October 26, 2020

DESTINATIONSDominican RepublicPunta CanaDestination Review

Punta Cana Destination Review


A Punta Cana Vacation offers vacationing guests spectacular beaches - 40 miles of unspoiled beach line the coast.  Tropical warmth year round.  Spectacular all-inclusive resorts offering guests value-added vacations at an affordable price.  Punta Cana is synonymous for championship golf, casinos, nightlife and elegant spas.  Vacation in Punta Cana - land of eternal sunshine and friendly faces.  Judy and Maria's Goal: through our photographs, reviews and unique travel experiences we would like to introduce to our web visitors this fascinating country and it's people. T



PUNTA CANA AIRPORT1.jpgThe Punta Cana Airport has a beautiful thatched roof and is an open-air design.  Upon arriving at the Punta Cana airport, each passenger is required to purchase a $10.00 tourist card before entering customs.  After retrieving luggage and clearing customs, arriving passengers will be greeted by their tour company representative and directed to board the correct bus for transfer to their resort. 

Imagine A Magical Punta Cana Vacation

PUJ16.jpgPunta Cana has a tropical climate. The resorts are low-rise and beautiful.  The grounds are lush and tropical with foliage, lagoons and palm trees along with peacocks, flamencos, ducks, parrots dominican palm trees.jpgand other wildlife stroll the resorts’ grounds. The summer months tend to be very warm and very humid. We suggest cool, loose fitting, cotton clothing – so pack light. The majority of the resorts are very large and spread out – like small cities. This means lot of walking. Some resorts have golf carts and trams to accommodate guests’ needs. Punta Cana has so many great resorts that will meet every expectation:   golf, scuba, fishing, windsailing, yachting, fine dining, relaxation, spas, children's programs and more. Our sales staff is knowledgeable and available to consult and recommend the perfect resort to meet your expectations.


Punta Cana resorts have been hosting Latin, South American and European tourists (notably French, German, and Spanish) for many years. The spoken language is Spanish.  It can be somewhat difficult at times to communicate in English, but if you exercise patience you will have no real problems (although on our October 2002 trip we noticed a great improvement in communication).  Just sit back, wind down, relax and enjoy the magnificent experience of the unspoiled elegance of this beautiful, natural island paradise.

Punta Cana, the newest and fastest growth vacation spot is on a roll.  Punta Cana is quickly becoming everybody's favorite destination.  There are more rooms in Punta Cana (over 14,000) than in the entire country of Jamaica.  Most resorts have been built wpuntacanssunscape palm.jpgithin the past five years.  All on spectacular beaches, the hotels measure their beachfront by the kilometer.  Punta Cana is popular with and perfected by Europeans during the nineties.  Maximum airport hotel transfer time is 45 minutes with the average of 25 minutes.  

The unspoiled scenery of Punta Cana is amazing. Forty miles of pearl-white sand beaches and luxurious beach resort hotels line the eastern coast of this island.

Punta Cana has put a priority on its ecological efforts. Vacationers can hike trails and view some of the native and rare species of animals and vegetation while the island's mineral springs offer a cool and refreshing refuge. Twenty-five years ago, the east coast was little more than a lonely stretch of beach and scrub-brush.  Today, that diamond in the rough has been polished into a glittering gem; unquestionably the Caribbean's most popular and fastest growing tourist destination.  The area embraced by Macao and Punta Cana, including Bavaro, now is home to more than 30 tourist complexes with over 13,000 rooms.  For 35 kilometers, along secluded stretches of pearl white sand, the East Coast is a beach-lover's paradise.  The brilliant sands of Bavaro, "Arena Gorda, Cortecito, Cabeza del Toro, Macao and Punta Cana beckon to travelers from all corners of the globe.  Over 70 charter and regular flights arrive weekly at Punta Cana's International Airport from a dozen European cities as well as Canada, the United States and South America.

Twenty-five years ago,PUJ10.jpg the east coast was little more than a lonely stretch of beach and scrub-brush.  Today, that diamond in the rough has been polished into a glittering gem; unquestionably the Caribbean's most popular and fastest growing tourist destination.  The area embraced by Macao and Punta Cana, including Bavaro, now is home to more than 30 tourist complexes with over 13,000 rooms.  For 35 kilometers, along secluded stretches of pearl white sand, the East Coast is a beach-lover's paradise.  The brilliant sands of Bavaro, "Arena Gorda, Cortecito, Cabeza del Toro, Macao and Punta Cana beckon to travelers from all corners of the globe.  Over 70 charter and regular flights arrive weekly at Punta Cana's International Airport from a dozen European cities as well as Canada, the United States and South America.


Punta Cana In Hot!


The Warmth of the Dominican People Minimize

PUJ11.jpgThe Dominican people are warm and friendly Most Dominicans still live in wooden shacks, a long way from electricity or water supplies.  Education is brokePUJ9.jpgn down due to lack of money and relatively few teachers. Wages are low.  Illiteracy is widespread.  Each year nearly two billion dollars disappears through political corruption.

Children play in the streets  with a sticks, hens peck the ground along with chickens, horses and goats graze along road.  The countryside is covered with pastel-colored homes with verandas. On each veranda sits a rocking chair. You will seldom see beggars in the Dominican Republic, bBoydominican.jpgut you may experience voodoo-dancers, people selling coconuts or selling native paintings.  Yet the people remain warm, smiling and receptive -- unhassled and full of enthusiasm.


Tropical warmth and sunshine  --  rainforests and waterfalls, deserts, palm-tree lined wide golden and white  sand beachesPUJ1.jpg with exquisite blue ocean.   Mangroves, tall mountains and lush green valleys - extremely beautiful, unspoiled, primitive and also third world. 

The Dominican Government
-- Currently the Dominican PUJ8.jpggovernment is working to develop a better education system for its people and to develop an Eco-friendly tourism program. 


The government has a long way to go in keeping up with the rapid pace of growth. The roads can be very poor and pot-holes appear out of nowhere after heavy rainstorms.  Don't even think of driving or renting a car.  Be safe, not sorry.   Tour with the professionals who know the roads, the customs, and the driving (or lack of) regulations. 


Punta Cana, Dominican Republic






New Year's Day






Our Lady of Altagracia. Altagracia is the spiritual mother of the Dominican people and is revered like the Virgin Mary. This day and the day before are marked by avid church going, candle lighting, singing, dancing, and other modes of celebration. This takes place in various towns and cities across the country.



Day of Duarte. Juan Pablo Duarte, one of the founding fathers of the Republic, was born on this day. This is celebrated by various patrioc gestures such as flag raising and offering flowers to his statue and the Altar de la Patria.



Independence Day. On his day in 1844 the Dominicans won independence for themselves against the Haitians and established the Dominican Republic.



Good Friday - Easter. On the week-end of La Semana Sainta, just before Easter, the country shuts down, almost all Dominicans head for the beach. On Good Friday music is not allowed to be played (loudly) anywhere, including in clubs or discotheques, but the next couple of days are major fiesta time.



Pan-American Day



Labor Day



Bachata Festival of Sosua. This distinctly Dominican form of song and dance is extremely popular and is celebrated by, you guessed it, lots of song and dance.



Foundation de la Sociedad Trinitinaria. This day celebrates the founders of the Sociedad Trinitinaria, led by Juan Pablo Duarte, who later go on to win independence for the country against the Haitians.



Merengue Festival of Puerto Plata and Santo Domingo. This festival is not only about dance. There are food and drink exhibitions as well as various games and events.



Restoration Day. Also celebrating the country's independence from Haiti, the day is honored by festivals in the capital, Santiago, La Vega, and San Pedro de Macoris.



Our Lady of Mercedes. Mercedes is the patron saint of the Dominican village and the day is celebrated by a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Cerro, a hill that is close the city of La Vega.



