Punta Cana (see section “Punta Cana Overnight Adventure” below)
- For night owls: get a ticket for spectacular Coco Bongo or explore the local nightlife of Punta Cana
- For couples: book a romantic photo shoot at a pristine beach* or organize a romantic dinner at the beach
- For food lovers: head to some of the best restaurants in Punta Cana, among them Noah, La Palapa, Nakamura or Herman 311
- For penny pinchers: visit some of the best Dominican Republics’ beaches, waterfalls and local Colmados (all for free) and read the best things to do for free in Punta Cana
That’s just a quick summary of the top things to do in Punta Cana. You can find additional explanations further below in the article or with the links provided.
Alternatively, if you’re just looking for a regular excursion in Punta Cana and are not interested in any DIY adventures in Punta Cana or own explorations, you can check out the following top things to do in Punta Cana, which are based on customer reviews. Those hand-picked excursions have a close to 100% satisfaction guarantee as at least 94% of all guests were super happy with the excursion. They are the best of the best you can find online. As always at Punta Cana Travel Blog, animal activities or tours with animals in captivity are not considered in this selection.
Things to do in Punta Cana: visit Punta Canas’ beaches
Enjoy Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana’s most popular beach
Bavaro Beach is without a doubt the No. 1 beach in Punta Cana and one of the must things to do in Bavaro. Beautiful, popular, an endless stretch of finest sand, blueish-turquoise ocean, swaying palm trees and cool beach clubs – Bavaro Beach has everything you can ask for from a perfect Caribbean beach. Furthermore, many all-inclusive resorts are lined along this beach, so chances are high that you are staying at or close to Bavaro Beach during your Punta Cana vacation.
Playa Bavaro, which is its name in Spanish, consists of various parts, such as Playa Bibijagua, Corales, Cortecito and Arena Gorda. It offers 12 miles of uninterrupted sandy beach, so if you fancy a beach walk in Punta Cana, you can walk the whole day without your feet leaving the sand. But also if you are not into a stroll at the beach, you can enjoy the amazing scenery Bavaro Beach offers while sipping on a delicious tropical cocktail, either in your all-inclusive resort or in one of the various beach clubs. Bavaro Beach is an attraction in Punta Cana by itself and is one of the must-do places in Punta Cana.
How to get there: Bavaro Beach is best accessible via Corales and El Cortecito, which can be reached by public transport, taxi, Uber or car rental (check prices here*). Chances are that your accommodation is also located right at Playa Bavaro.
Cost: beach access is for free
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: Bavaro Beach (incl. its neighboring beaches) is the No. 1 beach in Punta Cana, so it is a not-to-miss attraction in Punta Cana
– The Top 10 best beaches in Punta Cana
– Bavaro Beach – Punta Cana’s main beach
– The best beaches in the Dominican Republic
Visit Macao Beach, the local beach in Punta Cana
If you prefer the local things to do in Punta Cana, you shouldn’t miss Macao Beach. For the Dominicans, this is the most popular beach in Punta Cana. If you have a look at the photos, you know why. Furthermore, it offers you one of the best options in Punta Cana to eat freshly grilled fish right at the beach for less than 10 USD. You can also take surfing lessons*, walk along the beach, capture fantastic photos or have drinks prepared from the locals. If you have a dip into the ocean be extra careful as Macao Beach is known to have strong currents.
If you want to make your visit to Macao Beach a bit more special, you can check out Playa Escondida, a little secret spot when it comes to things to see in Punta Cana. You can reach Playa Escondida from the east end of Macao Beach through a short 15-minute trail.
How to get there: Playa Macao is located north of the main hotel zone of Punta Cana and can be best reached by rental car (check prices here*) or taxi.
Cost: beach access is for free
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: Macao Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Punta Cana and a perfect opportunity to get a quick glimpse of local villages and to eat freshly caught fish
– The Top 10 best beaches in Punta Cana
– Macao Beach – resorts, hidden gems, activities and restaurants at Punta Cana’s most beautiful beach
– The best beaches in the Dominican Republic
Visit exclusive Cap Cana and its famous white beaches
If you are a fan of particular white beaches and want to get to know the exclusive community of Punta Cana, where even celebrities and VIPs are spending their holiday, then you should head to Cap Cana. This part of Punta Cana south of the airport is one of the newest tourist attractions in Punta Cana, as it was only developed in recent years.
Cap Cana is dominated by high-end resorts, pretentious villas and elegant beach clubs. Furthermore, it comes with some of the whitest beaches in the entire Dominican Republic, among them Playa Blanca (“White Beach”) and Playa Juanillo (“Juanillo Beach”). If you are interested to see this part of Punta Cana, make sure to put it on your to-do-list for Punta Cana.
How to get there: Cap Cana can only be accessed by Punta Cana car rental or taxi if staying there or visiting a restaurant. When accessing Cap Cana without accommodation booking, you can head towards Api Beach Club or Juanillo Beach Club.
Cost: beach access is for free
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: you shouldn’t miss the whitest beaches of Punta Cana.
– The Top 10 best beaches in Punta Cana
– The best beaches in the Dominican Republic
Things to do in Punta Cana: have fun in the water
Sail with a catamaran (booze cruise, party boat, snorkeling)
When you come to the Caribbean and especially the Dominican Republic, probably one of the first ideas which come to your mind when thinking about a typical thing-to-do in Punta Cana is sailing with a catamaran along the colorful Caribbean Sea. Punta Cana makes this dream reality, as there are plenty of catamaran excursions to choose from. Most of them include a snorkeling stop and some time at the natural swimming pool off-shore from Punta Canas’ beaches. Some are more relaxed and family-friendly, other Punta Cana catamaran excursions are perfectly suitable as a booze cruise with a lot of fun and alcohol. And if you are looking for a very special Punta Cana activity, you can also head on a rum-tasting catamaran tour or a sustainable snorkeling trip.
How to get there: most catamaran excursions in Punta Cana include pick-up at your accommodation
Cost: starting from 50 USD per person, a bit more for premium excursions (check out the best Punta Cana catamaran trip here*)
Why is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: relax on board a catamaran and enjoy stunning views of Punta Cana’s coastline
– the best Punta Cana catamaran tours – booze cruises, private catamarans, party boats & more
A trip to Saona Island
If you love the idea of a catamaran trip in Punta Cana but would like to head to a specific destination, why not book an excursion to Isla Saona? In particular, as a holiday in Punta Cana isn’t complete without seeing the paradise island of Isla Saona, this tour is one of your top things to do while on vacation in Punta Cana.
Picture-perfect beaches, swaying palm trees, catamarans anchoring in ultra-turquoise water and a Caribbean charm that is hard to resist are some of the key points of an excursion to Saona Island. Furthermore, the tour by boat lives up its dream of cruising with a catamaran through the open ocean while sipping on a drink and admire the surrounding scenery.
Even Isla Saona as a famous tourist attraction in the Dominican Republic receives many tours and tourists, it is a must-see during your vacation and one of the top places to visit in Punta Cana and beyond. And if you like to visit Saona Island far off-the-beaten-track check out further below the proposal for the Punta Cana Overnight Adventure in the section of the most unique things to do in Punta Cana.
Pro tip: if you want to make the most out of your excursion to Saona Island, you can also book a premium tour*. Those include better services, different (and usually less visited places) as well as smaller groups.
How to get there: most excursions include hotel pick-up in Punta Cana. If not, you can book yourself a private transfer from Punta Cana to the La Romana area, where the boat dock is located and where the Isla Saona excursions are starting.
Cost: starting from 70 USD per person (incl. hotel-pick up in Punta Cana – check out an affordable Saona tour here*)
Why is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: Saona Island is the epitome of paradise and welcomes you with unforgettable scenery
– Excursion to Isla Saona – everything you need to know for your hassle-free Isla Saona tour
– How to find the best Private Tours to Isla Saona and Isla Catalina?
– The best beaches in the Dominican Republic
Isla Catalina – the little sister of Isla Saona
Isla Catalina is another thing to do in Punta Cana when it comes to catamaran excursions. This natural attraction close to La Romana, around an hour away from Punta Cana, is particularly interesting. It is much less frequented than Isla Saona and offers a better catamaran experience (because both ways are by catamaran and not just one way as for Isla Saona) and better snorkeling conditions. Even though the scenery might not be as spectacular as Isla Saona, you still can have a perfect day when heading towards Catalina Island. Fun on the catamaran, relaxing on the beach, some nice photo opportunities and food and drinks as much as you want are some of the key characteristics of this tour, which makes it an attractive place to visit in Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic. For further information on this excursion, check out my comprehensive guide about Isla Catalina here.
How to get there: most excursions include hotel pick-up in Punta Cana. If not, you can book yourself a private transfer from Punta Cana to the boat dock in La Romana, where the Isla Catalina excursions are starting.
Cost: starting from 80 USD per person (incl. hotel-pick up in Punta Cana) (check prices and details here*)
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: when it comes to a catamaran excursion, Catalina Island is like a hidden gem as it is often overlooked besides all the Isla Saona excursions and Punta Cana booze cruises
– Isla Catalina – less-frequented island excursion to paradise
– How to find the best Private Tours to Isla Saona and Isla Catalina?
Go scuba diving
If you need more exercise and activity than just cruising on a catamaran, how about scuba diving in Punta Cana?
While the Dominican Republic can’t compete with the famous diving spots in the world such as the Maledives, the Red Sea or Indonesia, it still offers some decent diving, either right at the coast of Punta Cana, within the bay of Samaná or at the aforementioned Isla Saona and Isla Catalina.
Most dive operators pick you up right at your all-inclusive resort or Airbnb, so just book your trip with one of the various diving schools and enjoy one of those fun things to do in Punta Cana. Scuba diving in Punta Cana is also a great Dominican Republic outdoor activity, especially if you prefer water over land-based options.
How to get there: most dive operators pick you up from your accommodation or are located just a short walk away on the beach.
Cost: a single-dive starts at 40 USD
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: as a passionate diver, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to get the Dominican Republic into your logbook
Further information: Scuba Diving in Punta Cana – your full guide with the best dive sites & dive shops in Punta Cana
Charter a yacht
If you have ever dreamt of having your own yacht, you can fulfill this dream by ticking off this item from your to-do-list in Punta Cana. The most common areas are either the blue waters off the coast from Bavaro Beach or the marina and the surrounding turquoise waters in Cap Cana. If you book a private yacht, you can even cross from the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, as the geographical border is located right in Punta Cana at Cabo Engaño, one of the many things-to-see in Punta Cana. Some yacht charters also include snacks and drinks and if you are fancy, you can even go deep-sea fishing. If you’d rather like to do it like the rich and famous, book a luxury yacht, cruise along the coastline and sip on a glass of bubbly champagne – everything is possible in Punta Cana.
Last but not least, if you want to combine a yacht charter with two of the most important Punta Cana tourist attractions – Saona Island and Catalina Island – you can check out this post here with the best recommendations for private tours to both islands.
How to get there: depending on your booking, your yacht or catamaran charter either starts along Bavaro Beach or at the marina of Cap Cana. Check the description if a transfer from your accommodation is included.
Cost: starting from 500 USD per group
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: cruising in style on a private catamaran or an exclusive yacht along the shores of Punta Cana and enjoying the Caribbean Sea can be hardly beaten.
– how to find the best Private Tours to Isla Saona and Isla Catalina?
– the best Punta Cana catamaran tours – booze cruises, private catamarans, party boats & more
Blue Lagoon at Scape Park Cap Cana
Blue Lagoon in Punta Cana is one of the most searched tourist attractions here at Punta Cana Travel Blog. It is one of the top things to do while on vacation in Punta Cana and shouldn’t be missed during your holiday. If you want to know why, just check out the photos and you will see these incredible blue colors, which seem too good to be true. But this crazy azure color indeed is reality, so make sure you don’t miss swimming in this crystal-clear water hole, which is fed by a subterranean river.
Blue Lagoon, also known as Hoyo Azul, is located at Scape Park Punta Cana, a tropical amusement park in the southern area of Punta Cana. It is not possible to visit Blue Lagoon as an individual attraction. You need to purchase a full-day ticket for Scape Park Cap Cana* to gain access to Hoyo Azul. This makes it a bit pricey to visit this amazing place, but it’s well worth it as it is one of the must-do’s in Punta Cana. Furthermore, Scape Park Cap Cana comes with many other attractions such as the amazing water splash Zipline and some beautiful artificial waterfalls, so you can have a full day of fun in this theme park with its focus on water adventures and tropical feeling.
Thanks to the many water activities, Scape Park is a particularly great family excursion in Punta Cana.
