Hotels, visa, what to do in Punta Cana , what to see, what to bring in the suitcase, excursions and many other questions are those that come to mind before each new trip, and in this article we will help you with all of them.
The first thing that should be said about Punta Cana is that it is one of those destinations that do not have too many organizational complications, as we have just confirmed on our recent trip to this Caribbean paradise .
Mainly, because most of the travelers that visit Punta Cana barely move from the big resorts where you have the famous all-inclusive hotel bracelet (or all inclusive as they say there) that gives you access to unlimited food and drink.
10 tips for traveling to Punta Cana
So, whether this is your type of trip, or if you have thought about doing some activities to not spend all week in the hotel, we will give you the 10 tips that summarize the main concerns or doubts that you have been asking us through of our social networks.
1. Punta Cana with agency or on my own?
In spite of the extremely easy thing that it is to organize a trip to Punta Cana, we have to say that most of the travelers that we met during our recent stay came with the same one hired through travel agencies .
In fact, for this type of travel there are also many who choose to contract their trips through internet comparators such as Booking or Destinia , which offer the most hotel flight offers to Punta Cana .
And we realized already in the airplane, where we saw all the tourists that surrounded us with the envelope with all the information that they give you in writing the travel agencies or the comparators of flights.
I think we were among the few who did not go with any agency.
And all this despite the fact that traveling to Punta Cana only requires hiring the plane, the hotel , travel insurance and transportation from the airport to the hotel.
Because excursions are not usually included by travel agencies, and just like we did, you have to hire them there, either in hotels or online before traveling.
In addition Punta Cana has a huge advantage when traveling and is that the language spoken in the Dominican Republic is Spanish, so for those who speak English with difficulty, in this destination you will not have problems in this regard.
This preference for agencies has two explanations:
Obviously the most comfortable thing is to organize the trip, because we do not always have time for it.
And on the other hand, in certain cases , travel agencies can offer cheaper special prices due to their volume of contract, than those you can find on your own.
For that reason, we do not want to convince you that one option is better than another, but if we are going to show you the aspects in which you need to set yourself regardless of whether you prefer an agency, comparator or organize it yourself.
How to choose travel and hotel in Punta Cana
First look for your flight without hiring (we travel with Air Europa ), as well as a selection of two or three hotels, with the type of room you would like, and enter the prices.
Important that you look for it by opening a new incognito window so that the search engines do not locate your computer and do not upload the price after making a new search.
This search is just a first prospect to know what it would cost us to hire it on our own depending on the hotel.
Already with this information, ask price in the travel agencies, being clear in advance what hotels you are interested in, because not all hotels are in the offers of trips to Punta Cana offered by the agencies, and by default they will offer you the most they interest them.
When we have gone on a trip with an agency, we have looked in depth at the catalog of accommodations that they offer, to choose one of the hotels that we had previously looked at.
Many agencies to advertise the lowest possible price in the advertising posters neglect the quality of the accommodations and then there are surprises that you did not expect.
And I believe that few things can spoil you more this type of trip than the hotel, in which you are going to eat, dine and spend much of the day.
There is a great offer of hotels but with a lot of difference in the qualities, and in this respect you have to take into account that Dominican Republic is a very cheap country, in which to go from a standard quality to an absolutely VIP one supposes very little difference of price.
Therefore, we recommend you to first search on your own, then look in the search engines for the flight + hotel offers , and finally, ask the agency about the hotels that we have previously selected.
In this way you can compare the different options and choose the most economically appropriate.
Do not be surprised to find a lot of price difference regardless of the option, because we have come to see hotels booking.com with a price much more expensive than if you hire them in a travel agency offer, and also the opposite.
In any case, here is the link to find a hotel in Punta Cana at booking.com , our favorite hotel search engine.
Search, compare and choose !!
2. What hotel to choose in Punta Cana
I would say that the choice of hotel and room is the most important decision that can make your trip to Punta Cana , like ours, a real trip to paradise .
In Punta Cana there are all kinds of hotels with or without all, hotels only for adults (only Adults), hotels to go with children , with better beaches, with more or less swimming pools, with water parks, with discos, even hotels with casino and theaters.
