Excursions, Things to Do | Punta Cana Guide

Lots Of Things To Do In Punta Cana Outside The Resort

Punta Cana is a popular tourist destination, well-known world-wide for its typical white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters that look like Caribbean postcards. With its more than 40-kilometers of beaches of white sand, palm trees, a blue-green sea and its luxurious and extensive hotel infrastructure, it is the most visited tourist destination in the Caribbean all year round. Its beautiful resorts located on the beaches make your vacation an unforgettable experience.

Most resorts in this tourism center have night clubs, thematic restaurants, spas, clothing, and gift shops, beauty salons, many of them also have casinos and golf courses.

The growth of tourism in Punta Cana has been impressive. Millions of visitors are arriving every year on flights to Punta Cana. 

The large hotels in Punta Cana offers the “all-inclusive package” and many of the visitors stay for a week at the beach, swimming pool, sea, varied meals and cocktails. However, if you are one of those who gets bored with that plan on the third day, Punta Cana and its surroundings offer many other tourist attractions. Discover a varied amount of activities and places that you can enjoy in Punta Cana away from the resort:

A visit to Los Haitises National Park is one of the most enjoyable full-day excursions in Punta Cana. Situated in the bay of Samaná, it gives you an idea of what Punta Cana looked like before its tourist development. With a distinctive feature: its “mogotes”. The mogotes are a small elevation of 30 or 40 meters in height that have been shaped by the nature of the karstic soil of the area and the effect of rain and wind.

Because of these ” mogotes ” the natives (the Tainos) named the place Los Haitises, which means “high or mountainous lands” in their language. You can reach Los Haitises by land or water. Most excursions include an exploration of the dense mangroves by boat and a visit to the ancient caves inhabited by the Tainos, where paintings made by them are still found. 

Some of the most beautiful caves are San Gabriel, La Reyna, La Línea and La Arena. Among its fauna you will find pelicans, gannets, owls, parrots, manatees, bats and a variety of reptiles, especially boas and sea turtles. A green paradise of undulating forms that die in the sea.

Los Haitises©courtesy of Ludmilla- flickr.com

2-Excursion to Saona Island

One of the most popular sea outings in Punta Cana is Isla Saona, one of the biggest in the Dominican Republic. Many agencies and lifeguards offer this excursion in local and beaches. The price is typically between 60 and 80 dollars per person and you can do it on a large catamaran or a small speedboat. Isla Saona has wonderful beaches, jungle, mangroves and some villages that are inhabited by fishermen. The most beautiful parts of the island are far away from the most touristy area.

The boats all arrive at the same beach, where people bathe and there are some restaurants. But if you like adventure, take a couple of days’ worth of provisions and go deep into the jungle in search of uninhabited areas. Under the waters surrounding Isla Saona, life is an explosion of colors. Take a pair of goggles and dive among the coral.

Saona island©courtesy of luis perez- flickr.com

3-Excursion to the Samaná Peninsula

The Samana Peninsula is north of Punta Cana, it is more than 300 km by road on a trip that you can shorten by flying in a light aircraft. You can also get there by sea. The reward is worth it. The Samana Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places in the Dominican Republic. A vast expanse of jungle, heavenly beaches, islets, waterfalls, lagoons and a very diverse flora and fauna await you.

The best beaches are those of Frontón, Rincón, Madama, Las Flechas and Bonita. Don’t miss the islet of Cayo Levantado and the waterfall of El Limón. If you feel like living in luxury, you can choose to stay at the most exclusive resorts in the country, such as the Luxury Bahía Príncipe. Now all you have to do is book your trip to Punta Cana, don’t think twice, it’s sure to be worth it. Related content: Caribbean cruises

Samaná

4-Excursion to Catalina Island

Catalina Island also known as Serena Key is a beautiful island of white sand off the coast of the southeast of the Dominican Republic. It itself is a natural protected reserve where, of course, no buildings exist in the area. Not known to most travel agents and visitors, the beach is sheltered from the wind, which means that the sea is always calm.

