Punta Cana is the center of the tourist beaches on the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic. It's without a doubt the most popular holiday destination in the country, together with Puerto Plata located on the northern coast. Tourists, however, don't only come for the white sandy beaches; thanks to the golf courses in the vicinity, the area is also popular among golfers.
It's estimated that the city has approximately 100,000 inhabitants.
Punta Cana is located on the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic. The entire eastern coastal strip is often called Punta Cana, but this is incorrect. The seaside resorts Cabeza de Toro, Bavaro, El Cortecito, Arena Gorda, Macao and Uvero Alto lie north of the city.
Punta Cana has grown thanks to tourism. Moreover, it's one of the largest holiday destinations in the entire Caribbean. In short, tourism is by far the main source of income.
For most tourists Punta Cana Airport is the gateway to the country. Or rather, to the beaches on the eastern coast. The airport is centrally located between the beaches and the holiday resorts. Coming from the north, the airport can be reached by rental car via the Cap Cana freeway; from the south you take the Boulevard Hotelero. Both roads connect with the Carretera Aeroporto to the airport. The way to the airport is clearly signposted.
Apparently there are buses from the airport to destinations on the coast, but they run very infrequently. And when they run, they are often packed. This also applies to the so-called guaguas: minibuses officially accommodating 9 passengers, but they can 'easily' accommodate over 20 people. Caros publicos are regular cars which function as shared taxis and which also accommodate more passengers than officially allowed. Finally, there are official taxis, but you'll need good negotiation skills to negotiate a fair price.
Given the above, you probably think: let's get a rental car. This is a good idea, but first try to acclimatize and understand the traffic rules (or better, the lack thereof). For example, as a rule in the Dominican Republic, the largest car has priority. Especially inland, roads can also be badly maintained. In short: drive carefully and expect the unexpected. Finding a parking place is easy, but do park at a guarded parking facility.
There's an enormous choice of accommodations in and around Punta Cana. Most hotels and resorts are located directly along the coast and not only near Punta Cana (see Location for other seaside resorts along the eastern coast). The total length of the beaches along this coast amounts to approximately 40 kilometers. High season runs from December through April. If you want to visit Punta Cana in this period, we advise booking your accommodation well in advance.
For more information about Punta Cana, we recommend Google and the following sources: