Eco-friendly travel guide to Punta Cana advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
- Air quality: 4.5 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 3 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 4 / 5
- Public transportation: 3.5 / 5
- Parks: 5 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 5/ 5
- Locals' English level: 4/ 5
- Safety: 3.5 / 5
- Accommodation: US$150 - $420
- Budget per day: US$400 - $500
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Tourism is a stronghold in the Dominican Republic, and we can say that most of its cities get a high inflow of foreigners. Punta Cana is one of these cities.
Being a responsible traveler in this city entails engaging in sustainable methods. It is necessary to be eco-friendly while in Punta Cana as you will be contributing to their environment.
Buying things from local vendors and staying in eco-friendly hotels is a way of being a responsible traveler in this city.
Due to the conducive atmosphere of Punta Cana, we recommend it as a perfect holiday destination. You can travel to this place at any time.
Air Quality and Pollution
It is not out of place if you have worries about a city or area’s air quality. Typically, you want to know if the environment is conducive before reaching there.
We want you to know that Punta Cana has a relaxing and conducive environment. This also reflects in its air quality.
The locals are conscious enough not to engage in activities that cause air pollution. Thus, the air quality of this city is always good.
You do not need to worry about getting any triggers from air pollution when you visit Punta Cana. We know that this gives many foreigners peace of mind.
Respect the Culture
Before arriving in a new city, it is important to know the area’s dos and don’ts. This helps to keep foreigners in check. We can all agree that it is wrong to get on the bad side of the locals.
The locals of Punta Cana are friendly and welcoming. What matters is mutual respect if you want a conducive living environment. Once you are polite to them, they will reciprocate such actions.
Always ensure to give some greeting before striking up a conversation with any of the locals. It will come in handy if you can learn some phrases from the local language.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Here are some tourist attractions in Punta Cana:
- Punta Cana Boogie: It is one of the top tourist attractions in the city. It lets you go on rides and explore different areas, including a beach. There are usually tour guides that help to navigate foreigners to safe areas in this place. You also get to mingle and interact with the locals. One of the top highlights for foreigners is getting to swim in a cave.
- Hoyo Azul: If you love to swim, this is a place to visit before leaving Punta Cana. One might think that it is a swimming pool. Instead, we will describe it as a water hole. The water at this place is the first thing that will get your attention. This is because it is crystal blue, giving it a beautiful outlook. If you are looking to have a relaxing time with friends or alone, you should visit this place.
- Manati Park: We know that some people are animal lovers. If you are a part of such a category, we know that you will not mind visiting a zoo. You will see different animals at this zoo, including sea animals. For those who have never seen a sea lion, you should visit this place. You will get to learn a lot about different animals. Interestingly, they let visitors swim with the dolphins.
- Cocotal Golf and Country Club: Golfers will have a swell time at this place as there are various hole courses. It has a serene and beautiful environment. It is a perfect place to meet new people and interact. We know that you cannot get tired of visiting this place.
- Altos de Chavón: It is the recreation of a Mediterranean-style European village. When you are looking for a peaceful time while exploring the environment, you should visit this place. Everything about this place screams art, and we know that you will learn a new thing or two. Visiting this place will put a smile on your face.
- Dolphin Explorer: It is a park in the city that is dedicated to marine animals. Dolphins, sea lions, etc, you will see them at this park. It comes in handy that there are assistants at this place who help foreigners interact with the animals. It is never a wrong decision to visit this place.
- Bavaro Adventure Park: As the name implies, this place is for those who are adventurous and ready to have fun. You get to engage in many outdoor activities at this place, such as paintballing and zip-lining. The atmosphere is always lively. Some people ensure that they pay repeat visits to this place before leaving Punta Cana.
- La Cana Golf Club: Visiting this place allows you to enjoy a beach and a golf course. Thus, we can say that you will not run out of activities when you visit this place. It is a favorite for many people, and you also get to enjoy a serene and conducive environment. It comes in handy that this place is always clean. Some people do not want to leave whenever they visit this place.
- Splash Park: If you are looking for a conducive place for both children and adults in Punta Cana., this place is the answer. It is a water park, so you can engage in many activities and have fun. We cannot say that this place is quiet as it gets a high inflow of people. However, it is relaxing, and you get to make new friends.