The Catalina Island can be described as an ideal tropical fun model, a kind of design alive to handle an area destined to tourism while conserving a good part of the original nature. 

This amazing little island, in spite of its reduced dimensions which do not reach 15 square kilometers, one of which is a kilometer of beach for the use of tourists who are seeking exclusively fun in the sun, taking advantage of perfectly elaborated sands, water of optimum temperature, a sea for all water sports, all the colors of the tropical universe and alternatives of isolation for a sublime communication with the environment.

Catalina Island is home to important three beaches (West, North and East), two of them with great tourism sustainable development potential (East and West), despite the presence of only one (West). In addition to the previously mentioned beaches, that occupy more than two thirds of its coastline, La Catalina has very unique rocky coasts, which border its southern part, forming cliffs in some cases and cliffs in others.

Catalina Island is the unique part of the Dominican Republic where you can easily encounter raccoons and wild rabbits face to face, subsisting in a habitat they have already made their own. They are considered exotic in this region of the country. Though they allow themselves to be photographed, they stay at a safe distance from visitors.

Catalina island©courtesy of roscigno- flickr.com

5-Jeep 4x4 Safari Excursion

The island of Republica Dominciana has wonderful natural landscapes, the eastern part of the island has various natural wonders, streams, valleys, mountains, rivers, plains, this tour you can go through different areas with natural and ecological attraction of the island, all this in comfortable 4×4 jeeps enabled to transit these areas, the tour is guided by you and accompanied by local expert guides, you can meet local communities and interact directly with the natives.

Tasting the typical Dominican food, besides eating tropical fruits, is really an experience of direct contact with the exuberant nature of the island. It is an unforgettable experience that is totally worthwhile.

punta cana jeep safari excursion

6-Cultural Visit to Santo Domingo

If you visit Punta Cana don’t miss the opportunity to know the first European colonial city in America. Santo Domingo is a 3 hour drive – 4 hours by bus – from Punta Cana and, if you are a history enthusiast, it must be on your list of places to visit during your vacation in Punta Cana. All of Santo Domingo’s heritage attractions are located in its Colonial Zone. You will find the “first” of all here. The first American house where Columbus lived, the first cathedral and the first hospital built by the Spanish.

Also the Ozama fortress, the Dominican convent and the church of Santa Clara attract the attention of visitors. The most iconic squares are the Plaza de Colón, with a statue of the Genoese discoverer presiding over it, and the Plaza de España. Amongst these historical monuments, modern life flows in cafes, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops.

Colon Park, Santo Domingo

7-Visit to Altos de Chavon

Altos de Chavon is a recreation of an ancient Mediterranean style village located on the Chavon River in the province of La Romana, Dominican Republic. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, and is known as “The City of Artists”.

Altos de ChavónThe project was conceived by Italian architect Roberto Copa, and Austrian industrialist Charles Bluhdorn. It began in 1976 when they began the construction of a nearby road and a bridge that crosses the Chavon River that resulted in the demolition of a mountain of stone. Bludhorn had the idea of using the stones to create a 16th century Mediterranean village. Construction was completed in the early 1980s.

This beautiful village is a bohemian environment with panoramic views and narrow alleys lined with lanterns and limestone walls. It houses a cultural centre, Mediterranean style restaurants and a number of picturesque shops.

On its square, you will find the charming St. Stanislaus Church of Krakow. This small church was named by the patron saint of Poland in honor of Pope John Paul II who visited the Dominican Republic in 1979 and left some of the ashes of the saint.

Altos de ChavónRoman style amphitheater is the iconic symbol of Altos de Chavón. It has a capacity for 5,000 spectators, and the most impressive activities are held in which internationally renowned artists have performed: Juan Luis Guerra, Julio Iglesias, Marc Antony, Placido Domingo, Gloria Estéfan, Pitbull, Elton John, Paulina Rubio, Luis Fonsi, Ricardo Arjona, Alejandro Sanz, Don Omar, Frank Sinatra and Sting.

