A Destination Review:
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Fall is here, and you are already dreading the chilly winter months. You might even be sitting at your desk thinking about where to go this spring. Plenty of beautiful destinations to choose from, but there is one I would love to share with you. My ultimate paradise destination to visit in 2018 is Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
Punta Cana with the Bavaro area in the Dominican Republic is known as the Coconut Coast (La Costa del Coco). The reason is very simple: palm (coconut) trees are lined up along the coast and the beaches. No matter what resort you stay in, there are always some locals chopping coconuts and offering them to tourists as drinks.
I went to Punta Cana in February 2011 and had a wonderful time. This post is mostly centered from a tourist perspective; rather than as a traveler. I went to Punta Cana with the mindset to just relax and enjoy the beach.
The resort I stayed in had free Bohemian (local Dominican) beer, which wasn’t too bad for those that like lager (pilsner). Since all the resorts are all-inclusive, there is a wide variety of buffet style food to choose from.
These were an amazing seven days that I spent on the beach relaxing and sipping on coconuts.
When to Visit
The usual months to visit the Dominican Republic are between March and May. The weather is warm at that time of the year, usually mid-80s Fahrenheit (30°Celcius). Hurricane season goes from June-November, and usually September being the worst. Regardless, there is still a chance for one to see some rain, like I did.
I traveled from the east coast in the USA. There are direct flights from Florida and they are about two and half hours long.
From the airport, if you book an all-inclusive resort, there will be a shuttle from the resort waiting for you. There are taxis that you can use, but be cautious and ask for an estimation before getting it.
The all-inclusive resorts even schedule the return to the airport from the hotel.
Note: Check before booking with the resort because there might be a small fee for the transportation.
Being by the water, the resorts and locals in Punta Cana bloom from snorkeling, windsurfing, speedboats, scuba diving, party boats, cruises, deep sea fishing, swimming with dolphins, and many more water activities. They even offer swimming with sharks!
There is always something for everyone, and it’s both family friendly and a couple’s retreat.
Horseback riding is a pretty popular activity in Punta Cana. A lot of the tourists opt-in to discover the countryside of this island through horseback riding. Other excursions include safari tours and dune buggy (a small vehicle used to ride on sand and beaches).
Punta Cana is an ideal location for golfers. It has over 20 golf courses to choose from. Within the recent years, many of the resorts have set up amazing golf courses for their customers.
Exploring Punta Cana
The Carnival (early March)
If you go in March, then you will have the chance to see the carnival in the Punta Cana village that shows the best of the performers in the Dominican Republic.
The closest city to Punta Cana is the 500-year-old Higuey. This town is separate about an hour with a car from the resorts in Punta Cana. It has a lot of history, so if you are into exploring then Higuey should be on your list.
The historical landmark to visit in Higuey is the Basilica Virgin of La Altagracia (Basilica Catedral Nuestra Senora de la Altagracia). This is the largest cathedral found in the Caribbean. Virgin of La Altagracia is known as the “protector of Dominicans.” There are numerous historical items and a museum from the 18th century at the Basilica.
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Of course, Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic and the first settlement of Christopher Columbus in the New World, can’t be missed.
There are a lot of guided tours, which take tourists to the Colonial Zone (Zona Colonial). This is where most museums and cathedrals are located. The famous Alcazar de Colon (The Mansion/Palace of Columbus) is in the Zona Colonial, which is also part of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are other historical landmarks; after all, this is the first settlement in the New World. It holds a major significance and importance in the history and past we know today. However, it’s not for everyone. Santo Domingo is usually visited with a private guided tour and it takes about two hours to reach Santo Domingo from Punta Cana.
I believe this place can be attractive to both tourists that just want to relax as well as to explorers that want to discover new areas, cuisines, and sights.
Punta Cana has amazing historical sites and unforgettable views of the ocean and sunsets. It truly makes for a perfect getaway in 2018.