Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is one of the most popular destinations to visit in the Caribbean. You should consider traveling to Punta Cana if your are in New York. The Dominican Republic is the second largest and most diverse Caribbean country and less than four hours from New York. It is known for its warm and hospitable people.
The predominantly spoken language is Spanish and a large number of its population are Roman Catholics. This religious inclination has a lot of impacts on their culture. Baseball is the most popular and important sport in the Dominican Republic.
Dominican cuisine is predominantly Spanish, Taíno, and African. One breakfast dish consists of eggs and mangú (mashed, boiled plantain). Lunch, generally the largest and most important meal of the day, usually consists of rice, meat, beans, and salad.
Carnival celebrations are held in the Dominican Republic each February with parades, street dancing, food festivals and music. Festivities also take place in the week leading up to Easter Sunday. Parades, beauty pageants, and different festivals in each town throughout the country fill the week.
There are also plenty of cultural options in the Dominican Republic, where visitors can tour classic Dominican homes, try traditional food or drinks, or tour some of the production facilities where products like cocoa, cigars, rum, and coffee are made.
Punta Cana is the region located at the furthest eastern point of the Dominican Republic. This traveller’s paradise is known for its gorgeous white sand beaches, its luxurious resorts, and its tropical vibe. Visitors can scuba dive, go deep sea fishing, swim with dolphins, or go horseback riding in Punta Cana, all under a cloudless sky and surrounded by sparkling blue waters.
If you’re planning on travelling from New York to the Punta Cana for vacation or business, you can travel by plane, train, shuttle or bus. But there are a few other things to consider before planning your trip to Punta Cana like info papers required, place to stay, things to do, and upcoming events.
If it’s your first time ever visiting Punta Cana, then Bavaro is the perfect place to start. With over 80% of Punta Cana’s hotel options being situated within it, Bavaro is an area with lots of options for all types of travelers and their budgets. Just a 15 minute drive from Punta Cana International Airport, Bavaro is where the Caribbean Sea converges with the Atlantic Ocean creating breathtaking sea views and jaw-dropping sunsets.
In Bávaro, you will be able to enjoy a plethora of beach resorts that offer their own set of activities to do and sights to see. You’ll also be overwhelmed with the abundance of restaurants and bars, and of course, resorts that even have a kids club – there is something for everyone from all-inclusive, to family friendly, and adult-only accommodations.
- All Inclusive Resorts in Bavaro:
These resorts offer a totally stress free holiday paradise with countless on site bars, restaurants, a pool and other activities.
- Majestic Colonial
This is a 5 star all inclusive beach resort with suites overlooking Bavaro’s wonderful beaches and ocean. It has outdoor pools, hot tubs, sports courts, a spa, 7 exquisite restaurants, 11 bars, 24 hour room service, and many more exclusive facilities. Filled with traditional aesthetics, a beautiful garden and situated within walking distance of Bavaro beach.
Other all inclusive places you can stay in Bavaro are:
- Barceló Bávaro Palace
- Occidental Punta Cana
- Villa Guapa
- Family Friendly Accommodation in Bavaro
If you are traveling with kids, there are some fantastic family friendly places to stay in Bávaro. Alongside the kids club, activities, and playgrounds that you will find in these hotels, Bavaro also has beaches, water parks and a lot of other kid friendly places for your whole family to enjoy.
- Hard Rock Hotel
A 5 star resort hotel with family friendly facilities such as its own minigolf course, bowling center, arcade section, private beach, garden, sports courts, kids club and rock climbing wall! Its suites have a distinct, minimal design and each one is equipped with its own hydro spa and balcony.
Other family friendly places you can stay in Bavaro are:
- Bahia Principe Grand
- Riviera Punta Cana
- Right on the Beach
- Adults-only Accommodation in Bavaro
If you are looking for a romantic getaway or heading to Punta Cana for your honeymoon to enjoy some peace and privacy by knowing that kids aren’t allowed into these resorts and hotels, get ready to party, whilst enjoying the bars and casinos of Bavaro.
- TRS Turquesa Hotel
All inclusive, adults only hotel on the beach with gorgeous rooms. Not only does this resort have incredible suites and villas, killer breakfast food, countless pools, restaurants, bars, gyms, 24 hour room service, and sporting facilities, it also has a nightclub on site! Every aspect of this beautiful adults only hotel screams luxury.
