Introduction: probably the most typical place to visit in the Dominican Republic. Here you are literally spoilt for choice, however, the main difference here is that you go to a resort which then has “all included”, food, drinks and people do not necessarily have to leave the place as they have everything there.
Places to visit: most typical tours here include “swimming” with the dolphins, which is you with a life jacket floating in the water and a dolphin swimming past you, then they take photos of you with the dolphin and later on top of the $150USD to “swim” and then about $60 for the “professional” photos. For me, it was a big scam for the price and the lack of swimming with the dolphins and not being allowed to take your own photos…
Visit the zoo: if you like the zoo, you could go here. Most buses pick up people from different hotels and take them there. Punta Cana in my opinion is a ripoff and ver priced. They do offer trips to the Islands Saona y Catalina, but be prepared to pay over $100USD. They tell you, that you get lobster or jumbo prawns/ shrimp… defo worth a go but you do end up spending more than you plan too.
Where to stay: this is all down to preference. I find that 4* hotels are the best as they tend to cater for younger people and for families. 5* are much more expensive, including the tours and that too, prices tend to go up the better the hotel. So, it really depends on your budget.
Final thoughts: the last time I was in a Punta Cana resort was back in 2012 and the prices above was what I paid so, expect to pay more today. I prefer the rest of the country rather than Punta Cana as it is over priced, too many people, much more expensive to do activities, tours outside of the resort itself.