The Regional Museum of Archaeology contains a collection of aboriginal artifacts that were discovered in the surrounding area. Its three galleries display the work of students from its design school and the hotel industry affiliated with the Parsons School of Design in New York.

Altos De Chavon

8-Visit Ojos Indígenas Ecological Reserve

This is one of the best kept secrets among the things to do in Punta Cana. It is a natural protected park made up of more than 600 hectares of tropical forests and a dozen lagoons of fresh water. From these lagoons comes the name of the park, since for the aborigines they were the eyes of the jungle.

 You can enter the jungle by following the marked trails, which will lead you to springs, mangroves and, in short, pure nature. Bathing in the lagoons, taking a ride in a catamaran or riding a horse on the beaches are some of the things you can do at the Ojos Indigenas Ecological Reserve.

Indigenous Eye Ecological Reserve

9-Visit to Cabo Engaño

Cabo Engaño, this beautiful beach of ours, is located on the “Costa del Coco”, named for the large number of palms and coconut trees that line the extensive white sand beaches.

Its blue and crystalline waters match perfectly with the delicate white sand and reefs. According to experts, in a few years it will become the tourist mecca of La Altagracia, Dominican Republic.

The humidity in the place is 94%, the average temperature is 27 degrees Celsius.

Cabo Engaño has all the possibilities of becoming a tourist place par excellence, because in addition to the beauty of the surroundings, the beautiful beach is located between the two most important tourist cities in the area: Punta Cana and Bávaro.

South of Cabo Engaño is a place where swimming is NOT recommended due to the strong winds and strong currents that hit the area.

Another condition that favors Cabo Engaño is the easy access, due to the proximity of the Punta Cana International Airport, from where you can enjoy more than 64 kilometers of uninterrupted beaches, which extend in the southeastern end of the country.

Cabo engaño©courtesy of pandorabeachhorse- flickr.com

10-Visit to the city of Higüey

Salvaleón de Higüey or simply Higüey is the capital city of La Altagracia province of the Dominican Republic. It is located in the eastern region of the island known as the Caribbean Coastal Plain between La Romana and Punta Cana, approximately 145 kilometers east of Santo Domingo.

Higüey was the Taino name for the eastern part of the island. According to some authors, it means land where the sun rises, and is the first region to receive the sun’s rays.

It is divided into three municipal districts: Lagunas de Nisibon, La Otra Banda and Veron-Punta Cana. Higüey is the religious center of the Dominicans since the Basilica of Our Lady of Altagracia, the patron saint of the Dominican Republic, is located here. Every January 21st, tens of thousands of Dominicans visit the cathedral to venerate the painting of the Virgin of Altagracia that was brought by Spanish missionaries in the 15th century.

The Basilica of Higüey or the Basilica of Our Lady of Altagracia is one of the most well-respected cultural and religious monuments in Latin America, and one of the most visited tourist spots in the eastern part of the Dominican Republic by both foreigners and Dominicans.

The Basilica is situated on the main street of the city Salvaleón de Higuey in the province of La Altagracia. It is surrounded by hundreds of palm trees that form a geometric pattern around the structure.

Basilica of higuey

11-Scuba diving Excursion

The waters of the Dominican Republic offer a great number of perfect spots for diving. Coral areas, large underwater caves and wrecks – some natural and some deliberately placed – attract divers from all corners of the world. Some of the best diving spots near Punta Cana include:

La Cueva: a shallow cave dive that takes you on a beautiful circuit of caves among some (harmless) sharks and manta rays.

Monica: this boat was sunk off the coast of Punta Cana 90 years ago by a storm. The wooden-hulled ship has inside, the material for railroad tracks, machinery used for the exploitation of sugar plantations and many fish of all kinds.