- Kviar Show Disco & Casino Punta Cana: Have you ever imagined how a casino will be in a new place? Instead of speculating, why not visit this place when in Punta Cana? There is always upbeat and positive energy at this place. People get to dance, make merry, and be happy.
People say that exploring is in the DNA of every foreigner, and we agree with this claim. It is safe to say that some foreigners are usually restless when they are in a new place. They wish to visit and discover new places. This is not out of place.
When you visit Punta Cana, we can assure you that you will not run out of places to visit. It is important to note that most of the places will be related to water. However, you are sure to have fun.
The fact that this city is not big does not limit the fun you get while exploring.
Some people may say that it is not every city that has city parks.
However, since you can see city parks in Punta Cana, there is no reason why we should not add them to our list of places to explore in the city.
Some of these city parks are:
- Scape Park: It will not be wrong to call this place an encompassing park. It has a lot for people to explore, including a cave. You also get to see different varieties of animals. The cleanliness of this place will make you want to pay a return visit.
- La Hacienda Park: It is an amusement park in the city. You are sure to have fun at this place as you engage in activities and meet people.
Punta Cana also has a national park. It makes a perfect place for anyone to explore. When compared to national parks in other areas, we would not say that you should have high expectations for this place.
However, it is best to experience it as people have different judgments personally.
The national park in Punta Cana is Rio Maimon Natural Park. One fact that stands is that this place is a perfect area for fishing. If you love to engage in fishing, you should visit this place.
We know that foreigners will feel more comfortable seeing a local here, and we can assure you that you will see locals to help you with fishing.
It will be wrong for us not to include beaches amongst the places that a person can explore when visiting Punta Cana. When you get to this city, its water bodies are first things you will notice.
Thus, get ready to explore the beaches as they are much in Punta Cana.
Some of them are:
- Cortecito Beach: The white sand at this beach is one of the first things that will put a smile on your face when you visit. One can engage in many activities at this place, and you will also see eateries to try different delicious meals.
- Arena Gorda Beach: When visiting this beach, prepare yourself to engage in watersports as that is a way of having fun there.
Do you know those places that can be used to give directions in a place? Those are the landmarks of the area.
It is always essential for a place to have landmarks as it helps foreigners when trying to navigate from one point to another. It is not out of place to see foreigners on the lookout for such places.
For a small city like Punta Cana, its tourist attractions classify as landmarks. These are places that will always be outstanding, and no one miss them. These places are glaring. Some are tall buildings. For others, it could be that they have large signs.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about a museum? We know that you will expect a place that stores information and more.
You are in for a different treat when you visit Punta Cana. We do not know if you have ever been to the sea version of a museum before.
When you are in Punta Cana, you should not fail to visit Sequarium Underwater Walking. Some people share concerns that they do not know how to swim, so they cannot visit this place. However, it is essential to note that you do not need to know how to swim before visiting Punta Cana. This place is a museum for sea animals, and you will have a swell time.
We know that one of the things that will make any foreigner happy is to eat the different local meals in an area.
We will highlight some of the options you can get in Punta Cana for those who like to be prepared.
It is important to note that the locals eat regular meals like rice et al. however, it may come in their unique variety.
For example, they could serve their white rice (Arroz Blanco) with Tostones (Twice-fried plantain). They also have local stew and green salads that could go with the rice or plantain.
Pork and chicken are some of the proteins famous in Punta Cana.
Traditional Local Restaurants
It is one thing to know the local meals, but it is another thing to get. The best place you can eat any of these meals is at a traditional local restaurant.
Some of the restaurants in Punta Cana are:
- Kat's Corner: It is a simple restaurant in the city with a rich menu. Some people say that the aroma of the meals makes them start salivating from the door. Others say that it is one of the best places to eat in Punta Cana because of its friendly staff.
- Lorenzillo´s: Once you get food from this place, you will be craving for more. Their services are also top-notch. If you ask the locals for recommendations on the best traditional local restaurant to get food, we are sure that this will be amongst their top recommendations.
Vegetarian and Vegan
If you are a vegan, some restaurants serve your food preference in Punta Cana.
Some of them are:
- AmaLuna Vegan Restaurant & Lab: Their menu contains nothing short of rich vegetarian cuisines. They strive to ensure that their meals make people happy. We sometimes see non-vegans coming to dine at this place because of the quality of their meals. The cleanliness of this restaurant is also always encouraging. Once you eat here, you will agree that their meals are tasty.
