Do’s and Don’ts: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
DO read these fun facts. Tourism first began on Punta Cana’s coastline. In 1987 the Punta Cana Beach Resort broke ground and started building a 300 room hotel. Oscar de la Renta and Julio Iglesias built homes here in 1997. Punta Cana has gorgeous palm trees that are great to play on and take some fun pictures. Also, did you know that scenes from the Godfather II were filmed here? Fast and Furious 4 took place here too!
DO learn some Spanish. the local language is Spanish, so remember to practice some simple Spanish phrases, like todo bien ;).
DO drink Mamajuana. This local liquor is made with Rum, red wine, and honey, and is soaked in a bottle with tree bark and herbs.
DO eat Mofango (mashed green plantain with shredded pork), Moro ( combo of rice and beans), and Queso frito (white, pan-fried cheese).
DO come for events. If you need an excuse to come here you can come in Feb-March for carnival season. August 16th is the celebration of gaining independence from Spain. In October you can dance and sing in Puerto Plata for the annual Merengue music festival.
DON’T take a taxi. Taxi’s are expensive, take the air conditioned bus to get to and from different cities. rent a car.
DON’T drink the water. Stick with bottled water. Most hotels use filtered water for the ice cubes, in case you were wondering.
DON’T pay the first price that is offered. When shopping try negotiating and you will be surprised at the lower price you can get.
DON’T rent a car. People do not follow the rules of the road and it is not a great idea to get pulled over by the Police in a foreign country.
Top 5 DO’s
- Snorkeling- Waters are clear and shallow meaning you can walk out to a reef to snorkel. This means no need to spend money on a boat excursion when you can walk out to the reefs!
- Whale encounters- January through March only. Check out Whale Samana for whale watching. You can also swim with the whales through Row Adventures.
- Kite surfing and wind surfing- Winds are steady and water is shallow and clear. If you are interested in trying this sport check out the Kite Club.
- Indigenous Eyes Eco Park- You can check out and swim in some of the 12 freshwater lagoons here. Free admission to guests of the Westin!
- Check out nearby cities- Go to Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial if you want to explore the historic district. Check out Bayahibe, where you can take a boat out to see beautiful Sanoa Island. If you want some action and partying head to Bavaro or Playa Macao. If you are up for adventure and willing to travel a 5 hours from Punta Cana then you can check out the waterfalls in Puerto Plata.
Most importantly, DO enjoy your time in Punta Cana!