12-Visit the Cave of Wonders

The Cave of Wonders is an underground cave that houses a large sample of Taino art, and one of the main tourist attractions of the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic. It is located on the road between the cities of San Pedro de Macoris and La Romana, approximately 70 kilometers east of Santo Domingo and 118 kilometers from Punta Cana.

The Cave of Wonders has an extension of 800 meters and a depth of 25 meters. Inside there is a dazzling display of cave art between 500 and 1,100 years old: 20 petroglyphs, or rock engravings, and more than 400 pictographs, representing human and animal figures and geometric lines.

At the exit of the cave is the Iguanario, a large breeding ground for rhinoceros iguanas (Cyclura cornuta). More than 300 specimens of this endemic species of iguana are in danger of extinction.

The admission price is RD$300 (US$10.00) per adult and RD$100 (US$5.00) per child, and the excursions are made in groups of up to 20 people accompanied by a guide. There are concrete paths, ramps, lighting and an elevator to make the excursion suitable for everyone.

cave of wonders

13-Visit Paraiso Caño Hondo

Paraíso Caño Hondo is one of the 10 best ecological destinations in the world for holidays, according to FORBES Magazine. “Nature, relaxation, fun: A true encounter with the essence of life at Paraíso Caño Hondo. This Eco-Touristic Project is an extension of the Los Haitises National Park, to offer its visitors the privilege of enjoying a peaceful experience with a perfect mix of beautiful bird song and the sound of the impressive waterfalls.

Paraíso Caño Hondo has 28 rooms rustically decorated, in three beautiful buildings: Caño Hondo, Ceyba Jivales and Altos de Caño Hondo, the latter with an impressive view of the Bays of San Lorenzo and Samaná. 

You can also taste a varied Creole and seafood cuisine, enjoy and have fun in the excursions and adventures we offer, you may also visit the Taino Art Museum “Turey”, take a souvenir acquired in the Gift Shop, or simply use the facilities for business meetings, bonfires, romantic dinners, among others.

Paraiso cano hondo © courtesy of Timm- flickr.com

14-Punta Cana Buggy Excursion

It is a very good experience, you will go all over the country road accompanied by expert guides, you drive yourself in a buggy in roads full of a lot of adventure, beautiful natural places, rivers, mountains.

 You will also have a direct contact with the local people, and you will be able to eat tropical fruits and taste really creole food. On the way back you will have a good shower and it is something you will always remember with joy. This is an activity that can be done with the family for more fun.

For this excursion it is recommended to wear closed shoes and old clothes, since you will get very dirty, also take glasses and a handkerchief to cover your face, on the roads you will get splashed with mud and dust.

15-Adventure Activities In Punta Cana

In Punta Cana there is a great diversity of adventure excursions that you can do. You can go by jeep through the jungle, on quad or horse on the beaches, or also fly on a zip line over the Caribbean jungle. 

In the beach environment you can also opt for parasailing – flying with a kind of parachute attached to a boat -, speedboats and some surfing and windsurfing courses. If you have a good budget, you can always go for a ride in a light aircraft and admire this natural beauty from the air.

Among the great variety of adventure tours in Punta Cana, these are the most remarkable:

• Marinarium: an aquarium located in the sea, in front of the Cabeza de Toro where you can swim with sharks, sea lions. Available from hotels.

• Dolphin Island: Dolphin Explorer, swimming with dolphins, available from the hotels.

• Manati Park: It is more complex, apart from the dolphins you can see birds, iguanas, Taino shows, how the Indians lived, etc.

• Party Bus: is a bus moving here near the area between villages, ranches, fields etc.

• Zip Adventure: is some cable tracks so you can go through mountains and hills.

• Buggy Adventure: Squad Adventure, with buggy or with squad you can visit some virgin beaches, ranches and villages.

• Jeep Safari: off-road trip between villages, fields, canals.

