Punta Cana is a beautiful, tropical destination located in the Dominican Republic. The island is known for its white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and lush vegetation.
There are many things to do in Punta Cana, from exploring the local culture and history to enjoying the natural beauty of the area.
What makes Punta Cana such an epic destination?
What makes Punta Cana such an epic destination to visit? From crystal clear turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and mammoth all-inclusive resorts to a plethora of outdoor activities such as snorkeling, fishing, scuba diving, golf, and zip-lining, Punta Cana offers something for everyone.
The stunning seaside region boasts 24,000 hotel rooms, and 3.4 million vacationers flock here each year to relax away from their busy lives and enjoy the tropical paradise. Not only are there plenty of things to do, but there are also great deals on packages that cater to what you want to do and how extreme you want the experience to be.
As well as its beautiful beaches and mesmerizing waters, Punta Cana offers fascinating cultural sights, animal encounters, and a great tropical climate with clear cloudless skies. Furthermore, all-inclusive hotels provide impeccable service and extensive amenities. All of these factors make Punta Cana an absolutely exotic corner of the Dominican Republic and the ideal destination for a memorable getaway.
In the article, I will go over my top things to do in Punta Cana. Let’s get started!
The 25 most epic things to do in Punta Cana
1. Visit Saona Island
Visiting Saona Island in the Dominican Republic is an excellent choice for any traveler. The island is home to beautiful, pristine beaches with white sand and a stunning azure-colored ocean. The waters surrounding the island are teeming with wildlife, providing plenty of opportunities to swim and explore.
On top of the natural beauty of the island, you can enjoy a delicious lunch, complete with an open bar, so you can loosen your hips and try some merengue dancing. Saona Island is the perfect destination for anyone who wants to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery and the vibrant culture of the Dominican Republic.
2. Go Horseback Riding
Riding a horse in Punta Cana is an unforgettable experience. You can explore the stunning and remote beaches of the Caribbean with a knowledgeable local guide leading you through the beautiful countryside.
The scenery is breathtaking, with an abundance of native flora and fauna as you ride your horse along pristine locations like Uvero Alto Beach. As the sun sets, you can trot, walk or gallop your way through the beach and the Anamuya River with the wind blowing through your hair and your beloved by your side.
Whether you’re a pro or a beginner, horseback riding in the Dominican Republic is an adventure you won’t soon forget.
3. Big Marlin Charters
Big Marlin Charters is a fishing and boat charter company in Punta Cana that caters to both experienced fishermen and beginners alike. They offer exciting deep-sea fishing adventures for all ages, and their staff speaks both English and Spanish.
Along with fishing, Big Marlin Charters also provide yachts for events and celebrations. An experienced local captain navigates each fishing charter, and everyone is attended to by a first mate.
4. Go Diving or Snorkeling
Punta Cana offers a plethora of options for diving and snorkeling experiences, from renting your own equipment and exploring the reefs to guided tours.
For those who want to go out on their own, there are equipment rental services that can provide everything from snorkel masks and fins and underwater cameras. You can also free dive to amazing coral reefs just off the shore.
For scuba diving, it’s best if you get a guided tour. Tour companies like Coral Nursery Snorkeling offer catamaran tours to explore the vibrant reefs of Punta Cana. These tours come with snorkeling gear, drinks, and knowledgeable guides to help make your experience special.
5. Visit the Eco-Tourism Sites
One of the best eco-tourism sites in Punta Cana is the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve, a 1,500-acre space of subtropical forest and freshwater lagoons that are open to the public. Here, you can hike and explore the local ecology and even take a plunge into one of the refreshing natural pools in the area.
6. Enjoy a Catamaran Tour
We’ve all dreamed of owning a catamaran and living worry-free in the Caribbean, but boats are costly to buy and maintain, so renting one is highly recommended.
