Punta Cana is located at the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic and is famous for its white sand beaches and bright blue waters. We could discuss Dominican Republic travel tips all day, however, Punta Cana is a Caribbean paradise with a more pressing question – what is there to do? Even with just a few nights, there are many things to do in Punta Cana. Everyone has dreamed of a Dominican Republic holiday at some point; Punta Cana has the activities to fulfill your ultimate tropical paradise dreams.
Top Things to Do in Punta Cana
This guide will cover the absolute things to do in Punta Cana. As you know, the resort town is known as a tropical paradise – full of natural beauty, especially the picturesque palm trees along the beaches. It has many things to do besides admiring its good looks, though. Check out these top 33.
Take the hassle out of landing and waiting for a bus by booking this airport transfer. Gather your luggage and your driver will be waiting for you at arrivals with a name card in hand to whisk you away in a private vehicle to your resort.
1. Bavaro Beach (Playa Bavaro)
Bavaro Beach is one of the prettiest white sand beaches and one of the top things to do in Punta Cana. The extremely popular beach is, admittedly, usually packed with visitors. However, this makes the atmosphere electric, super fun, and sociable. It is one of the most lively Punta Cana beaches you can visit with row after row of all-inclusive resorts sitting along its shores. You can shop and walk the promenade when you aren’t enjoying the water and fun vibe. Bavaro Beach has loads of retail and hospitality options.
2. Scape Park
Adrenaline junkies alert; Scape Park is a natural theme park dedicated to adrenaline-infused adventure. It is a theme park built into the existing landscape – including cenote-style pools and towering cliff faces. This attraction near Punta Cana is impossible not to love, whisking you around on ziplines, through underground caves, and through ancient caverns. If you fancy a full-day activity, Scape Park is a great choice. Just a 20-minute drive south of Punta Cana’s main town, Scape Park is an accessible gem. It even has a private beach with theme park activities.
Book this full day admission including transport from your hotel to guarantee your entrance. It includes access to eight eco-adventure attractions including ziplining, two cenotes, and caves.
3. Catalina Island
Taking a day trip to Catalina Island is, with ease, one of the top things to do in Punta Cana. The beautiful white sand island is semi-deserted, with just a bar and nature for entertainment. This arrangement entices throngs of regular day trippers, who flock to the island for tropical peace and quiet. The best way to visit (and probably the only way unless you organize a private boat shuttle) is with a guided Catalina Island day trip tour from Punta Cana. With this, you get round trip transportation from Punta Cana by shuttle bus and a ferry ride from the terminal to Catalina Island – very exciting and much simpler with a tour operator in charge.
Book this highly rated day tour starting with an airconditioned transfer to La Roma where you’ll board a catamaran to Catalina Island. It includes diving or snorkeling along the coast of Arena Blanca Beach before spending 3 hours on one of the most beautiful beaches which includes a buffet lunch.
4. Los Haitises National Park
Los Haitises National Park is a stunning national park full of mangroves and is formally recognized as a critical spot for bird nesting. Los Haitises National Park is also the home of the most ancient Taino petroglyphs in the Dominican Republic. These ancient rock paintings are lovely to see up close. To visit Los Haitises National Park, you can book private or group tours like this. It is best practice to visit with a guide just for safety reasons, plus it means getting loads of extra knowledge and lesser-known routes.
This full-day, eco-tourism adventure is likely to sell out. It includes a stop at Montana Redonda, a riverboat tour of Los Haitises, and a visit to the Cueva de la Linea to see petroglyphs. Includes lunch, waterfalls, and options for a spa treatment.
5. Macao Beach
Macao Beach is primarily a surfing beach – more on that later – however, it is also a beautiful beach to visit for some tourist action. Macao Beach is busy with beach vendors and pop-up bars and restaurants selling tasty pina coladas. Do you want some delicious beach snacks? Or a refreshing cocktail on the sands? Macao Beach is the spot.
