Beach Vacations to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Punta Cana beach, Dominican Republic
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (courtesy, The Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism)

Punta Cana Beach Travel Tips

  • High season in Punta Cana runs roughly from January through April. The two low seasons are from May through June and September through December (with some variations from resort to resort).
  • December through March sees less rain and cooler temperatures (but still in the 70s) compared to the rest of the year.
  • If you want to explore beaches that may lie away from your resort—like Playa Cabo Engaño, Playa del Macao, and Playa El Cortecito—taxis are cheap, plentiful, and are recommended over renting your own car on the somewhat uneven roads. Water taxis also can be found on El Cortecito beach, rides start at just ten dollars.
  • For minor beach injuries like coral scrapes or jellyfish stings, nearly every all-inclusive resort has a small medical clinic on site, so no need to go to the hospitals in the area.

Like a crown jewel on the eastern-most tip of the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is one of the best stretches of sand (nearly 20 miles) and adjoining coral reef in the Caribbean. Once sugar-cane plantations and pastureland, the Punta Cana area, which includes the newer Playa Bavaro development to the north, began with Club Med in 1980, and is now home to nearly thirty sprawling resorts, each with hundreds of rooms. A small, thatch-roofed airport nearby is where thousands of European, Canadian, and a growing number of American snowbirds disembark and head to one of the all-inclusive hotels. These resorts offer things like sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, archery, windsurfing, volleyball, Spanish classes, beach games, kids' clubs, somewhat hokey nightly stage shows, as well as room, drinks, and meals all included for amazingly cheap package prices—which usually include airfare as well. Things like spa treatments, waterskiing, scuba diving, and Internet are usually extra. Nearly all of the resorts in Punta Cana are planted firmly on a beach, although some of the more scenic beaches—Playa Cabo Engaño, Playa del Macao, and Playa El Cortecito—are on their own and accessible via taxi, car, or even ATV.

Punta Cana is unapologetically mid-range and mainstream in its family-style, fun-in-the-sun appeal, although it has been getting more upscale over the years. In fact, Julio Iglesias, Oscar de la Renta, and Bill and Hillary Clinton have all spent time here. Punta Cana has become the number one tourist draw for the entire country. Don’t expect much of a local scene or culture here—the nearest town, Higüey, is 28 miles away and doesn’t hold much appeal to travelers. In fact, most tourists never leave the compound of their resort, and for travelers simply looking to unplug with some rest and relaxation, that’s just perfectly fine. If you do feel like venturing out, there are a handful of things to see, like the Marinarium Marine Park & Aquarium and the The Punta Cana Marina.

Published: 7 Apr 2009 | Last Updated: 30 Mar 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

Best Hotels in Punta Cana


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