This article originally appeared in Delta Air Lines’ 2012 Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America Travel Guide. It has been extracted from its original format. To read the full travel guide, visit the digital edition.
Several decades ago, Punta Cana played host to an explosion of large-scale resorts—many of them all-inclusive—so today, the region is largely defined by its tourism industry. Brands like Paradisus, Barcelo, Iberostarand and Dreams all have major presences in the region. Punta Cana is also home to the first all-inclusive Hard Rock resort in the world. Gaming is one of the most popular nightlife activities here, with most large resorts boasting a casino on site and several stand-alone casinos are sprinkled throughout the area, too, offering slots, table games, sports betting and more. But some of its most iconic properties evoke a more classic Caribbean feel. PUNTACANA Resort & Club helped to develop the area by opening its own airport. Today, it’s a high-end haven for the likes of Oscar de la Renta, visiting presidents and Hollywood stars. One of the newest developments here is Cap Cana, a collection of large resorts and smaller, boutique hotels anchored by golf courses and a megayacht marina. The wealth of golf courses is, in fact, one of the area’s greatest assets, particularly in the nearby region of La Romana, where Casa de Campo resort boasts three courses of its own, including the famed Teeth of the Dog. This is also home to the Altos de Chavon artists’ village, a quaint mountainside town that hosts visiting artists throughout the year and offers plenty of shopping in its boutiques and galleries, as well as striking views of the Chavon River running through the valley below. Isla Saona is another popular day trip from Punta Cana, an offshore island and protected nature reserve. Arriving by catamaran, visitors here enjoy soaking up the sun on its deserted beach and snorkeling in its surrounding waters.
- Best time to go:
November to May
- Fun fact:
The remains of Christopher Columbus are rumored to reside inside the Columbus Lighthouse
- Getting there:
Delta flies from Atlanta and New York (JFK) to Punta Cana
- Entry documents:
- Must-try local food:
Mangu, a dish of mashed plantains
- Best buys:
Cigars, rum, amber jewelry
- Information please:
Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism—godominicanrepublic.com