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to Punta Cana
Why go to Punta Cana
(Slogan of www.godominicanrepublic.com)
Known for its resorts and white sand beaches, Punta Cana is
the leisure lover's ultimate getaway. Located on the most eastern cape of the
Dominican Republic, the region looks out over the azure seas of the Atlantic
Ocean and dense mangrove forests where a multitude of birds and animals unique
to the Caribbean live.
Punta Cana is more than beach lounging and relaxing, it is a
playground for all levels of thrill seekers. From those who find nothing more
exciting than a challenging game of golf to adrenaline junkies who′ll go from
windsurfing to deep sea diving without blinking, opportunities abound. Many of
the resorts on Punta Cana have all-inclusive packages offering adventure and
relaxation all on the same bill. Travelers can just as easily enjoy the spoils
of the soft sands and ocean views on their own. And when that becomes
repetitive, travelers can head out of town to find cigars, ancient
petroglyphs, and culture that dates to the arrival of Columbus.
The eastern half of the Dominican Republic and the
National Park of the East are famous for an underground labyrinth of
caves, home to one of the largest networks of caves in the world. Manantial de Padre Nuestro takes spelunking
and diving to new depths, conjoining the two to allow exploration of the underground,
underwater maze of caves where the remains of Taíno culture await, perfectly
preserved. And right in the heart of the resort scene is the remarkable Punta
Cana Ecological Reserve that is considered one of the best kept secrets of
eco-tourism. A huge array of creatures in this biodiverse setting live around
the stretch of lagoons within the park.
Where to stay in Punta Cana
Punta Cana, on the
most eastern point of the Island, is the most popular resort area in Dominican
Republic. Other destinations in DR are
Puerto Plata, on the North Shore, and Santo Domingo and La Romana on the south
Iberostar Grand Bavaro
A resort is more
than a place to rest—it’s where daydreams become vacation reality. Iberostar
Grand Bávaro provides a tailored, adults-only, all-inclusive vacation
designed by each guest to match their vacation desires. Designed to mirror
Greco-Roman architecture, the resort grounds are dotted with custom-made
art—even in the most unexpected areas. Most were created with locally sourced
materials by resident craftspeople.
At Iberostar Grand
Bávaro, old-world charm meets modern amenities. Guests receive personalized
butler service, European linens, and impeccably designed rooms. Also, they will
enjoy specialty restaurants, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and an
oceanfront spa. Dream vacations await—the resort is a canvas on which to paint
them into reality.
As low as $117.00 bi-weekly for 2 people
December 8 – 12, 2019
As low as $97.00
bi-weekly for 2 people Feb 24 – 27, 2020
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana
THE HIGHEST, MIND BLOWING ALL-INCLUSIVE
13 luxurious pools with swim-up bars and water slides; 9
restaurants perfect for every
taste; a Jack Nicklaus designed golf
course; and an astonishing Spa
Resort all lovingly cradled by
the most pristine beaches in the Caribbean; spacious suites fully
equipped with Hydro Spa Tub, private balconies, free Wi-Fi, and 24 hour room
As low as $77.00 bi-weekly for 2 people
December 8 – 12, 2019
As low as $75.00 bi-weekly for 2 people Feb
24 – 27, 2020
Hotel Riu Republica
Located on a
heavenly beach, the Hotel Riu Republica is your perfect option for
enjoying an unforgettable holiday in Punta Cana. This adults-only
hotel on the Arena Gorda beach has free WIFI, a varied
gastronomic offer and the best 24-hour All-Inclusive service.
than 1,300 rooms of the Hotel Riu Republica are distributed in three
buildings. In all of them you'll enjoy the best amenities, like satellite TV,
air conditioning, a safe, a minibar and beverage dispensers. You will
find eight swimming pools, some with swim-up bars or areas
with water slides for you to experience a refreshing and fun-filled stay.
The Hotel Riu
Republica has rich and varied gastronomic offers. In its nine restaurants, you
can try the best of Italian, Asian, Spanish, Indian and gourmet cuisine, and
enjoy the wonderful continental buffet breakfasts. Savor an authentic barbecue
at the beach bar or arrange a romantic dinner to enjoy a
special moment with your sweetheart. And, the ten hotel bars serve the best
snacks and aperitifs.
Fun is guaranteed at
the Hotel Riu Republica thanks to the entertainment programmers, the
discotheque, and the shows and live music.