This is where our first point takes more strength.
Because in addition, just as you choose the resort , there is so much hotel supply that it is important to also choose the type of room and the area of beaches where it is located.
Let’s not forget that hotels have their private beaches , which is where you’ll spend most of the time.
The resorts in Punta Cana have a huge variety of rooms, not like other destinations where hotels have all the same rooms.
So even when making the trip with an agency, you will be given hotel options to choose from with the corresponding prices for each type of room, and if they do not offer it, ask for it.
Is it worthwhile to hire an all-inclusive hotel in Punta Cana?
The first decision is whether you want to stay in an all-inclusive hotel or one without all-inclusive.
As surprising as it may seem, not all hotels are all-inclusive or all-inclusive, which was the idea we had before organizing our trip to Punta Cana
Being honest, and after our experience, we believe that the price offered by the wristband hotels are incomparable considering what they offer.
In fact, and as a curiosity, the Dominicans themselves are the first to choose this option to go to a resort where they give you everything they do.
It is important to pay attention to the prices offered in the packs or internet offers to travel to Punta Cana , because they are intimately linked to the room you choose and the area of the hotel where you stay.
You have to assess the types of rooms that are offered to you because, for a small difference in price, you can have rooms that go directly to the pool or with jacuzzis inside the room or on your terrace.
How is a 5-star all-inclusive hotel in Punta Cana
For example, in our case we were staying at the Grand Palladium hotels & Resorts resort in Punta Cana , right on the Bavaro beach , which is actually made up of four different hotels, which offered different levels of quality in their services.
To continue with the example of our hotel, which perfectly serves as a sample, inside the resort we were staying at the TRS Turquesa Hotel , which was the resort’s VIP area ,
We could only access those who were staying there, while we could move through the remains of hotels and facilities of the resort .
By having an exclusive area, we did not have crowds at any time, since in our hotel we had restaurants and swimming pools, in addition to the quality in the restaurants and the treatment in this VIP area is absolutely superior.
Study it well because there are rooms that are impressive at incredible prices, and you can enjoy them just by looking for a bit and not choosing the first thing you see or be offered.
3. Is it safe to travel to Punta Cana?
Regarding this, although Punta Cana is one of the safest areas of the Dominican Republic by far, we can not ignore that, in general, it is an insecure country, although luckily every day less.
Ten years ago, in some hotels, security personnel were armed, which at present, at least in Punta Cana, is not necessary.
And with this we do not mean that nothing is going to happen, but for this reason the big resorts have a great point in favor, since they guarantee you tranquility and security.
Especially not having to leave the hotel to wander through areas you do not know, looking for where to eat or especially where to dine, because when the sun goes down is when it is more dangerous.
They usually recommend that if you move around the country on your own, do not bring valuables to your eyes, especially mobile phones.
Keep in mind that the average salary in the Dominican Republic is just over $ 250 per month and the minimum wage is $ 130, so a next-generation mobile whose price is around $ 1,000 is very succulent for thieves.
In our case we left little of the hotel, but when we did it and went to walk around, we did not have any problem, even taking the camera to the view.
Here the key is to keep in mind where you are, since it is not the same to be in Punta Cana in the area of Bávaro Beach or the Marina of Cap Cana , which are safe areas, to move around some neighborhoods of the capital, Santo Domingo .
4. How to choose insurance to travel to Punta Cana
The travel insurance is one of those things you just have to take before traveling when we left our country, especially considering that between 30 and 60 euros, which is the cost of insurance for a week, you’re covered some expenses that can be very high if something happens to you.
Of course, no one can guarantee that nothing will happen to you, but if this happens, you will regret it if you do not have good travel insurance.
So that you orientate yourself a little with the prices and clauses, we will explain what it is that you have to have an insurance to travel to Punta Cana , so then you will have no problem when choosing yours.
It is the insurance in which it is easier to see their coverage, because many companies are not entirely clear when explaining them, much less when using them.
We can think that by hiring the cheapest insurance we are worth it, and in certain occasions you can find a surprise.
And we tell you because you are many who write to us outraged with the insurance you had hired and they have not given you everything you expected.
A basic insurance for a week in Punta Cana costs about 30 euros, which covers 30,000 euros of medical expenses, and 60 euros the Estrella and Premium insurance with up to 500,000 euros of medical assistance, which is the one that carries the maximum coverage and compensation of money.
Coverage of travel insurance to Punta Cana
It is very important that the insurance has several coverages.
It is key that the insurance covers you 100% all expenses related to any accident and we do not only refer to traffic accidents, which also (many times the insurance does not cover traffic accidents, but the IATI if it does).
You never know where something can happen to us, we do not plan to break a leg or an arm, or have a fatal accident during the trip, but that is unpredictable, so it is imperative that the insurance includes repatriation in case of death or accident .
Just as it is key that you have coverage for the death of a family member , because if something happens to a family member in your city of origin, you will be covered for the expenses that come back before the time of our trip.
Many times the problem of insurance is that although they cover medical expenses, they do not cover the expenses of the companions, nor the collateral expenses that entails having a person admitted.
According to our own experience, since we have experienced an important hospitalization abroad, it is very important that we cover the expenses of the companion during the period of stay in the hospital.
You have to think that a hospitalization for a time can involve very high costs, and that without needing to be repatriated in a medicalized plane , case in which these costs skyrocket.
In our case, we lived an operation that supposed us to be admitted 1o days with the expenses that it entails, apart from the extra expenses of new tickets and the hotel of the companion.
Many times we do not think of certain needs that arise, for example if you break your leg and you have to return with your leg stretched, which can lead you to need to travel first class if it is a long distance flight such as Punta Cana.
Many times the biggest annoyances that tend to be more common in travel are related to loss or delays with luggage , or also with cancellations of flights .
These insurances give you compensation for all this type of unforeseen travel, and depending on the type of insurance you hire, the compensation will be greater.
Well, it may be the case, for example, that you lose your suitcase in a transfer and you need to buy clothes to use until your luggage arrives.
You should also know that there are clauses that are not included in the standard insurance and that you must hire only if your trip requires it, as are the clauses for risky sports .
And here I give you an example
This winter we were in Boston on a trip where we went skiing, and if health care in the United States is already very expensive, but if we had any incidence on the mountain, we could ruin it.
That’s why we took the Premium insurance with the extra clause of adventure sports , which covered us 250,000 euros.
Another thing that usually worries is who is paying the bills .
In the most basic insurance you have to be the one to advance the money, while as you have more coverage, it is the company that put the money.
In the case of telephone assistance, IATI has a number you can call at any time, regardless of where in the world you are, and they also serve you in Spanish.
In short, it is essential to hire a good travel insurance .
5. What to see and do in Punta Cana
Most of the travelers who visit Punta Cana do it looking for the sun and the beach , and there are many who do not leave the hotel in a week.
The hotels have their own private beach and several pools to relax and be drinking and eating while sunbathing, which for many is the perfect plan.
The large resorts, such as the aforementioned Grand Palladium hotels & Resorts Punta Cana , also have soccer fields, tennis courts, paddle and basketball, casino, spa or theaters, as well as bars, nightclubs and restaurants.
Even hotels organize activities within the resorts , such as foam parties or spining in the pools, as well as activities for the little ones.
But for those who can not be so many days without leaving the hotel, there are several activities and excursions that can be done leaving from Punta Cana.
Excursions from Punta Cana
If what you are looking for is culture and history, perhaps the most important visit that can be done through the city of Santo Domingo with its characteristic colonial buildings.
The capital of the country was the first European city in America, since that’s where Christopher Columbus arrived on his first trip through the Americas in 1492.
Hispaniola , as it was known in its day, had a great importance in the naval development of Spain since here they founded the first church, the first university and many other buildings in which they considered a new continent.
Other of the most requested excursions are the visit of Isla Saona , an authentic Caribbean paradise or the catamaran excursion to Samaná .
There are many options for speedboats, buggies among coffee plantations , swimming with dolphins , watching whales or the most spectacular of all, the helicopter ride through Punta Cana .
If we talk about nature or unique places, without a doubt the National Park of Los Haitises is that reserve of perfect nature with its mangroves .
In addition there are some reserves of coral for lovers of marine life where you can live the experience of snorkeling and diving.