How to get there: if you purchase your ticket for Scape Park Cap Cana in advance, your transfer from your all-inclusive resort or Airbnb in Punta Cana is included
Cost: 129 USD per person (check current promotions here*)
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: the azure color of this Mexican-style cenote is unique in Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic and therefore a thing not to miss
– Scape Park Cap Cana – a tropical theme park with a zipline and blue lagoon in Punta Cana
– Hoyo Azul, the famous Blue Lagoon in Punta Cana
Things to do in Punta Cana: organized excursions
Especially when you are on vacation in one of the several all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana, guided excursions are one of the best things-to-do in Punta Cana during your stay as you can see a lot of different attractions or have multiple activities in a short time. One of the most popular activities in Punta Cana among those tours is Ziplining as it combines action, adrenaline and the beautiful bird’s eye view of tropical nature.
There are several zipline courses in Punta Cana, which are explained in this article. Most of them have some unique features, so make sure to book the best ziplining tour for your needs. While one of the ziplines of above mentioned Scape Park Punta Cana ends right in the water and offers distant ocean views, the 12 cables of Bavaro Runners lead you through the lush vegetation of the Anamuya Mountains*. If you prefer an all-in-one package with ziplining, you can check out Bavaro Adventure Park* and if you want a more low-key experience, check out La Hacienda Park*. As you can see, even if you just go ziplining, there are many different places to visit in Punta Cana.
How to get there: all ziplining excursions include a transfer from your accommodation and back
Cost: starting from 65 USD per person (promotions sometimes as low as 55 USD) (check out ziplining tours here*)
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: ziplining and seeing Punta Cana from above is one of the most fun things to do, considering the adrenaline you will experience
Further information: the best ziplining adventures in Punta Cana
If ziplining is not your cup of tea but you want to have as much fun and action as when flying in the air, you should consider a buggy tour in Punta Cana. Those excursions with dune buggies, ATVs, Polaris or Terracross vehicles are some of the most popular things to do in Punta Cana and are guaranteeing a lot of fun.
Buggy tours are available for all kinds of travelers. You can book a dune buggy excursion for as cheap as 40 USD per person if you’re traveling to Punta Cana on a budget and just would like to have some fun and get dirty. If you want to wander off-the-beaten-track, the Flintstones Buggy Adventure* is highly recommended (see my comprehensive Punta Cana dune buggy guide for more information) and for the adrenaline junkies around you, you should check out these amazing extreme buggy adventures* (you can also find a detailed review about this tour here), which takes you far away from Punta Cana with many beautiful places to visit and some of the best hidden gems in Punta Cana.
How to get there: all buggy excursions include a transfer from your accommodation and back
Cost: starting from 55 USD per person (promotions sometimes as low as 40 USD)
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: buggy excursions are a lot of fun and if you choose one of the options mentioned above, you visit off-the-beaten-track places and attractions in Punta Cana you would otherwise never have seen.
Further information: The best dune buggy adventure tours in Punta Cana (Tested and hand-picked)
Countryside & Culture tours
Learning about the Dominican culture is one of the most important things to do in Punta Cana to better understand the customs and traditions of the country. While a lot of excursions in Punta Cana are offering some chocolate tasting or a quick glimpse of local fruits, particular tours like those shown in the widget below are focusing on the culture and the people of the Dominican Republic.
Usually, you get to visit a local house in the countryside, attend the chocolate making and coffee grinding process, learn more about rum and cigars and – depending on the tour – visit a school, the local market or other crucial spots of the Dominican daily life. While this does not sound as much fun as speeding around with a dune buggy or hopping on a catamaran to Isla Saona, it gives you a much deeper insight into the important topics of the local Dominicans. When heading on such a countryside and culture tour, you will definitely see places to visit in Punta Cana you would have otherwise not seen and return home with many insights other travelers in Punta Cana don’t have learned.
How to get there: all countryside and cultural excursions include a transfer from your accommodation and back
Cost: starting from 55 USD per person (check out the best-rated countryside tour here*)
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: you learn a lot about Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic you otherwise would have missed
Whale watching in the Dominican Republic
You can’t only learn about the culture and the people when going on an excursion in Punta Cana, you can also learn about the unique nature of the Dominican Republic, such as the impressive humpback whales. These huge mammals are visiting the Bay of Samaná north of Punta Cana each year between January and March, which turns this area into the most popular whale-watching spot in the entire Caribbean and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Dominican Republic. Sounds like a cool thing to do in Punta Cana, doesn’t it?
Whale watching excursions from Punta Cana are usually starting every day during whale watching season, which lasts from mid of January to mid/end of March more or less. You can see the huge humpback whales pretty close while on the boat. With a bit of luck, those huge mammals, weighing up to 30 tons, are even swimming right next to you. If this sounds like something exciting for you, continue reading this extensive whale watching guide for Punta Cana here.
How to get there: all whale-watching excursions include a transfer from your accommodation and back
Cost: starting from 180 USD per person (see the best whale watching tour here*)
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: it is just an unbelievable feeling to see the huge humpback whales from a very short distance (as close as 30 feet) and definitely a must do in Punta Cana
Further information: Whale watching in the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana/Samaná)
See Punta Cana from above
Ok, Ziplining is a great way to feel like flying but if you really would like to go up into the air, a helicopter tour is one of your top things to do in Punta Cana while on vacation. Especially the coastline of Bavaro is a popular area to see from above as you can spot the impressive play of colors, consisting of the turquoise ocean, the white beaches and the green countryside, dotted by blue lagoons and rivers and some rolling hills.
If you’d like to have an extended helicopter excursion where you visit some of the attractions in Punta Cana instead of just flying over, you can check out some of the following options which all guarantee unique experiences for your vacation in the Dominican Republic:
– Santo Domingo excursion by airplane*
– Samaná excursion by airplane*
– Whale-watching excursion by airplane*
– Saona Island by helicopter*
– Bahía de las Águilas by airplane* (further details on this tour can be found below in the section with the most unique things to do Punta Cana)
How to get there: in case the transfer from your accommodation is not included (it usually is), you can find the heliport on the main highway connecting Punta Cana and Bavaro
Cost: starting from 99 USD per person (check the cheapest helicopter excursion here*)
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: see Punta Cana from the bird’s eye view with stunning photo opportunities is hard to beat and perfect when you’re looking for spectacular options of what to do in Punta Cana
Further information: the best Punta Cana helicopter tours (incl. air tours and excursions by plane)
Things to do in Punta Cana: day- and multi-day trips
Visit Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo is a must-do when traveling to the Dominican Republic. It is reachable from most all-inclusive resorts in around 2.5 hours, which makes it a perfect day-trip from Punta Cana. The historic district of the capital, called Colonial Zone, offers an amazing array of things-to-see. It is absolutely worth spending a couple of hours (or days) here to stroll around and breathe in the colonial vibe of Santo Domingo.