An experience on a catamaran tour in Punta Cana is nothing short of magical. As you make your way around the island’s white-sand beaches, keep an eye out for the stunning array of coral and tropical fish that inhabit the crystal-clear waters.
The tours usually stop in the best snorkeling spots, and you can swim around the most amazing coral reefs. after that, it’s time to enjoy the open bar and dance to the lively local music. And, of course, nothing is better than sunset on a boat. Get a mojito and watch the sun go down.
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7. Explore the Nature Reserves
Punta Cana is home to some of the most stunning nature reserves in the Dominican Republic. A visit to the Scape Park Waterfall is a must-do. This 75-foot-high waterfall is a magnificent sight and a great place to take photos and go for a swim in the cool pools beneath.
And for an extra dose of excitement, you can explore the Laguna Limon in Los Haitises National Park. The park offers a variety of activities, such as kayaking, hiking, bird watching, and caving. There are even caves with ancient carvings by the Taino people. You can explore all of these areas in a single-day trip.
8. Enjoy Water Sports
There are several options for water sports in Punta Cana. One of the most popular is windsurfing. The southern tip of the Dominican Republic is a popular destination for windsurfers from around the world because of its strong winds and excellent conditions.
You can rent equipment from most hotels or hire an instructor if you want some formal lessons.
The waters off the coast of Punta Cana are also great for jet skiing, kayaking, sailing, snorkeling, parasailing, wakeboarding, and flyboarding.
9. Learn about the Taíno Indians
If you’re interested in learning more about the Taíno Indians in the Dominican Republic, you should visit the Altos de Chavon Regional Museum of Archeology. This museum houses thousands of pre-colonial artifacts, some of which were excavated from the border of the Chavón River.
Inside, you will find many artifacts and works of art left behind by the Tainos, along with drawings depicting daily life created by a Dominican-born artist.
You can also learn about the dire consequences of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the late 1400s and the devastating impact it had on the indigenous population. Visiting the museum is a great way to understand more about the Tainos and the cultural heritage of this amazing land.
10. Enjoy the Beach Life
The Dominican Republic is a beautiful island, and something that is not in shortage is beautiful beaches. Punta Cana specifically has some of the best ones you can find on the entire island, so enjoying the beach should be a the top of your list when visiting.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day by the beach with a drink in hand or an active adventure exploring the area, there’s something for everyone in Punta Cana.
You can sunbathe and swim in the crystal clear waters, play a game of beach volleyball, or go wine tasting by the shoreline. For those looking for a more active experience, you can sign up for an aerobics class on the sand.
Kids can splash around in the waters and make sand castles, the water is shallow, and wives are small.
Here is a complete list of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic.
11. Visit the Lagoons
The lagoons in Punta Cana offer a variety of experiences for visitors of all ages. There are 12 freshwater lagoons in total, five of which are open for swimming.
Guama Lagoon is the deepest, reaching a depth of 26 feet, and is a favorite spot among divers due to its platform.
Punta Cana Lagoon, located in the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve, is a beautiful oasis with a naturally formed freshwater pool. For a unique experience, you can take a Half-Day Punta Cana Lagoon Tour that includes snorkeling.
12. Get your Padi at Scubaquatic Punta Cana
PADI stands for Professional Association of Diving Instructors, it is the globally recognized organization that provides certifications for recreational diving. In order to dive, everyone needs to have this certificate.
You can get a PADI certification at Scubaquatic Punta Cana. Located just minutes away from local resorts, they offer a range of entry-level to advanced recreational diving courses, along with specialized skills courses.
Their instructors speak multiple languages, making it easy for everyone to understand the instructions. Scubaquatic offers all PADI standardized courses, starting from Discover Scuba Diving, which is an introduction to the underwater world, to Divemaster and Open Water Scuba Instructor certifications, which will allow you to become a professional diver.
13. Visit a Cacao Plantation
A visit to a cacao plantation in Punta Cana is a great way to learn about the history of chocolate and the process of making it from the bean. At the Punta Cana Chocolate Museum, you can enjoy the free exhibition that includes information about the history of chocolate-making in the Dominican Republic.
