Punta Cana in 7 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Punta Cana has beautiful beaches and landscapes, but also a lot of activities that will leave you amazed. With 7 days of stay, you will be able to enjoy a good number of them.

Matías Rodríguez

Matías Rodríguez

11 min read

Punta Cana in 7 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Punta Cana | ©Sergei Remarenko

Punta Cana is the most important tourist reference in the Dominican Republic and also the city from which it is possible to discover some of the most incredible sites in the Caribbean. With a wide range of activities Punta Cana has many alternatives to surprise you and give you a trip of enjoyment and fun.

If you plan to visit Punta Cana for 7 days, you will have enough time to visit the best places but you should organize your itinerary so as not to miss anything. Below I will help you to make your trip to the Dominican Republic unforgettable and discover all the activities that Punta Cana has to see and do.

Day 1: Tour Playa Blanca, snorkel in Playa Bávaro and experience Punta Cana's nightlife.

Bavaro Beach| ©Cat Stam
Bavaro Beach| ©Cat Stam

The first thing you will notice about Punta Cana on your transfer from the airport to the hotel will be its beaches.

The city is a Caribbean paradise that stands out for its white sand and crystal-clear water. The best plan for the beginning of your trip is to visit some of the best beaches in the city.

Visit Playa Blanca

It is one of the most characteristic beaches of Punta Cana and is located very close to one of the most visited hotel areas outside the city center. Playa Blanca is a relaxing place with calm waters that stands out for the bars and restaurants of the resorts and paragliding flights.

In Playa Blanca you will find places to have lunch and discover the main profile of the Dominican Caribbean, which stands out for its palm trees and diving activities. In addition, it is very easy to access, because it is a wide beach where many resorts are located.

Snorkeling in Playa Bávaro

In the afternoon you can continue your initial tour to Playa Bávaro, which is located a few blocks away from Playa Blanca. Bávaro, besides being one of the best known beaches on the island, for its elegance and fine white sand, is considered one of the best Caribbean beaches, and its coral reefs located off the coast are ideal for snorkeling in Punta Cana.

In Playa Bávaro you can also find the Dominican palm trees that make the site a paradisiacal place. It is also the perfect beach to wait for the sunset and watch the sun set over the blue water of the Caribbean Sea.

Book a snorkeling experience in Punta Cana

Experience the Dominican night

At night you will find that one of the most fun things to do in Punta Cana is to enjoy its long parties and world-famous nightclubs, such as Coco Bongo.

It is also possible to hop on a party bus that tours several of the city's most popular bars and end the night well into the early hours of the morning, ready for the sunrise of the second day.

In any case, no matter which option you choose, I assure you that in Punta Cana you will not lack fun.

Get your ticket to Coco Bongo

Day 2: Enjoy Saona Island and walk around the Flamingo Lagoon

Saona Island| ©Wernner
Saona Island| ©Wernner

Taking an excursion to Saona Island from Punta Cana is one of the least activities you can do during your trip.

This is one of the largest islands in the Dominican Republic and also one of the most visited for its natural beauty. There you can enjoy its white sandy beaches, the tour of Mano Juan, a fishing village, and the Flamingo Lagoon.

Visit Saona Island on an organized excursion

Excursions to Saona Island are usually a full day trip and usually include lunch with a typical Dominican menu and an open bar of alcoholic beverages.

Saona, in addition to idyllic landscapes, offers coral reefs for snorkeling and beach tongues for sports such as soccer or volleyball.

Book an excursion to Saona Island

Walk around the Flamingo Lagoon

The Flamingo Lagoon is a portion of the island that is separated from the Canto de la Playa Lagoon by a narrow strip of land and is an ideal site for bird watching in the Caribbean.

It is ideal to make the hike during the early morning hours, when there are more birds and when it is also possible to see sea turtles, and then continue the tour to Mano Juan, the picturesque fishing village of Saona.

  • Price of the excursion: the tours to Saona Island start at 75 euros with round trip transfers by catamaran with the tour included and pick up at the hotel. It also includes lunch with Dominican menu and open bar of alcoholic beverages.
  • Duration of the excursion: approximately eight hours.
  • Advantages of this excursion: you will get to know one of the best destinations in the Dominican Caribbean with an excursion with excellent value for money.

Book an excursion to Saona Island

Day 3: Visit Macao Beach and the magical Hoyo Azul cenote.

Macao Beach| ©Darleny Lopez
Macao Beach| ©Darleny Lopez

The third day in Punta Cana can begin with a tour of Macao Beach, one of the few remaining unspoiled beaches in the Dominican Republic.