When visiting Santo Domingo, you have plenty of options. The two most common ones are either booking an organized excursion with a pick-up right from your accommodation in Punta Cana* or take the public express bus which runs between Punta Cana and Santo Domingo and explore the colonial town on your own.
If you would like to immerse yourself deeper into the colonial era, you can also plan to visit Santo Domingo with overnight accommodation (check out some unique places to stay in Santo Domingo here). This gives you more time to explore the several things to do in the capital, to enjoy the unique nightlife and to try out the local cuisine of the Colonial Zone with many informal eateries, which is such a big difference from Punta Cana. It is not without reason that the Dominicans love their Colonial Zone as well. If you need further ideas on why to visit the Zona Colonial, check out this article.
How to get there: you can either book a guided excursion from Punta Cana, a private transfer or head to Santo Domingo on your own with the public express bus
Cost: an excursion usually sells for around 90-100 USD (check out a recommendable tour here*), a private transfer for around 150 USD per way per group (see details on the private transfer here*) and the public bus for 8 USD per person per way + taxis from and to the station (depending on where your accommodation is located)
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: Santo Domingo is just a day trip from Punta Cana and the historical center of the Dominican Republic
– 10 reasons why you should visit the Zona Colonial of Santo Domingo
– The 27 best Airbnbs in Santo Domingo (hand-picked and recommended)
– Public buses and private transportation between Santo Domingo and Punta Cana
– 23 exciting things-to-do in Santo Domingo (and 5 NOT to do)
Discover the Los Haitises National Park
Los Haitises National Park is one of the top things to do in Punta Cana regarding nature. It is one of the most popular national parks in the Dominican Republic and a must-visit when it comes to natural attractions in and around Punta Cana.
Los Haitises National Park offers beautiful and multifaceted nature and wildlife. Usually, you can explore the park by boat and see frigate birds, mangroves and caves with ancient rock paintings. This boat tour is included in all the excursions starting in Punta Cana*, which usually involves a 2.5-hour bus ride as well.
If you prefer to discover the park more individually, you can also head to Los Haitises from Punta Cana with a rental car (check rental car price here*) and throw in some other stops on the way, such as Montaña Redonda or Playa Esmeralda. Furthermore, you also have the option to stay a night in the national park, as it not only features two amazing eco-lodges surrounded by waterfalls, but it also breaks up the journey, so that you have more time to enjoy the stunning nature instead of driving in the car all day.
How to get there: if you book a guided excursion, a transfer from your accommodation is included in your package. If you rent a car, it is a straight and easy drive from Punta Cana to Sabana de la Mar. From here, it is a 25-minute dirt road and pothole-filled ride until you reach the gateway of the park.
Cost: an excursion to Los Haitises sells for around 150 USD (check details and lowest prices here*). If you rent a car it should be around 50 USD per vehicle per day, and boat tours through the park can be negotiated depending on the group size. For overnight stays at the eco-lodge of the park, you can check prices here*.
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: Los Haitises offers abundant wildlife with endemic species only present in this national park
Further information: Los Haitises National Park – a wonderful excursion or road-trip from Punta Cana
Explore the beautiful Samaná peninsula
Samaná is often referred to as one of the most beautiful regions in the Dominican Republic, which I can confirm 100%. I also see Samaná mentioned pretty often in some to-do-lists for day-trips in Punta Cana, which I usually don’t agree, because people underestimate the distance from Punta Cana to Samaná. Therefore I would not recommend the land-/boat excursions from Punta Cana to the Samaná peninsula, as you spend too much time driving around instead of enjoying your vacation in the Dominican Republic.
However, there are two ways how you still can enjoy this particular attraction in the Dominican Republic, the Samaná peninsula with its unparalleled amount of pristine beaches and millions of coconut palm trees, even if staying in Punta Cana. The first option is a helicopter or plane excursion, which brings you in less than 45 minutes to the peninsula, ready to enjoy the many things to do in this area, such as hiking to the beautiful Salto El Limón, visiting famous Playa Rincón and seeing some of the typical fishing villages.
The second option is a road-trip from Punta Cana, which can last 3 days or more, depending on your (time) budget. This is the most individual way of exploring Samaná from Punta Cana and you won’t regret it, as you can see in this self-drive tour itinerary for Samaná.
How to get there: via land, Samaná is a straight 4-hour drive from Punta Cana. Alternatively, you can take the plane.
Cost: the plane excursion is available for around 300 USD (check tour details here*). A Samaná road-trip from Punta Cana can be customized to your travel budget.
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: Samaná is widely known as the most beautiful region in the Dominican Republic
– The 22 most beautiful beaches in Samaná
– Samaná 3-day itinerary from/to Punta Cana – the most beautiful region in the Dominican Republic
– The best Punta Cana helicopter tours (incl. air tours and excursions by plane)
Eat the freshest fish in Boca de Yuma
If the option of a road-trip does sound interesting for you, but you don’t want to spend a night away from Punta Cana, Boca de Yuma might be the perfect destination for you. It is around an hour away from Punta Cana and the perfect place to visit if you want to explore Punta Cana off-the-beaten-track, but don’t head too far.
Boca de Yuma is a fishing village along the southern coast of the Dominican Republic with many things to do and see. You can rent a little fishing boat and explore a pristine beach, you can enjoy the views from the steep cliffs, walk to an underground lagoon with crystal-clear waters or watch the locals jumping into “Hoyo El Zumbador”, a natural pool filled with saltwater.
After exploring, you should head to one of the local oceanfront restaurants with a breathtaking view. Each of them serves delicious fresh fish, accompanied with typical Dominican sides such as tostones (fried plantains) or Moro (rice with beans seasoned Dominican style), usually for less than 10 USD. As Boca de Yuma is still a hidden gem among the things to do in Punta Cana, you will most likely only find some Dominican day-trippers here.
