You may have already heard all about the Punta Cana resorts, but there is much more throughout the island. Located in the eastern area of the Dominican Republic, the beaches of Punta Cana are truly a sight to behold. Its white-sand beaches, hypnotizing azure waters, coconut trees that gently sway by the shore, electrifying nightlife and charming town draw travelers from all over the world to come and experience tropical island life the way it should be. There are various of travel deals that will show offers to Punta Cana, so it is important to sift through the ones that have the most bang for their buck.
Punta Cana also draws a large crowd of nomadic types; professionals that work in jobs that involve travel who come and stay a few months at a time. Inexpensive accommodation options are abundant, so it’s fairly easy for traveling professionals to keep costs down. Fresh and quality food, utilities, and basic necessities are affordable; even more so if you decide to live outside the popular touristy areas. Depending on your interests, you can live comfortably in the beautiful paradise of Punta Cana for USD $1,000 a month.
The Dominican Republic is known for its beautiful warm weather. The temperatures range from 28-30 degrees Celsius all year round, so if you intend on traveling to Punta Cana for an extended working holiday you’ll be pleased with the weather. January is the coolest month as temperatures can drop to as low as 20 degrees Celsius and it’s advisable to pack sweaters for traveling during this time. However do take note that since Punta Cana is in the Caribbean, it also faces the risk for storms. Punta Cana’s hurricane season lasts from June to October (and during the hurricane season is where you may find some great travel deals), while August to September is the peak times for traveling. It’s rare that hurricanes do occur, but it’s always best to be safe. The occasional rain and downpour can happen anytime at any place in the Caribbean without warning, but tend to disappear just as quickly.
In the Dominican Republic, Spanish is the official language and is widely spoken. Traveling to Punta Cana is the perfect opportunity to practice a little Spanish. However as tourism is a major contributor to local economy, many hotels, restaurants, and other establishments employ staff who know how to speak some English. If you aren’t that confident about your Spanish skills, it’s recommended to pack a guidebook along for your trip which will come in handy especially when asking for travel quotes and additional travel deals.
Because Punta Cana is such a hot tourist spot, there are many kinds of accommodations to choose from. For budget travelers, there are hostels and inns you can stay in, which are so affordable that you can stay for months at a time. Staying at an AirBnb is also recommended if you are looking for well-priced accommodations.
While visiting the Caribbean, staying at all-inclusive resorts is a favorite of travelers and you won’t find any shortage of these while in Punta Cana either. The resorts that specialize in “Punta Cana All Inclusive” are all amazing, from top to bottom, so you cannot go wrong with any choice.
All-inclusive and mid-range resorts:
For nearby destinations, Punta Cana is perfectly suitable for walking. Otherwise, you may want to consider hiring a motorcycle taxi which is locally known as a “motoconcho”. But don’t just hire any motoconcho; the drivers are notorious for reckless driving so always make sure that you get one who wears an orange vest which signifies that they are an official member of the local union which requires drivers to pass tests. Motoconchos are popular with both tourists and locals, and are easy to find. These guys probably will not be mentioned in the travel deals you received, so it is better to know this before you try and flag a taxi.
Another affordable alternative for traveling short distances around Punta Cana are the buses, which are also locally known as “Guaguas”. All bus destinations in Punta Cana will end in Higuey, and the buses are a safe way to travel to near and far destinations. Head over to the Bavaro Bus Station which is Punta Cana’s primary hub for local buses where you can connect to other bus rides that are headed for other destinations also within the Dominican Republic.
If you prefer to do overseas adventure travel by having the security of a private car or a car rental, this is possible in Punta Cana too. Many tour operators and travel agencies will be happy to help tourists find their ideal form of private transport and can offer a wide range of vehicles suitable to your needs and budget (sometimes this is included within various travel deals) In Punta Cana, travelers need to be at least 21 years of age to be able to rent a car. It’s also highly recommended to have insurance with you in the event of an accident.