Guests can enjoy sports like volleyball, windsurfing, snorkeling,
kayaking...or go to the hotel gym. If you want to unwind, we recommend you
visit the Renova Spa to relax in the sauna and jacuzzi or sign
up for different body and beauty treatments to return from your holiday like
As low as $47.00 bi-weekly for 2 people
December 8 – 12, 2019
As low as $55.00 bi-weekly for 2 people Feb
24 – 27, 2020
Impressive Resorts & Spas
Punta Cana, Bávaro,
The ideal resort to enjoy a privileged and comfortable
space with the backdrop of the idyllic Caribbean climate.
The resort is in El
Cortecito beach in Punta Cana and boasts spacious, modern and magnificent rooms
designed for your enjoyment and relaxation. Guests are offered fully exclusive
personalized options available 24/7. The resort has seven restaurants offering
buffet style, Japanese, Italian, French, Mediterranean, a grill and a wine
bar. There are 9 bars and lounges, as
As low as $36.00 bi-weekly for 2 people
December 8 – 12, 2019
As low as $38.00 bi-weekly for 2 people Feb
24 – 27, 2020
Excellence Punta Cana
A Five-Star Punta Cana Resort of Limitless Possibilities
The rhythms of merengue, the lapping of ocean waves, and the
perfect stretch of palm-lined coastline wait at Excellence Punta Cana in the
Dominican Republic. Here, five-star luxury reigns and romance rules. Zip-line
through tree canopies, spot whales, or simply soak up the Caribbean
All-Inclusive, All-Suite Luxury
* Nine irresistible all-inclusive international dining
* 1 buffet restaurant, 1 beach snack grill
* Unlimited alcoholic beverages and soft drinks
* 24-hour room service
* Pool and beach waiter service
* Fully equipped fitness center
* Daily activities, snorkel gear and scuba lessons
* Nightly entertainment* All taxes and gratuities included.
As low as $89.00 bi-weekly for 2 people December 8
– 12, 2019
As low as $109.00
bi-weekly for 2 people Feb 24 – 27, 2020
What to do in Punta Cana
ANAMUYA ZIP LINES
Punta Cana is home to the very first zip line built in the
DR, and it’s built to suit all daredevils, new or experienced. Runners
Adventures’ 18-platform course boasts 12 zip line runs, one of the longest in
the country. With training and gear prepping from expert guides, you’ll glide
up to 800 meters (2,625 feet) above lush jungle canopy at the Anamuya
mountains, swerving and riding solo, or alongside your partner. It’s one of the
most popular zip lines and easily accessible from the area’s resorts.
A half-day adventure takes you zipping above the Anamuya
jungle, on double zip lines of up to a total of 1,310 meters (4,300 feet) in
length, soaring past gigantic trees. Twelve platforms are set in treetops, with
a double steel parallel cable and a semi-automatic braking system. For even
more of an adrenaline rush, the Extreme Swing Adventure takes you flying like
Superman–in a horizontal position, at over 60 meters (200 feet) high and speeds
up to 65 kilometers per hour (40 miles per hour). Along the way, you’ll cross
hanging bridges, and enjoy hiking along a range of the park’s native flora and
Designed for the whole family in a Pirates-of-the-Caribbean
style, this show aboard a sailing private vessel takes you back to the days
when buccaneers roamed the seas of the Dominican Republic. A pirate crew
produces costumed performances to thrill the young ones, but there’s also snorkeling
along the way. The day ends with a celebration of the pirate sea life with a
Dominican feast, a rum toast or two for the grown-ups, and some dancing on the
sail back to shore.
GO TO A BASEBALL GAME
Baseball, or “juego de pelota” as it is
called in DR, is extremely popular. The
season runs from mid-October through the end of January. Stadiums are located in Santa Domingo,
Santiago, La Romana, San Pedro de Macoris and San Francisco de Macoris. For more information visit the offical
website of the Dominican Baseball League
For a complete list of activities in Punta Cana click here.
What to eat in Punta Cana
There is a plethora of Dominican dishes, ranging from soups
and stews to street side fried snacks, and sweet coconut desserts. Beyond the
classic Caribbean rice and beans plate are staple specialties unique to the DR.
Familiarize yourself with a few of the Dominican’s staples, from table to
roadside, to best enjoy your culinary adventure around the country.
Mangú–a typically Dominican dish made of mash
of green plantains, topped with red onions simmered in a vinegar sauce–fried
cheese, and fried salami. You can add on fried eggs for good measure.
Bandera Dominicana or Dominican
Flag: a heaping plate of rice and beans– with chicken or meat, a side salad
Tostones–crispy, fried and flattened
There are multiple rice varieties, including moro
con guandules or rice with pigeon peas,
and locrio –a rice dish that resembles paella with
seasoned rice and chicken, or other meat.
