When you conjure up in your mind the most idyllic images of a tropical paradise – endless expanses of soft, white sand; palm trees dancing gently in the ocean breeze; brilliant, turquoise-colored water – it’s not some imaginary Never Land. What you’re thinking of is Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
With thirty-five miles of pristine beaches, aquamarine water, and an average temperature of 82°, it’s not hard to see why this easternmost point of the DR is one of the Caribbean’s most popular destinations. And it won’t break the bank like many other Caribbean getaways; beach hotels, resorts, and other activities are affordable and available.
If your time is limited but you need a short escape from everyday life, Punta Cana may just fit the bill. What can you do to get the most out of a three-day stay?
Day One – Hit the Beaches
After all, this is the main attraction. Playa Bávaro is one of the most popular beaches, with sun-drenched sand and endless crystal clear water. Most of the resorts are here, and it’s a lively place that is always buzzing with activity. Water activities are aplenty; you can choose from snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, paddle boarding, and deep sea fishing. For a quieter beach experience, Playa El Cortecito is a smaller, less crowded beach popular with backpackers. Capitan Cook is a popular seafood restaurant, just a few feet away from the gentle waves of the sea. You can move up the coast and hit Playa de Arena Blanca, Playa de Arena Gorda, and Playa Macao. Each has its own stunning views and personality.
Day Two – Take an Excursion
After you’ve unwound at the beaches, it’s time to choose an excursion. And there is no shortage. Take a catamaran tour of the breathtaking Bávaro Coast, which includes snorkeling in beautifully transparent waters teeming with colorful marine life, a visit to a secluded lagoon, and lunch and cocktails. Or take an ocean spa excursion, which is a spa boat featuring Pilates, massage, and enough lazy time to completely recharge your batteries. Or take a tour of Santo Domingo. If nature is your thing, take a safari, go horseback riding, or visit the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve. This 15-acre park features hiking and 12 freshwater lagoons. Reptiles, birds, and other wildlife call this home. You might even catch a glimpse of a Ridgway’s Hawk, an endangered species that lives nowhere else on earth.
Day Three – Indulge Yourself
This is the day you can spoil yourself. If shopping is your passion, visit Palma Real Shopping Village for clothes, shoes, jewelry, and those unique souvenirs and trinkets you can’t get anywhere else. With over 60 stores, you’ll stay busy for the better part of the day. For golfers, there are four courses in Punta Cana to choose from. And if the water is pulling you back, take a catamaran trip to Isla Catalina or put on the scuba gear and head to the Astron shipwreck for an amazing diving experience.
Be sure to cap each day off with a splendid dinner and drinks, and sample some of the nightlife. There are plenty of great restaurants in Punta Cana. The food is always fresh and the atmosphere is relaxed and casual. At the end of the third day, you’ll definitely be checking your calendar and planning your return.