The best things to do in Punta Cana include hitting some of the best beaches along the Coconut Coast and discovering hidden lagoons inside lush forests. Most of the top attractions around this easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic aren’t too far from the resort town’s coast.

    Even so, it’s worth escaping the confines of your all inclusive resort grounds to explore more of what the region has to offer. Among these are an exotic Caribbean ecosystem in Cap Cana and a striking pilgrimage spot in Higuey, all reachable as part of an easy day trip from Punta Cana.

    What are the best things to do in Punta Cana?

    1

    Bavaro Beach

    White sand and turquoise waters with plenty of leisure facilities

    • Families
    • Photo
    • Budget
    • Adventure

    Bavaro Beach borders the vast expanse of calm, blue waters of the Caribbean and is sheltered by a long reef far from its stretch of fine white sand. The family-friendly beach has dedicated bathing neighborhoods where the little ones can splash about safely. Beyond the roped neighborhoods, you’ll spot thrilling action through parasailing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding.

    As the most developed section of Punta Cana’s resort area, Bavaro Beach is complemented by great facilities such as restaurants and beach clubs where you can dine and sip cocktails with the view. The beach is about a 20-minute drive north of Punta Cana via Boulevard Turístico del Este.

    Location: Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic

    Map
    2

    Bavaro Adventure Park

    Adventures with dune buggies, ziplining, and more

    • Families
    • Adventure
    • Group

    Bavaro Adventure Park offers an exciting day out for thrill-seekers in Punta Cana through a variety of outdoor activities. Buggy tours are among its top excursions, which take you on an off-road cruise traversing rugged terrain. The route leads to Cabo Engaño, the easternmost point of Hispaniola.

    Complement your offroad adventure with zip-lining across lush scenery, ending your day whizzing through the air and with a refreshing splash in a pool. Optionally, there’s horseback riding as another fun option, with well-trained horses that take you trotting across beautiful nature trails.

    Location: Bulevar Turístico del Este, Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 809-933-3040

    Map
    3

    BlueMall Puntacana

    Punta Cana’s stylish and family-friendly mall

    • Shoppers
    • Food
    • Families

    BlueMall Puntacana is among the latest modern shopping spots in the Dominican Republic’s popular resort town. The single-floor, air-conditioned mall is filled with various high-street shops, mostly bearing popular international fashion brands. Spanish apparel retailer Zara is one of its notable tenants.

    The mall offers free shuttle services from most of the major hotels and resorts in Punta Cana (ask your concierge). As its name suggests, the mall’s frontage is all blue with a huge thatched roof. It’s spacious inside, and the kids can have fun at a dedicated playground. There’s a Hard Rock Café and a Comedy Club, both with semi-outdoor seating overlooking the mall’s pool.

    Location: Esquina Carretera de Juanillo, Blvd. Turístico del Este, Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic

    Phone: +1 809-784-4001

    Map
    4

    Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park

    Embark on a forest hike to discover 12 unique lagoons

    • Couples
    • History
    • Photo
    • Budget
    • Adventure
    • Group

    Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park (Reserva Ecológica Ojos Indígenas) is a nature reserve in Punta Cana that’s home to 12 natural pools. You can hike through the park to discover them yourself, or go on a leisurely Segway ecotour along the lush forest trails.

    Three of the pools are safe and accessible for bathing, namely Guama, Cacibajagua, and Yauya. Most of the others – known as ‘eyes’ – are rocky, small, and unfit for a dip. The star lagoon of the lot is the 8-metre-deep Guama, where you can swim among thriving schools of black tilapia and even turtles.

    Location: Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 809-959-9221

    Map
    5

    Scape Park

    A nature park with a stunning, swimmable sinkhole

    • Families
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    Scape Park is home to Hoyo Azul, a dramatic sinkhole that you can dive right into. The deep-blue swimmable sinkhole is one of the most unique natural features in Cap Cana, an 18-minute drive south of Punta Cana. This 37-metre-deep exotic blue hole lies at the foot of a 65-metre cliff.

    Hoyo Azul isn’t the only dramatic natural feature of Scape Park. For even more thrills, there’s a zipline that takes you plunging into a waterfall pool. Another must-see is Iguabonita Cave, which is part of a vast underground network of chambers and tunnels with stalactites and stalagmites. Kids can feed goats and pet mules at El Rancho.

    Location: Cap Cana, 23000, Dominican Republic

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 809-469-7231

    Map
    6

    Splash Water World Punta Cana

    Slides and wet rides for all

    • Families

    Splash Water World, also known as Splash Water Park, is right next door to the Riu luxury hotel complex in Punta Cana. Unlike many other waterparks that are part of all inclusive resorts, this one is open to non-staying guests.

    The waterpark offers thrill-seekers a great day out with rides such as the Body Vortex, which sends you shooting down toward the pool. Kamikaze drops you from even more impressive angles for a free-fall sensation. For fun to share, try the Aquaracer with its 4 race lanes. Younger kids aren’t left out of the action, either, with plenty of kiddie slides to choose from.

    Location: Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic

    Open: Wednesday from 10 am to 6 pm, Thursday–Tuesday from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 809-221-7515

    Map
    7

    Basilica Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia

    A pilgrimage site in Higuey that boasts striking architecture

    • History
    • Photo

    Basilica Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia is an important religious site for Dominicans, which honors its patron saint, the Virgin of La Altagracia (Virgen de Altagracia). It becomes a major pilgrimage spot during Altagracia Day (Día de la Altagracia), a local public vacation on 21st January.

    The cathedral stands tall at the center of a vast, palm-lined square in the city of Higuey, with its 69-metre-tall arch and bronze-and-gold facade. Inside, you can find the altar that holds the framed and consecrated 16th-century painting of the Virgin of La Altagracia. Safari excursions from Punta Cana often include a stop in Higuey with a tour of the cathedral.

    Location: Higuey 23000, Dominican Republic

    Phone: +1 809-554-2291

    Map
    8

    Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

    One of Punta Cana’s premier gaming destinations

    • Nightlife
    • Luxury

    Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is one of the go-to spots for gaming and round-the-clock entertainment in Punta Cana. For some small wins, you can court Lady Luck with a go at any of the hundreds of slots and video poker machines. Then, if you’re willing to go up a little with the stakes, hit any of the 28 table games.

    Special events and promos to look out for include their free daily slot events from 6 pm to 7 pm and Friday night slots from 9 pm. You could win up to $1,000 at the Spin the Wheel event, which takes place on Saturdays from 9 pm.

    Location: Km 28, #74, Bv. Turístico del Este, Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic

    Map
    9

    Coco Bongo

    A lively disco with thrilling performances

    • Nightlife

    Coco Bongo is one of Punta Cana’s great nightlife fixtures. It presents a colorful assortment of live performances and an overall reveling vibe. The venue boasts a Caribbean theme with thatched arches upfront, but with a weirdly placed giant Spider-Man sculpture to the right of the entrance.

    Inside, it’s quite spacious with dazzling lighting that complements the upbeat music and shows. Top acts that get everyone pumped include lookalike singers in dazzling cabarets, acrobats zooming down from the ceiling, and gymnasts showcasing their amazing talents.

    Location: Avenida España, Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic

    Open: Monday–Friday from 8 pm to 4 am, Saturday from 8 pm to 5 am, Sunday from 3 pm to 4 am

    Phone: +1 809-552-0920

    Map
    Ari Gunadi | Compulsive Traveler

    Start planning your trip

    Back to top

    Maps