In this rugged area, the strong winds also ensure that it is an ideal place to surf or to enjoy Punta Cana with children, since there are no hotels in the area and it is located on the outskirts of the city, the influx of tourists decreases substantially.

Visit Macao Beach

Macao Beach, in addition to surfing options, has other services available such as restaurants, water sports activities, snorkeling equipment rental, buggy tours and boat or horseback riding, making it an ideal place to combine the tranquility of the beach with the many activities offered by Punta Cana.

In Macao you can also get some of the best photos of Punta Cana and enjoy the beach with the locals, since being further away from the center of the city is visited less frequently by tourists. If you are one of those who prefer to do local activities when you travel, this is an ideal visit for you.

Book a horseback ride in Macao Beach

Take a swim and snorkel experience at Hoyo Azul cenote

After spending half the day at Playa Macao, you can visit Hoyo Azul, which is a cenote with crystal clear waters and fifteen meters deep where tourists are allowed to take a swim.

You can also snorkel and scuba d ive to see some of the local marine species.

Hoyo Azul is surrounded by a limestone cliff of about eighty meters, so in addition to knowing a cenote of intense blue waters you can enjoy a rocky environment.

Day 4: Dare to take a buggy adventure tour through the jungle.

Buggy Day| ©Dave Kerr
Buggy Day| ©Dave Kerr

Punta Cana has a lot of natural activities and one of them is touring the Dominican jungle while driving a buggy, which can be a fun and adrenaline-filled experience.

These adventure excursions will take you through winding trails through coffee plantations, coconut groves and beaches that lead to indigenous springs.

Immerse yourself in the jungle driving a buggy and take a dip in Los Hoyos del Salado

A tour through the jungle on a buggy excursion will allow you to leave the traditional tour of the beaches of Punta Cana to visit cenotes in Los Hoyos del Salado, crystalline waters in Cabeza de Toro and the most inhospitable beaches.

To visit the Dominican jungle it is mandatory to be accompanied by an expert and licensed local guide, so if you want to know the forested heart of the country you should opt for a tour of this type.

If you prefer a jungle adventure that does not include driving a buggy on your own, you can opt for a safari in a monster truck or an all-terrain vehicle.

In all cases you will be immersed in the plantations and villages of the east coast of the Dominican Republic for a full day.

More detailed information

  • Price of the excursion: around 90 euros with round trip transfers, hotel pick up, entrance to the cenotes and the accompaniment of a guide.
  • Duration of the excursion: approximately eight hours.
  • Please note: to drive the buggy you must be of legal age and have a driver's license. Some tourist service providers may also require an international driver's license.
  • Advantages of this excursion: you will be able to immerse yourself in the heart of the Dominican forest and learn about the origins and indigenous culture of the country through visits to Taino communities.

Book a buggy excursion in Punta Cana

Day 5: Take a boat ride on Samana Bay and visit Los Haitises

Catamaran to Los Haitises| ©Jhonny
Catamaran to Los Haitises| ©Jhonny

The Dominican coast offers a lot of attractions to know it from the water and one of the most interesting ways to do it is with a boat ride through the waters of the Caribbean Sea.

Enjoy a boat ride on Samana Bay

Some of the catamaran rides include a tour of Samaná Bay and Los Haitises National Park, which is notable for the rock mountains that rise out of the water.

Samana Bay is one of the most beautiful natural sites in the Dominican Republic and you can get to know it on a pleasant catamaran trip from which you can glimpse the Dominican jungle and its natural wonders.

The boat ride on Samaná Bay will lead to a tour of Los Haitises, which is also known as a refuge of the indigenous Taino culture and caves with pictograms and petroglyphs that are protected by UNESCO.

Book an excursion to Samaná

Tour Los Haitises National Park

In the national park you can visit the Montaña Redonda, a site of thick vegetation and with a wide panoramic view that stands out for being nestled between two lagoons, Limón and Redonda. In Limón, you will also be able to see one of the largest waterfalls in the Dominican Republic.

Visiting Los Haitises on a boat ride is one of the most beautiful ways to get to know, besides the National Park, the Bay of Samaná and all its attractions including the Jivales River and the lagoons. Undoubtedly, it is a worthwhile experience.

  • Price of the excursion: The tours to Los Haitises with catamaran ride start at 129 euros with round trip transfer and hotel pick up included.
  • Duration of the excursion: approximately nine hours.
  • Advantages of this excursion: it is the best alternative to visit Samana Bay and Los Haitises National Park, one of the must-see natural sites from Punta Cana.

Book an excursion in Punta Cana

Day 6: Take a day trip to Santo Domingo with a historical tour

Streets of Santo Domingo| ©pepoexpress
Streets of Santo Domingo| ©pepoexpress

Outside of the paradisiacal beaches of Punta Cana and the white sands of the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic also has to offer Santo Domingo, which is the capital of the country and the oldest colonial city in the Americas.