You can relax with your buys and enjoy watching the surfers. It is the perfect beach to visit late afternoon and early evening. At this time, it is still light but a bit chillier, so you don’t fancy swimming anyway. Walk the sands, watch the sunset, and feast on street vendor snacks.
We went horseback riding on the beach of the Dominican on our honeymoon and it is one of the most romantic things to do. Book this horseback riding tour to Macao Beach. Suitable for all riding abilities.
6. Saona Island
Saona Island is yet another island off of the Dominican Republic mainland. The island is a passionately run nature reserve with some seriously picturesque beaches and beautiful coral reefs along its shoreline. A massive proportion of Saona Island is part of the East National Park.
You can explore the island by hiking trails and wading in its shallow waters – spotting starfish and tropical fish. While for snorkelers and divers, it’s a famous underwater spot to enjoy, thanks to its coral reefs and mild water conditions. Saona Island is one of the more exciting ways to spend a day and you can arrange a visit by just booking a guided tour online.
This highly rated all inclusive tour includes a trip to the island via catamaran or speedboat a stop at a natural pool for snorkeling followed by a day on the island and beach which includes an open bar alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, and a buffet.
7. Punta Espada Golf Course
It might not surprise that Punta Cana has some fabulous golf courses nearby including Cap Cana. After all, when a region has many luxury hotels and greenspace, it is popular to have many golf courses for recreation and high-flying tourists. Punta Espada Golf Course is a leading example of the region’s golf courses. The course opened in 2006, and GolfWeek ranked it the number-one golf course in Mexico and the Caribbean. GolfDigest came through with similarly high praise, ranking Punta Espada as number 35 worldwide.
So, what makes Punta Espada Golf Course so special? Very likely its aesthetic appeal. Punta Espada is situated right along the coastline. You’ll be playing on bright greens with palm trees, separated only from the Caribbean Sea by white sand beaches. This spot has the real wow factor.
8. Coco Bongo
Coco Bongo is one of those Punta Cana experiences you cannot miss. The nightclub is part club and part theatrical experience, and essentially one of the best things to do in Punta Cana for anyone with an inner party animal. Coco Bongo has everything from soap bubbles and confetti to live performances.
It is a nightclub that takes its ‘entertainment’ promises hugely seriously. In fact, many people compare it to a Las Vegas party meets Mexican fiesta hybrid. Very exciting. If you want a night of endless cocktails, Coco Bongo is the most engaging club to visit in Punta Cana, if not the Dominican Republic.
Reserve your place by booking a night out in advance. It includes round-trip transportation from your hotel, Enjoy unlimited drinks from a domestic open bar and skip-the-line tickets.
9. Cueva de Chico
Natural pools are irresistible, especially in the heat. Cueva de Chico is heaven for nature lovers and those with an eye for aesthetic spots. Unlike Hoyo Azul, Cueva de Chico is not located in Scape Park. This cenote-style natural pool is an hour’s road trip away on the outskirts of Cotumbanama National Park. A 4WD is recommended, as you’ll be traversing dirt roads for the final section of the journey. However, it has a deliciously expeditionary feel, and you’ll get a much more intimate feel than you would at Scape Park’s Hoyo Azul. The water is bright blue, and you step down a series of wooden steps to swim. Cueva de Chico is one of the most magical things to do in Punta Cana – so long as you don’t mind driving a little bit.
10. Juanillo Beach
Juanillo Beach is the pristine beach your Punta Cana vacation has been starving to experience. Many beaches in Punta Cana are hectic, packed with vendors, families with young children, and busy bars and restaurants. Juanillo Beach is one of the more laid-back things to do in Punta Cana. We are talking shallow, lapping waters, nearly empty rows of deck chairs, and an overall low-key vibe. Perfect. Even if you’ve picked a Punta Cana resort with a private beach, finding a completely peaceful beach experience is challenging. Usually, someone is selling something or having loud fun with activities like beach volleyball. Juanillo Beach is where to head to maximize your chance of some peace and quiet.