Other highlights of the visit include experiencing the process of harvesting cocoa beans and transforming them into delicious chocolate, and you can even take home your own handmade chocolate.
There are also plenty of other activities available such as tours of the plantation, tastings of locally made chocolates and drinks, and even a chance to learn how to make a traditional Dominican chocolate cake.
14. Book a Whale Watching Trip
The whale-watching trip in Punta Cana is an unforgettable experience! The journey begins with a flight to Samana Bay, where you board a sailing vessel for a cruise out into the bay.
From there, you will be able to witness the incredible sight of thousands of humpback whales, with some even jumping out of the water right at close range. Get ready to be astounded by the sheer size and majesty of these magnificent creatures, weighing up to 80,000 pounds each!
15. Go Fishing
With a wide variety of fishing opportunities, Punta Cana has something to offer everyone, from experienced anglers to beginners. You can find great spots for deep-sea fishing on the high seas, fishing on the reefs, or from the shore.
Charter a boat with local fishermen and learn to fish in style. And don’t forget the best part – the local beach restaurant will cook up a delicious dinner for your group using the catch of the day!
Other great fishing experiences in Punta Cana include fly fishing, freshwater fishing, shore fishing, trolling, and spin casting. No matter what kind of fishing adventure you’re looking for, Punta Cana has it all.
16. Take a Hike through the Mountains
Punta Cana offers some of the best jungle hiking trails in the Dominican Republic. From leisurely and relaxing trails to more adventurous trekking trails, there is something for everyone. Here are my favorites:
- At Anamuya Mountain, you can enjoy a stroll through the lush landscape and get incredible views of the countryside from the peak — all without breaking a sweat.
- If you’re looking for a more challenging trek, you can head to the Macao Beach Trail, which takes you through breathtaking scenery, rugged mountains, and hidden coves.
- Then there’s Manati Park, which offers a scenic hike along the coast and a chance to spot some wildlife.
- For a more off-the-beaten-track experience, try the Indio Trail, a moderate 6 km hike that takes you through lush forests and across several creeks.
- You can also check out the Los Haitises National Park, where you’ll find plenty of nature trails and impressive views of the Caribbean Sea.
No matter what type of trail you’re looking for, Punta Cana has something for everyone. So make sure to explore the area and experience all that it has to offer!
17. Visit the Bavaro Adventure Park
The Bavaro Adventure Park is a 106-acre pristine land located in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, that offers a variety of adventure activities for everyone.
Visitors can enjoy a range of activities, including dune buggy rides, Polaris tours, horseback riding, ziplining, and even a waterfall pool. This attraction was created in 2011 to provide tourists with unique and adventurous experiences unique to the area.
Visiting this park is a great way to experience the Dominican Republic and all its beauty.
18. Go Ziplining
Ziplining in Punta Cana is an adrenaline-packed experience, taking you through the lush and lavish jungle with the local wildlife. You can traverse the 18 platforms soaring along at an incredible 25 mph, feeling like a bird in the sky.
For an unforgettable experience, ziplining in Punta Cana is the perfect way to explore the natural beauty of the area.
19. Have a Cocktail at the Bar
Punta Cana is known for its delicious and unique cocktails. The most popular include:
- Mamajuana, a mix of local spices and rum
- Ponche Crema, a traditional Christmas eggnog
- Licor de Mandarina, a mandarin orange liqueur
- Guavaberry Drink, made with locally grown guava-berries
All these drinks can be enjoyed in many bars and restaurants in the area. For an extra special treat, try a special cocktail made with local ingredients such as the Dominican Republic’s own Presidente beer or the local favorite, Brugal rum.
20. Experience a Dolphin Show
A Dolphin Show is an amazing experience you can have in Punta Cana, where you get to watch the dolphins swim and jump with their trainers.
You can also get the unique opportunity to swim with them and even receive a kiss! Swimming with dolphins is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
This type of personal connection with the dolphins is something you can’t find anywhere else, and it’s a truly magical experience.
21. Go on a Helicopter Ride
If your budget allows it, a helicopter ride in Punta Cana is a truly unforgettable experience. You can soar above the coastline and see the stunning Dominican landscape from the sky.
You can also fly over Bavaro and El Cortecito, dotted with luxurious tourist resorts, as well as Arena Gorda Beach, where an ominous shipwreck looms out of the waters.
Wave at the people in the RIU Palace hotel before heading back. During sunset, you can see the resorts that line the island and the beaches bathed golden in the setting sun.
22. Meet the squirrel monkeys at Monkeyland
Visiting the squirrel monkeys at Monkeyland in Punta Cana is an adventure like no other. Start off with a safari truck ride through the lush jungle and plantations, taking in the natural beauty of the Dominican Republic.
Then, arrive at the sanctuary and explore the botanical gardens, where you can observe medicinal plants and fruit trees native to the country.
Get up close and personal with the 20+ monkeys that have been trained to be comfortable around people as you watch them in their natural environment with stunning mountain views.
At the end of your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase souvenirs from the gift shop and sample some local coffee or hot chocolate.
23. Mingle with the Locals at a Cultural Event
In Punta Cana, visitors can experience a variety of cultural events, including traditional festivals and concerts.
The Festival of St. John the Baptist is celebrated each year in late June, accompanied by parades, musical performances, and fireworks.
Similarly, the Festival of Santo Domingo de Guzmán is celebrated in late August with a variety of traditional and contemporary music, dance, and food.
During the summer months, the town also hosts an array of concerts, ranging from classical to Caribbean music.
Additionally, visitors can explore the local art scene with gallery shows and outdoor murals or check out a traditional Dominican carnival featuring rides, games, and performances.
24. Play a Round of Golf
Nothing is more relaxing than playing a round of golf with your friend in the warm Caribbean sun. Most courses in Punta Cana have breathtaking views. Punta Espada Golf Course has eighteen holes, eight of which are right along the sea.
Similarly, La Cana Golf Course offers amazing ocean views while playing. La Cana is the Caribbean’s highest-rated course by Golf Magazine. The Lakes Barceló Golf Course is also world famous because it was designed by the famous architect PB Dye.
With warm temperatures and clear skies, you can enjoy your game in relaxation and comfort.
25. Sunset at the Beach
Last but definitely not least, the activity no money can buy: watching the sunset at the beach in Punta Cana, is a truly magical experience.
As the sun begins to set, the sky is filled with a kaleidoscope of vibrant pinks, oranges, and yellows, painting the sea and shoreline in a beautiful, romantic light. Strolling down the beach at golden hour creates a sense of intimacy as there are fewer people around, and the soft, warm sands create a peaceful atmosphere.
You can take in the breathtaking views of the glittering ocean, with the sun slowly sinking into the horizon, creating the perfect backdrop for a romantic evening and the best Insta pic.
What are the top 3 most epic things to do in Punta Cana?
This is a tough question. There are so many amazing things to do, but if I had to pick 3, here you go:
- Swim in the azure blue waters of Punta Cana and explore its iconic coral reefs with snorkeling or scuba diving.
- Test your bravery and dive with the turtles and sharks.
- Go on a dune buggy tour and explore the off-road landscapes, trails, and less-visited areas of Punta Cana.
Are there any dolphins or other wild animals to see in Punta Cana?
Yes, there are dolphins and other wild animals to be seen in Punta Cana. You can take a tour to Dolphin Island, a man-made platform in the open ocean where these amazing creatures live.
You can also choose to go deeper into the ocean with your instructor and swim with the dolphins. Furthermore, you can sail through crystal-clear waters along the coast of the Natural Reserve of Cabeza de Toro in Punta Cana and observe whales, sharks, sea lions, stingrays, and many other animal species.
