8 Of The Best Things To Do In Punta Cana

There’s more to discover beyond turquoise waters and Caribbean vibes. 

Let’s be honest, this is how it goes in Punta Cana. Check into your all-inclusive resort, breakfast buffet, beach in the morning, lunch back at the buffet, pool bar in the afternoon, dinner at one of the resort’s themed restaurants. Punta Cana can easily be a vacation without ever stepping outside of your hotel which requires a bracelet.

In the case of travelers that wish to venture beyond white sandy beaches and explore the second-most popular city in Latin America, here are some fun things to do in the beloved Punta Cana.

Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve

GJ7C+F8Q, Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic

indigenous eyes ecological reserve
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The privately-owned Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve spans over 1,500 acres of subtropical forest where travelers can swim in five of 12 freshwater lagoons. The Guama Lagoon is 26 feet deep, perfect for swimmers that love to dive and plunge right in. For the native Taino people, the lagoons are referred to as eyes thanks to their natural shapes. The park caters to those who are passionate about ecotourism as it protects numerous plants and animals that only live in the Dominican Republic.

You can opt to explore the park either on your own, join a half-day or a full-day tour with a guide.

Playa Macao

Your hotel most likely will have access to private beaches, but Punta Cana is also full of public ones that you can enjoy free of charge. Playa Macao is often considered the most popular public beach and is listed by UNESCO as one of Caribbean’s best beaches with crystalline waters and ivory sands dotted by soaring palm trees.

You can rent a dune buggy for the day and race through rock terrains, green forests, or secret caves.

Macao Beach
PHOTO Rikin Katyal Unsplash

Scape Park

Punta Cana 23203, Dominican Republic

Scape Park is a 247-acre natural theme park where wild life, mysterious alcoves, magnificent waterfalls and beautiful hikes are waiting to be uncovered. Dipping in pools and ziplining are also fun activities fitting for the entire family.

Remember to bring swimsuits as you’ll most likely want to swim in the waters and don’t miss the sinkhole secluded at 75-meter base of a cliff.

Scape Park PUNTA CANA
FACEBOOK Scape Park

Downtown Punta Cana

Looking for something to do at night besides hanging out at the hotel bar? Take a taxi ride to downtown Punta Cana for a tasty meal in a local restaurant and maybe catch a show at Coco Bongo – THE nightclub of the city. In addition to flamboyant dancers and trapeze artists, it’s also known for impersonators of Queen, Michael Jackson and many more.

Stroll down the strip of jam-packed bars, there are crowds of locals and travelers dancing to merengue music pumping throughout the night.

Downtown Punta Cana.
Downtown Punta Cana. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Shop for cigars, cacao, coffee, rum & other local souvenirs.

What is so incredibly special about bringing home cigars from the Dominican Republic is that they’re hand-rolled, and handmade right in front of you. They’re typically made with three components: wrapper, filler, and binder. There are two shapes of cigars: parejos (straight and cylindrical) and figurados (curled.) The sizes vary too, from smaller ones (100 mm) to larger cigars (up to 194 mm.) Keep in mind that difference in size and shape can alter the taste of each cigar.

Souvenirs in Dominican Republic Cigars
Handmade cigars. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

It was the Spaniards who first introduced cacao to Dominicans in 17th century. Later, when the French took over the island, they also planted new varieties from other colonies. Today, Dominican Republic is the premier exporter of Fair Trade, organic cocoa since the land now grows high-quality cocoa.

Coffee aways makes an aromatic gift. Caffeine addicts certainly can’t leave Dominican Republic without a bag of local beans. Most plantations are in Barahona, Cibao, Okoa and Bani. The best part is that 90% of Dominican coffee is grown in eco-friendly and smaller farms, without using pesticides or other chemicals. The most popular brand is, in fact, called: Santo Domingo, grown in the highlands. The beans are medium roasted but contains a darker taste. Light yet nutty.

Made sure to keep your eye out for infused rum! Sugar cane, pineapple, passion fruit are just some tasty flavors often made in-house.

Bavaro Beach

Feeling like snorkeling? Bavaro Beach is the perfect place to put on your goggles and flippers to explore the beauty of underwater wildlife. In addition to snorkeling, Bavaro Beach also offers a plethora of water sports, including: kayaking, parasailing, deep diving, windsurfing…and many more. The three square kilometers of natural wildlife in Laguna Bavaro is protected, so that more than 200 variety of plants and animals native to this land can continue to flourish.

Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana.
Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Hoyo Claro

For the most famous cenote in Punta Cana, check out Hoyo Claro – a natural underground reservoir of water hidden in the forest. Put on your hiking shoes and get ready for mud. This excursion ends with a refreshing swim in the water after an exhilarating hike, as this activity is made for travelers that love to go off the beaten path and enjoy the outdoors.

Saona Island

Imagine an unscathed island off the coast of Punta Cana. Saona Island is exactly that, a secluded place where you can avoid crowds of tourists and sink into the calm of Caribbean paradise. Saona is protected by the government as it’s also a part of East National Park. Here, you can admire striking animals in their natural habitat, like observing sea turtles laying eggs if you catch them at the right nesting season. There are also pools filled with exquisite starfish. You can visit Saona Island via a catamaran or speedboat.

Saona Island Dominican Republic
FACEBOOK Saona Island Dominican Republic
Wendy Hung

CEO, FOUNDER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and St. Bart's because they were all so different!

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