You are up for a wonderful treat of nature.
Located on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic has become one of the leading countries in promoting sustainable development and eco-tourism in the Caribbean region.
Puntacana Resorts & Club is at the forefront of sustainable tourism in leading the country to maintain and protect the natural wonders while developing the region with minimal impact on the environment.
Puntacana Resorts & Club was started by Mr Frank Rainieri and Mr Ted Kheel in the 70’s; the small project has become a big sustainable and responsible enterprise that supports the local community and the region. By providing livelihood through sustainable tourism and the airport, as well as safeguarding the pristine nature. Guided by the Puntacana’s exceptional vision, they have started the Puntacana Foundation. A non-profit organisation that leads and manages the responsible tourism and environmental sustainability of the Punta Cana region.
On my recent visit to Punta Cana, I saw this incredible sustainable effort for the whole region as the prime eco-travel destination in the Caribbean. Various nature-friendly Punta Cana excursions are available within the resort that will enrich your travel experience.
Here are the best things to do in Punta Cana that you shouldn’t miss on your visit.
- 1. Visit the Puntacana Foundation
- 2. Visit Puntacana Marine Foundation
- 3. Visit the Forest Honey Bee Farm
- 4. Bird Watching
- 5. Swim in the Blue Lagoon
- 6. Golf and Tennis
- 7. Wellness and Spa
- 8. Enjoy the beach and various watersports
- 9. Segway, Cycling or Ride a Golf cart
- 10. Visit the Puntacana Village
Here are the best things to do in Punta Cana that you shouldn’t miss on your visit.
1. Visit the Puntacana Foundation
Puntacana Ecological Foundation is the centre of sustainable development in the Puntacana resort & club. They drive the tourism and community forward to more sustainable ways. The Foundation pioneered the development of the whole region since 1988 and successfully launched myriads of sustainable projects for the benefit of the local economy and nature.
The Puntacana Ecological Foundation is currently the main contact of the leading conservation institutions and universities both in the Dominican Republic and around the world.
Visiting the foundation is one of the free things to do in Punta Cana, and is a great way to appreciate and learn the sustainable efforts of the foundation. The organic produced of the Puntacana foundation is typically for the resort & club’s consumption as well as for the local community.
The sustainability centre is open every Saturdays 10-11am, for a guided tour around the foundation. They will show you around the ecological foundation’s complex for a chance to learn about the various programs like the Aquaponics, Lombricompost, Greenhouse and Organic vegetable gardens.
2. Visit Puntacana Marine Foundation
The conservation efforts of Puntacana resort & club doesn’t stop just in the sustainable land-based projects, they also protect and conserve the marine life around Punta Cana region and some parts of the Dominican Republic.
One of the main projects of the Puntacana Marine foundation is the coral reef rehabilitation and conservation project. The foundation built more than 20 coral reef nurseries around Puntacana and its nearby regions.
This project helps to sustain the marine ecosystem within the Punta Cana region. Thus the local community is benefiting from its fantastic benefits, especially on tourism. If you want to help support the coral reef conservation in the Punta Cana region, you can give your donations here.
The Puntacana Marine foundation is also active in helping the local community catch the infamous Lion Fish. The Lion Fish has a bad reputation in the Caribbean region because of its destructive and poisonous nature.
The local community in Punta Cana has turned this Lionfish problem into another livelihood opportunity. The women of the Punta Cana village are turning these Lionfish into a cute home décor taxidermy, fashionable earrings or pendant, and of course, they also offer it as well in the resort’s menu as a local culinary delicacy.
Plastic is an apparent problem around the world. On this side of the Dominican Republic, the local women of the Puntacana village make various accessories, handbags and keychains made out of used plastic bags. It’s an incredible and sustainable fashion indeed!
The Puntacana resort & club also banned the use of plastic straws. As a replacement, they are using edible or paper straw. They also implement a “No Straw policy at the beach” within their resort.
3. Visit the Forest Honey Bee Farm
As we walked around the foundation, we also stopped by to see the Apiary – Forest Honey Bee farm of the Puntacana resort & club. I was pretty excited to visit the Bee farm as this was my first time to see beehives up close and personal. I personally love using and consuming honey due to its health benefits and practicality.
During our visit, the master beekeeper also shared with us his knowledge on how the bee colony functions and its hierarchy. It was truly fascinating on how the whole colony functions.
The bee farm has a viewing shed for the guests with a glass window that can let you see thru the beehives. They also have the Flow hive which lets you harvest the honey without disturbing the bees. It has a transparent beehive frames that let you see the wax and the colony.
4. Bird Watching
There were a few birds making Puntacana their home. There is a bird watching tower available to use as a part of the ecological park near the Puntacana foundation. Some of the local birds that you can find in the reserve are the Turkey Vultures, Black-necked stilt, Ruddy duck, Great Blue Heron and the critically endangered Ridgway’s Hawk.