Punta Cana offers many attractions and activities to enjoy, both for the traveler who wants to relax as well as those who are in for overseas adventure travel.
Visit the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia, a beautiful church that is known for its concrete façade and majestic elongated arch, which looks as if it’s reaching straight for the sunny blue skies of Punta Cana. The basilica is one of the most famous in the area and is definitely a must-see attraction, especially the Virgin of Altagracia which is stored inside a glass case.
Isla Saona is the most popular destination among tourists who travel to the Dominican Republic and is usually included in any of the travel deals you may come across. It can sometimes be difficult to imagine that the beach is real; it has all the trimmings of the ultimate tropical paradise: sparkling turquoise waters, 42 square kilometers of sugary-white sand beaches framed by tall coconut trees, and colorful marine life. Many tour companies offer excursions to Isla Saona via a speedboat from the mainland, which already typically include round trip transport, a licensed tour guide, buffet lunch, refreshments, and snacks. Various packages are available to suit your needs for an Isla Saona day trip, just ask your tour operator for travel quotes. The entire trip takes around 12 hours, and because you’ll be with many other travelers, is the ideal opportunity to mingle and meet other people.
Nature lovers will enjoy a trip out to the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve. The park encompasses around 6 square kilometers of protected areas, which are home to more than 500 plants, over 100 birds, and 160 insects. Some of the travel deals will include three hours tours available which are also offered in other languages. The tour will also take you to the fruit and botanical gardens, all of which are breathtaking in their own way so don’t forget to bring your camera. If you love animals, don’t miss the petting zoo as well as the iguana farm. In the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve visitor center, you’ll find a vast collection of insects, photos, and maps of the area. The tour is worthwhile and a great opportunity to witness the natural attractions of Punta Cana.
Another spectacular attraction that you shouldn’t miss is the Parque Nacional del Este. Even if you end up living in Punta Cana for a while because of jobs that involve travel, you may end up visiting two or more times because the beauty of this park is unparalleled. This may be one of the coolest places you will see on all of the travel deals. There are over 500 species of plants here, around 50 of which are endemic to the region. Parque Nacional del Este is also home to over a hundred kinds of fish, hundreds of insects, and many birds. More than 400 caves are found at the park, most of which have cave paintings locally known as the Taino pictographs as well as petroglyphs. Various artifacts and structures have been discovered around the caves by archaeologists, even the remains of an ancient Taino city. However, not all caves are accessible. If you’re lucky, you’ll even be treated to a sighting of the elusive bottlenose dolphins, the West Indian manatees. Since there are no formal tours held at the park, visitors are free to roam around after they have paid the entrance fee and wear the wristband that is required of all tourists.
Cueva del Puente, situated in the Parque Nacional del Este, is the only cave with Taino pictographs which is accessible for tourists. Part of the cave already collapsed but visitors can still be treated to numerous pictographs around the cave. Cueva del Puente also has striking stalactites and stalagmite formations. A few of the travel deals I reviewed showed this as one of the attractions we were able to visit.
Several other day trips are also worth seeing while visiting Punta Cana. Higuey is highly recommended for an excursion as it’s a great place to experience the essence of the local culture. There are several small streets where you will find a wide assortment of food, fresh fruit, delicious cheese, and local beers as well as rum. The Ponce de Leon house was the old residence of the famous explorer together with his wife and daughters. He is best known for discovering Florida during his travels. The house is well-preserved and highly recommended, short tours are available. Boca de Yuma, an old fishermen’s village, is a charming scenic location where travelers can go to enjoy freshly-caught seafood at inexpensive prices. This is also where you can find numerous restaurants situated on cliffs with breathtaking views of the sea (usually a highlight of the travel deals you will review). Santo Domingo was an old European settlement, and a popular destination in Punta Cana for its colorful nightlife and historical attractions.