How can I get to the attractions in Punta Cana?
If you’re looking to get to the best attractions in Punta Cana, the most comfortable option would be to rent a car.
If you don’t want to rent a car, another option is to use Uber. The app is quite new to the country, so make sure you choose a driver with good reviews. You can use the “Uber Select” feature, it will cost you more, but you’ll be in safe hands.
Lastly, you can also get a taxi. But keep in mind that taxis will usually be more expensive than Uber, probably five times more if you don’t pay attention.
If you want to learn more about the Dominican Republic, also read my best travel tips.
Is there a diving course available in Punta Cana?
Yes, there is a diving course available in Punta Cana. Scubaquatic offers all PADI standardized courses, including Discover Scuba Diving, and professional certifications like Divemaster and Open Water Scuba Instructor.
The instructors and guides are international and speak several languages, including English, German, French, Spanish, Russian, and Dutch.
What is the cheapest month to go to Punta Cana?
The cheapest month to go to Punta Cana is in July, during the low season.
Lodging and vacation rentals are the most economical during this time of the year. Plane tickets, however, may not be as cheap, as there are fewer flights during the low season, and the demand is still high.
Therefore, the best advice for exploring Punta Cana on a budget is to book your trip in advance during the low season and try to find a good deal by bundling the hotel and flights together.
What is the best way to experience the island paradise of Punta Cana?
The best way to experience the island paradise of Punta Cana is to take a Catamaran tour. Along the way, you can explore crystal clear waters and take part in activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming.
Enjoy the beautiful scenery of the island while you relax in luxury with a cold drink.
What types of amenities are available in Punta Cana?
Punta Cana offers a variety of places to stay, each with its own amenities.
All-inclusive resorts provide a wide range of amenities, from spa services, restaurants, and pools to activities like golf, tennis, and snorkeling.
Private villas and apartments offer a more intimate setting with private pools and some basic amenities.
What is the cost of a taxi or shuttle service to get around Punta Cana?
Taxis from your hotel tend to be more expensive for getting around Punta Cana, costing about 5x more than an Uber. Private airport transport can be pre-booked in advance for a fixed cost, depending on the company. Expect to pay $20-30 per person from the airport, depending on where your resort is located.
Uber is the most cost-effective way to get around, but be sure to check the driver’s ratings.
Car rental is also an option, with Discover Cars and Expedia offering competitive prices.
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Are there any clubs, nightlife spots, or casinos in Punta Cana?
Yes, there are various clubs, nightlife spots, and casinos in Punta Cana. Hard Rock Casino Punta Cana is an iconic casino with state-of-the-art slots, table games, a poker room, and a nightclub.
Imagine Night Club, El Kan Drinks House, and Legacy Movie Disco Club are some of the most popular nightlife spots in Punta Cana, each offering its own unique atmosphere and music.
How many days should I stay in Punta Cana?
If you’re wondering how many days to stay in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, it will depend on your budget and your plans.
Most people tend to stay around six days, which allows plenty of time to explore the area and take advantage of the beaches, restaurants, and other attractions the city has to offer.
If you have a larger budget and more time, you can consider staying up to 14 days and making the most out of your time in the beautiful region.
If you are traveling to Punta Cana, you should also read my Dominican Republic Packlist List.
What can I do in Punta Cana when it rains?
The Dominican Republic is tropical, so it has about six months of the wet season. When it rains in Punta Cana, there are still plenty of activities to enjoy!
You can always explore the nearby restaurants and coffee shops for an amazing dining experience.
But something that I absolutely loved doing during the rainy season was a Dune Buggy adventure. The rain adds to the off-road experience, making it even more thrilling!
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25 Epic Things to do in Punta Cana
Whether you’re looking for a thrill or a relaxing way to spend your time, you’ll find it in Punta Cana. Comment below to let me know which of these activities you’re most excited to try on your next trip!