- Balicana Asian Food: Although this place serves Asin meals, they also have vegetarian options. Thus, a vegan is covered if you decide to eat here. We can assure you that the meals are not disappointing.
It could be that you are a lover of street foods and curious to know your available options in Punta Cana.
You can get street foods from different angles in the city. The street foods you will get in this city are the same in all Dominican Republic parts.
Chicharron is one of these street meals. It is a crunchy snack made from pork and usually spicy. We know that Quipes might not be a strange meal to many people. You can also get it in this city.
If you love to eat a snack that is stuffed with chicken and cheese, you should go for Empanadas.
People usually say that you must try some foods when you are in a new place. Likewise, it will be best if you also tasted the local drinks when you visit a new area, especially Punta Cana.
You may be used to some of the drinks in the city. However, you will also see some new varieties. People love that there is no restriction to what you can drink in this city.
You will see different beer options, and Presidente Beer is one of them. Some people refer to it as the official beer of the Dominican Republic.
Coconuts are famous in this region, so you will find some drinks made from them like coco loco and coconut milk. You can also get non-alcoholic options like coke in Punta Cana.
Knowing the state of tap water in the place you are visiting is as essential as knowing the air quality. It is a piece of information that you should not compromise not to implicate your health.
If you visit Punta Cana, you should not drink its tap water as it does not undergo filtration. If possible, do not use it to brush.
Instead, you should buy bottled water or go the extra mile and boil your water. This is to ensure that you stay in perfect health while on holiday.
Avoiding the use of tap water for brushing eliminates chances of its intake.
Here are some of the organic cafes in Punta Cana:
- Pranama: Since it is within a plaza, it makes a good food spot while shopping. It is safe to say that the meals are healthy as all the food ingredients are organic. Their customer’s health is one of their top priorities, and they do not ever want to make comprises. It is one of the best options in Punta Cana.
- Saffron: This place is also within a shopping mall. People give high commendations to their meals, and they have a robust menu. The ambiance is also charming and conducive. With time, we are sure that it will be one of your favorite places to eat in the city.
There is no argument that you can get an array of drinks when you are visiting Punta Cana. However, there is no feasibility of seeing a brewery within the city.
Most of the drinks you will get in this city are peculiar to all Dominican Republic areas. Thus, the breweries could be in other parts of the country.
Many foreigners are usually expectant to visit breweries when they go to a new place, especially as they can go drink tasting. However, you cannot do this when you are visiting Punta Cana.
It is best to enjoy the drinks as it is possible to see the source.
Due to the numerous water bodies in Punta Cana, one will expect to engage in various water sports or activities. Your thoughts are not wrong as water activities are famous and common in this city.
It does not matter if you know how to do them or not. Even if you are a beginner, the locals are willing to teach you the ropes if you are ready to learn.
Fishing and kayaking are some of the water activities that happen in this city. You will get proof of this claim when you visit any of its beaches or resorts. People are usually happy to engage in fishing and kayaking.
Yoga and Retreats
There are times when you will want to take a break from doing a particular thing. It could be that you want something different from the regular water activities.
In such cases, another activity that strives in Punta Cana is yoga. You will realize that participating in yoga is not gender-based when you visit this city. It could be that you are a newbie to yoga. Not to worry, start by walking into any of the yoga centers or studios.
When you are among other yogis, things will go smoothly. The trained instructors are also always helpful. People say that they are usually more relaxed when they do yoga. It would help if you partake in this experience.
If you plan to visit Punta Cana but have no idea of its available accommodation options, you should take a pause.
We are not saying that you should cancel your traveling plans. However, it is always best to research and know what accommodation option will work for you before entering the city.
It helps to ensure that you do not get stranded. Imagine a situation where your accommodation budget is less than what applies in the city. We know that no foreigner would want such an embarrassment.
If you want to have a smooth holiday, it is always best to plan ahead. Thus, know the different accommodation types before you make further plans.
If you can remember, we earlier stated that one way you can be a responsible traveler in Punta Cana is to engage in sustainable practices.
One of such is by staying in a green hotel since it is eco-friendly. Some people are aware of this option. Others do not know that it exists.
Now that you are aware, check for the various green hotels in Punta Cana and know their prices.
The only reason why you might not want to stay in this place is if it is higher than your proposed accommodation budget. If not, there is no other reason as it always brings comfort.