Food and Drink
While traveling to Punta Cana it is recommended to drink bottled water instead of tap for sanitary and safety purposes. Bottled water is found everywhere and it won’t be difficult finding refreshments. Use purified water at all times to avoid contamination even while brushing your teeth.
Food in Punta Cana is fantastic; the cuisine is a combination of Spanish, African, and Taino ancestry. There are also many other cultural influences in the local food. If you want to experience real, authentic Dominican food, go out and explore instead of eating from the hotel buffet. All of the travel deals I reviewed, elaborated on the various restaurants that you can visit, during your stay.
One of the common local foods is flat bread made out of the local cassava plant. This delicious, crispy flat bread is found all over Punta Cana, oftentimes topped with other tasty foods including meat. There are many ways to enjoy this famous flat bread; sometimes the locals eat it simply with lime, spices, and some salt. Fried chicken, rice, and beans are also popular but in Punta Cana these are made with a unique Dominican flavor. Other must-try dishes during your trip include sancocho, the bandera, locrian, mangu, and plantains.
Some of the must-try restaurants while visiting Punta Cana include:
While visiting Punta Cana for overseas adventure travel, always keep yourself hydrated because the sun can get very hot even during the cooler months. The agents that help you choose between travel deals may not give you a heads up, but make sure to remember to keep hydrated. Dehydration during your trip can be a cause for concern, so avoid having to see a doctor by drinking cool water regularly.
Shopping and Souvenirs
Even while you are on holiday for jobs that involve travel, don’t leave Punta Cana without bringing home mementos from your holiday. Souvenirs are abundant and shopping is a pleasurable experience not just because there are lots of items to choose from but also because the locals are very friendly, making it easy to score great deals. People from the Dominican Republic are amazingly talented which shows in the numerous artisan and craft goods that are created and sold as souvenirs. Palma Real Shopping Village is a good place to start shopping for souvenirs and many other goods. The San Juan Shopping Center is also recommended. http://www.sanjuanshoppingcenter.com/
Punta Cana has numerous air conditioned malls as well as small locally-run shops and clean supermarkets with all the necessities. The beaches (the main attraction on all of these travel deals) are also lined with several kiosks which are where you can find the most inexpensive souvenirs. Shops in Punta Cana are usually open from 9am and tend to close by 7pm, but in touristy areas some shops are open until 10pm.
Rum, cigars, and coffee are popular souvenirs while traveling to the Caribbean region. The Dominican Republic is known for producing excellent rums and is even considered to be among the best in the world. A bottle of rum from Punta Cana is an excellent souvenir and will also make great gifts for loved ones back home. They are inexpensive and of superior quality so you won’t have to break the bank to enjoy this souvenir from your travels.
Coffee that is produced in the Dominican Republic is known for its rich, full flavor and low acidity. Coffee beans are usually a dark roast although they are not burnt, unlike other varieties. Coffee connoisseurs love the brew from the Dominican Republic for its unique excellent flavor. Most of the coffee produced in the region is actually grown in small, family-run farms where they pass down time-honored coffee-making traditions. One of the travel deals I reviewed recently, showed a tour of a coffee plant.
If you enjoy cigars, you will be pleased to know that the Dominican Republic makes some of the best cigars in the world. Ask your agent about travel quotes and where you can buy cigars for the best prices. Cigars also make a wonderful gift if you know a cigar lover back home. Tobacco shops are easily found all throughout Punta Cana. The art of cigar making has been practiced in the region for hundreds of years. It takes real craftsmanship and skill to create the delicious cigars that are produced in the region. Don Lucas Cigars and Vivaldi Cigars. Cigars are two popular shops in Punta Cana where travelers and locals alike go for their share of cigars.
When shopping for your overseas adventure travel just keep in mind that there are also prohibited souvenirs that you shouldn’t be taking home. While you are in the beach, don’t take home the corals and shells that you encounter even those that are underwater. The best travel deals will provide an opportunity to visit the beaches, while staying in a fabulous resort–and allow you to take in the awesome culture of Punta Cana.