When choosing the favorite destination for a Caribbean vacation, there are always doubts and comparisons of the different options among the most popular hotel complexes in the Caribbean, among the most made comparisons, are Punta Cana, Cancun, and Riviera Maya.
Punta Cana is a tourist destination located on the island of the Dominican Republic, while Cancun and Riviera Maya are located in Mexico, the opinions I will give on this topic are based on comments collected from many tourists who have visited the 3 destinations and have provided their opinion, I will also provide my criteria.
The purpose of the topic is not to belittle any place or nationality, although strengths and weaknesses of the different places should be highlighted, in the end, there will not be a “better or worse” destination, everything will depend on your preference, personality, and style.
Punta Cana vs Cancún vs Riviera Maya
Despite being places that offer the same (hotel complexes, excursions, nightlife, beaches) the three destinations are essentially very different, and this will help facilitate things for your choice.
Let’s start at Punta Cana, Punta Cana’s strong point is the beaches, the Dominican Republic is a place blessed by God with a lot of beautiful beaches, so you have an idea, in the Dominican Republic there are 21 beaches with a blue flag category , the blue flag is an international award that receives beaches that meet strict environmental conditions and facilities.
Of these 21 beaches in the Dominican Republic, 12 are located in the area of Bávaro and Punta Cana, The Mexican Caribbean has 9 blue flag beaches, of which 5 are in Cancun. The obvious advantage in variety of beaches is Punta Cana. considerin that Punta Cana is much smaller than the Mexican Caribbean.
And every year the list of blue flag beaches in the Dominican Republic continues to increase.
The difference in price is also another aspect to take into account, accommodation in Punta Cana is cheaper than Riviera Maya and Cancun, having relatively the same quality in terms of the hotel structure.
The vegetation of Punta Cana is also more exuberant compared to that of Cancun, considering that the Dominican Republic is a Caribbean island, so it is a point to consider if you would like excursions in contact with exuberant nature. Punta Cana offers the best offer regarding ecological tourism.
As for diving and coral reefs, worldwide the Caribbean is famous for its beautiful coral reefs, but in Punta Cana this is not a great attraction, in Mexico there is the second largest coral reef in the world, the Maya reef, In Punta Cana you can find some interesting place to practice snorkel, but honestly, the best coral reefs in the Dominican Republic are in other cities, such as the city of Montecristi for example.
Many of the opinions I read about the three destinations talk about service in the resorts, in Riviera Maya and Cancun, a very serious and professional customer service is defined, while in Punta Cana they define it much more warm and cheerful, although not so professional like Riviera Maya and Cancun.
The cheerful and Caribbean personality sometimes incur over trust and in somewhat neglected actions, many foreigners enjoy this, but sometimes the customer service in The Dominican Republic in general is not the best.
To give an example, I once saw a restaurant supervisor in Punta Cana taking out some of the people at the tables dancing spontaneously, everyone enjoyed the moment, but it seemed to me as an excess of trust and it would have seemed like a bother if he had approached me, I just wanted to eat quietly, this is not a bad appreciation, this just will depend a lot on your personality.
Due to its proximity to the north, Cancun is reputed to have very “Americanized” hotel complexes if you want a lot of parties and nightlife, Cancun is recommended, and the cuisine of Mexico is more varied than that of Punta Cana, but there is no big difference In that aspect.
The hotel infrastructure in the 3 destinations is equally impressive, what can make a difference is the amount of cultural activities and excursions that can be done in Riviera Maya, the Mayan culture is extremely rich and interesting.
Punta Cana is a hotel complex designed for tourists with spectacular beaches, they have a wide variety of activities and excursions, but many seem to be very “prepared for tourists”, if you want to know much more interesting things like; the Samana Peninsula, Saona Island, the Colonial city of Santo Domingo, you must move from Punta Cana or you could see yourself very limited to a resort/beach combination, Although Saona Island is quite close to Punta Cana, the boat trip to Saona Island takes approximately 1 to half an hour.
The excursions in Riviera Maya are culturally more varied and rich, they have diversified archaeological complexes of the Mayan civilization, such as the spectacular pyramid of Kukulcan.
I hope I have made clear the concepts of the different destinations that best suit your tastes and personality, any weakness that has one of the three destinations is greatly overcome by its great strengths, they are wonderful places, but everything will depend on your tastes and preferences, choose well and enjoy.