Other adults-only places you can stay in Bavaro are:
- Barceló Bávaro Beach
- Bavaro Green
- Entire Peaceful Apartment
2. Cap Cana
If staying amongst large amounts of resorts and hotels doesn’t sound like you, then a few nights at Cap Cana may satisfy your needs. Cap Cana is a small resort village just 15 mins from the airport or a 25 minute drive south of Bavaro. It’s known for a more exclusive atmosphere, less crowds and beautiful beaches. Cap Cana is still populated with unique bars, fine dining restaurants, lounges, and shops but it is also home to some of Punta Cana’s best natural wonders like caves, coral reefs and natural sinkholes.
What sets it apart from Bavaro is its unparalleled privacy, you can really have a quiet stay here away from the hustle and bustle of tourist crowds. You’ll be also delighted to know that there are options for every budget in Cap Cana. Dotted with palm trees and prestige accommodations, it’s truly an area that’s suited for those up for a relaxing stay at Punta Cana.
- Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana
A 5 star resort hotel that is populated with outdoor swimming pools and palm trees. Its suites embrace a minimalist theme paired with a spacious living room where you can lay back and watch a flat screen TV. Further complemented with restaurants, bars, including rooms with private balconies which overlook the whole resort hotel, this is one of the best hotels and resorts in Punta Cana.
Other places you can stay in Cap cana are:
- Cap Cana Cap Blue
- Studio with sea view
- Wonderful Bungalow
3. El Cortecito
If you want to visit the Dominican Republic on a budget, El Cortecito caters to those who seek a wallet friendly area. This budget-oriented village doesn’t cheap out on the things to do and sights to see though! El Cortecito is just a 6 minute drive from the center of Bavaro so you are still close enough to access all its attractions, plus, it has its own beautiful beaches.
The atmosphere here isn’t that much different from Bavaro as it is also filled with colorful wooden buildings, turquoise waters, and people who just want to enjoy a relaxing summer-time at the beach. It’s the best area to get better value for your money if you are looking for a little bit of glam and glimmer without planning on spending too much.
- Costa Atlantica Beach Condo
Luxury apartment with a budget price tag. Has a spacious lounge room with a dining table where couples can relax and have a romantic time. It is also equipped with large sofas where you can take advantage of the flat screen TV, has modern decor, and balconies with a majestic view of El Cortecito’s garden and beach.
Other places you can stay in El Cortecito are:
- Las Buganvillas
- La Mejor Playa
Things to do in Punta Cana
Punta Cana is known for its 32 km stretch of beaches and clear waters. The Bávaro area and Punta Cana combine to form what’s known as La Costa del Coco, or the Coconut Coast, an area of lavish, all-inclusive resorts. It’s popular for zip-lining, windsurfing, kayaking and sailing. There are a number of things that you can do when visiting.
Here is a lowdown of some of the best things to do in this colourful city.
1. Visit to Bavaro Beach
Bávaro is an area in Punta Cana, located in La Altagracia province, Dominican Republic. Originally developed as a town for resort workers, the town of Bávaro has become a destination for tourists and locals alike for its 10 kilometres of unspoiled seashore.
While it can be crowded, Bávaro beach is definitely worth a visit due to the large variety of amenities located on or near the sands, and its close proximity to Punta Cana itself. (If you’re not staying in Bávaro itself, you likely won’t be too far away.) When you’re not frolicking in the waves or stretching out on the sand, head over to one of the nearby bars and enjoy a drink in the shade.
Have a view of the Bavaro beach in the video below
2. Tour the Isla Saona
Isla Saona is part of the Parque Nacional del Este and is located on the south coast of the Dominican Republic, more or less halfway between Santo Domingo and Punta Cana in the Bayahibe area. The island is located in the southern part of the national park and is separated from the mainland by a natural channel.
Located just off the coast of Punta Cana, Isla Saona is famous for its incredibly untouched beaches. If Bávaro is too touristy, this is the place to go. The entire island is a government-protected nature reserve, so there isn’t an imposing high-rise or kitschy gift shop on site, only pure white-sand beaches and swaying palm trees. Getting to Isla Saona for the day is not difficult. In fact, many resorts offer their guests tour packages that include a ferry and a meal to take along.
