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Punta Cana Visitors Guide

How to Get There, Things to Do & More

Last Updated on July 17, 2024 ⋅ Written by Vanessa Howard ⋅ Edited by Laura Schulthies

Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana
Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana

Welcome to Punta Cana

Welcome to the tropical wonderland of Punta Cana, where the sun always shines, and good times are a guarantee! Get ready for a fantastic journey as we explore all the fun and exciting things to do in this tropical paradise. Located in the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is a dreamy destination famous for its soft, sandy beaches and highly popular all inclusive resorts. But there is so much to do in the area. Whether you love the beach, want a jungle adventure, or just want to chill, Punta Cana’s got you covered. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the best of this beautiful island. So, kick back, relax, and let’s dive into all the fun you can have in Punta Cana. Your unforgettable island escape starts here!

Welcome to the tropical wonderland of Punta Cana, where the sun always shines, and good times are a guarantee! Get ready for a fantastic journey as we explore all the fun and exciting things to do in this tropical paradise.

Located in the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is a dreamy destination famous for its soft, sandy beaches and highly popular all inclusive resorts. But there is so much to do in the area. Whether you love the beach, want a jungle adventure, or just want to chill, Punta Cana’s got you covered.

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the best of this beautiful island. So, kick back, relax, and let’s dive into all the fun you can have in Punta Cana. Your unforgettable island escape starts here!

Dominican Republic Map

Dominican Republic Map

Contents

Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana
Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana

A Bit Of History

Punta Cana has a compelling history, as the area remained largely unknown until the twentieth century. In fact, until the mid-twentieth century, this part of the Dominican Republic was a lush jungle that was difficult to get to, even for the locals.

By the end of 1969, Punta Cana was on the map when a hotelier saw the potential in the area and began its tourist infrastructure. It quickly became popular with those looking for idyllic beaches and relaxation.

It didn’t take long for the underdeveloped are to become dotted with hotels, luxury all-inclusive resorts, restaurants and so much more.

Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana

Punta Cana Today

Today, Punta Cana is one of the top destinations in the Caribbean. Known as a benchmark location for all inclusive luxury resorts and some of the best hotels in the world, relaxation is the name of the game.

For those wanting to enjoy a slice of paradise on earth, you can’t do much better than beautiful Punta Cana. With over 30 miles of picturesque white sand beaches against turquoise waters, it’s no wonder it has become one of the most beloved destinations in the Dominican Republic.

Where Is Punta Cana?

click map to enlarge

Punta Cana lies on the eastern shore of the Dominican Republic, right at the junction of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The Dominican Republic is a country in the West Indies that occupies the eastern portion of Hispaniola. It is located in the Caribbean Sea and shares the island of Hispaniola with the country of Haiti.

Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana
Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana

Best Time to Visit Punta Cana?

The weather in Punta Cana is warm and mild, no matter the season or time of year. The average temperatures range from 80℉ (27ºC) to 87℉ (31ºC). This is ideal for sunny days spent on the beach in the warm Caribbean waters. This makes the best time to visit Punta Cana from March to May when the peak season rush subsides, but the warm weather remains.

The weather in Punta Cana is warm and mild, no matter the season or time of year. The average temperatures range from 80℉ (27ºC) to 87℉ (31ºC). This is ideal for sunny days spent on the beach in the warm Caribbean waters. This makes the best time to visit Punta Cana from March to May when the peak season rush subsides, but the warm weather remains.

January – February – Peak Season

January and February are peak season in Punta Cana. You’ll find more travelers during this time of year since the weather is tropical perfection. The average highs are in the low 80s, but you will likely see higher hotel rates and larger crowds. Rainfall isn’t likely during this time of year.

March – May – Best Time to Visit

The spring weather is sunny and breezy, and by March the crowds begin to trickle out of Punta Cana. From March to May, temperatures range from between 80℉ and 85℉ with a meager chance of rainfall. You’re technically in the shoulder season, making it easier to find deals on flights and accommodations.