How to get there: the best is to rent a car in Punta Cana (or a private driver) and head towards Boca de Yuma via the main highway to La Romana. Take the Higuey/Yuma turnoff and pass San Rafael de Yuma until you reach Boca de Yuma.
Cost: A rental car should cost you around 50 USD per day incl. full insurance (check rental car prices incl. insurance in Punta Cana here*)
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: Boca de Yuma is one of the closest off-the-beaten-track destinations in Punta Cana and offers some of the best (local) fish restaurants you can find in the area
Play golf at one of Punta Canas world-class golf courses
Playing golf surely is not a day-trip per sé, but it is hard to fit it into any other category of what to do in Punta Cana. Irrespective of the category, playing golf is a must-do in Punta Cana (if it is among your interests), as the east of the Dominican Republic (incl. La Romana, approx. 1 hour away from Punta Cana) features more than a dozen golf courses, among them several which are rated into the Top 10 of the entire Caribbean. The most famous golf courses include La Cana, Punta Espada as well as the golf courses in Casa de Campo, such as Dye Fore and Teeth of the Dog. All of them feature many ocean-view holes, which makes it particularly pleasant to play golf when looking for activities in Punta Cana.
How to get there: if your main activity during your vacation in Punta Cana is playing golf, it is recommendable to book a hotel right at the golf course or with free transfers included for golfers. Recommendable golf hotels and resorts in Punta Cana are The Westin Punta Cana*, Paradisus Palma Real*, Hard Rock Punta Cana, Eden Roc Cap Cana* and Casa de Campo Resort & Villas* in La Romana.
Cost: some hotels (check the options above) are even including green fees, but regular tea times are starting at 100 USD per person.
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: Punta Cana is the No. 1 golf destination in the Caribbean and therefore the top choice for your golf holiday.
Things to do in Punta Cana: unique excursions and out-of-the-box activities
If you are one of the extremely creative holiday planners and are wondering what is there to do in Punta Cana, this section with the most spectacular and out-of-the-box activities is for you. Particularly if you’re looking for a present besides the ordinary catamaran, ziplining or dune buggy excursions or if you simply want to experience the most unique things to do in Punta Cana, this section is for you.
Fly to Bahía de las Águilas
It is hard to decide which of the things to do in Bavaro in this section is the most spectacular Punta Cana activity, but this unique flight excursion to one of the Dominican Repúblics most beautiful beaches is definitely one of the top things to do for couples if looking for an extraordinary experience, for example, if you need a present for a very special occasion.
Bahía de las Águilas often gets named the best beach in the Dominican Republic and also our very own selection of the most gorgeous beaches in the country (you can read the article soon here) is coming to the same result: Bahía de las Águilas simply is a must-do in the Dominican Republic. More than 3 miles of finest and white sand on an absolutely untouched and pristine beach without any infrastructure (add more adjectives for superlatives if you like) is simply mindblowing and exceptional.
The only drawback of Bahía de las Águilas is that it is a whopping 9-hour drive away from Punta Cana, which means it is usually inaccessible for a day trip IF there wouldn’t be the unique airplane excursions from Punta Cana to Bahía de las Águilas.
The great thing is that it is not only a quick flight there and back, you spend a full day at Bahía de las Águilas and the surrounding area. It also includes the boat ride, as the airport in Cabo Rojo is a few minutes away from the beach. Usually, you also have a delicious lunch at the spectacular beach included, but make sure to check the excursion details* for more information.
How to get there: only with a flight excursion, which can be booked here*
Cost: currently (January 2023), the price is around 490 USD. Check for promotions here*.
Why is it one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: having the chance to visit the most beautiful and deserted beach in the Dominican Republic is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
– the best beaches in the Dominican Republic
– Bahía de las Águilas – hotels, glamping, beach info, things-to-do and a secret+quick way to get there
Photoshoot on the beach
Ok, you are looking for some cool and unique things to do in Punta Cana for couples but an excursion by airplane is exceeding your budget by a few hundred dollars?
How about a photo shoot on the beach? It is not a must-do in Punta Cana but it is a great chance for you to capture those special holiday moments with a professional photographer. If you’re traveling to Punta Cana as a couple, this is also a chance to get those romantic photos with your partner you’ve always dreamed of.
Booking a photographer in Punta Cana is easy. Check out the offers at the widget below, but make sure to check reviews and included services before. Usually, you meet your personal photographer at the beach.
You can also book a photo session right in your resort in Punta Cana, but in this case, you don’t have the chance to compare prices and reviews.
How to get there: usually the photographers meet you right at the beach
Cost: starting from 100 USD and up (check prices here*)
Why is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: a photo shoot is a unique memory from your Punta Cana holiday you can’t get elsewhere
Professional Rum Tasting
If you’re looking for a very affordable but still creative activity in Punta Cana, how about a professional rum tasting in Punta Cana? It is a pretty cool way to get to know one of the most authentic products the Dominican Republic is producing and which enjoys a worldwide reputation.
What makes this a unique thing to do in Punta Cana? The way this rum tasting is done!
It is not simply a random tasting of 4 or 5 shots, it is indeed an extensive Punta Cana rum tour with a professional taster (Catador), who explains everything about the history of rum and the differences between the various rums you are going to try. And you’re not simply trying a random cheap rum from the back of the storage rooms, you get 4 Dominican ultra-premium rums, which are so exclusive that you even don’t get them in your resort. Trust me, I am a rum lover and know the prices of these rums – they are not taking the cheapish stuff!
A professional Punta Cana rum tasting is a pretty affordable and unique thing to do in Punta Cana and also a great option in case it is raining.
How to get there: the professional rum tasting includes pick-up at your resort (check the excursion description for details*)
Cost: approx. 25 USD per person (check available dates and current pricing here*)
Why is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: instead of drinking endless cocktails at your resort, you get to know some valuable information about a very important Dominican product
Further information: rum tours in Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic
Punta Cana Cooking Class
In case you don’t like alcohol but still want to learn more about the culinary delights of the Dominican Republic, how about a cooking class? This is a great Punta Cana activity if you want to bring home some recipes with having them tried before under expert instructions.
A cooking class gives you the chance to meet like-minded travelers (interested in cooking and Dominican (cooking) culture), learn more about the local products (all the things you wanted to ask at your resort you can ask the chef and guide of this cooking class) and have fun while trying out different techniques. You’ll also have a great meal after preparing the dish(es) which makes it a great thing to do in Bavaro – and another great option in case it is raining in Punta Cana for a day.