Columbus Day. In recognition of the anniversary of the discovery of the New World, flowers are offered to the tomb of Columbus and the Faro de Colon, which is a monument in Santo Domingo.



Merengue Festival of Puerto Plata. For five days Puerto Plata is alive with dance, art displays, food expositions, auto shows, and other festivities.



United Nations Day



All Saints' Day



Christmas Day



There are two Carnivals in Santo Domingo:

  • The pre-Lent celebration, which is echoed throughout the country, always begins two or three days before February 27 (Independence Day) and ends a few days later. It's a monster party combining Catholic decompression with African spirituality, great costumes, spectacular floats and all the rum you can drink.
  • The second Carnival begins August 15, to coincide with Restoration Day (when the DR declared war on Spain); August festivities may be marginally more sedate, but they're still the perfect place to wear that sequined-and-feathered

All About Your Punta Cana Vacation Minimize



The majority of resorts in the Dominican Republic are Spanish-owned with staff and background training out of  Mallorca, Spain.  Most of the resorts are all-inclusive and abide by very stringent food preparation and water testing guidelines. Note:  the last thing resort management wants is for guests to become ill. Guest rooms are stocked with bottled water. Quite frankly, during all of our visits to the Dominican Republic, neither of us have ever taken ill.  Be careful and think.


Medical Services


Resorts have doctors are on call 24-hours per day for a fee.




A modern, fully equipped, professionally staffed hospital is located minutes from the Punta Cana Airport.  The Punta Cana hospital is managed by a company based in Spain and is said to be top-notch.




In the tropics, mosquitoes appear after dusk.  It is recommended that guests wear long, comfortable cotton pants after dusk and spray before venturing outside.  Mosquitoes are seasonal and are more noticeable in the rainy season.


The Dominican Republic has so much beauty to offer tourists and is a true value for the dollar. Take advantage of this magnificent experience -- you won't be sorry you did.


To Do on Your Punta Cana Vacation


Punta Cana is by far the best travel value in the Caribbean. The resorts are new, lush, tropical and elegant. The wide, pristine beaches in Punta Cana are palm-tree lined and one can walk for miles reveling in the beauty of the breathtaking azure waters of the Caribbean Sea and the verdant green mountains overlooking the sea.


The geography of the country is greatly diverse, ranging from arid semi-desert plains to valleys of tropical rain forests, which results in a wide variety of vegetation. Most of the tourists who come to visit are initially attracted to its magnificent golden sandy beaches that extend over one-third of its 870-mile coastal regions that define three-quarters of its borders. This is particularly true of the northern Atlantic side of the country. It is thus in this region that the majority of tourist attractions, hotels and resorts are concentrated, particularly in the 40-mile zone between Puerto Plata and Cabarete.

The Dominican Republic, with an area of 48,482 square kilometres, occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with its neighbor, Haiti, to the west. Cuba is the only larger country within the Caribbean and the greater Antilles region. Hispaniola is strategically located directly in the heart of the region. The Windward Passage separates western Hispaniola from Cuba. To the east of the Dominican Republic across the Mona Passage, lies Puerto Rico only 54 miles away.


The Dominican Republic, with a total population of almost 8 million, is the most populous country in the Caribbean. The great majority (75%) of its citizens are mulattoes, a mixture of Europeans, Africans and Amer-Indians. as for the remaining, 15% are whites who are mainly descended from the original Spanish settlers. African descendents make up virtually all of the balance (10%). There have not been any pure Amer-Indians remaining on the island for the past three centuries. There are also a fairly large number of Haitians living and working in the country, doing mainly heavy manual labor and less remunerative work. The country has a very high birth rate, with about half of the population is under 15 years old, while only 3% are over the age of 65. The main religion for more than 95% of its citizens is Roman Catholic.


