Wednesday, September 16, 2015

City Spotlight: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Welcome to week two of weekly wanderlust! As promised, this week we are going to head international and take a look at the gorgeous city of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic! Punta Cana has always been on my radar as it is a relatively popular tourist destination. During the long winters in Minnesota, everyone loves to get out of town and escape to a sunny destination, so this past year I was super excited to be headed to Punta Cana for my first time! Without further ado, lets take a look at everything you need to know about Punta Cana!

Location: Punta Cana is located on the eastern-most tip of the Dominican Republic, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Punta Cana is most known for the 32-kilometer long stretch of gorgeous white sand beaches, dotted with plenty of palm trees and luxurious resorts.

Population: Punta Cana has a population of just over 100,000. An estimated 80% of the population in Punta Cana is Haitian, coming to Punta Cana to work from the neighboring country of Haiti.

Named for: Punta Cana is named for a specific type of palm trees, the Cana palm trees. While in Punta Cana one of my awesome tour guides was able to point out several different types of palm trees, including not only the Cana trees but also the Royal Palms. Before heading to Punta Cana, definitely take a look at the types of palm trees so you too can differentiate them!

my favorite view in the world- out the window of a plane!
How to get here: Getting to Punta Cana is very easy- as long as you aren't scared of flying! Because the Dominican Republic is located on an island in the middle of the Caribbean, the easiest way to get to Punta Cana is to fly to Punta Cana International Airport. The airport welcomes over 6 million passengers each year. Upon arrival, be prepared to pay $10 cash per visitor for your 'tourist visa'. Other methods of getting to Punta Cana would certainly include taking a Caribbean Cruise. Personally, I would recommend flying in and out of Punta Cana versus the cruise route, as there is not a ton of things to do and see within the city if you are only there for a short time.

the swim-up bar at Chic by Royalton was second to none!
Where to stay: There are hundreds of resorts located along the Bavaro Beach area in Punta Cana, and certainly one for everybody and every budget. Nick and I stayed at several different resorts while we were visiting Punta Cana. By far, our favorite resort is the brand new Chic by Royalton. The resort was gorgeous, the staff friendly, and overall an excellent experience! My biggest piece of advice when selecting a resort is to find one along the water, and take any published reviews with a grain of salt. Many people will complain about the lack of English speaking resort workers- to those reviewers, you should keep in mind that you are visiting a country that speaks Spanish as their first language, not English!

When to visit: Punta Cana is known for relatively stable, sunny, and warm weather year-round. However, the hot and humid season will last from May to October while the months of November through April will be slightly cooler. The warm months will get up to 95 degrees (35C), while during the cool months at night the temperatures will dip down to 65 degrees (20C). Punta Cana is definitely a destination that you can visit at one point of the year and have a terrific time!

Fun facts: While out and about in Punta Cana, you will see tons of yellow school buses imported from the United States. However, don't be fooled like I was originally- the yellow school buses are not bringing children to and from school; rather, they are bringing in the resort workers from neighboring cities.

What to do: As a tourist destination, there are tons of different things to do in Punta Cana. I stayed in the city for 10 days, and in that time was just barely able to scratch the surface of all the terrific things to do in the area! My best recommendation is definitely to stay in an all-inclusive resort along the beach. While there are tons of different activities to do during the day, the city does not have a ton of restaurants or night life. I even asked one of my tour guides who was born and raised in Punta Cana for a restaurant recommendation in the city, and he was absolutely unable to come up with a recommendation where we would be able to enjoy the experience.

While in Punta Cana, some of the activities I was able to partake in included scuba diving, zip lining, and a day spent at the Bavaro Adventure Park. Truly, you will be able to take part in just about any activity you can imagine! While your resort can always help you out with reservations, there will also be tour operators strolling along the beach. Parasailing, snorkeling, kayaking, and paddle boarding are all popular activities.

Amazing scuba diving!
My quick recommendations for visiting Punta Cana? If you are looking to go snorkeling or scuba diving, you will want to take the time to head south on the island towards the La Romana area. The La Romana area will be less wavy, and thus much better for these types of water activities. I had an absolutely terrific experience with Passion Paradise Adventures, and can't recommend them more.

Zip-lining will always be a great activity. Runners Adventures features the longest zip-line in the Dominican Republic, and is a terrific experience for the day. We also visited monkey land with Runners Adventures (what an awesome activity, especially for children!). The only thing I didn't get to do while in Punta Cana was go parasailing, which would be a terrific way to see the island. I skipped out on this as I've gone parasailing before, and we had a private plane ride along the coast. Next time, for sure!


  1. Love Punta Cana so much 've been there 3 times :)

  2. I've been to the island where the DR is...since my sister used to live (and is moving back) in Haiti but I've never made it over to the I really want to go!

    1. Oh how fun! Well when you go visit your sister next you will definitely have to schedule a quick trip over!

  3. We stayed at Zoetry Agua at the end of Jan. We had a great time at the resort. Food was fantastic and beach was great. Bayron the butler was fantastic. Great service all around.A wonderfully peaceful atmosphere- beautiful grounds. I hope you guys had fun :) Pictures are amazing.


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