• Bavaro splash: driving with small boats along the coast

• Caribbean festival: is a fabulous live display of Dominican carnival incl snorkeling

• Horseback Riding: horse riding, same on the beach or on ranches.

• Helicopter tour: flying over the tourist area, you can see Cap Cana, the Punta Cana airport, the Marinarium, El Barco undido, the hotels and your hotel too.

• Funny Monster Safari: with a 6×6 truck visiting fields, canaveral, a cigar factory, fields, cockfighting exhibition, etc

• Fun Fun Caves: is a ranch where you can ride a horse, walk through a Dominican forest, and then go down into one of the largest caves in the world with a professional team

16-Punta Cana Safari Excursion

The truck makes several stops to observe interesting local environments, such as large sugar plantations and also visit nearby towns and cities with great tourist attractions such as the city of Higüey, is an excursion with many activities in between, a unique experience of direct contact with the roots of the people and nature of the island.

17-Visit Coco Bongo Nightclub

Coco Bongo is much more than a nightclub, it guarantees an incredible night and a unique experience to all those who are looking for fun, shows, theater, drinks and an atmosphere in the pure style of Broadway or Las Vegas. The Coco Bongo nightclub has three levels organized in bleachers. From the outside, the 4,016 square meter building is already impressive.

It has more than 300 shows, where an incredible display of lights and sound all combined with musical times and movies and images projected. The shows include professional acrobats, dancers and actors. Among the most outstanding and that fill with magic Coco Bongo are their live musicals that imitate stars of world music or famous movies.

Coco Bongo Punta Cana

18-Scape Park, Hoyo Azul Excursion (Blue Hole)

Hoyo Azul Punta Cana

Scape park blue hole in punta cana. The incredible ecological trails will give you the opportunity to see endemic plants, cactus, ferns, bromeliads, orchids and more. This tour package will end at the famous Blue Hole cave.
This tourist package is valid for 6 years and more.

The Hoyo Azul ecological tour is designed to educate and put the visitors face to face with nature to observe the ecosystems of the Dominican Republic and how the different plants grow and proliferate in a controlled environment and also in the wild. The tour will end at the Hoyo Azul cave; this is a natural pool, with crystal blue water, formed at the base of a giant cliff.

Visitors will be able to jump in and enjoy these fresh and revitalized waters, you will be able to jump in and enjoy these fresh and revitalized waters. You can fly across the trees on a zipline, relax on Juanillo beach, explore an underground cave, see a waterfall or learn about the true Dominican lifestyle.

The full day adventure includes a buffet and complementary attractions: Mountain Bike Eco-Trail, a guided tour through the natural forests; Animal Encounter, where you could see tropical animals such as macaws, iguanas, parrots, monkeys and more.The choice is yours, and no matter what you choose, the day will be full of adventures and experiences you will never forget.

19-Buggies Macao excursion

Punta Cana buggy excursion

The Buggies Macao excursion is one of the best excursion in Bavaro and Punta Cana Hotels in the Dominican Republic and this tour takes buggy riding to a new level in Macao. Make your way through the holes of the Swamps, through the typical Bavarian villages and houses, visiting Taino cave holes on the beaches and sands of Macao and test yourself on off-road tracks.

This is the best off-road experience, and you can only participate in this event in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic! Drive your own 1600 cc buggy complete with 5 point seat belts, safety cages, armrests, comfortable racing bucket seats and tissues to keep your breath away and protect you from any improper breathing activities in the jungle.

In this adventure you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of palm trees, tobacco plantations and the Cordillera Oriental – these narrow and isolated rural roads provide the perfect opportunity to get a little wild, Hold on tight while your buggy bounces off deep mud puddles, The first stop is at a picturesque rural ranch where you will be introduced to local products such as cocoa, coffee, tobacco and green tea leaves, as well as mamajuana, a Dominican aphrodisiac elixir.