11. Dune Buggy
For those unfamiliar, a dune buggy is a little vehicle designed for desert landscapes. Off-roading is one of the most exhilarating things to do in Punta Cana. And with a nippy little dune buggy, you can be zipping around some of the prettiest beaches and challenging sand dunes. Going dune buggy is great fun. The past part is that you can drive individually or have a designated driver to enjoy as a group – ideally including non-drivers in the experience. It is an exhilarating way to get a sense of Punta Cana’s scenery and, more than anything, a definite heart racer.
This highly rated off road dune buggy tour includes a ride through forests and tropical gardens with a stop at an organic farm. Continue on to Taíno Ecological Park to enjoy Los Hoyos del Salado Cenote and then end at Macao Beach.
12. Rent a Speedboat
Ready to really push the boat out with your Punta Cana activities? Take that phrase literally by renting your own speedboat to whizz around the Caribbean Sea shoreline. You can book a speedboat rental experience online, getting a quick induction before having allotted free time to explore. For most Punta Cana speedboat rentals, this is a half-day period. But you may find some different, more flexible options.
Regarding luxurious activities, renting your own speedboat is one of the flashiest things to do in Punta Cana. Usually, rental companies provide extras like snorkeling gear, towels, and sometimes even lunch. There’s usually an option to embark with a private tour guide, giving you a more educational experience.
This private half day speed boat tour lets you drive your own boat as you follow your guide along the coast of Punta Cana. It includes a stop at a coral reef for snorkeling and refreshments. .
13. Whale Watching
Whale watching must be on your list of things to do in Punta Cana. The region is one of the richest humpback whale hotspots in the world and the most romantic thing to do in Punta Cana. Whale-watching tours are super easy to book, and you can just search online for whale-watching experiences. Usually, tours come with a dolphin and whale watching experience combo – like this one – which is fantastic for maximizing your chances of seeing one type of exciting marine animal.
Between January and March is the absolute whale hotspot time. Sanama Bay is a breeding and nursing ground for thousands of humpback whales, and tours from Punta Cana transport you directly to this precious marine reserve.
14. Bavaro Lagoon
Bavaro Lagoon is deserving of a place on the nature lover’s itinerary. Think over 200 plant species, countless birds, amphibians, and reptiles. As a protected natural area, Bavaro Lagoon is a haven for animals and plants. And despite being next to Bavaro Beach, the pure density of its plant life means that it is only accessible the long way around by road. Bavaro Lagoon is thick with life and thriving greenery.
When you reach Bavaro Lagoon, we suggest kayaking to get close to some of its more inaccessible spots. Over 86 species of birds are around the lagoon alone, so stay quiet and bring binoculars to make the most of your kayaking experience.
15. Catamaran Tour
Catamaran tours are super exciting. A boat tour is exciting enough, especially somewhere as beautiful as Punta Cana. However, there are many reasons why you should consider a catamaran experience over a standard boat tour. The first benefit is that catamaran boats are much more stable than monohulls because of their design.
This means they are prime candidates for party boats – letting you dance and drink until your heart’s content. A party boat is an enjoyable addition to these things to do in Punta Cana. But even if partying isn’t your thing, a catamaran tour offers a more relaxing boat tour, whether you want a sunset dining cruise or an adventure day trip complete with snorkeling equipment.
16. Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve
The Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve has a serious awe factor. While the forest reserve has many attractions, its biggest seller is its collection of swimming lagoons. The bright turquoise pools are some of the prettiest places you’ll ever swim. The water is so vibrant and transparent; you are surrounded by lush greenery and chattering birdsong. And if you stay still and quiet, you are almost guaranteed to see fish and turtles. If you are looking for pristine nature to experience, swimming in these pools is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana.
The Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve is 1,500 acres, so give yourself a whole day to experience this spot. With 12 freshwater lagoons (five of which are swimmer-friendly), you’ll have loads to see. Make time for the natural history exhibits at the end as well.
