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Punta Cana
Photograph: Shutterstock

The 9 best things to do in Punta Cana

The best things to do in Punta Cana range from hidden coves and private islands to great seafood and late-night clubs

Edited by
Ella Doyle
Written by
Claire Dodd
Sarah Arnold

Dreaming of white sand, hidden coves and crystal clear blue waters? You might just be dreaming of Punta Cana, a picture-perfect resort town in the easternmost spot of the  Dominican Republic, which has to be seen to be believed. Though it’s mostly known for its glorious beaches, Punta Cana has a lot more to offer up then sea and sand. 

Think national parks, watersports, fantastic seafood, secluded islands and wild nightclubs with open bars. This is the perfect getaway to get lost in for a while, whether you want to spend your days relaxing in the sun or getting active. And we’ve ranked the best things Punta Cana has to offer, right here. Read on for every unmissable spot for your hit list. And if you need a dreamy all-inclusive Punta Cana hotel? We can help there, too.

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Best things to do in Punta Cana

Scape Park
Photograph: Viator

1. Scape Park

What is it? A ‘natural theme park’ full of outdoor activities, white cliffs, hikes and more. 

Why go? Well hey, you’re in Punta Cana. It would be rude not to check out this beautiful scape park, which is equal parts buzzing with life and incredibly peaceful. The 247-acre park features hidden alcoves, pools to splash in, ziplining, and if you’re lucky, a whole host of multicoloured birds. Oh and if you’re looking to snap some pics for the ‘gram, this is the place. 

Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park & Reserve
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Churl

2. Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park & Reserve

What is it? An ecological park and reserve spread over 1,500 acres of subtropical forest.

Why go? This area is privately owned but dedicated to conservation and scientific research. Visitors can enjoy the 12 freshwater lagoons, five of which are open for swimming. Guama Lagoon is 26 feet deep, and many love to dive off the platform here – certainly one for the GoPro.

Macao Beach
Photograph: Shutterstock

3. Macao Beach

What is it? Punta Cana’s public beach, where you’ll see plenty of locals, especially on Sundays.

Why go? It’s a popular surfing spot and was listed by UNESCO as one of the Caribbean’s best beaches, mostly down to the clear waters and lovely white sand fringed by tall palm trees.

Hoyo Azul
Photograph: Viator

4. Hoyo Azul

What is it? A key part of Scape Park, this sinkhole (cenote) is hidden at the base of a 75-meter cliff.

Why go? The turquoise waters draw the crowds in. Hoyo Azul (Blue Hole) is a natural phenomenon filled with crystal-clear water. It’s wise to visit early as it can be very popular, and don’t forget to bring a swimming suit so you can bathe in the waters.

Coco Bongo
Photograph: Shutterstock

5. Coco Bongo

What is it? A vibrant nightclub with ten shows a night.

Why go? This club knows how to put on a show – throughout the night impersonators recreate shows from artists including Michael Jackson and Queen. There are also trapeze artists and professional singers and dancers on stage at all times. Also, the club has an open bar – just pay the entrance fee.

Photograph: Jellyfish Restaurant

6. Jellyfish

What is it? A restaurant serving local seafood and shellfish dishes.

Why go? It’s worth a visit for the setting alone. Walk along Bavaro Beach to get here and enjoy the stunning sea views over lunch or a sunset dinner while you listen to the waves. Some of the best dishes include snapper, mahi-mahi, and sea bass – smothered with delicious house sauce.

Capri Beach House

7. Capri Beach House

What is it? A charming beachside restaurant and guesthouse. 

Why go? Casual, unpretentious, and by the sea, the Capri Beach House has a laidback, non-chain feel to it. It’s tucked away in a little area the developers haven’t got to yet, where there are plenty of characterful independent cafés frequented by locals, plus gift shops and stalls selling art. Sit under the palms with a piña colada and order the very reasonably priced lobster.

Saona Island
Photograph: Saona Island

8. Saona Island

What is it? An untouched island off the coast of Punta Cana.

Why go? If you want to escape the tourist crowds, Saona Island is the paradise you need. The island is a government-protected nature reserve and part of the East National Park. You’ll find wildlife throughout the island, from birds to a beach full of starfish. If you’re lucky, you’ll see sea turtles laying their eggs during nesting season.

Bavaro Beach
Photograph: Bavaro Beach

9. Bavaro Beach

What is it? A bleach-white sand beach offering a range of watersports.

Why go? The clear waters off Bavaro Beach make it ideal for snorkeling, and many hotels on the strip include snorkeling equipment in your stay. For the more adventurous, there are also numerous dive spots. Try parasailing, windsurfing, or simply enjoy a dip in the shallow natural pools sectioned off by reefs.

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