Sancocho has even more symbolic weight as
it is often made for a special occasion–including on New Year’s eve–to be
shared with family and loved ones. This thick root and meat stew combines
chicken, pork, yucca, yam, green plantains, and potatoes. It is served with a
bowl of white rice, and avocado slices. Some say it cures hangovers.
Pasteles en hoja. Often served at Christmas, these
are the Dominican version of tamales, although made with plantain dough, filled
with meat, and wrapped in a plantain leaf.
Mofongo is a dish originating in Puerto Rico,
but Dominicans make their own version of this mashed plantain dish with garlic,
and either pork, or shrimp.
Seafood is, of course, a big part of this Caribbean
country’s diet. You’ll find the freshest fish from sea to table, particularly
red snapper, in coastal fishing villages and towns such as Bayahibe, Sánchez,
Sabana de la Mar, Samaná, Puerto Plata, and other seaside areas. Heading to the
beach and ordering a pescado frito or whole fried fish
with tostones, avocado and yaniqueque–a thin, fried
crispy round johnnycake–is as Dominican as it gets.
con dulce– the most unique of Dominican desserts, a sweet bean dessert
mostly consumed at Easter time, but it can be found in various bakeries at
other times of the year.
The most popular desserts are coconut-based, milk-based, and
Coconete is a crunchy, round shaped
Tres leches cake is a must-try,
Majarete, a sweet corn pudding sprinkled with
cinnamon and nutmeg.
Dominicans love their street foods, particularly at night,
and their frituras or fried snacks.
One of the most common picks, particularly at night, is
the chimichurri or “chimi”–a juicy Dominican
version of a burger, filled with a combination of grilled, seasoned meat,
cabbage, onions, and tomatoes, thrown inside toasted white bread, and smothered
in mayonnaise and ketchup. It is served in a small plastic bag to catch the
falling bits, which you must then empty out by hand.
Pica pollo or double-fried chicken is
among the most popular finds roadside, as is chicharrón de cerdo or
fried pork rinds.
Yaroa fills up the late-night owls–a sort
of lasagna-looking dish with layers of chicken, beef, sweet plantains, cheese,
and French fries baked together, and topped with mayonnaise and ketchup.
Picalonga is a mix of pork meats made
from the insides and parts of the animal–sometimes hanging openly from the cart
waiting to be cooked–including blood sausage.
Catibias–yucca empanadas filled with a choice
meat, or seafood, such as crab, and conch
Quipes, a Lebanese inheritance and version of
Mamajuana is a
must-try while in the Dominican Republic. Bottles are sold almost everywhere,
from souvenir shops, restaurants, markets, and roadside. This is a potent
herbal drink, made from a fermented mix of cured tree barks, herbs, red wine,
and rum. You should not ingest more than one shot at a time because of the high
alcohol content, not to mention that it’s an aphrodisiac. And if you are taking
some back home, be sure to purchase liquid mamajuana, not the
bottles containing tree barks.
BEERS: A handful
of beers are made in the Dominican Republic, including craft beers found in a
few places around the country. The most popular brand is the world famous
Presidente beer, made by Cervecería Nacional Dominicana since 1935.
The custom in the DR is to go to a corner store or colmado,
or a restaurant, and order una fría, a cold one, or ask for una
vestida de novia–a bottle so cold it is covered in a thin layer of ice. The
jumbo size is served with small cups and shared. Other beers are the Bohemia, a
pilsner-based beer, and the Quisqueya.
rum is produced by several big brands, the most popular two being Brugal and
Barceló. Ron Bermúdez dates back to the 19th century, with white and golden
premium varieties. The newer Ron Macorix has gained in popularity in recent
years thanks to its flavored bottles of spiced, pineapple, and coconut rum.
aficionados know to find their fix in the Dominican Republic, since DR is
ranked as the number one exporter of premium cigars in the world. Tobacco
cultivation dates back to the Taino and evolved with Cuban tobacco growers who
settled in the DR in the 20th century to escape the Castro regime. Coupled with
the country’s fertile lands and favorable temperatures, particularly in the central
Cibao Valley, today’s Dominican tobacco is recognized as ranking among the
finest in the world.
Popular brands include Arturo Fuente, Davidoff, and Romeo y
Julieta. Visits to famous tobacco factories are offered from various resort
destinations. The most prestigious factories include Tabacalera La Aurora and Tabacalera La Flor Dominicana in Santiago, and Tabacalera García in La Romana.