17. Arena Gorda Beach
Arena Gorda Beach gets its name from its wide sands. It is definitely a sunbathing spot rather than a leisurely swimming beach, mainly due to its characteristically choppy waters. While there is an odd day of calm surf, this is a rarity. At Arena Gorda, a frisky surf is commonplace, so grab a beach towel and buckle down on the sands for this one.
Or, if you are feeling more active, enjoy some of the beach activities like beach volleyball. The beach is a typical Dominican Republic beauty, with white sand, palms, and bright blue waves. It is one of the best things to do in Punta Cana if you want a fun, activity-filled beach with stunning views and a distinctly Caribbean aesthetic.
18. Altos de Chavon
Bizarre or an architectural wonder? We’ll let you decide. Altos de Chavon is a 16th-century replica village, which, if that wasn’t niche enough, is a replica of a Mediterranean village. Needless to say, Altos de Chavon is one of the most fascinating things to do in Punta Cana.
You walk through the Italianate village, step into a 5,000-seat Grecian-style amphitheater, and admire St Stanislaus Church, which contains the ashes of Poland’s patron saint. Altos de Chavon is all very fascinating and instead randomly thrown together. Today, Altos de Chavon is used as a music venue and a major tourist attraction.
19. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana is self-explanatory, thanks to its colossal brand name. The Hard Rock Hotel chain is worldwide famous. So at this hotel, you can walk through rock and roll memorabilia or venture out to the casino to have a flutter at gambling. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana is also a perfect formal cocktail spot.
Visiting Higuey is one of the things to do in Punta Cana if you want to get out of the resort town. This 8th largest city in the Dominican Republic is best known for religious monuments, with the elaborate Basilica Nuestra Senora De La Altagracia being its most famed. Higuey also has a handful of religious museums. To understand the religious element behind Dominican culture, Hugey is perfect.
21. Escape Room DR
Every good holiday destination has an escape room. Escape Room DR is the perfect, challenging activity when visiting Punta Cana. It is good to keep a few rainy-day activities in Punta Cana up your sleeve in case you decide to visit in the rainy season or get unlucky. Escape Room DR has many different room options, sure to keep you on your toes.
22. Boca de Yuma
Boca de Yuma is a beautiful fishing village on the island’s southeast coast. For those that love off-the-beaten-track-style experiences, Boca de Yuma is your exact type on paper. The village is away from the mass crowds of tourists and instead is somewhere to embrace the Dominican countryside and delicious freshly caught seafood at local restaurants.
23. Katmandu Park
Katmandu Park is your typical rollercoaster, kids screaming, fast food truck-style theme park. For a carefree day out, you can’t beat it. And sometimes, we all crave one of those theme park days and endless rides. It’s worth dropping in that while some rides are enjoyable for adults, Katmandu Park is definitely family and kids tailored. So if you are visiting Punta Cana with a young family, add it to your list of definite attractions. There are also more sedate experiences like mini golf and character meet and greets.
24. Playa Palmera
Playa Palmera is one of the most gorgeous beaches and things to do in Punta Cana. Lined by palm trees and sleepy resorts, Playa Palmera has a few high-quality restaurants and bars in traditional beach shacks with leafed roofs. It is a peaceful and traditional beach to enjoy. Especially if you want to pick a beachfront restaurant or bar to dine in and enjoy the views.
25. Helicopter Ride
Depending on your budget, helicopter rides seem slightly luxurious for your itinerary. However, compared to other rides in the region and in many major tourist destinations worldwide, these Punta Cana helicopter experiences are reasonable. You can take scenic Punta Cana tours by helicopter to get an aerial view of the jungle and the Dominican Republic. Or alternatively, fly over the heads of breaching humpback whales on a helicopter whale-watching experience.
This helicopter ride is a top-rated and best-reviewed trip in Punta Cana. It includes transport and options for a 10,20 or 30 minute ride along the coast.
