Hispaniola : Dominican Republic : Eastern Dominican Republic : Punta Cana
Punta Cana is the name of a region in the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic. Covering about 420,000 m2 (approximately 1,100 acres), the region is home to a coastline of sandy white beaches and to a "town" of the same name.
Located in the province of La Altagracia and population estimated at 100,000, the region borders the Atlantic Ocean to the east. To the north, it borders Bávaro and El Cortecito beaches. It also limits with Cabeza de Toro, Cabo Engaño and further west with Juanillo.
Peak Season: Peak season in Punta Cana tends to run from December to April. Prices in both airfare and hotel increase dramatically during these times, while dropping in the summer and early fall months.
Punta Cana has a tropical climate. Although it is mildly windy, the ocean in the area is mainly shallow, with several natural marine pools in which visitors can bathe. The weather is fairly constant, with an average temperature of 26°C. The hottest season lasts from April to November, and during the day temperatures might reach 32°C. From December to March, temperatures during the evening are around 20°C. Very little rain falls around the area, mostly because of the flat landscape. The summer months tend to be very warm and very humid. It is suggested to wear loose fitting, cotton clothing – so pack light.
Several US carriers have scheduled flights to Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ)  including: Jet Blue, American Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, United, US Airways and Delta. Air Canada also offers flights to Toronto and Montreal. Westjet also offers scheduled service from Toronto. Aeroflot offers service from Moscow. Charter airlines include Air Transat, Sunwing, Thomas Cook (operated by AC Jazz), Skyservice and Canjet departing from many larger Canadian cities seasonally
Most people going to Punta Cana are staying at a resort. With a resort package most hotels will have airport pick up arranged for you at the Punta Cana Airport. You will find this area to the right as you depart the final customs check area. Just look for your hotel name on a sign that many guides will have, and they will direct you to your bus. Private taxis are also available at fixed prices.
In fact, Punta Cana has one of the busiest and best connected airports in the region, sometimes receiving more flights than the Aeropuerto Internacional de Las Américas, located in Santo Domingo (at about a three-hour drive).
The Punta Cana Airport has a beautiful thatched roof and is an open-air design, also meaning that few areas of the airport have air conditioning. Upon arriving at the Punta Cana airport, each passenger is required to purchase a $10 tourist card before entering immigration, often included in your documentaion upon departure or issued on the flight (unless you have a Dominican passport or a cedula residence card). After retrieving luggage and clearing customs, arriving passengers will be greeted by their tour company representative to the right and directed to board the correct bus for transfer to their resort. Do not venture out looking for your bus without first checking in at the counters. The buses are numbered, thus you will not know which one to get on to.
You can as well buy a private airport-hotel-airport transfer from a lot of companies here are some:
www.prestigelimousine-service.com (Premiun Airport Transfer with bi-lingual drivers)
Boating is very attractive and common water sport activity in Punta Cana, activities like fishing,parasailing, snorkeling,sailing, can be on line reserve with reputable companies operating in the area.
Just recently, the Dominican Republic Government has built a new highway known as the "Autopisa Del Coral". At 70 Kilometers or 43 Miles, The Highway starts from La Romana and Ends at Punta Cana. However, the Highway has now have the La Romana By-pass, allowing Drivers to save time if driving from Santo Domingo. The Highway's speed limit is 110 Km/h or 70 MPH and it only takes less than an hour from La Romana and 2 Hours from Santo Domingo. There are tolls for the highway but it's unopened.
Tour Operators: Most passengers arriving in Punta Cana International Airport have prearranged local transportation through a tour operator. These companies have representatives at the airport to guide guests to vehicles waiting to take them to the reserved resort. If you are traveling with a tour operator it is highly recommended that you attend any welcome meetings and orientations offered by your tour operator. In these meetings you'll receive important information regarding your hotel and immediate area information, activity and excursion options, and departure information.
You can also book your airport transfers in advance from the comfort of your home with ''''Dominican Airport Transfers' one of the Dominican Republic's leaders in airport transfers servicing all airports and tourist destinations. You can actually get an instant quote and book online on their automated site. Dominican Airport Transfers office is in Santo Domingo City.