How to get there: cooking classes usually include pick-up at your accommodation (check details here*)
Cost: it varies, but count with around 60 to 90 USD per person (check details here*)
Why is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: a very unique activity where you learn more about the local cooking culture
Punta Cana Overnight Adventure
If you’re looking for the ultimate unique things to do in Punta Cana and a truly spectacular out-of-the-box adventure, you should check out the following proposal which is one of my favorite trips from Punta Cana to get away completely from the beaten tourist tracks and see some of the most secluded and beautiful places to visit in the Dominican Republic.
When planning your vacation to Punta Cana, you probably have heard of Saona Island, one of the most famous tourist attractions in the Dominican Republic. While this is pretty touristy and definitely not an out-of-the-box place to visit in Punta Cana (even though it is actually a must-do), there is a way to experience Isla Saona completely off the beaten track.
The key to this experience is Mano Juan, a small village on Saona Island, located behind the various tourist beaches and basically forgotten from any tour or infrastructure. This is a small village with only around 300 inhabitants, where you can experience the Caribbean as it has been in most places in the 70s or 80s. It is incredibly charming, the colors of the houses are magnificent and with the main village beach as well as Canto de la Playa (approx. 1-hour walk away) you have two stunning and beautiful beaches. Canto de la Playa is even one of the most gorgeous beaches in the Dominican Republic.
To stay there, I recommend Saona Beach House*, but there are 1 or 2 more small guesthouses in Mano Juan. Note that you won’t have 24 hours electricity in Mano Juan, but usually, it is enough to charge your batteries. A daily ferry / local boat is running between Bayahibe and Mano Juan every day at 09:30 am from Bayahibe and around 2.30 pm from Mano Juan. Double-check times before you’re going.
How to get there: head to Bayahibe with a rental car from Punta Cana, private transfer or taxi and take the ferry to Mano Juan (find more options here on how to get easily from Punta Cana to La Romana and Bayahibe)
Cost: transfer/rental car + ferry + guesthouse + ferry back + transfer/rental car back should be around 100 USD per person
Why is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: a simply stunning and ultimate adventure
Further information: Excursion to Isla Saona – everything you need to know for your hassle-free Saona Island Tour 2022
Things to do in Punta Cana: (DIY) adventures
Hiking in Punta Cana
While not the most popular thing to do in Punta Cana, hiking is an incredibly rewarding experience as you can enjoy the tropical vegetation, keep your body in shape and explore beautiful destinations off-the-beaten-track. While there are not many marked hiking trails in Punta Cana (as we are used to it in Europe or North America), there are several options to either go and explore different areas on your own if you are an experienced terrain hiker (just check out some of the GPS trails here) or to book a guided hiking excursion*, which can be incredibly rewarding as you will learn a lot from your experienced guides. Furthermore, all hiking excursions are usually held in (very) small groups, which is perfectly Covid-19 safe (check out other Covid-19 safe excursions in Punta Cana here) and guarantees you a more private experience.
Popular hiking destinations in Punta Cana include the Anamuya Mountains, Montaña Redonda, Salto de la Jalda or Los Haitises National Park. This diversity makes hiking a great Punta Cana activity, even though it requires some level of organisation.
How to get there: hiking excursions usually include transfers from your accommodation. If you’d like to venture out on your own, please check my advice and recommendations in my Punta Cana hiking guide
Cost: hiking on your own in Punta Cana is free. For a guided hiking excursion, you can plan with around 60 USD per person (check out the current hiking offer here*).
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: nature in the Dominican Republic is unique and very diverse. Furthermore, you can enjoy Punta Cana away from all the crowds and will have a little workout too.
Further information: Hiking in Punta Cana – the best excursions and trails
Take stunning photos at Montaña Redonda
One of the particular hiking options in Punta Cana is Montaña Redonda, even this is one of the few (hiking) destinations where you also might meet other people, as a few tour operators are including Montaña Redonda into their itineraries*.
Montaña Redonda is a very unique thing-to-see in Punta Cana, as it is a mountain with a spectacular 360-degree panorama surrounded by lush vegetation and untouched nature. The special features of Montaña Redonda are its giant swings and the cozy hammocks, both being set up right at the edge of the mountain, which allows for fantastic photo opportunities you can’t get anywhere else.
To get to this very special place to visit in Punta Cana, you can either take a safari truck up for a few dollars (included if you book a guided excursion) or – talking about hiking and adventures in Punta Cana – walk your way up on a short but very steep climb. Besides the unique features mentioned above, you get also rewarded with a cold Presidente beer once you reach the top.
How to get there: you can book a guided excursion to Montaña Redonda*, but you are more flexible with renting a car in Punta Cana. It is less than a 1-hour drive from Punta Cana on a well-maintained highway.
Cost: the entrance fee is around 2-3 USD per person. If you take the safari truck up, it is another 8-10 USD per person.
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: Montaña Redonda is a unique place to visit in the Dominican Republic, especially the swings are great fun and allow for spectacular photos and holiday memories.
Further information: Montaña Redonda in Miches – the instagrammable mountain with spectacular views
Explore secluded waterfalls in Punta Cana
Exploring waterfalls is probably the most recommendable thing to do in Punta Cana when it comes to adventures in the Dominican Republic. It is also my most favorite option to enjoy nature.
Even Punta Cana is not famous for its waterfalls as the region consists mainly of flat terrain, there is a surprising amount of options you can explore in the surrounding area, especially as mountains starting to soar less than an hour away from Punta Cana.
In total there are more than 10 different waterfalls you can reach from Punta Cana in under three hours – and there are some for every kind of traveler. Salto Alto de Bayaguana, Salto de Anamuya or the waterfalls at Paraíso Caño Hondo are easily accessible by car and don’t require any hike, hence they are perfect for some Punta Cana sightseeing. On the other side, you can reach Salto Socoa, Cascada Blanca or Hoyo El Zumbador by moderately challenging hikes, even you have to go with a guide for the two latter ones. And last but not least you can get prepared for the ultimate 8-hour hike to Salto de la Jalda, the Dominican Republics’ highest waterfall – the ultimate place to visit in Punta Cana for true adventurers.
How to get there: Punta Canas waterfalls are scattered all over the place. You can check out my comprehensive waterfall guide for further information.
Cost: waterfalls in Punta Cana are usually for free. Sometimes a small entrance fee (2-3 USD) is charged.