Good things to know about the Dominican Republic
BANKING AND CURRENCY:
The local currency is the Dominican peso (RD$). The rate fluctuates depending on
the day and the location of exchange. A
general guideline: RD$100 = US$2
United States dollars and Euros can be readily exchanged in
banks, or in authorized exchange offices.
ATMs are widely available from a variety of banks, including
Scotiabank and Banco Popular, and are safe to use for withdrawals in the local
currency. They also provide the best exchange rates.
Dominican Republic is a sunny year-round destination. Whether in the high
altitude regions or in the cities, it is rare not to see blue skies during the
The months of December through early March–coinciding with
the coldest winters in North America and Europe–boast the most pleasant
weather. Mornings and evenings have cool breezes with temperatures as low as
65°F, while daytime temperatures hover between a perfect 77°F and 80°F.
Summertime is the warmest and rainiest season in the country,
and humidity is most intense from April to October. Temperatures hover at 90°F
at the peak, and rainstorms are frequent but short lasting.
HURRICANE SEASON: The
official Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1 through November 30, with
September considered as the most active month. The DR is located within the
storm belt, but the probability of a major hurricane hitting is slim. Over the
last century, only 11 hurricanes have hit the DR.
for the DR means bringing a layered assortment of clothing, tailored to your
chosen destination. Bring your swimwear, cotton long sleeves for
sun-protection, and shorts for the beach, but also pack casual daytime clothes
for city visits–avoid wearing shorts in Santo Domingo–or to enter important
Dominicans dress up and keep their appearance neat at all
times, especially when stepping out in the evenings. Pack a couple of nice
outfits for dining out and nightlife.
its infrastructure, the DR’s telecommunications services are among the most
wide-ranging and advanced in the Caribbean, from local cellular phone service
to Internet access options. The two largest communications providers in the
country are Claro and Orange.
The most affordable way to stay
in touch while in the DR, especially on an extended trip, is to have your own
phone number. Head to either a Claro or Altice location–they are sometimes located within a
shopping malls or supermarkets–and purchase a new SIM card for less than US$5.
This usually includes about ten minutes of free local calls. You must bring: An
unlocked cellphone; and a valid passport.
Wi-Fi access is ubiquitous in the DR. It is available inside
cafés, restaurants, large bus stations, and hotel lobbies. Don’t expect high
speed or consistency at all times, but generally speaking it suffices to check
email and do basic tasks.
Dominican Republic has the most modern road infrastructure in the Caribbean, with
excellent highways leading to and linking major tourist destinations. That
being said, driving in the DR is known to be nerve-wracking; you must drive
defensively and keep an eye out constantly for other drivers, motorbikes,
pedestrians, cows, and other potential road companions and intruders. Driving
out to the countryside is less stressful than in the big cities. Avoid
speeding, and don’t drive at night at all costs–lighting is often poor and
nonexistent, which brings opportunities for car accidents and crime.
On the east coast, having a car allows for more affordable
exploration of the popular tourist areas of La Romana, Bávaro, Punta Cana, and
driver’s license is valid in DR, but only for the duration of your legal
stay–i.e. your 30-day tourist card or visa term.
in the Dominican Republic operates at 110 volts. This means that visitors
coming from the United States and Canada will not need adapters and can plug in
directly into electric outlets.
official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish. And like many of its
Latin counterparts, Dominicans have their own accent, colloquialisms, and
idioms. They are particularly famous for being incredibly fast speakers, they
abbreviate, skip syllables, and don’t pronounce certain letters–such as the
plural “s” (for example, they say La Terrena when referring to
Las Terrenas). English is widely spoken
in the tourist areas.
TIME ZONE: DR is
on Atlantic Standard Time all year, meaning they are on the same time zone as
New York, Baltimore and Florida from March to November. They do not change clocks for Daylight
WATER: Tap water
is not safe to drink and do not ingest it from the shower. Purchase bottled
water at all times for drinking. Hotels often provide a couple of free bottles
a day for each room or have purified bottled water with dispenser available for
bills automatically include a 10% service charge–apart from the 18% sales tax
that you will see listed as ITBIS. It is customary and good practice, however,
to leave an additional 10% to ensure the server receives a tip.
Taxis do not receive gratuity, but if you feel you received
exceptional service or had a specific situation in which the driver helped,
feel free to reward the service.
ENTRY AND EXIT REQUIREMENTS:
A valid passport is required
to enter DR. You will also need a tourist card (US$10), which is already
included in your airline ticket. If staying more than 30 days, you will be
charged an extended stay fee at the airport–proportional to
length of time; RD$2,500 for three additional months. This is paid upon
departure at the immigration desk, after check-in and past security.