A very favorable exchange rate makes shopping for colorful handicrafts and other locally produced products a great bargain. Most popular are the amber (brought to world acclaim in the hit film Jurassic Park) and larimar semi-precious stones. Other favorite items are wicker, rattan, and wood furniture, hand-painted masks, macrame, ceramics, straw and woven goods, rocking chairs, carved mahogany structures, Dominican fine art and paintings, fashions from local-born designers such as Oscar de la Renta and local coffee, rum, and cigars.

Santo Domingo has large commercial malls and smaller shopping centers. Store hours are generally 9 am to noon and 2 pm to 7 pm, but major shopping centers, supermarkets and stores with a large tourist clientele remain open for lunch time. While most stores are open Monday through Saturday at noon, several large shopping centers and most supermarkets are now open on Sunday mornings. Duty free shopping is available at Las Americas and Puerto Plata international airports, as well as at select locations in the capital, but duty-free goods are claimed at the airport prior to departure and purchases must be made in U.S. dollars.


The weather in the Dominican Republic remains tropical year round, with slight variations dividing it into basically two seasons, summer and winter. The average annual temperature is around 25° (77°F).

The so-called "cool" season is from November to April, with what is considered pleasantly warm weather, relatively low humidity and low precipitation. On the coast, i.e. near the beaches, the temperature hovers fairly constantly around 29°C (84°F) during the day and drops to around a comfortable 20°C (68°F) at night. However, in the mountainous regions of the interior the weather is always considerably cooler, and on the highest peaks the thermometer sometimes drops below the freezing point and on rare occasions snow can be seen.

The more "hot" season is roughly from May to October. Then, the average temperature rises to 31°C (87°F) during the daytime and drops to about 22°C (72°F) at night. However, with the accompanying high humidity that is more common during this season, it usually feels much hotter. It does rain a bit more often during this season, especially from May to August, but usually this turns out to be no more than a 30 minute tropical (sometimes heavy) shower. There are usually also some brief rainy periods during the months of November and December.

When to go to Punta Cana?

The wettest times of the year are May-June and October-November. If you're worried about storms, the Caribbean's hurricane season lasts from June to November. The peak tourist season is between mid-December and mid-April, but this has more to do with the weather in Europe than local conditions in the Dominican Republic. Prices and visitor numbers decline significantly outside these months. Easter and Christmas are the peak local travel periods. 



Information on health precautions for travelers can be obtained from local health departments, private doctors, or travel clinics. You may also call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 24-hour hotline on (404) 332-4559 or information on immunizations and health risks worldwide.


Review your health insurance policy. U.S. medical insurance is often not valid outside the United States. Medicare/Medicaid does not provide payment for medical services obtained outside the U.S. In addition to medical insurance, consider obtaining insurance to cover evacuation in the event of an accident or serious illness. Considering air evacuation to the United States can easily cost $15,000 if you are not insured, insurance to cover a medical evacuation is relatively inexpensive. There are short-term health and emergency assistance policies designed for travelers. Ask your travel agent about them or look for ads in travel publications.


If you need medical attention during your trip, your hotel may be able to recommend the nearest clinic, hospital or doctor, or you can obtain a list of local medical services from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. In a medical emergency, a U.S. consul can help you locate medical treatment.

The most prevalent health hazard in the Caribbean is one you can avoid -- overexposure to the sun. Use sunscreen and bring a shirt to wear over your bathing suit, especially if you plan to snorkel.


Where the quality of drinking water is questionable, bottled water is recommended. Travelers to remote areas should boil or chemically treat drinking water.




Passport and tourist card required. Tourist card for stay up to 2 months, available from Consulate or from airline serving the Dominican Republic, $10 fee (extendible $25 fee). All persons must pay $10 airport departure fee. AIDS test required for residence permit. U.S. test not accepted.


