Located on the Eastern end of the Island of Hispaniola, Punta Cana features a vast stretch of white-sand beaches, blue skies, gentle waves and clear waters. Donâ€™t think itâ€™s some sort of secret paradise, however: Punta Cana has long since been discovered. There are dozens of hotels and all-inclusive resorts lining the beach, and it is possible to walk for hours in either direction and not find anything youâ€™d call â€śsecluded.â€ť
Most of the people who come to Punta Cana stay in the sprawling all-inclusive resorts and clubs. These are of varying quality, but most feature swimming pools, generous buffets and rivers of piĂ±a coladas. Many even will include an hour of windsurfing, wireless internet, games for kids, and shows. For those who canâ€™t afford them, there are some budget hotels in the small town of BĂˇvaro.
Fortunately, the beaches are vast enough that you can usually find a decent spot even when tourists are everywhere. Because of the strong Euro lately, Europeans are flocking to Punta Canaâ€™s beaches: youâ€™ll find a more international crowd than you will at a place like CancĂşn.
If youâ€™re sick of slowly sizzling on the beach, there are some options. There is good snorkeling and diving, and golf is huge in the area. There is â€śAnimal Adventure Park,â€ť an overpriced zoo of sorts featuring sea lion shows and a dog that hangs out with tigers: itâ€™s perfect for stressed-out parents of bored kids to whom money is no object. Manati Park is a water/amusement park. Santo Domingo is only about two to three hours away by bus or car and tours are popular. Some of the resorts have casinos, and naturally everyone is welcome.
There is a small town in Punta Cana, where aggressive locals form small gangs, capture you, and drag you into their stores. Okay, they donâ€™t actually form gangs and grab you, but it will seem like it. If you walk anywhere near the shopping area, youâ€™ll be surrounded by a swarm of â€śhelpersâ€ť who could put a school of hungry piranhas to shame. Still, if you need some souvenirs, you may have to put up with it.
Other places in Dominican Republic: Santo Domingo,