Updated January 2021
Punta Cana is a paradise for foreigners. If you ask most people who have visited the Dominican Republic, most will say Punta Cana, as there are resorts, all inclusive, lovely beaches and hot weather all year round. When it comes to accommodation, most people choose a package that includes air fair, airport pick-ups and the resort itself.You could also rent a car and do whatever you want, which would be cheaper and stay in a Airbnb and visit the sorrounding areas, even other parts of the island, which I would more than highly recommend and get a cheap return flight to Punta Cana or even Santo Domingo. The island is small. You can check my other posts to see if you are interested, as a foreigner living here, it is amazing to visit other parts of the island, incredible beaches and that.
Ok, this post is about Punta Cana. Kinda got side-tracked a little. Most resorts will have a little tour guide table offering lots of different excursions such as visiting the local islands about 90 mins drive from Punta Cana. Click on this link to see what they are all about.
- Saona and Catalina – two beautiful islands, which include transport to and from your resorts, catamaran, natural swimming pool, plus a buffet, usually lobster depending on what you pay and then come back in the evening on a speed boat. Saona is further away than Catalina. Catalina on the other hand, is closer to the coast and you leave from the city centre on a boat, go a bit of snorkling and then to the island, the island itself is beautiful, but I prefer Saona. Check out the link above for more info.
- Swimming with dolphins, sharks and manta rays – I did this back in 2012, more for the experience and you don’t really swimming with them and hardly touch them. Here you will pay over $60 to be in a life jacket in a massive manmade swimming pool a few metres from the coast. They will also take photos of you to, and if you like, you can pay another $60 or more for them, you will get a USB with the photos you select. But, it is a money swimmner, as you are just floating there and the dolphin swims past and you pat them and then get a photo kissing one lol we did it for the experience back in 2012 but I would not do it again. Another activity is to again “swim” with manta rays and sharks, but tootless sharks, cat sharks I think they are, again many people in a pool, you will your snorkel gear on looking down at them.
- A few hours on the buggies – this was good fun. You can choose different types of buggies depending on which one you want to ride in and also how dirty you want to get. The only problem with the buggies is that they tend to go in massive groups 20 to 30 buggies and about 50 to 60 people, usually couples and small families. Different buggies and the amount of people set the price. They will go to the different resorts and pick up people and take them to the place where you start. You then get into your buggy, some are quite dodgy and go towards the beach, by the time you get there you will be filty and they tend to go through the back roads and it’s muddy as hell, so go in rags literally, clothes that you will throw away later and flip flops!! Trust me, you will be a total mess in the end lol you arrive at the beach Macao and throw yourselves in the water and clean yourselves up, lovely and refreshing, after 15 mins back to the buggies and onto a Chocolate/ coffee plantation place to try coffee/ chocolate and then hopefully purchase some. Really yumming but they put so much sugar in them too. Lastly, you will go to an underground cave, where there is a stream, or river of some sort and jump in and get all the mud and crap off you. Really refreshing but quite small, we were the first ones down and I jumped in for 5 minutes then got out, covid and that, no thanks, but good craic!! Then you are back to where you started, really close by.
- One thing I did not do in Punta Cana but in Samaná (another part of the island) was the zipline. This can be done in a few hours. Check Trip Advisor and also the resort itself for prices. Being foreigners in a resort, you will be overcharged like most are. This is good fun and good therapy for those who are afraid of heights. The one in Samaná has 12 different lines, which is much more interesting and the adrenaline really shoots up after that.
- They have other things such as a Safari, where they take you to a Zoo and you see different shows using parrots that take dollars (tips) and put them in a post box that looks really cool, but again, a way for them to make extra cash and also a city tour, although not much to see in Punta Cana.
It really depends on what you want to do. Completely chill out, veg on the food, sit at the beach, bath in the swimming pool all day long and get a tan or be more adventurous. If your plan is to be more adventurous and really get to know the place, get an AirBnb, rent a car, design your own itinerary or go to the resort, hassel free and have everything sorted for yourself.
How long is enough in a resort? 5 days. Then, you tend to eat the same food, go to the same places, becomes boring and less exciting, hence the freedom or doing what you want every day, plus learn some of the lingo lol
If you have any questions, give me a shout on @irishdotravel (IG)