June – October

Those traveling to Punta Cana during this time of year should keep in mind that the Dominican Republic experiences some of the effects of the Atlantic hurricane season. Typically, hurricane season lasts from the beginning of June through November, and temperatures remain in the high 80s during this time.

Punta Cana is known to face severe tropical storms. October is the absolute worst time to visit, as it’s the rainiest month. Consider travel insurance if you are traveling to Punta Cana from June to October.

November – December

The mid-season in Punta Cana, November and December, bring the end of the rainy hurricane summer months. Temperatures begin to drop to the lower 80s again, and waters are warm and pleasant during this time. However, nights can be a bit chilly at the end of the year so consider packing some layers.

January – February – Peak Season

January and February are peak season in Punta Cana. You’ll find more travelers during this time of year since the weather is tropical perfection. The average highs are in the low 80s, but you will likely see higher hotel rates and larger crowds. Rainfall isn’t likely during this time of year.

March – May – Best Time to Visit

The spring weather is sunny and breezy, and by March the crowds begin to trickle out of Punta Cana. From March to May, temperatures range from between 80℉ and 85℉ with a meager chance of rainfall. You’re technically in the shoulder season, making it easier to find deals on flights and accommodations.

June – October

Those traveling to Punta Cana during this time of year should keep in mind that the Dominican Republic experiences some of the effects of the Atlantic hurricane season. Typically, hurricane season lasts from the beginning of June through November, and temperatures remain in the high 80s during this time.

Punta Cana is known to face severe tropical storms. October is the absolute worst time to visit, as it’s the rainiest month. Consider travel insurance if you are traveling to Punta Cana from June to October.

November – December

The mid-season in Punta Cana, November and December, bring the end of the rainy hurricane summer months. Temperatures begin to drop to the lower 80s again, and waters are warm and pleasant during this time. However, nights can be a bit chilly at the end of the year so consider packing some layers.

  When Is Punta Cana Hurricane Season?

The Punta Cana hurricane season runs from June through November, with the highest risk months being August and September. During this time most travelers experience nothing worse than a few brief heavy rain showers and higher levels of humidity. Although the Dominican Republic does lie in the Caribbean hurricane belt, the island hasn’t been directly affected since Hurricane Jeanne in 2004. Be sure to check weather reports before your trip, and we always recommend getting travel insurance during these months just in case of inclement weather.

Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana
Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana

How To Get to Punta Cana

Getting to Punta Cana is easy and once you’re in this relaxing white sand paradise, it’s worth the journey.

Arrival by Air

Punta Cana has its own international airport, PUJ. Punta Cana International Airport is one of the Caribbean’s major airports and services over 50 international airlines with five terminals. The best part? Punta Cana can be reached in just a few hours from many major cities in North America.

You’ll need a valid passport to travel to Punta Cana for less than 30 days. For those visiting for more than 30 days, you can extend your stay for up to 120 days by applying for a tourist card extension at the Migration Department. 

  Search for great deals on flights here.

Private Transfers

There are several private transfer options in Punta Cana. These car services provide one of the easiest and most pleasant ways to get from the airport to your accommodations. A private, professional driver offers an enjoyable ride to your destination.

Shared shuttles generally start around $10, while private transfers in Punta Cana for up to 3 start around $20. If you have a larger group of up to 6 these transfers starts around $30. You’ll need to book your private transfer in advance.

  You can easily book ground transportation from the airport to your hotel here.

Taxi

Hailing a taxi in Punta Cana isn’t difficult, and you’ll easily find them at the airport taxi bay. Taxi rates in Punta Cana are set by the local authorities and fixed by zones.

Honestly, taxis are one of the most expensive ways to get around Punta Cana. Fares generally range from $10 to $80 USD, and you can expect to pay an extra $10 to $20 USD for fares after dark.

These taxis can be taken directly from the taxi bay at Punta Cana Airport. When you exit, the bays are located just outside the customs area on your right. Most taxi drivers will carry a fare matrix chart and can accept dollars, euros, and Dominican pesos.