Now; if are looking for Premium Airport Transfer with Bi-lingual speaking drivers, just send your request to: www.prestigelimousine-service.com and we will send a quote right away.
Local Buses: For the more adventurous, the local bus lines operate on most of the roads of the area, for a minimal cost. The downside to public transportation in the Dominican Republic is irregular bus schedules, crowded vehicles, and potentially unsafe vehicles (689 casualties in 2007), drivers or passengers. Although for the most part it is a safe and effective means of transportation, it is generally recommended to use one of the more frequented means of getting around.
Rent-a-Car: A number of car rental agencies like Europcar, Budget, Prestige Car Rentals  and Avis offer service in the area of Punta Cana and Bavaro. Many hotels have car rental concessionaries on their properties. Keep in mind that their driving laws, habits and conditions may be different from the ones you are used to. When renting a vehicle always take the maximum available insurance, keep a map of the area you intend to drive in, and make sure you are comfortable with the drive.
The local currency is the Dominican Peso. Its value fluctuates between 30-40 pesos per US dollar and 48-53 pesos per Euro. Although any currency can be changed into pesos, it should be noted that in some situations it may be difficult to exchange pesos back into your original currency. We recommend exchanging only small amounts of money at a time to avoid any inconveniences. Most banks exchange Dollars, Euros, and Traveler's cheques and can process cash advances on credit and debit cards. Don't forget to bring proper identification, such as a driver's license or passport. Please note that local ATM machines disburse only pesos, contact your bank for related service fees. If you are planning a day tour to Santo Domingo, you will find that everything is much cheaper than you would at the resort. Souvenirs, clothing, artwork, liquor, etc., will be about 1/4 to 1/3 the price at your resort. Also, in the area all shops, restaurants, bars, excursion companies accept US dollars, Euros, Canadian dollars, British pounds, but it is a bit cheaper to pay in Dominican pesos.
Do not exchange money outside a recognized bank or exchange house!
If you walk outside your resort to the city/area internet cafes will also be half the price (yet still pricey by ordinary Dominican standards. For example, $8 per hour in the resort, $4 per hour in town in Punta Cana or Bavaro. In other parts of the DR, internet cafes are $2 per hour or often less!)
Make sure you spend the remainder of your Dominican pesos. It is next to impossible to convert your pesos back to US dollars or Euros.
There are a variety of shops that are along the beachfront of each resort. These shops are owned and operated by the locals of the Dominican Republic. Shopping outside of the resort complex in Punta Cana/Bavaro can be kind of an adventure. In most shopping plazas, you can expect to be accosted by hoards of Dominicans all pulling you in a differet direction The people of the Dominican Republic love to barter for the price of items. You can expect that once in one of their stores you will definitely be taken for a ride. You will initially be quoted ridiculously outrageous prices. It is imperative that you get the item for as cheap as you can. This can become quite an ordeal as the shopkeeper fights with you, insults you for your frugality, etc. Often times, the locals will offer you a price for an item that is much more expensive the actual value of the product.
When walking along the beach also realize that the people at the shops will bother you to come buy something from them. It can often times become annoying because they will keep pestering you until you come and look at what they have to offer. Realize though that all you need to do is tell them that you are not interested and keep walking. The best way of letting the locals know that you are not interested is to tell them that you have no money and they will leave you alone. The people of the Dominican Republic are very friendly and become offended when you walk right past them without at least acknowledging their presence. A simple "no thank you" may sometimes work, but in most cases, they will not take no for an answer and will continue to chase and harass you.
Do not buy dried animals (turtle shells, sea shells...etc) because A.) It is illegal, so you will not be allowed to bring them through customs, and may get arrested trying; and B.) It encourages the locals to kill these creatures. Reef life should stay in the sea, so help to preserve these endangered animals by buying other types of souvenirs.
The all-inclusive resorts offer all kinds of great food. Make sure that you speak with your representative to book your preferred restaurant for dinner in advance. Many all-inclusive resorts have various types of restaurants. Make sure you take advantage of all their cuisines by reserving a date and time.