For business travel and other information call the Embassy of the Dominican Republic, 1715 22nd St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008 (202-332-6280) or nearest Consulate General:


CA (415-982-5144)

LA (504-522-1843)

PA (215-923-3006)

FL (305-358-3220)

MA (617-482-8121)

PR (787-833-4756)

IL (312-486-8400)

NY (212-768-2480)

TX (713-266-0165)



Casual attire is appropriate throughout most of the country, and because of the extremely warm climate light clothing (preferably cotton) is best all year round. Patrons of fine restaurants and evening establishments are often dressed elegantly, with men wearing sport coats and women in dresses.

Handicap Information

Many of the hotels offer handicap rooms and facilities.

Time Zone

October through April, one hour ahead of EST.


A 23% gov't tax is added to all bills, including a 10% service charge (an extra 5% is optional for good service).

Weather Conditions

The coastal zone is blessed with a warm subtropical climate, while temperatures are cooler and more temperate in the central region. The year-round average is 77° F.


Some of the country's most spectacular beaches are found along La romana's eastern shores, and close to Casa de Campo in Bayahibe, the beach of your dreams.  The greater region of the Dominican Republic is a land of contrasts, with towering mountains and rocky cliffs, rain forests, fertile valleys, cacti-studded desert regions, 1,600 kilometers of coastline and around 300 kilometers of prime soft sand beaches.  The country is crossed by four rugged mountain ranges bisecting northwest to southeast.  The largest is the Cordillera Central with Pico Duarte, the tallest point in the Caribbean, rising over 3,175 meters high.  Three large fertile valleys rest between the ranges, one of which holds Lake Enriquillo int he southwest, the lowest point in the Caribbean falling 40 meters below sea level and the only salt water lake in the world inhabited by crocodiles.

The Dominican Republic enjoys a year round tropical climate averaging 80°F and ranging from 64°F in winter to 93°F in summer. The hottest month is August, the coolest is January. Trade winds help keep the air cool and fresh.


No vaccinations are required to visit the Dominican Republic.

Wedding Requirements

A couple needs to inform the resort at least one month in advance, with a minimum of 15 days notice, in order to reserve the judge. The resort will inform guests of all the required documents they need to present in order to legally wed in the D.R.  Note:  Residency of 4-business days is required prior to the wedding.

Note for DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Passengers

Dominican Republic law has changed.  The Dominican Republic no longer requires a notarized letter for miners who are United States nationals or Canadian Nationals.

If the child's last name of the accompanying parent(s), proof of parentage is required.  Parent's name change must be documented (i.e. marriage certificate).  If the minor is 14 to 17 on the day of departure, they must hold either a valid passport or a valid, official photo ID along with their birth certificate.  Anyone under 18 on the day of departure will be denied boarding if not accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.  FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE ABOVE WILL RESULT IN BEING DENIED BOARDING.

Detailed Travel Information Minimize

Detailed Travel Information for Punta cana 



The Dominican Republic has a semitropical climate, tempered by the prevailing easterly winds. Temperatures of more than 23° C (74° F) are registered in the lowlands throughout the year. During the summer months, temperatures range between 27° and 35° C (81° and 92° F) in these regions. The highlands are considerably cooler. Annual precipitation averages about 153 centimeters (60 inches), but considerably more moisture is received by the mountainous areas of the north. The wet season is from June to November. Tropical hurricanes occur occasionally. Like other Caribbean islands, the Dominican Republic's origins are volcanic. Mountains and tropical forests cover much of the interior.




48,734 square km (18,816 square miles)




98% Catholic








Santo Domingo




Presidential Republic




Dominican Peso




Sugar, Coffee, Cocoa, Tobacco




Pico Durante 3175 m (10,414 feet) is the highest mountain in the Caribbean and Logo Enriquilo (40 m / 131 feet below sea level) is the lowest point in the Caribbean





Recommended light, comfortable summer clothing with long pants as protection against mosquitoes which are active at dusk, and a hat to prevent sunstroke.  The Dominicans are somewhat conservative – in churches and official buildings – no one is admitted wearing shorts or miniskirt.