Car Rental

It’s easy to rent a car for your time exploring Punta Cana. Most rental companies are available at the Punta Cana International Airport. You can either book online before your trip or simply book at the airport upon arrival.

The typical price for a car rental in Punta Cana is between $36-$82 USD per day. You can rent a full-sized SUV for between $74-$82 USD per day or an intermediate car for between $30-$36 per day.

You’ll need a valid driver’s license to rent a car in the Dominican Republic but remember that most rental companies will not allow you to drive into Haiti.

  Search for great deals on rental cars here.

Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana

By Bus

If you’re looking to take a bus, operations in Punta Cana and neighboring towns are mainly managed by Expreso Bavaro, with buses leaving around every 15 minutes. The schedule of the buses in Punta Cana isn’t guaranteed, and often you will find yourself waiting over an hour for a scheduled bus.

While public transportation such as Guaguas (local buses) is available, they are not recommended for tourists. Unfortunately, the bus system around Punta Cana is an unreliable mode of transportation at best, but they are affordable. 

The Punta Cana bus fare is $1 USD (40 DOP), making it an incredibly cost-effective way to travel. You’re most likely to pay this price on any bus trip while moving around Punta Cana.

Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana
Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana

Things To Do in Punta Cana

Punta Cana's Top Highlights

While Punta Cana is known for its amazing beaches, there are so many great things to do in this Caribbean relaxation destination.

Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana
Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana

Relax on a Punta Cana Beach

No trip to Punta Cana would be complete without spending time relaxing on one of the pristine beaches here. One of the most popular white sand beaches, Playa Bavaro, has swaying palm trees, sparkling blue waters, water sports rentals, and dining options.

Those looking for a smaller beach should check out El Cortecito, located near the downtown district and close to restaurants, gift shops, and so much more. If you’re searching for a great family beach, we recommend Arena Gorda. With its shallow waters, it’s perfect for swimming with kids.

Macao Beach is the place for seclusion, and it’s just a short ride from all the action in Punta Cana. The views at this relaxing beach are beautiful, with soft sand and swaying coconut palms to provide a shady respite from the sun. Keep in mind there are no public restrooms.

Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana
Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana

Visit Hoya Azul and the Scape Park

Hoya Azul, otherwise known as the Blue Hole, is a uniquely beautiful cenote (natural pool) in Punta Cana. It will take your breath away with its crystal-clear water and location off the base of a 75 m cliff.

Hoya Azul cenote sits within Scape Park, a natural theme park located in Cap Cana. While the cenote is the main attraction at the park, you can also have a ziplining adventure or take a guided tour through the caverns of the park.

  If you don’t want to go it alone, check out this Hoya Azul and Scape Park tour.

  ISLAND LIFE TRAVEL TIP : GET TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel Insurance is a must in our opinion. Standard health insurance likely doesn’t cover you while outside of the country so travel insurance will cover any emergency medical needs as well as trip cancellation, lost or stolen luggage (it happens), flight delays, missed connections and more. You can easily compare the top-rated travel insurance plans here.

Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana
Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana

Get Your Adrenaline Pumping at La Hacienda Park

You can take a journey into the jungle and have an unforgettable experience at La Hacienda Park. This sizeable private ranch offers exciting outdoor activities for every adventure seeker.

La Hacienda offers horseback riding, an off-road buggy track, a safari, ziplining through the jungle and more! The park also has an authentic Dominican buffet. Their zipline is the largest and fastest in Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic! Plus, they are home to the country’s only chairlift, which gives you a bird’s eye view of the gorgeous jungle below.

Each adventure takes between 15 to 55 minutes, and the cost of only $99 USD gives you access to all of them.

  Check out this Full Safari Zipline, Buggies & Horse Riding adventure that offers an adrenaline-pumping jungle safari!

Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana
Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana

Discover Altos de Chavón

It may surprise you to find that there is a replica of a 16th-century Mediterranean village near Punta Cana. However, that’s precisely what makes Altos de Chavón so unique. This unexpected destination is located on a rocky outcrop high above the Chavón River, about 45 minutes from Punta Cana.