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: waterfalls are one of the best ways to connect with nature and are usually off-the-beaten-track, allowing you to enjoy the Dominican Republic without any other tourists
Further information: all waterfalls in Punta Cana reachable in under 3 hours
Things to do in Punta Cana: local experiences
As you can see, there are tons of options when looking for what is there to do in Punta Cana. If you still haven’t found the right activity or excursion, how about the following local experiences.
Enjoy the local Punta Cana nightlife and/or visit Coco Bongo
The local nightlife in Punta Cana is particularly suitable for those who would like to venture out of their all-inclusive resort to explore the Dominican sounds, rhythms and drinks. While you should exercise caution at night (leave your valuables at home, only use licensed taxis, don’t get too drunk – find more information in the full Punta Cana nightlife guide), there are a couple of spots where you can enjoy the local scene and dance the night away as the Dominicans are doing, especially in the Corales area (for the early night) and along Avenida España (all evening long until late at night).
If this sounds a bit too adventurous for you, you can also book a tour to Coco Bongo Punta Cana or Imagine, two of the best places to visit in Punta Cana at night. Even both are mainly catering to tourists, particularly with their packages including drinks, both are frequented by locals as well, especially during the weekend (Imagine currently only opens on Saturday). Coco Bongo even is one of the biggest night shows you can find in the entire Caribbean.
How to get there: For local nightlife, take a taxi to Avenida España. For Coco Bongo or Imagine, transfers from your accommodation are included if you book in advance.
Cost: usually, there is no or just a minimal cover when visiting local bars or clubs. For Coco Bongo, expect to pay around 80 USD for an all-inclusive experience. Check out Coco Bongo ticket options here*.
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: a vacation in Punta Cana is not perfect without exploring the nightlife outside of your resort.
– Coco Bongo Punta Cana – how to make the most out of this spectacular show and nightclub
– The ultimate Punta Cana nightlife guide: activities, bars, discos, areas, resort parties and nightclubs in Punta Cana
Visit a local supermarket
It might sound trivial, but visiting a local supermarket is one of the best options to get authentic impressions of the local life. It shouldn’t be counted as a tourist attraction in Punta Cana, but you not only see how the people are living, what they are buying and how the prices are in Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic, you also get the chance to buy popular souvenirs such as rum, chocolate, coffee or cigars for local prices, which are often cheaper by 50% or more compared to typical souvenir shops.
The biggest supermarkets in Punta Cana are Jumbo, Pola, Super Lama and Iberia. While the latter one is a bit shabby, the other three are perfect to buy groceries and souvenirs and are easily accessible from most all-inclusive resorts in Bavaro. If staying in the south of Punta Cana, you can also visit the supermarket “Nacional” at Blue Mall Punta Cana.
How to get there: all supermarkets are served by public transport. Alternatively, you can call a taxi or an Uber to get to the supermarkets mentioned above.
Cost: depending on what you buy. Check out the prices in Punta Cana here.
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: it is one of the most authentic ways to see the local life and a very cheap option to buy souvenirs
Further information: Is Punta Cana expensive? Learn everything about prices in Punta Cana!
Book an Airbnb in Punta Cana
There are hardly any better ways to immerse into local life than booking an Airbnb. While you are mostly not going to stay with Dominicans when booking an Airbnb, most listings include a host who can give you comprehensive information about your stay in Punta Cana – more personal, with additional insider tips and completely customized. That’s usually more what any hotel concierge can do for you. Booking an Airbnb in Punta Cana is the right thing to do if you would like to avoid the typical all-inclusive experience.
While Punta Cana’s all-inclusive resorts definitely have their right to exist and offer a tremendous amount of advantages, they are not for every type of traveler. Especially when you are looking for something unique, extraordinary and personal, an Airbnb might be the better choice, particularly considering that there are so many amazing stays out there.
To get the best overview of what is available, there is a selection of the 24 best Airbnbs in Punta Cana here on Punta Cana Travel Blog. Some of the most spectacular options are a romantic beach hut in Uvero Alto, a luxury penthouse with a private chef, a beachfront studio in Cap Cana or a family apartment in the heart of Bavaro. Renting an Airbnb is for sure not the most common thing to do in Punta Cana as visitors predominantly choose one of the many all-inclusive resorts, but is a great option to customize your holiday and be closer to some local Punta Cana sightseeing spots.
How to get there: the best Airbnbs are scattered all over Punta Cana, so make sure to check the map for the detailed location. All Airbnbs are reachable in not more than 30 minutes from the international airport in Punta Cana.
Cost: Airbnbs in Punta Cana are available for as low as 10 USD per night.
Why it is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana: it gives a different and unique touch to your vacation in Punta Cana
Further information: The 24 best Airbnbs in Punta Cana (hand-picked and recommended)
The best Punta Cana activities
Among the things to do in Punta Cana above, we mentioned already a lot of outdoor activities. Especially for those who are interested in getting to know the nature of the area, Punta Cana activities possible outdoor are perfect.
The following activities in Punta Cana are partially a repetition of the things to do mentioned above, but we thought that mentioning them separately in one compilation is perfect for those particularly looking for outdoor experiences and adventures in Punta Cana on their own.
Hiking is still my favorite Punta Cana activity. Even though there are no proper (sign-posted) hiking trails in Punta Cana, there are a lot of options if you go either with a guide or know how to navigate open terrain with a GPS. Particularly the Anamuya Mountains (around an hour away from Punta Cana) or the Cordillera Oriental (around 1.5 hours away from Punta Cana) are great destinations when looking for hiking opportunities.
Three of my favorite hikes are the Anamuya Mountains itself, the hike up to Loma Linda (+ Salto de los Mosquitos) and the adventurous trip to Salto de la Jalda. Check out the full Punta Cana hiking guide for further information.
Are you wondering what to do in Punta Cana if you’d love to explore the surroundings but don’t want to hike? Cycling is an option, even though it is not overly popular in this part of the country.
Advantages of when choosing cycling as your Punta Cana activity are the very flat terrain in the east of the Dominican Republic and the less trafficked roads compared to other parts of the country. Cons are the lack of bicycles to rent as well as the lack of cycling lanes (particularly as cars are not always paying attention to bicycles on the road) or mountain bike trails.
If you want to go cycling in Punta Cana, check out this guided mountain bike or e-bike excursion in Punta Cana* or contact Culebike in Higuey (+1 829 423 2995) if they can deliver some bikes for a couple of days to your resort.