In the interior of the country there are several places where traditional villages are visited and activities such as horseback riding or visiting beautiful caves inside the jungle .
When hiring excursions, you can do it right there in the hotels, or even by the beach you can find places offering all kinds of excursions.
6. Do you need a visa to travel to Punta Cana?
For most countries it is not necessary to request any type of visa to travel to Punta Cana .
Of course, to enter the Dominican Republic it is necessary to fill out two forms that are delivered to you on the plane during the trip to the country.
They will ask you for information about your trip, with information such as how many days you will be staying and where you will be staying.
There are two forms, because one is delivered upon arrival in the country and pass customs control, and the other is to deliver before leaving the Dominican Republic.
In case you do not know where you saved the return form, you can always fill it out at the airport before going through customs, because they will ask for it at the first security check you find after checking your luggage.
We recommend you take a pen by hand to fill in the information during the flight, although if you do not take it, you can always leave someone during the 8 hours of flight from Spain to Punta Cana.
As for the money you have to pay before entering the country, we had read that upon arrival in the country they charged 10 dollars per person, but despite having the money prepared, they did not charge us anything.
We simply handed over the passports and the form that we filled out on the plane, they sealed our passport and we entered the country.
7. What currency is used in Punta Cana?
The currency that is used in Punta Cana is the Dominican peso , although if you do not move from the hotel, do not worry about it, because there are people who do not need to change the currency in the whole trip.
In our, as our currency is the euro, we do not change currency in the 7 days we were in the country.
In practice, as in many countries of the world, you can pay with both dollars and euros , since they accept these two currencies almost anywhere.
In addition you can always pay with a card in most establishments, especially restaurants.
In case you want to change before your trip, you will have to request it from your bank a few days in advance because they probably do not have Dominican pesos in the branch.
Of course you can also change when you arrive in the country, at the airport or even at the hotels themselves; This is the most expensive option although the most comfortable.
If you specifically want to exchange local currency already in Punta Cana , what we usually recommend is to take the money from a local ATM (ATM), which usually apply a better change, and depending on the bank, with minimum commissions.
8. Best time to travel to Punta Cana
When considering what time of year it is best to travel to Punta Cana , you should know it has a tropical climate , with a constant temperature, so any time of the year is good to visit.
You could say that it is high season all year, but there are some nuances and differences depending on the month of the year that make the price vary.
Another important issue that you ask us a lot about is the issue of hurricanes, with the classic question of what is the hurricane season in Punta Cana .
That is why we leave you here a specific article that we have prepared with important topics related to the best time to travel to Punta Cana , where we talk about the weather, hurricanes, the months where more people travel and many more things.
9. What to take for a trip to Punta Cana
The subject of suitcases and what to bring is one of the questions that you ask us the most when you are traveling.
To go to Punta Cana there are three things that can not be missing in your suitcase and that are absolutely essential.
Of course swimsuit , lots of sunscreen that is biodegradable so as not to pollute the sea, because the sun hits very hard in Punta Cana and mosquito repellent if you go out of the resorts , especially if you are going to make some excursions to areas of nature reserves.
In the 7 days that we were in the country we do not need to wear any sweatshirts or anything of shelter despite having coincided with the remains of a hurricane that reached the coast of the United States and that sent us clouds continuously.
We had a temperature between 28 and 30 degrees, with a fairly high humidity, so the feeling is of heat even if there are clouds.
If it is advisable to take some warm clothes , even if only for the plane ride.
If you go to a large resort it is necessary to take some more formal clothes , especially for dinner time.
The plugs are not the same as in Europe, but it happens like in Asia, that all the chargers work, so despite taking adapters we did not have to use them.
In the big resorts there are no electricity problems, but if you are going to move around other areas, it is convenient to take portable batteries because energy failures are quite common and it is very common to run out of electricity in the rest of the country.
10. Vaccines necessary to travel to Punta Cana
In principle to make a trip to Punta Cana where you will move little from the resort , you do not need any type of vaccine.
In spite of that, the ideal thing is to consult with the organism of your country specialized in vaccines for trips, so that you can be sure that when you travel, you do not need anything special.