26. Caribbean Lake Park
Downtown Punta Cana is home to the one-and-only Caribbean Lake Park. Punta Cana has more cenote-style water entertainment than a water park-style vibe. But Caribbean Lake Park breaks that trend, offering super exciting rides and a wakeboarding experience. Caribbean Lake Park is the ideal alternative if the sea is too blustery and rough.
27. Bavaro Adventure Park
Punta Cana does one thing exceptionally well, and that’s adventure parks. Bavaro Adventure Park is your typical Dominican park whirlwind. You have ziplines here, there, and everywhere, plus a blue cenote for swimming and horseback riding excursions. Bavaro Adventure Park is the perfect solution if you want a pick and mix of adventure activities.
28. Cotubanama National Park
Cotubanama National Park is a massive national park and protected nature reserve on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic. It is such a vast area to visit that we recommend booking a guided tour to maximize your time safely and efficiently. Over 791 square km in size, Cotubanama National Park is a varied park with mangroves, beaches, caves, and jungles. The park is named after Cotubanama, a former warrior chief and leader of the Cayocoa. Cotubanama is a hero in Dominican history and held a noble yet tragic story in the Spanish invasion.
29. Cueva de Berna
Cueva de Berna is an ideal, quick day trip- just an hour’s drive from Punta Cana. Not everyone loves crowds and busy mainstream attractions. And if that sounds like you, this little cave on the outskirts of Cotubanama National Park is the spot for you. This lesser-visited attraction is an essential part of Taino history and was used as a place of refuge. For just 100 pesos, you can venture into the cave and spot ancient cave drawings.
30. La Hacienda Park
La Hacienda Park’s single mission is to get you into the jungle in the most fun way possible. This could be through ziplines, jungle buggies, horseback rides, or safari experiences; you have many choices. Visiting La Hacienda Park is one of the most flexible things to do in Punta Cana. If you are visiting Punta Cana with a group of mixed abilities and interests, it can be handy to visit a park with different options. This way, you can visit one place but still enjoy personal preferences. For instance, one enjoying a jungle buggy, one going horseback riding, and one zipping through the zipline route.
31. Canopy Adventures
What better way to immerse yourself in the jungle than by zipping through the treetops? Canopy Adventures takes you across 8 different ziplines and 15 scenic platforms. The whole experience is an eye-opener into the world at the ‘canopy level’. It is the ideal way to combine nature with a bit of adrenaline – just so long as you can persuade yourself to look down and admire the different views.
32. Macao Surf Camp
Going surfing is one of the top things to do in Punta Cana. Get down with Dominican culture and indulge in this most famous type of water sport. The surf school has everything from surf lessons to rentals for advanced surfers just wanting a relaxing surf. There’s also a day camp option, which includes two lots of two-hour private surf lessons – basically jetting you from beginner to novice in no time. The latter option is ideal for those with time constraints.
33. Imagine Punta Cana
Imagine Punta Cana is one of the whackiest things to do in Punta Cana – set in a nightclub inside an actual cave. You’ll experience out-of-the-world acoustics, delicious cocktails, and fantastic dance music. The cave structure is millions of years old, and if you are chasing a sample of Punta Cana’s nightlife, easily one of the most riveting settings for a night of partying.
Things to do in Punta Cana: FAQs
You are spoiled for choice regarding things to do in Punta Cana. The tiny section of the Dominican Republic has many activities – both as day trips, like deep sea fishing, and in the resort town itself. Before you go, though, familiarize yourself with these essential FAQs. These snippets of information will give you the edge in maximizing your enjoyment of Punta Cana.
How to get to Punta Cana
In a word, fly. Punta Cana is easiest reached by flying directly to Punta Cana International Airport. Punta Cana Airport is the central flight hub for the Dominican Republic, so if you are visiting anywhere in the country, you’ll be landing at Punta Cana first. AirCanada, Delta Airlines, British Airways, and United Airlines are just a few of the airlines serving direct flights to Punta Cana. And from the airport, you can rent a car, book a transfer, or catch the bus to your hotel. Many all-inclusive resorts include a complimentary shuttle service.
While you can cruise to the Dominican Republic, you can only catch a few regular ‘A to B’ style ferries to Punta Cana. There is a service between Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic’s largest city, which could be interesting. However, for the vast majority, going to Punta Cana will involve direct flights.
Getting around Punta Cana
In an ideal world, you could explore Punta Cana on foot. But if you want to really enjoy these things to do in Punta Cana, you’ll need a method of getting further afield. Your main options are renting a car, taking a Gua Gua bus, or using taxis and shuttles.
If you want ultimate freedom, have a full license, and are a confident driver, getting around Punta Cana is most accessible by car. Driving in the town is pretty hectic, but driving a rental car is really enjoyable as soon as you get onto the quiet roads in the Dominican countryside. Our advice? Book a hotel on the Punta Cana outskirts if you rent a car and check their parking policies.
Next, you could explore by Gua Gua bus if you are up for an adventure and not visiting attractions too rural. Yes, the schedule is hit-and-miss, and buses can be (very) late. However, if you aren’t on a time limit, this is the perfect way to spend a slightly challenging and hilarious afternoon. Plus, you always have a taxi as a backup.
Speaking of which, taxis are available all over and around Punta Cana. You won’t have a problem finding a taxi, although you’ll need to negotiate prices before you start driving. Expect to pay under or around $40 for a 20-minute taxi ride – taxi motorcycles are the cheapest taxis on offer but come with their own risks.
Best time to visit Punta Cana
December to March is the golden period when visiting Punta Cana. At this time, you can embrace the town’s natural beauty to its fullest without worrying about the April to June and September to November rainy periods. It also avoids the notorious storm season from June to late summer and early fall. Visiting Punta Cana between December and March is the most reliable in terms of weather. It is peak tourism season, meaning lots of activities and partying. If your priority is weather, these are the months to visit.
Of course, choosing when to visit Punta depends on what things to do in Punta Cana have caught your eye. It also depends on whether you prioritize good weather, a budget, and fewer crowds. If you are willing to hazard a bit of rain in exchange for lower prices and fewer tourists, November is the best month for shoulder seasons. November is the back end of the rainy season and, because of this, attracts much fewer tourists. To save money and avoid endless queues and crowds at attractions, November is the best time to visit Punta Cana.
What is Punta Cana best known for?
Punta Cana is known for its beautiful beaches, all-inclusive resorts, and natural beauty. Think minimalistic white sand beaches with wonky palm trees against a backdrop of nature reserves and ad-hoc luxury resorts.
Is 4 days enough in Punta Cana?
4 days is enough to get a taste of Punta Cana, but if you want a relaxing holiday, stay for a week. In 4 days, you’ll be able to visit many beaches, pick a couple of attractions, perhaps enjoy a night out, and venture out for local coffee or street food. However, you won’t have ‘spare’ time per se, so we’d suggest staying longer.
Is it expensive in Punta Cana?
It can be expensive in Punta Cana if you visit in peak season, stay at a luxury resort, and book activities like scuba diving and horseback riding. It is easy to get sucked into the 5-star atmosphere. If you are more careful, though, visiting Punta Cana more cheaply is possible.
What is the best month to visit Punta Cana?
The best month to visit Punta Cana on a budget is November. November (especially late November) is the back end of the rainy season and the beginning of the December to March dry season. But as a shoulder month, it sees lower prices and fewer crowds – a win.
It is no secret that Punta Cana is famous for having some of the Dominican Republic’s best beaches. But hopefully, after reading this guide, you’ll see what a varied attraction scene Punta Cana has – with far more than just watersports and beautiful beaches to offer. Leave the idea of luxury resorts and package holidays aside for a little while and fully embrace all these things to do in Punta Cana.
You can also read Jen’s (from Drinking The Whole Bottle) experience of raising her kids in the Dominican Republic, which should give you a better insight into the Dominican Republic culture to expect when you arrive in Punta Cana. Punta Cana is a super exciting place to visit.