Keep in mind that the standards even at the five-star resorts are not the same standards as North America or Europe. Try to eat peeled fruits and vegetables. Stay away from food that may have been sitting for a long time.
There are also an ever increasing number of international restaurants located around Bavaro/Punta Cana that the residents and tourists alike visit quite often.
An instant favourite in the region! Small and intimate, the restaurant serves outstanding dishes at a very reasonable price. An easy walk for anyone living or vacationing in the Cortecito/ Los Corales zone of Bavaro and an easy taxi ride from most resorts. Continually top rated on Trip Advisor.
(809) 552-0645 If seafood is your favorite, try what locals have declared the best lobster in town. With a huge open grill and enormous platters, it is hard for sea food lovers not to enjoy this beach-side restaurant. It is located right on the main beach strip.
(809) 959-2262 Whether it is a special dinner for two or a business meeting, the formal setting and superb cuisine are tailored to satisfy the palate and style of the most demanding international connoisseurs. Set in the Punta Cana Resort Marina, the restaurant stretches out over the water, providing patrons with a truly unique view. Make sure to reserve your place well in advance.
(809) 552-6776 Spanish style coffee shop and bakery with wireless internet access. Comfortable seating, urban clientele, and great food along with the rustic decoration give this place a welcoming character. The bakery provides hotels in the area with the choicest deserts and is the best place to have breakfast in Punta Cana.
Presidente is the most popular national brand of beer, and it is readily available anywhere. It is available in both regular and lite versions. For a beer with a bit more taste, you should try Bohemia, made by the same company, but with a fuller flavour...also available in a lite version.
They also specialize in many different types of rum:
Most often, you will be offered Brugal or Barcelo products.
Highly recommended rums include Burmudez "Don Armando" and "Anniversario 1852" as well as Macorix "Eight Year".
Though in most Latin and Central American countries coffee is produced primarily for export, most of the coffee grown in the Dominican Republic is savored within its borders. And Dominicans, like Europeans, enjoy their coffee strong and black. One useful phrase for tourists to learn when ordering coffee is "sin azucar" (no sugar) for the simple reason that the locals measure by tablespoon rather than teaspoon.
The resorts are low-rise and beautiful. The grounds are lush and tropical with foliage, lagoons and palm trees along with peacocks, flamingos, ducks, parrots and other wildlife that stroll the resorts’ grounds. The majority of the resorts are very large and spread out – like small cities. This means lot of walking. Some resorts have golf carts and trams to accommodate guests’ needs. Punta Cana has so many great resorts that will meet every expectation: golf, scuba, fishing, windsailing, yachting, fine dining, relaxation, spas, children's programs and more. The sales staff is knowledgeable and available to consult and recommend the perfect resort to meet your expectations.
Riu Bambu is a friendly, fun hotel located on one of the most beautiful beaches in Punta Cana which features 560 bungalow-style rooms with unique amenities such as Riu's renowned minibar and liquor dispenser. This wonderful resort offers a wide variety of fun-filled activities and sports options. Enjoy the lively atmosphere of nightly outdoor entertainment, night club and casino, while surrounded by inviting swimming pools and tropical vegetation. Includes a choice of fabulous restaurants and bars, plus 24 hour All-Inclusive (snacks and beverage) service. Riu Bambu will surpass all your expectations with action-filled days and nights.
This popular resort features 362 rooms located in a prime location within the Riu resort complex in Punta Cana. It lies only a few steps away from the Caribbean Street promenade and a short walk from a beautiful white sandy beach. In the midst of tropical vegetation and a relaxing atmosphere, Riu Naiboa offers a complete array of restaurants, bars, and services while allowing its guests to also enjoy the facilities and amenities of the other 2 sister properties. The wide variety of sports and leisure activities, along with the lively nightlife throughout the Riu resort, is proof of Riu Naiboa’s great value for an impressive all-inclusive escape.
The alluring Riu Palace Macao was just added to the AAA Four-diamond accreditation. The hotel is situated on a 16-mile-long white sandy beach surrounded by lush gardens and tropical vegetation. With 356 deluxe rooms, including the sought-after Jacuzzi suites, this hotel has a unique atmosphere of romantic yet non-pretentious elegance. Outstanding luxury and comfort can be found in every corner of this hotel. Indulge yourself with superior dining and entertainment options or simply explore the vast array of services, activities and pleasures all throughout the Riu Resort.