3. HorsePlay Tours Punta Cana
The HorsePlay Punta Cana tour is one of the most amazing adventures in Punta Cana. They offer visitors to Punta Cana the content of several different tours all conveniently packaged into one. In one day, participants will receive a cultural tour of local villages and learn about Dominican customs, history and traditions, go zip lining, horseback riding, sample locally produced coffee and chocolate, and finally, sit down to an authentic Dominican meal. You can visit HorsePlay Tours to get more info or view the video below to have a tour.
4. Hoyo Azul
Perhaps the best way to experience the beauty of Punta Cana is to explore its natural landscapes. One of the most spectacular places to explore is the Hoyo Azul (Blue Hole), which is a natural sinkhole filled with crystal-clear water. Two different tours, each led by experienced guides, are the best ways to see it.
Hoyo Azul Cave Explorer take participants on a hike through the Dominican wilderness, which ends with a relaxing dip in the Hoyo Azul waters, while Hoyo Azul Zip Line sends participants on a series of adrenaline-fuelled flights over the Cap Cana forest before ending with a swim in Hoyo Azul.
5. Visit the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park
For an opportunity to explore an untouched portion of the Dominican Republic, head over to Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park, a private protected nature reserve maintained by the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation. The park is open from dawn until dusk for guests staying at the nearby Punta Cana Resort and Club, as well as other members of the Punta Cana community.
Activities include cultural exhibits, a petting zoo, a sugarcane exhibit, five different swimming holes and an iguana habitat. Several ‘Ecological Excursions,’ such as a Segway Eco Tour and Horseback Trail Ride, are also available upon reservation.
6. Canopy Adventures Zipline Tours
For those who desire an adrenaline rush during their Caribbean vacation, look no further than Canopy Adventures ZipLine Tours. Taking place in the forest surrounding Punta Cana, the company’s half-day tours give participants an exhilarating thrill ride, while allowing them to take in the spectacular Dominican countryside from a completely unique angle.
The ‘Canopy Adventure Tour’ sends participants flying from tree-to-tree on a zip line course that extends 4,300 feet. Canopy Adventure’s ‘Extreme Swing Adventure’ offers more variety. The zip-lines are longer, so you can play through the air, pulling a Superman position at over 40 miles per hour!
7. Go surfing
Enjoying the full force of Hispanola’s windward Atlantic side, just across from the iconic surfing stretches on Puerto Rico, means that Punta Cana boasts some top-notch rollers, suited to a whole host of different surfing levels. Perhaps the most acclaimed surf school in the region is the Macao Surf Camp, which offers everything from beginner introduction lessons to straight-up board rental for the experts.
You can watch the video below to see other fun activities to do in Punta Cana
Traveling from New York to Punta Cana
As of April 23, 2022, all passengers and crew members do not need to present a COVID-19 Vaccination Card, PCR, or antigen test to enter the Dominican Republic or to enter tourist centres, any establishments or to receive services such as excursions. Random COVID-19 testing for passengers and crew upon arrival in the Dominican Republic are no longer performed. However, when required, random testing operations may be performed. Passengers who present their Vaccination Card will be exempted from random testing.
Visit Caribbean latest travel requirements covid-19 update to get more information on the covid-19 guidelines.
All foreign citizens who enter the Dominican Republic, exclusively for tourism purposes, must have a valid passport during their stay and departure from the country. This exceptional measure is valid until December 31, 2022.
All foreign passengers entering or leaving the Dominican Republic on commercial flights must complete the free electronic entry and exit form, which combines the Traveler’s Health Affidavit, Customs Declaration and International Embarkation/Disembarkation forms. The form is available in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese and Russian and can be accessed on https://eticket.migracion.gob.do/
Flying from JFK to Punta Cana flight
The flight time from New York JFK to Punta Cana (PUJ) is around 6h 37m and covers a distance of around 2509 km. This includes an average layover time of around 1h 28m. Services are operated by JetBlue Airways, Delta, American Airlines and others. Typically 108 flights run weekly, although weekend and holiday schedules can vary so check in advance.
You can visit Booking.com to check amazing deals on flight.