TOP 5 THINGS TO DO IN PUNTA CANA
Punta Cana lies on the eastern side of Dominican Republic, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea to the South, but mostly facing the Atlantic Ocean. I went to Dominican Republic on a girls trip with my cousin back in 2015 and after experiencing what it had to offer, I would also highly recommend it as an ideal family getaway; It is a destination that provides fun for all, no matter your age or your ideal holiday, there is something for everyone! In this post, I will be sharing some activities which are sure to tickle your fancy!
Island Tour Adventure
Adventure Buggies provide a range of transport experiences to show you around some hidden gems of Punta Cana, ranging from jeep safaris, ATV 4-wheel drives, the Macao Adventure Buggies (our choice) and many more! The Macao Adventure Buggy is suited to those who like it rough ;) Before heading off on our tour, we went through safety procedures and each of us were assured about how to navigate the beasts safely. We began our off-road journey, through rough and muddy terrain amongst luscious green farmlands before coming to our first stop, Macao beach! Let me tell you now that it was a delight to reach this beach, not just because of the golden sands and azure blue sea, but because we were that filthy and needed a rinse! Here we took some time to dry off and cool down before the tour photographers positioned us for a mini photoshoot – I was not expecting that! We then ventured back onto the dirt track towards a country ranch-style plantation that produces cacao, coffee, tobacco and Mamajuana (a Dominican Republic aphrodisiac tonic). Of course, we got to try the products, as well as get the information on how they are made and what makes them special to Dominican Republic in particular - but don’t worry, we didn’t get drunk or high! We were given ‘shot’ amounts and plenty of water to rehydrate under the scorching sun. By this time, we were covered in mud yet again, but luckily had another chance to wash off in a dark yet picturesque cave with water flowing into it from a secret underground river and two options to get in – jump or climb down the rope! If jumping into a dark hole of water doesn’t quite appeal to you, I wouldn’t worry too much because - yep, you guessed it - you’re about to get muddy one more time as you head back to base, where you will be able to have a final clean down - or as much as you can get off with a hose anyway!
Dominican Republic’s first ever theme park and zoo combined together within an action-packed space of fun for the entire family. Manati park is home to more than 150 species, including birds, reptiles, and mammals. There are plenty of opportunities for you to get up close and interact with the animals such as during one of the five different shows they put on to provide more information about their inhouse guests. For example, feed a sea lion and be thanked with a kiss – be warned its slimy and fishy! As you walk around, you’ll notice the abundance of tropical plants, adding bursts of colour amongst the earthy tones.
Within the park, you can also take a look into the heritage of Dominican culture, folklore, and the artistry of the Taino Indians – the island’s first inhabitants, before the arrival of the Spanish. You’ll be able to see how they used to live and explore their culture through the rhythm of dance. To ensure that your great day out concludes with positive memories, don’t forget to wear comfy shoes, take extra sun cream, mosquito repellent and plenty of water – as well as a fully charged camera!
Imagine, The Cave
Let’s go clubbing… inside a cave! I’m referring to the dancing version of clubbing here, not the caveman style walloping before you begin to wonder why on earth I would suggest such a thing! But honestly, this was an experience I will never forget. The minute you step out of your vehicle, you will feel as though you are about to be transported to a secret paradise. Oh! I should also advise that you have a mobile phone with a good quality night mode camera on hand! One downside from my visit are the resulting blurry photos – girls (and guys), I’m sure you can feel me here - you know when you get all dressed up for a night out, outfit on point for some photos but nothing worthy enough to record from the entire night?! Anyway, from what I remember, the inside is formed of 3 different sections – the main area, a small ‘outdoors’ space and premium/VIP suites – however this may have changed since 2015 so don’t expect the exact same layout! Inside, the acoustic experience is one like no other, you are in a cave after all! Expect to hear a range of music from mainstream hits to dancehall, reggaeton and even a bit of electronic dance anthems! You may even spot a famous face and some amazing dance acts on your night out! Unsure about how you’ll find a ride home? Need not worry! Most of the hotels and resorts in the surrounding areas actually provide coaches to transport you to and from Imagine, Punta Cana. There are a number of packages available, so be sure to check with your hotel or book online in advance to avoid disappointment. Just remember to stick with someone you know and be safe as the crowds can get pretty big and it probably goes without saying that this is for over 18’s only!
If you’re looking for a different type of night out; at Coco Bongo, Punta Cana, you are promised a spectacular evening of acrobats, tribute acts, dance performances and much more! The experience you have will somewhat depend on the type of ticket you purchase, which ranges from basic (standing) to front row (seated), so make sure you pick the right one according to your needs. Similarly, to Imagine, Coco Bongo tickets also provide transportation from and to your hotel and whilst you cannot control the timeliness of your arrival to the venue, I can only suggest that you get in the queue as early as possible – it’s a loooong line to get in and if you have a basic or regular ticket, you will want to claim the best viewing spot as fast as you can! A good thing to note with purchasing these two types of tickets also is to wear comfy shoes – you’re going to be on your feet for the best part of 2 hours or more, but the amazing acts will make you forget that your feet hurt at all by the end! So put on your (comfy) dancing shoes and get ready to sing your heart out
They say to save the best for last, and here it is! A day trip or short stay at Samana Island is a must if you visit Dominican Republic! There is so much to do on this Eastern tip of the island, from whale watching and exploring national parks to an aeroplane tour. Samana Province is an eco-paradise comprising of wild beaches, coconut plantations, rainforests and much more! We took a day trip by boat from Punta Cana to Samana, where we disembarked and made our way across the hilly land to a real gem in the heart of a jungle. But we did not hike or trek into the jungle, oh no, we went horse riding through the jungle! Going down steep inclines and over rocky tracks was not my idea of what my first-time horse riding looked like, but it was so much fun and I would do it all over again! We had safety hats on and guides with us the entire time making the journey more enjoyable. Finally, we reached the breath-taking site of El Limon waterfall, cascading from a height of 52m into a swimming hole at the bottom – the perfect way to round off a day under the Hispanic heat! It was only on our way back to the boat that I really got to understand how much more there was to explore in this area and I hope to make my way back one day.
Whatever you take away from this, remember – “Dominican Republic has it all”