“Winter” in the Dominican Republic means temperatures in the 80s and 11 hours daylight. In the eastern region of Punta Cana, 30 miles of Caribbean coastline set the stage for a mix of cultural and nature-driven experiences and evening festivities.
Here, four must-do Punta Cana activities:
Perfect your tan.
Punta Cana merits its “Coconut Coast” nickname. White- and gold-sand beaches, such as Playa Juanillo and Playa Macao, run parallel to turquoise water along miles of coastline. Stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling, surfing, and kiteboarding are popular here. Plus, 11 beaches in the region have Blue Flag certifications, which recognize achievements in keeping marine areas safe, healthy, and sustainable.
Practice your golf swing.
Punta Cana offers ten sprawling courses, with resorts such as Casa de Campo catering to diehard golfers. The 18-hole Corales Golf Club, accessible to guests of Tortuga Bay Puntacana Resort & Club, has a dramatic finish: the last three holes, known as the “Devil’s Elbow,” lead players around a U-shaped bay with dramatic views of rocky cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
Meet the locals.
The UNESCO-recognized Cotubanamá National Park comprises more than 300 square miles of mainland and surrounding ocean. That includes Saona Island, a protected turtle-nesting site. Visitors have endless daytrip opportunities here, from cave-hiking (archeologists have discovered more than 2,000 pre-Columbian pictographs in the area) to scuba diving (coral reefs and sixteenth-century shipwrecks lay on the sandy seafloor).
Go merengue dancing.
Head to Bávaro or Cap Cana, for rum drinks and dancing of all types. Merengue and bachata are the local steps, but travelers can also find disco and djs in the rock caves of the Imagine Punta Cana club and live latin-ballroom music at Riva Bar (think 1960s Monte Carlo glam) in the Eden Roc Cap Cana.
This article is sponsored by the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism.