Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
There’s a reason these neighboring resort communities on the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic attract millions of visitors a year: the beaches. Blessed with endless golden sands — many lined with all-inclusive resorts — Punta Cana and Cap Cana are synonymous with “fun in the sun.” Activities range from lazing the day away while sipping piña coladas, diving into the aqua-blue Caribbean, and teeing off on golf courses designed by some of the industry’s biggest names.
What We Love
Fresh Seafood: The region's most delicious catches — red snapper, grouper, mahi-mahi, shrimp, and lobster — are prepared with a dash of Dominican spice. Two dishes to try: pescado frito (fried fish) and shrimp ceviche.
Snorkeling Excursions: Although the snorkeling from the beaches isn’t all that great, a half-day catamaran tour will take you to coral reefs teeming with tropical fish. The more adventurous visitors can opt to swim with stingrays and nurse sharks.
Best Known For
Beautiful Beaches: This coastline is all about the sand — there’s an astounding 40 miles of continuous beach. The main options are popular Punta Cana Beach, seemingly endless Bávaro Beach, idyllic Juanillo Beach, and pretty Playa Blanca. All are great spots for grabbing lunch, going for a swim, or enjoying a water sports-induced adrenaline rush.
World-Class Golf Courses: There are 11 excellent courses between the two resort areas, the most notable being Tom Fazio-designed Corales at the Punta Cana Resort & Club and Jack Nicklaus-designed Punta Espada at Cap Cana.
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Who It's Best For
Relaxation Seekers: Breathe deeply — this is a port that requires nothing more than a walk across the sand to a sun lounger.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
There’s Little in the Way of Culture: As planned resort communities centered around beaches and golf courses, Punta Cana and Cap Cana lack the historic and cultural ambience that give many regional ports their charm.
Donna Heiderstadt is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Coastal Living and Islands.