If you check the beach section in the first part of the best things to do in Punta Cana, you see that particularly Bavaro Beach offers 12 miles of uninterrupted beach, guaranteeing the best conditions for one of the easiest but also most joyful Punta Cana activities: walking along the beach.
But don’t worry, even if your all-inclusive resort is not located along Playa Bavaro, you don’t have to miss out on this opportunity as many of Punta Canas’ beaches are long and gorgeous. Uvero Alto also features 5 miles of the finest sandy beach, while you can walk in Cabeza de Toro for at least 3 miles from one end to another.
Punta Cana is not the best snorkeling destination in the world, which is why it is not mentioned further above among the must-do’s in Punta Cana. However, it still marks a great Punta Cana activity if you love the ocean, if you know how to swim properly (currents always can occur even though most Punta Cana beaches are very safe) and if you bring your own snorkeling equipment. Like this, you can head into the water whenever you want, even though there are hardly any reefs accessible from the beach.
Alternatively, you can also check out a snorkeling excursion that brings you to a reef and provides snorkeling gear, along with other services such as drinks, a catamaran or boat ride, instructions and much more.
Scuba diving is already mentioned above among the best things to do in Punta Cana in the water, hence this is just a brief recap. Thanks to the various wrecks and reefs, Punta Cana scuba diving is definitely among the great outdoor activities in Punta Cana.
This list of Punta Cana activities is not complete, particularly as it mainly features typical outdoor activities. There are tons of additional activities which are not necessarily active or not necessarily outdoor, such as paragliding, road-tripping, shopping, dining, etc. – you find lots of these ideas further above among the top things to do in Punta Cana.
The best Punta Cana attractions, landmarks and things-to-see
Ok, let’s say you don’t want to take part in any excursion or tour in Punta Cana and rather prefer places you can visit on your own – either by walking, public transport or a car rental in Punta Cana. In big cities like New York, Paris or Bangkok, those things to see are usually called landmarks or attractions. As Punta Cana is not a city and also doesn’t have a traditional city center, there are not many of those places close to each other, but let’s still have a look at the best Punta Cana attractions and landmarks.
Attractions in Punta Cana
The following are the top 5 attractions in Punta Cana and around its resorts.
Bavaro Beach: Bavaro Beach is the top Punta Cana attraction in my opinion as it is free to visit and easy to get there. Plus it is indeed Punta Cana’s principal highlight as it features 12 miles of the finest uninterrupted sand and stunning ocean views. It is definitely one of the top things to do in Bavaro.
Macao Beach: Macao Beach is the most popular beach in Punta Cana among locals. Especially at the weekend, you can get an authentic impression of the local beach life here, which makes it a great attraction in Punta Cana.
Cabo Engaño: this is a very uncommon place to visit in Punta Cana, but it’s a great landmark in the Dominican Republic as it marks the confluence between the Atlantic and Caribbean Ocean. It is a rough place with lots of rocks and – depending on the weather – waves splashing high up. Cabo Engaño is best visited with a Punta Cana car rental or a scooter.
Blue Lagoon: when travelers are asking what to do in Punta Cana, Blue Lagoon is often at the top of their list. It might indeed be one of the leading attractions in Punta Cana, but it is only accessible through a Scape Park Cap Cana excursion and is rather expensive.
Hoyo Claro: if you are interested in lagoons and cenotes in Punta Cana, check out Hoyo Claro. It is not as crystal-clear as Blue Lagoon, but with a 5 USD entrance fee, it is a much more affordable Punta Cana attraction. Furthermore, you can also visit Hoyo Claro on your own and don’t need a guide, as it is approx. a 30-minute hike from its starting point on the highway leading from Punta Cana to La Romana.
Attractions near Punta Cana
If you have hired a rental car in Punta Cana, you can also check out the surrounding area. There are so many things to do in the east of the Dominican Republic. All of the following places to visit are reachable within 1 to 2 hours from Punta Cana and are – in my opinion – some of the best Punta Cana attractions and (natural) landmarks.
If you are not sure if renting a car is a good idea, check out this article where you’ll find all the information and guidelines about if you shall rent a car in Punta Cana.
Anamuya Waterfall: Punta Cana attractions outside of the main resort area are mostly natural things to see, such as waterfalls or mountain ranges. One of the closest waterfalls in Punta Cana is the Anamuya Waterfall (Salto de Anamuya) which can be reached pretty easily and without much hiking. It is a perfect place to spend a few hours chilling in the refreshing waters and to have a cold beer. Check out the Punta Cana waterfall guide for more instructions.
Montaña Redonda: Montaña Redonda is one of the most unique things to do in Punta Cana and a very prominent landmark. It’s a gentle hill, just about 600 feet above sea level with a stunning 360-degree panorama view. What makes it unique are its giant swings on the edge of the mountain, which guarantees some outstanding photos and long-lasting memories.
Salto de la Jalda: if you’re looking for a Punta Cana tourist attraction with a superlative, Salto de la Jalda is your must-do! It is the highest waterfall in the Dominican Republic and likely also in the Caribbean. However, getting there is not easy as it requires at least a 5-6 hour hike round-trip. Check out the Salto de la Jalda guide to learn more about this natural wonder.
Boca de Yuma: If you’re just looking for an easy half-day or day trip from Punta Cana which doesn’t require too much hiking or adventurous spirit, Boca de Yuma is a great place to visit around Punta Cana. It is just around an hour away and features gorgeous views of a rugged coastline, some interesting lagoons as well as authentic and affordable oceanfront restaurants, which are popular among Dominicans (hardly any international tourist is visiting here) and which prepare the freshest fish in the area.
Altos de Chavon: this is the only of the Punta Cana attractions mentioned in this section that is not a natural place to visit in Punta Cana and its surrounding. Altos de Chavon is a small village in a medieval Mediterranean design within the famous Casa de Campo Resort. It features stunning views of the Chavon River, an interesting atmosphere and is home to the impressive amphitheater which is often the place for prestigious events. Note that you have to pay the 25 USD entrance fee for Casa de Campo to visit Altos de Chavon.
What is your favorite thing to do in Punta Cana in 2023? Have you planned your vacation already? Let me know in the comments what you are keen to explore and what is your top attraction in Punta Cana on your personal to-do list!
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CHRISAuthor, 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.
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