Puntacana spearheaded the Ridgway’s Hawk Conservation within the whole island of Hispaniola. The Ridgway’s Hawk is indigenous to the island and it’s currently a critically endangered species. The Puntacana foundation helped to educate and spread the awareness to the local communities on how they can contribute in protecting one of the pride of the Hispaniola.
These birds of prey are pretty hard to spot, it was a great privilege to see a Ridgway’s Hawk on our visit to the foundation. If you want to help the Ridgway’s Hawk Conservation you can give your donations here.
The bird watching tour is held every Thursday and Friday from 7am -10am.
5. Swim in the Blue Lagoon
Located inside the resort, the blue lagoon is an untouched piece of nature with the clearest lagoon that I’ve ever seen.
The Reserva Ecologica Ojos Indigenas (Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve) has more than 10 small and big lagoons. There is a trek following a dirt pathway from the gate of the forest reserve that will lead you to the lagoons. Don’t worry, there are sign postings and maps dotted around so that you can definitely not get lost as long as you stay within the guided pathway.
It is definitely one of the best and adventurous things to do in Punta Cana if you want to relax and enjoy the serene nature. The Ecological Reserve guided tours are available every Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 am- 12:50 PM.
6. Golf and Tennis
Another great Punta Cana activity for all the golf lovers is to play and visit the resort’s golf course!
Puntacana Resorts & Club has 2 golf courses (La Cana Golf Course and Corales Golf Course) with 27 holes between the two golf courses that you can enjoy during your stay in the resort. The golf courses are also used by the local residents of the resort.
The first PGA Tour in Dominican Republic was held in the Corales Golf course in March 2018. Puntacana Resorts & Club is leading the way to make Dominican Republic among the leading golf destinations in the Caribbean.
The rental of a golf cart is also available for the guests to use to roam around the resort.
Puntacana resort and club also has the Oscar dela Renta Tennis centre that has 9 private clay courts, Har Tru and Grass courts.
7. Wellness and Spa
Puntacana resort and club is promoting an active lifestyle, wellness and mindfulness to their guests. Other than the gym in their hotel properties, they also have the program where you can borrow sports gear and equipment in case you left yours at home.
One of the main highlights of my visit to Puntacana Resort & Club is our relaxing Punta Cana Signature Massage in the Six Senses Spa of the resort. The whole spa experience was great.
The Six Senses Spa in Punta Cana is the first spa in Dominican Republic and 2nd in the Caribbean to receive the AAA Five Diamonds distinction. A visit to the spa will be perfect to reconnect and reboot your tense body and mind, great quality time and a romantic thing to do in Punta Cana.
8. Enjoy the beach and various watersports
When in the Caribbean one of the best things to do is to enjoy the 8 kilometres of white sandy Dominican beaches along the coast of Puntacana resorts. I really enjoyed my morning walk during my stay in Punta Cana.
If you’re after various water sports, there are plenty of activities available for all ages like sunset cruise, underwater museum, snorkelling, diving, family fishing, Eco-Paddle tour, Water Ski, Kayak and many more. Most of the activities can be found in Playa Blanca where the Blue Vision and Punta Cana Kite Club is located.
There is surely a water or beach activity that will suit you!
9. Segway, Cycling or Ride a Golf cart
Puntacana Resort & Club is not your typical all-inclusive hotel in the Caribbean region. The resort is around 25 acres so you will definitely need some form of transportation to go from point A to point B within the property. The resort encourages guests to enjoy nature and promotes wellness and active lifestyle.
The resort has provided bicycles and golf carts to help their guest to roam around the resort. Alternatively, there are private shuttles and a minibus available throughout the day.
Guided Segway tours are also available within the resort near the ecological nature reserve.
10. Visit the Puntacana Village
Not far from the Punta Cana airport is the Puntacana Village. A self-sustained village of the staff of the resort with a hospital, schools, shops, restaurants and other amenities.
Near the village, you can find one the Puntacana hotel properties which is the Four Points by Sheraton.
Within the main complex of the Puntacana village, you can find a great selection of restaurants and bars with relaxing and friendly vibes open to the public.
Visiting Punta Cana has been a great relaxing and an excellent trip for me, learning the sustainable way of living in this region of the Caribbean.
Special thanks to the Puntacana Resorts & Club and the Puntacana Ecological Foundation for their warm welcome and invitation to visit the Dominican Republic. All opinions and words are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryazan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. She also has more than 10 years of work experience gained from working in the hotel and travel sectors in Asia and Europe. Her work has been featured and published on Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Discovery Channel, World Travel Guide, MSN, CNBC, GMA , Lonely Planet and many more. She is currently living in the UK as a dual citizen (British – Filipina). Join her on travelling around the globe with a mission to share the best of the world.