Hostels and Guest Houses
The available accommodation option in Punta Cana increases as you can also see guesthouses and hostels. If your mind is going to a school hostel, you are not wrong as it is structured in the same way. However, there might be some extra.
One common factor with hostels and guesthouses is that you may sometimes have to share some facilities.
Some people say that you should never miss the bonding time that happens when you stay in a guesthouse or hostel. It usually occurs in the reception area or general room. Different places have various names for such a space.
You will see different hostels and guesthouses in Punta Cana.
The list of available accommodation options continues as one can also stay in an apartment in Punta Cana.
It could be that you have never stayed in one before. Do not waste the opportunity when you get to Punta Cana.
It is usually fun to look out of the window and experience the views when in Punta Cana. It is always exceptional and pleasant. We doubt that you will have any complaints when you stay at an apartment in this city. Instead, you may not want to leave at the end of the holiday. It always comes in handy that the management staff of such places are friendly and welcoming.
One of the best ways to test the locals’ friendliness in an area is to decide to go with the Couchsurfing accommodation option.
This option allows you to stay with a local throughout your stay in the city. The locals of Punta Cana usually pass the friendliness test as they are not problematic.
When you go on the Couchsurfing website, you will see various locals in this area are ready to accommodate a foreigner. We know that you will be happy to have accommodation off your traveling budget.
It is essential not to forget your manners when staying with a local as it is helpful.
People have different ideas or variations of camping. For some people, it could be pitching a tent in the woods. Others do not mind the location as long as it helps you to connect with the environment. We do not know which of these categories you fall under.
If you decide to camp in Punta Cana, you will relaxing locations as they will probably with close to a water body. After all, the water bodies in Punta Cana are one of its strongholds.
Camping is fun when you let out of your shell, relate with everyone, and engage in various activities.
We can assure you that you will have a swell experience.
How to Get There
One deliberation that people encounter when traveling to a new place is how to get there. For many people, they have never visited the area before. We want you to know that it is normal to ask questions and learn how to reach your destination. You will either have a long journey or go to the wrong place if you are shy to ask questions.
Asking questions includes knowing the means of transport that can take you there and the best place to get them.
We will highlight some of these for those who plan to visit Punta Cana. Understandably, you cannot embark on a journey if you do not have this information handy.
Many people do not know that there is an international airport in Punta Cana. It is what affects them when they are traveling.
Allow us to tell you that you can use air in reaching this town. There are usually flights from the US that can take one directly.
We do not know where you are presently, so we will not assume that you can get a direct flight. However, if you prefer to travel by air, you should check if there is a direct flight from your present location.
If there is none, check for the closest place where you can get a direct flight to Punta Cana. Go there, get on the flight, reach Punta Cana, and enjoy your holiday.
If you are thinking of using a bus to Punta Cana, you should first establish that there is a road connection between this town and your present location. However, it will not make sense to use a bus as you do not know how many days or weeks the journey will take.
The people who should think of using a bus to this city are those who are already within towns in the Dominican Republic.
Luckily, the Dominican Republic government has built a highway that links Punta Cana to some of its cities. Thus, we can say that using a bus is a feasible thought if you are already in the country.
It could be that you have thoughts of using a train to reach Punta Cana. It is normal to have such ideas as trains can be used for traveling also.
However, there should be a railway connection between your present location and Punta Cana if you want to travel by train.
We can say that there is no feasibility of using a train to reach Punta Cana as there is no railway connection or link between this city and any other place.
Those who have thoughts of using a train will have to use other means to travel. It is sometimes laughable when people think of using a train as it is the slowest means of transportation.
When you are in Punta Cana, we are sure that you might harbor thoughts of hitchhiking. After all, no one wants to spend all their money on transportation. Hitchhiking is a way of getting a free ride.
It could be that you want to hitchhike within the city or from another city in the Dominican Republic to Punta Cana.
For anyone who wants to hitchhike in this country, you should not forget to say ‘una bola.’ It relays to the drivers that you want a free ride.
Typically, you will stand on the side of the road and flag down vehicles. When anyone stops, you say ‘una bola’ for them to know that you want a free ride. Else, they will charge money.
One can say that another way a person can get into Punta Cana is to use a boat or ferries. After all, the town has water bodies.
However, it is essential to note that no ferries or cruise lines dock at Punta Cana. The only way you can travel through water bodies to reach this city is if you use a private yacht.
