Punta Cana is located on the Northeast corner of the Dominican Republic. The official language is Spanish, but most resort employees speak some Engligh. Punta Cana was marketed exclusively towards Europeans up untl the later 90's. Many resorts still have a large percentage of European and Canadian guests. There is very little infrastructure in Punta Cana. Therefore all of the resorts are self contained all inclusive resorts. There is very little to do outside of the resort and shopping is limited to t-shirts, local crafts, and tourist trinkets.
History - In the year 1492 Christopher Columbus touched the coasts of the Island and discovered in its inhabitants an Indian unknown race called Taínos –which in the arawac language means good or noble. The Taínos lived in the Island since the year 800 A.D. Dedicated to a sedentary life, simple but rich in religious and agricultural traditions, created in our Island one of the most outstanding cultures of the Caribbean area. Nevertheless, the discovery and its conquest methods exterminated this race in a period of approximately 50 years, which limited the impact of such Indian culture on the Dominican life.
The Dominican Republic is a relatively stable country with a moderate crime rate in the tourist area of Punta Cana. The Dominican Republic is a third world country but modern facilities exist in Punta Cana. The roads are primitice in the Dominican Republic, but the main road to the airport is nearing completion of the expansion. There is a $10 tourist card that must be purchased in cash at the airport upon arrival. There are no ATM's at the Punta Cana Airport.
Logistics - Travel time is a major advantage of Punta Cana. Apple Vacations offers nonstop charter flights from Cincinnati to Punta Cana. Total flight time is less than 4 hours! Delta and other commercial airlines also fly to Punta Cana, but they make a single connection.
Location - Punta Cana is located on the Northeast corner of the Dominican Republic. The island of Hispanola is shared by the Dominican Republic on the East and Haiti on the West. The Domican Republic is located Southeast of Cuba and due West of Puerto Rico.
Activities and attractions
This is a place for vegging out… miles of silky-fine white sand, deserted beaches with coconut palms. Unless you rent a car or purchase an excursion, don’t expect much sightseeing or outstanding shopping opportunities nearby.
Beaches - Beaches. Cap Cana, Punta Cana, Cabeza de Toro, Bavaro, El Cortecito, Arena Gorda, Macao and Uvero Alto. The beach is the No. 1 attraction in the East Coast area, stretching an amazing 50 kilometers. With few exceptions, most hotels and developments only limit land access and elsewise honor Dominican law whereby beaches are public. You can freely stroll the beach strip going from one hotel's beach front to another, especially in the Cortecito, Bavaro and Cabeza de Toro areas. There are public beach entries at El Cortecito and Cabeza de Toro. Macao, to the north, is yet undeveloped, and thus is unrestricted beach access.
Jeep and ATV Adventures - Safari-type excursions on four-wheel bikes, buggy rides, jeep safaris, monster trucks or helicopter rides for a privileged view. A dozen of companies offer these adventure tours that take the tourists to observe tropical wilderness, visit a countryside home where typical Dominican food lunch will be served, examine tropical crops, take a dip at a deserted beach or for a swim in a cool river.
Nightlife - Most hotels will feature staff-produced evening shows, with guests having the option to dance until the wee hours in the hotel discos. Nightlife will be slightly livelier at the larger hotel clusters. With this exception, nightlife at most resorts has been described as "fairly dull" if you are looking for a party atmosphere. Most discos are small and won't attract more than 40-70 people in the evenings, mostly couples. The discos will play current dance music so you can bring your own CDs, gather a group of people and turn a small hotel disco into your own personal party.
Casinos - Most major resorts have casinos. The style of the casinos are more European with a quieter atmosphere (especially compared to Las Vegas casinos).
Golf - There are five golf courses in operation the area, and another slated for opening in 2005: El Golf de Bavaro 18 holes par 72 (Barcelo hotels), Cocotal 27 holes par 72 (Melia hotels), Punta Cana Golf (Club Med, Punta Cana Resort & Club, Cabeza de Toro Golf (Catalonia Resort), White Sands Golf (Blue Ocean resort), Punta Espada Golf opening first 9 holes summer 2005 (Cap Cana).
Diving is good, not great, because right off shore from the Punta Cana side the water is riddled with barrier reefs. The area though is most appropriate for beginning divers. It is a great place to learn since the waters, even far out, are so shallow. Excursions will take you to discover a shipwreck and lots of nice coral formations, channels and tunnels. Not a large variety of fish, due to the spear fishermen you pass on the way out. Water temp 75 F.
If you are serious about scuba diving, but still want to vacation in the Punta Cana area you may participate in dive excursions to Catalina and Saona islands, a two hour drive away. These dives are attractive to both beginners and advanced scuba divers.
In this region, big game fishing is good and annual tournaments draw international participants in the summer. You can look forward to catching blue marlin, barracuda, and dorado among others. Best fishing is in the summer. Arrangements can be made at hotel front desks or at Cabeza de Toro beach area.
Manati Park - Manatí Park is an amusing theme park located in Bávaro-Punta Cana, an incredible landscape of wonderful gardens overflowing with orchids and tropical plants. Here you will be able to experience nature, coming into contact with the fauna and flora of the Dominican Republic. During your stay in Manatí Park, you will be able to enjoy varied shows, restaurants, local crafts and souvenir shops... Furthermore, you will have the opportunity of swimming alongside dolphins, an unforgettable experience.
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