110 volts




We fully discourage tourists driving a rental car in the Dominican Republic


Travel with Minors

Minors traveling with only one parent or adults other than their parents must have a notarized letter from the absent parent(s) authorizing them to be taken out of the country. If the parent is deceased, a copy of the death certificate will be required for check in at the airport. Children under 14 years of age are not required to have photo identification when traveling with parents.

Arrival Tax

$10 Tourist Card


110 volts, same as U.S.


The minimum gambling age is 18, and the usual casino hours are 4:00 pm to 4:00 am Monday to Thursday, and 4:00 pm to 6:00 am Friday and Saturday


None required. (You may want to consult your physician)


The Dominican Republic occupies 2/3 of Hispaniola, and is located approximately 800 miles south of Florida, between Cuba and Puerto Rico. Punta Cana is the eastern-most point of the island.

Proof of Citizenship

Valid U.S. passport, Married Women:  copy of marriage license. 


Golf in Punta Cana

punta cana golf.jpg

Golf is one of the Dominican Republic's top attractions, bringing thousands of tourists in droves to this destination. What makes golf so popular is the combination of outstanding year round summer weather and the varied terrain. Caribbean weather allows for play even during rainy days, when brief showers quickly give way to clear skies. Course architects have incorporated hills and coastline into the design to doubly challenge the golfers.

Punta Cana offers a choice of four wonderful golf courses, The Bávaro Resort Golf Club, The Cocotal Golf & Country Club, The Catalonia Cabeza de Toro Golf Club, and The Punta Cana Golf Club.

The Bávaro Resort Golf Club offers an 18-hole course designed by Juan Manuel Gordillo. Located along the eastern coast, wind comes into play on this par 72, 6,557-yard course that is part of the Bávaro Resort complex. Situated alongside the Bavaro lagoon, this is a flat and very playable course with many water hazards, usually in excellent condition and built with the enjoyment of the resort tourist in mind. Guests normally need to reserve tee times at least 24-hours in advance, for more info call 809-686-5797.

The Cocotal Golf & Country Club is the first Caribbean golf course built by the Sol Melia Group. It opened in December 1999 and was designed by the renowned Spanish architect Jose "Pepe" Gancedo. This 27 hole course provides instruction classes for beginners, as well as handicap improvement courses for the more experienced players. Surrounding the Sol Melia resort complex, the course was once a coconut plantation, built around serene lakes and swaying coconut trees. The 3,380-yard Gold tees have a rating of 75.2, with a Slope of 131. The 3,203-yard Blue tees have a rating of 73.1, with a Slope of 130. The 2,993-yard White tees have a rating of 71, with a Slope of 126. And the 2,563-yard Red tees have a rating of 73.1, with a Slope of 128. The Cocotal also offers a Club House, pro-shop, driving range and pitch & putt area.

The Catalonia Cabeza de Toro Golf Club offers Punta Cana's newest course, located at the Catalonia Bavaro Resort. Situated near the oceanfront and integrated into a wonderful tropical landscape, five lakes and many shade trees define this short but challenging course. With wide fairways that are easy to play, this course was designed for novice and experienced golfers, alike. Presently, only the first 9 holes are open to play.

The Punta Cana Golf Club is just 10 minutes from the airport, and is the first championship-caliber layout in Punta Cana. This 18-hole, 7,152-yard layout features 7 holes on the ocean, and 14 with ocean views. This course was designed by P.B. Dye, whose father Pete Dye created the legendary Dientes del Perro, or "Teeth of the Dog," in 1971. As a teenager, Dye spent two summers helping his father build the course. Thirty years and 36 golf courses later, Dye returned to the Dominican Republic to design and build a beachfront course for Frank Rainieri, the Dominican businessman whose vision and hard work has made Punta Cana a popular vacation destination. Punta Cana Golf Club is by far the best course in Punta Cana, and the closest thing to Pebble Beach the Caribbean has to offer.


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