Walk through the historic center of Santo Domingo and see the emblematic buildings.

It is worth taking a day trip through Santo Domingo's historic district to see the Alcázar de Cristóbal Colón, the Cathedral Basilica of Santa María la Menor, the Casa del Cordón, the Monastery of San Francisco, the Ozama Fortress and Las Damas Street.

Santo Domingo is a picturesque city with a wide boardwalk and some points from which it is possible to have a panoramic view of the old town and the municipal palaces.

With a rich history, for years it was called Trujillo City. Usually, excursions to Santo Domingo include round-trip transfers with hotel pick-up and a typical Dominican lunch menu.

Book an excursion to Santo Domingo

Tour the city's food markets

Santo Domingo is also noted for its colorful food markets, some of which are the oldest in the Americas, as well as its souvenir stores.

Keep in mind that prices can be a bit high as these are tourist-oriented places, but in the Dominican Republic, as in much of the Caribbean, the custom of bargaining is widespread.

You can also visit the capital on your own, although it might be a bit uncomfortable. The best alternative, and one that will save you time and money, is to take a day trip to Santo Domingo.

  • Price of the excursion: tours to Santo Domingo start at 95 euros with round-trip transfers from Punta Cana with hotel pick-up, entrance fees to attractions, lunch with typical Dominican menu and assistance of an expert local guide.
  • Duration of the excursion: approximately ten to twelve hours.
  • Advantages of this excursion: you will get to know an alternative site to the paradisiacal beaches of the Caribbean Sea and a historic city.

Book a day trip to Santo Domingo

Day 7: Say goodbye to Punta Cana by visiting the Ojos Indígenas Reserve and enjoying the typical gastronomy

Mofongo| ©mark hollander
Mofongo| ©mark hollander

Back in Punta Cana and for the last day of the tour I suggest you visit the Ojos Indígenas Ecological Park, which is the oasis of the city, and then enjoy the local food in one of the typical restaurants.

Visit the Ojos Indígenas Nature Reserve

In this lush forest you can learn about native fruit trees, visit sugar cane exhibits, visit interactive zoos to learn about the local wildlife and walk through the largest iguana habitat in the Caribbean, as well as take a swim in the park's freshwater lagoons.

In this complete experience you will learn all about the nature and culture of the Dominican Republic and you will have access to a private park of more than 600 hectares.

The complete tour of the Ojos Indígenas Natural Reserve is estimated to take five to six hours, but you can make an abbreviated circuit through the trails indicated to do the best activities of the site. Tickets to visit Ojos Indígenas start at fifty dollars, with a differentiated rate for minors, making it a kid-friendly plan as well.

Book an excursion in Punta Cana

Enjoy the local gastronomy in a typical restaurant

Once you finish your tour of Ojos Indígenas you can say goodbye to the Dominican Republic enjoying the best dishes of its typical gastronomy.

I recommend you try the sancocho, which is an exquisite meat stew, the mangú, which is a kind of American breakfast with mashed green plantains, stewed beans or stewed chicken. To drink you can try the morir soñando, which with its poetic name refers to a drink of orange juice and evaporated milk.

All these dishes can be combined with fish and lobsters, which are other local specialties. Apart from the restaurants of the hotels on the coast, I recommend you to visit Capitan Cook in El Cortecito beach, and Huracán Café, in Playa Bávaro. Both are inexpensive and offer traditional dishes.

Summary of each day's activities

  • Day 1
  • Beach and party day
  • Visit Playa Blanca
  • Visit Bávaro Beach
  • Live the Dominican night
  • Day 2
  • Excursion to paradise
  • Visit Saona Island
  • Visit the Flamingo Lagoon
  • Walk around Mano Juan at your own pace
  • Day 3
  • Discover Punta Cana
  • Visit Macao Beach
  • Take a swim in Hoyo Azul Cenote
  • Live a snorkeling experience
  • Day 4
  • Immerse yourself in the jungle
  • Drive a buggy in the jungle
  • Take a swim in the cenote Los Hoyos del Salado
  • Visit Cabeza de Toro Beach
  • Day 5
  • Boat ride
  • Marvel at Samaná Bay
  • Visit Los Haitises
  • Visit El Limón waterfall
  • Day 6
  • Visit Santo Domingo
  • Walk through the old town
  • See the emblematic buildings
  • Visit the food markets
  • Day 7
  • Back to Punta Cana
  • Tour Ojos Indígenas
  • Enjoy the typical gastronomy
  • Visit a local restaurant