I just got back from a Site Inspection/FAM trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I was very impressed with Punta Cana & Cap Cana and for sure will return. As promised, I am sharing this destination in my Destination Spotlight Series. In addition, I have added tons of tricks and tips in the post.
Here's a tip, when flying, I usually prefer an aisle seat but on this trip I got a window and all I can say is, "WOW". The view was amazing. Check out these photos I took from 35,000 feet! Next time you are flying over the water, I recommend opting for a window seat.
ABOUT: The Dominican Republic is a large, Spanish speaking island located in the Caribbean. It is a very reasonably priced destination compared to other islands in the Caribbean. Most cruise ships port in La Romana, which is South of the resort areas. The main resort areas are in Punta Cana and Cap Cana. Most of the resorts in Punta Cana are located on the Atlantic Ocean side, so you will get more surf on the beaches in this area. Specifically, Bavaro Beach is dotted with lots of resorts and the beaches are more heavily populated than in Cap Cana. If you are looking for a more tranquil beach/ocean experience, I recommend you check out resorts in Cap Cana area. The resorts in this area on located on the Caribbean Sea and are much more secluded. Here are some photos of the surf in Punta Cana versus Cap Cana. Also, notice in the photos the difference in the amount of people.
AIRPORT & ARRIVAL INFORMATION: The airport is centrally located between Punta Cana and Cap Cana and a short drive to most resorts. The airport terminal has been recently renovated; check out the photos below.
When you arrive at the airport you will be transported from the plane to the airport terminal via a shuttle bus. Once you enter the terminal, you go left if you have not prepaid for a Tourist Card and you go right if you have prepaid for a Tourist Card. The Tourist Card cost $10 per person and is a required purchase for entry into the DR. You can purchase a card in advance by clicking here. Purchasing the card in advance, can save you time at the airport as you get to bypass the line to purchase cards. Next, you will clear customs (prior to arrival you will be giving a Customs Declaration Form on the airplane to fill out and give to the Customs officer). Present your Customs Declaration Form and a valid Passport to enter the country. Depending on your nationality you may need a Visa. I recommend you check the Visa requirements prior to travel. Once you have cleared customs you can collect any checked bags from baggage claim. Then you will proceed to the taxi/shuttle area outside baggage claim. BE AWARE, you will be bombarded with people trying to give you a ride and/or get you hooked up with a Timeshare. When you booked packages with Explore Travel Planners LLC, we will include your transfer information in your travel documents, so you will know who to look for and what they will be wearing. Since transfers are prepaid with our packages, this ensures that you get to your intended destination, at no additional charge.
THINGS TO DO: There are tons of things to do for all ages in Punta Cana. I recommend you book tours in advance to ensure availability. I found that a lot of tours I wanted to book were not offered on Sunday. Therefore, it's good to check in advance, so you can plan your days. There is nothing worse than wasting your precious vacation time trying to figure out what to do next.
Here is a short list of activities:
RESORTS: There are tons of resorts options, from economical to luxury to family friendly to adult only. In addition, each resort has lots of room categories from pool view to ocean front to swim-up suites.
During my visit, I was able to inspect a variety of properties and I learned a lot, especially regarding "club" level rooms. Most all resorts have these types of rooms. They are called something different at each resort. Some examples are Diamond Club, Preferred Club, Excellence Club, and so on. We were in the Diamond Club and here is a photo of the bracelet we got. This helps the resort staff identify if you are allowed in certain areas within the resort.
Being in the Diamond Club was totally worth the extra money. Here is a list of the amenities included in the Diamond Club (NOTE: Club amenities will vary by resort):
Another nice benefit was exclusive Diamond Club™ Lounge access at the beach. Here are some photos of the beach area. Look closely at the lounge chairs. The chairs in the Diamond Club were padded. Also, we had access to Bali beds.
TIPS: I love sharing travel tips with clients and here are a few that I learned on this trip. It's HOT and all those yummy, fruity drinks melt really fast. Take an insulated cup, Yeti, koozie, or the like, with you to keep your beverages cold. This will help you keep up with your beverage, as well. Also, to help keep your valuables safe on the beach or by the pool, check out this cool combination lock (pictured). I attached it to both zippers on my backpack and then attached it to my chair. Since I had electronics in my bag, I made sure to attach it under the chair so it was in the shade. Lastly, use a backpack to hold your towel down on your chair. It works great!
I hope this destination spotlight has inspired you to want to explore this cool destination. To see resort photos from my trip, check out my Facebook page.
Stay tuned for the next Destination Spotlight with Explore Travel Planners!
Angie Conger Hinds
I have a true passion for travel and I want to share my travel knowledge with you. I hope this blog gives you inspiration to EXPLORE the world!
Enter your email to get updates straight to your inbox.