The very latest addition to our outstanding resorts in Dominican Republic, Riu Palace Punta Cana achieves an even higher level of luxury, comfort and beauty. Located on a spectacular stretch of white sandy beach, this magnificent property proudly boasts 612 junior suites, all with hydro-massage bathtub and Riu's distinctive amenities, such as a mini-bar and optics. Room service 24 hours a day and 24-hour All-Inclusive (snacks and beverages) complement the wide array of gourmet restaurants and bars available. Exchange privileges entitle guests to access to the 4 sister properties in the resort.
First-class all-inclusive resort located in Playa Bavaro. Hotel has main restaurant and six specialty restaurants available. Along with nightly entertainment, they have their own entertainment village located at the entrance to the resort.
A part of a spectacular 1921 room all inclusive resort, just 20 km from Punta Cana International Airport and 190 km from Las Americas International Airport. This hotel has 600 rooms. They are located on Bavaro Beach, with fine white sands stretching for 12 km, in the middle of shady coconut groves, with a coral reef that keeps the waters warm, calm and inviting. Is an All Inclusive Resort, offering outstanding accommodations, around the clock activities, and superb meals and beverages.
Located to the east of the Caribbean coast of Punta Cana on the beach front protected by the coral reef and surrounded by a large tropical garden. It is close to the Fishing Yacht Club, 7 minutes from the golf courses and just 20 minutes from Punta Cana International Airport. The hotel has 460 rooms, the majority with sea views, others with direct access to the pool. They are all equipped with King or Queen size beds, terrace or balcony, air conditioning, satellite TV, direct-dial telephone, minibar, coffee maker, safety deposit box... in short all the fittings appropriate for an establishment in this category.
Guests discover unprecedented all inclusive freedom at this resort that is built along 1 mile of endless white sandy beach surrounded by thousands of palm trees. Experience the most generous a la carte diner from a wide selection of menus and variety of 7 a la carte restaurants and 9 friendly bars serving premium international brand beverage. The resort offers a full service, world class Spa, a seaside wedding gazebo and state of the art meeting facilities. A huge meandering swimming pool features bridges, waterfall and swim up palapa bars.
Located on legendary Bávaro Beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Paradisus Palma Real Resort combines all-inclusive amenities, world-class facilities and unsurpassed service with the finest in cuisine, all-suites accommodations and endless entertainment opportunities to truly create a new standard of luxury, extravagance, indulgence and fun. Only 20 minutes from the Punta Cana International Airport and one and a half hours from La Romana, the Dominican Republic resort is surrounded by vibrant tropical gardens, lush mangroves and faces one of the most breathtaking white-powder beaches in all of the Caribbean.
Departure Information and Tips
The CDC in the United States has stated that the entire province of La Altagracia, including the resorts, is at some risk for malaria. Currently the recommended preventative is chloroquine. Use mosquito repellent containing DEET, especially at dawn and dusk.
(809) 552-1415 Located in Plaza Brisas de Bavaro, suite 207. It features a bilingual staff for out-patient medical attentions. Open 24/7 for emergencies
(809) 552-1506 Near Plaza Bavaro and the local bus terminal It features a multilingual staff and in-house pharmacy. Open until 9PM for visitors and 24/7 for emergencies
(809) 686-1414 Situated near the airport, Hospiten's multilingual staff and fully equipped facility is available 24/7 for emergencies
(829) 354 2664 Dental clinic located in Shopping Mall Plaza Rivieras, 2nd floor, offers dental services. Call Dra. Cindy Korac at 809 552 1613 for more information and to make an appointment or visit the website Dentist Punta Cana 
(809) 959-0025 Hours: 9AM-10PM This pharmacy is located near the airport and is the main pharmacy of the area of Punta Cana.
(809) 552-1533 Hours: 8AM-12PM This pharmacy near Plaza Bavaro offers delivery to many of the local hotels in the area.