Punta Cana is for exploring! Get out and see the many beautiful delights that the area has to offer. Maybe you’d like to ride horses on the beach or go for a hike in a nature reserve. Or perhaps you’d prefer to do some souvenir shopping. Or maybe you just want to go for a stroll downtown. Be your own tour-guide: hire a car and check out what Punta Cana has to offer.
For the Nature Lover
Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve is a 1,500-acre private reserve owned and maintained by the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation. The Reserve’s network of trails leads you to a dozen freshwater lagoons, providing habitat for an abundance of birds, reptiles, insects, and other local flora and fauna, including the Ridgway’s Hawk, one of the rarest animals in the world. You can learn about the natural and cultural history of the island at the Ecological Park. Visit the petting zoo with many domesticated animals common in the Dominican Republic since colonial times, a sugarcane exhibit, an iguana habitat and many other attractions.
Hoyo Azul Lagoon (‘the Blue Hole’) is one of the most sought-after beauty spots in Punta Cana. A natural pool with crystal clear waters located off the base of a cliff, a visit here is one you won’t soon forget. There are two eco-friendly, family-friendly tours to Hoyo Azul. You can hike through the tropical forest on the way to the lagoon, stopping off in a cave to see the cave-paintings and learn the history of the Taino, the indigenous people of the Dominican. Adrenaline junkies can take a zip-line to the lagoon. This is no ordinary zip-line – the course is not attached to the trees, but rather the cliff face. Soar up to 250 feet above the tree-tops. Be sure to bring your camera!
For the Beach Bum
Punta Cana is world-famous for its beautiful beaches. With 40 kilometers of coast dotted with coconut palms, gorgeous white sand and clear, inviting water, it’s no surprise that visitors rate Punta Cana’s beaches as among the best in the world.
Playa Bavaro – the main resort beach in the area, and easily one of the best beaches in the Carribean – is a long beach (two kilometers), perfect for a romantic sunset stroll. Declared one of the best beaches in the world by UNESCO due to its fine, white sand and crystal-clear waters, Bavaro is protected by a coral reef, making the sea calm and ideal for children. Property owners at Cocotal Golf & Country Club have lifetime private access to Bavaro Beach via the exclusive beach club at the Meliá Caribe Tropical Hotel.
Right in the heart of Bavaro is El Cortecito – considered by locals to the downtown of Punta Cana – a popular spot with many of Punta Cana’s expats. The public has access to El Cortecito at several points, and With the feel of a small fishing village, El Cortecito has many bars, restaurants, and gift shops along the beach front.
Drive twenty minutes north of Bavaro to find Macao Beach, an undeveloped, virgin beach that’s very popular with locals, and is a surfer’s paradise. At Macao Surf Camp you can rent boards and get surfing lessons, and there are several restaurants right on the beach, where you can feast on fresh fish.
For the Shopper
Downtown Punta Cana. Make a trip to this entertainment and shopping hot spot. Restaurants include Moroccan and a yogurt shop.
Plaza San Juan Shopping Center is a new mall that’s adding stores all the time. Here you’ll find many familiar brands, including IKEA, as well as plenty of shops selling local products, including, of course, Dominican Republic’s famous cigars.
Palma Real Shopping Village at Meliá Caribe Tropical is Punta Cana’s upscale mall. Here you’ll find boutiques selling beachwear, jewelry, fashion, and perfumes. There are also several restaurants including the Hard Rock Café and Outback Steak House, and an open-air Spanish-styled food court.