The feasibility and chances are slim, so you should not depend on it. Also, using a private yacht is expensive.
There is also the issue of moving around when you are in a new place. It will not be an issue if you understand what works.
Every foreigner will, at a point, need to move from one point to another. Thus, you should be curious to know the means of movement available in the city.
We will highlight the options available in Punta Cana.
Walking is a means of moving around in Punta Cana. We would not say that it is common, but it is doable.
Some people may have safety concerns. However, allow us to tell you that it is safe to walk around in Punta Cana.
We know that you will feed your eyes as you walk around.
Punta Cana is a safe space to ride your bicycles. Thus, we can say that you can use it as a way of moving around.
Some people also ride bicycles for fun. You will see this amongst people within a resort; it is a means of relaxation for them.
You will see bike rentals to get a bike.
There is also the option of using a scooter to move around in Punta Cana. Thus, it is not hard to see scooter rentals.
However, people do not adopt this as a typical means of movement. Instead, they reserve it for elderly and overweight people.
It could be that you love to ride a scooter, and it is your preferred means of movement. Do not waste any time renting one.
The most popular way of moving around in Punta Cana is to use a public bus. However, these buses have an irregular schedule.
It is always best to work with a local to understand how to get a bus. It is helpful to expect a noisy ambiance when using public buses in Punta Cana.
The buses can also be crowded as many people are rushing for them. After all, it is affordable.
Tram, Train and Subway
There is no option of using a train when you are in Punta Cana. There is no railway within this city, so you should not conceive any related ideas.
Instead, stick to other options.
We know that many foreigners are eager to be responsible travelers when they are in a new place.
A way of doing this is to buy things from the locals. This method is called sustainable shopping.
Doing this will warm their hearts and help to expand their economy. Without a doubt, you will like something that they are selling.
You can engage in sustainable shopping by visiting the food markets in the city. We doubt there is any city that will not have a food market.
As you buy the local ingredients, you are boosting the sales and expanding their economy.
It is important to note that interactions in a food market are usually interesting.
There are also flea markets in Punta Cana. One can engage in sustainable shopping at such markets also.
If you are looking to negotiate with the vendors, such a market is perfect for the description.
You will leave this place with many things that you love.
Second Hand Stores
Some people are scared of buying things from a second-hand store because they are not new. However, it will help to give the vendors credits as they will not put anything with defects up for sale.
Buying things from a second-hand store is a way of engaging in sustainable shopping.
After all, you are buying things that the locals do not need any more off their hands.
There is also the idea of eco-fashion when it concerns engaging in sustainable shopping. However, we cannot say that it is popular yet in Punta Cana.
It is a situation where a fashion designer uses eco-friendly materials to make fashion wear. No one will not fall in love with such items.
However, it is yet to become prevalent in Punta Cana.
Recycling is active in Punta Cana, and the locals derive joy in doing it. This is because they have seen its benefits.
From research, recycling in Punta Cana saved its trees. The locals understand that they will have a conducive environment if they engage in this activity.
As a foreigner, you should also join them and not feign ignorance.
Some various establishments and programs work towards ensuring that Punta Cana stays clean. This includes working on its solid waste management.
We can say that their efforts are not vain as it reflects on their environment. Going against their laws and regulations will cost you a fine.
It is always best to encourage the locals to keep up the excellent job in waste management.
Work and Study Abroad
It is safe to say that studying in Punta Cana is flexible. This is because students are allowed to work while in school.
Everyone can agree that the Dominican Republic has a reputation for its excellent schools. Thus, the number of applications from students yearly is not shocking.
If your obstacle was the thought of working while studying, do not let it hinder you. It is allowed in Punta Cana.
We earlier stated that the Dominican Republic gets a high inflow of student applications yearly. People love to school in this country for various reasons.
It is safe to say that there are many international students. One of the ways through which these students come in is through exchange programs.
You should apply for one if you want to be in Punta Cana.
An easy way of getting a job in Punta Cana is through the au pair system.
Once you sign up on the website, you will see various job openings. Some of these jobs require that you stay with the locals. Thus, ensure to read through carefully and agree if it is suitable for you.
Some foreigners say that the au pair system was a blessing to them.
One can also be a volunteer in Punta Cana. There are many public sectors to ensure that this is possible.
When you are applying, choose a sector that will suit your services. An example can be the environment sector.
It is essential always to strive hard to make an impact as a volunteer.