When travelers think of Punta Cana and the Dominical Republic, they first think of white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and the tropical climate of the area. While perfect for the typical beach holiday, Punta Cana and its surroundings offer a lot more than water sports and lounging at the beach or in a spa. So if you want to enjoy more than the touristy hot spots, the Punta Cana hotels, and the sunbathing and swimming, here’s how to get a feel for the real Dominican Republic.
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Explore the culture of the Dominican Republic
There are tours that will take you from Punta Cana to as far east as La Altagracia, to explore its capital city Higuey. These safaris are the best way to meet the locals, discover their culture, and see the beauty of the Dominican Republic beyond the palm beaches. Take a ride through the sugar cane fields and marvel at the landscapes of the Cordillera Oriental Mountain Range.
Nature at Its Finest
Nature lovers will be completely taken with the everything surrounding Punta Cana– you can even whale-watch in Samana from December to March, when humpback whales come to the Dominican Republic to mate and have their offspring. While you are there head over to Playa Rincon, considered by some one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Los Haitises National Park, home to the greatest rainforests and mangrove reserves in the Caribbean, is where you’ll explore keys and caves and be amazed by the flora and wildlife.
Photo by Lale Gil via Trover.com
A Little Adventure to Get Your Heart Pumping
Scuba diving is never devoid of thrills, but nothing says adventure like ziplining through the tropical forests. There are several different zipline tour operators, offering various lengths and scenery. You can choose between the more basic ziplining experience and something more extreme, where swinging will have your adrenaline levels to their highest.
Move Beyond the Touristy Restaurants
Local food comes with safety and health warnings. However, there are restaurants in remote areas where you can still safely experience local cuisine. Playa Rincon’s restaurants can only be described as makeshift, but that does not mean you won’t enjoy one of the best meals of your life. Slow cooked with lobster, octopus, shrimp, or fish taken right out of the sea, and with sides of coconut rice and fried plantains, these Dominican delicacies will definitely delight your taste buds.
In Touch with Nature, the Hands-On Approach
Traveling relatively comfortably in a safari jeep might not properly immerse you in the experience. Try river horseback riding to explore the scenery or, if you want to be properly introduced to farming life, consider a horseback cattle drive. There’s nothing like saddling up and herding cattle!
These adventures, while not all blood-pumping, will give you a sense of what the Dominican Republic is really like. You can do most of this while still enjoying your stay in Punta Cana, as organizers will take you to and from your hotel. You don’t have to choose between relaxing on the beach and the local culture, you can experience both.