At Altos de Chavon, you’ll find art galleries, boutique stores and dining options lining the village’s stunning cobblestone streets. One of the top attractions in the village is the Archaeological Regional Museum, where you can learn about the indigenous people and take in over 3,000 artifacts.

Don’t forget to check out the St. Stanislaus Church, which offers breathtaking ocean views, making it a trendy wedding venue. Visitors need to pay an entrance fee for the Altos de Chavon area of $25 per child and $50 for adults 12 years and older.

Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana
Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana

Take A Catamaran Tour

Seeing Punta Cana from the beautiful turquoise waters of the Caribbean is one of the best ways to enjoy this gorgeous destination. You can enjoy the relaxed pace of a catamaran tour with the fun additions of snorkeling and swimming.

There are various options when it comes to tour operators that offer different experiences, from private catamarans to group snorkeling trips. Have a look at these fantastic catamaran tour options.

This small group Catamaran Cruise to the Coral Reef Nursery is a can’t miss!

Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana
Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana

Play a Round at La Cana Golf Course

Golf lovers will want to play a round at La Cana Golf Course. With a grass seed that can be hydrated with seawater, 4 holes directly along the seafront and an additional 10 with ocean views, you won’t believe how beautiful this course is.

Located on the Punta Cana Resort & Club grounds, prices vary for hotel guests and outside players depending on the number of holes and equipment rental. This golf course is also part of the

Golfers can also check out the Iberostar Bavaro Golf Club or the Punta Blanca Golf Course, which is part of the all inclusive program at the Majestic Colonial Punta Cana and close to the Royalton Bavaro.

Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana
Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana

Take a Day Trip to Saona Island

Saona Island makes for a fun day trip from Punta Cana. The turquoise water, white sand beaches and natural beauty will take your breath away at this island off the southern coast of the Dominican Republic.

Ideal for those seeking solitude, Saona Island is a quiet island paradise that is part of a nature preserve. The pristine beaches here are a local favorite, as well as the wildlife from the surrounding ocean. Visitors might even come face to face with sea turtles while swimming or scuba diving around the island.

There are a number of great Sanona Island Day Trip Tours to choose from.

Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana
Punta Cana Visitors Guide: How To Get There & The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana

Have an Adventure!

Adventure abounds in Punta Cana! Whether you want to take a 4×4 tour through the jungle, go horseback riding, or take a coffee and chocolate tour, there is an adventure for you.

Explore Punta Cana by 4×4 with a 4.5 hour off-road excursion before heading to taste chocolate, coffee and rum at a plantation on this 4×4 Dominican Adventure.

Have a fun eco-adventure on this Wild Buggy Eco Adventure from Punta Cana, where you can bump through the lush jungle before swimming in a beautiful cenote.

  Or check out this Full Safari Zipline, Buggies & Horse Riding adventure that offers an adrenaline-pumping jungle safari!

Where to Stay in Dominican Republic

There are all types of accommodations in the Dominican Republic. From all-inclusive resorts to boutique hotels to hostels and more. Location and amenities are the two top things to look for. For great hotel info and recommendations, check out our Punta Cana All Inclusive Resorts Guide, our Dominican Republic Hotel Guide or our Dominican Republic All Inclusive Resort Guide.

Punta Cana All Inclusive Resort Guide

For the top all inclusive resorts in Punta Cana, check out our  Best Punta Cana All Inclusive Resorts Guide

What to Eat in Dominican Republic

You can find a wide range of wonderful bites to eat in the Dominican Republic. If you’re looking for a culinary adventure, check out our Dominican Republic Restaurant Guide.

Turks and Caicos Restaurants Guide. The Best Restaurants in Turks and Caicos.

For great restaurant recommendations, check out our Dominican Republic Restaurant Guide

What To Pack For Your Trip!

The Caribbean is an enchanting wonderland of relaxation and adventure, one can easily have the trip of a lifetime here. Packing for such a vacation shouldn’t be hard, so we’ve put together a checklist to help you pack and included some of our favorites as well. Check out our What To Pack For Your Trip Guide.

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