Punta Cana, living in paradise

Everyone who knows me was very surprised when I made the decision of moving to Punta Cana. In 2013 it was an area where you were able to count on one hand things to do and places to go, and as a city girl can become boring. But from my experience, I can say I arrived during a great transitional period with huge opportunities.

So how is it to live in “Paradise”? Well Punta Cana is really a land of rest, relaxing at the beach and amazing nightlife. Also many adventures as well as luxury and comfort, but it’s also hard work!

So let’s talk about options and what to do as a tourist!

Punta Cana has over 60 all-inclusive resorts and a few amazing boutique resorts, 11 golf courses all along the strip, and tons of activities related to excursions, dining and nightlife.

Before “traveling around the world” I knew this area very well because of my hotel management career. Eighty percent of my internships and family vacations where in hotels in Punta Cana. I’ll give you my TOP 5 ( No. 1 is the best) on accomodations, where to eat, and things to do according to my own and close friends experiences.

Accommodation: There is so many excellent options that is so hard to do just a top 5. Depending on the purpose of your trip it can vary a lot, so here are my top 5 of different categories:

A. Adults only: Romantic getaway, couples, honeymoon:

  1. Secrets Excellence Punta Cana (All-Inclusive Luxury)
  2. Barceló Bávaro Palace (Exquisite gastronomy)
  3. RIU Palace Bávaro (So chic and modern)
  4. Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro (Gourmet all-inclusive)
  5. Majestic Elegance (Majestic treatment)

B. Friends getaway, couples:

  1. Breathless Punta Cana- Adults Only (Vibrant nightlife)
  2. Hard Rock Punta Cana (You feel like a rockstar)
  3. CHIC by Royalton (Chic very chic)
  4. Grand Bahia Principe Punta Cana (Lovely scenery)
  5. Meliá Caribe Tropical (Wonderful staff)

C. Family vacations:

  1. Barceló Bavaro Palace (Family club)
  2. Nickelodeon by Karisma (Be a kid again)
  3. Memories Splash (Amazing waterpark)
  4. Dreams Punta Cana (Wonderful and many options for family)
  5. Sirenis Punta Cana (Aquagames)

d. Luxury boutique resorts:

  1. Tortuga Bay (High level luxury villas)
  2. Eden Roc Cap Cana (Endless amazing views)
  3. The Westin Punta Cana (Indulgent Resort)
  4. Le Sivory Punta Cana (Oasis of exclusive pleasures)
  5. Alsol Luxury Villas Cap Cana (Amazing marina views)

These Top 5 are based on my input and friend’s feedback. There are new ones that I haven’t visited or heard about anyones experiences, so I’ll keep you guys posted.

When you book an All-inclusive normally you stay inside the property to take advantage of all the facilities and the unlimited food and drinks. If you’re staying at a boutique or a Non-All-inclusive, or just want to go local, here are my recommendations of where to eat and things to do.

When it comes to food and you really enjoy GOOD food, it’s so hard to decide the best option when there are so many. My favorites are Sushi, a good medium raw piece of meat, and all related to Italian fare. But I’ve been trying everything in the area for the last 4 years, so here are my recommendations:

To help you with budget info I rate them based on minimum price range per person:

$0-$15 ($) / $15-$25 ($$) / $25-$40 ($$$)

-Pearl Beach Club: (Spanish-International food) – $$$

Amazing sushi and great cocktails

-Noah: (International/fusion food) – $$ to $$$

My favorites are the Atlantic salmon, the goat stew and their 16 oz. grilled sirloin steak.

-Playa Blanca: (International Beach Cuisine) – $$$

Fancy during the day, very romantic at night with the ocean view, the ceviche is to die for and their Gratinated Lobster Tail with Spinach. Just WOW!

-La Casita de Yeya: (Real Dominican food) – $$

If you wanna try tasty Dominican food… go here! I recommend everything!

-Citrus: (Lounge – International food) – $$

Live music, very social, great staff, amazing Orange Tuna and try the Citrus Filet!

-Little John Beach (Chic and Bohemian) – $$ to $$$

Amazing Fried Fish and big cocktails!

There are tons of places to eat, but those are my top favorites in no particular order. I also recommend: La Locanda (Super delicious all kind of pastas and pizza), Andres Carnes (U pick the meat and they will grilled it) and Venezia Pizzeria (Italian and wood oven pizzas) all of them $-$$!

Then when it comes to brunch I recommend:

  1. Ruta01 – $ –
  2. Amcafecolao – $ –
  3. Mathilda – $$ – (They have a great Prix Fixe menu for lunch under 10USD !!!)

I knew this post was going to be long, there are so many options now! Let’s move on and finish with nightlife. There are a couple of very good bars and places to go and have a great time.

  1. Cocobongo has great shows, staff and drinks. You can buy packages in almost every hotel or online! Also in the same place they have Congo Bar with an awesome staff.
  2. Oro night club, which is the disco of the Hard Rock Hotel. You can visit in whether you’re staying there or not.
  3. Imagine, a cave disco with different types of music in the same place.
  4. Pearl Beach Club, always has parties and activities on their calendar.
  5. El Pub, good music and great drinks.
  6. Lazy Lizard, an awesome sport bar.
  7. Wacamole which is a taco bar but also has amazing drinks.
  8. Last but not least, Liquidos Bar, is a place when you can start the night, very relaxed with good music.

This is not even half of the options, but I’ll keep posting about new places and things to do. If you want me to post something in particular let me know by leaving a comment!


  • Danielle @ The Wanderlover

    Can’t believe you actually moved to Paradise!! I’m jealous! I went to Punta Cana once for spring break in college but definitely need to go back to experience the true beauty of the entire place, not just our all inclusive resort 😉 Worth considering the luxury boutique resorts as well!

  • Lexi Mary

    I do agree on you about the excellent accomodations, It’s almost depending on the purpose of your trip as if you are in a budget type or luxurious type, I would love to visit Tortuga Bay I have heard of it a lot from some friends. thanks for this wonderful share of your preference.

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