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Punta Cana Cruise Port Guide, Things To Do, Shore Excursions


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Othilie Musgrove


Overview of Punta Cana Cruise Port

Punta Cana, located on the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic, is a popular destination for cruise ship passengers. With its stunning beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and vibrant culture, Punta Cana offers a perfect mix of relaxation and adventure for travelers of all ages.


As a cruise port, Punta Cana offers a range of amenities and services to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for visitors. The port is well-equipped with modern facilities, including a spacious terminal building, restaurants, shops, and currency exchange services. The friendly and welcoming staff provide assistance and information to help make your visit memorable.


One of the highlights of the Punta Cana cruise port is its accessibility to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. With miles of pristine white sand and palm trees swaying in the breeze, the beaches here are a true tropical paradise. Whether you prefer lounging under the sun, taking a refreshing dip in the turquoise waters, or indulging in water sports, Punta Cana’s beaches have it all.


For those looking for adventure, Punta Cana offers a wide range of thrilling activities. From zip-lining through the lush jungle canopy to exploring the underwater world while snorkeling or scuba diving, there is no shortage of adrenaline-pumping experiences. You can also embark on a catamaran cruise, go deep-sea fishing, or take a thrilling dune buggy ride through the mountains.


In addition to its natural beauty and adventure options, Punta Cana is also rich in cultural and historical sites. Discover the rich Dominican culture by visiting local villages and witnessing traditional dance performances. Explore the Altos de Chavon, a Mediterranean-style village that showcases local art and craftsmanship. And don’t miss the opportunity to learn about the history of the Dominican Republic by visiting the impressive Basilica Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor in Santo Domingo, the oldest cathedral in the Americas.


When it comes to shopping and dining, Punta Cana offers a variety of options. From vibrant local markets where you can buy unique souvenirs and handicrafts to upscale shopping centers with international brands, there is something for everyone. And of course, no visit to Punta Cana would be complete without indulging in delicious Dominican cuisine. Try local specialties such as fresh seafood, plantains, and mofongo, a traditional dish made with mashed plantains and savory meat.


Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a blend of both, Punta Cana has it all. From its stunning beaches and thrilling activities to its rich culture and delicious cuisine, this cruise port offers a memorable experience for every type of traveler. So, when planning your next cruise, be sure to include Punta Cana on your itinerary for a truly unforgettable Caribbean escape.


Top Attractions in Punta Cana

Punta Cana is known for its breathtaking natural beauty and vibrant culture. Whether you’re a beach lover, an adventure enthusiast, or a history buff, this tropical paradise has something for everyone. Let’s explore some of the top attractions in Punta Cana that you won’t want to miss.


1. Playa Bavaro: Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Playa Bavaro is a must-visit attraction in Punta Cana. With its powdery white sand, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees, this beach offers the perfect backdrop for relaxation and sunbathing.


2. Hoyo Azul: Located in Scape Park, Hoyo Azul is a natural cenote with stunning turquoise waters. Take a refreshing dip in this hidden oasis surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, or simply enjoy the surreal beauty of the surroundings.


3. Saona Island: Take a catamaran or speedboat ride to Saona Island, a picturesque island located in the Parque Nacional del Este. Here, you can relax on pristine beaches, swim in crystal-clear waters, and even enjoy a barbecue lunch right on the beach.


4. Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park: Immerse yourself in nature at the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park. This nature reserve is home to 12 freshwater lagoons, where you can swim, kayak, or simply enjoy the serene atmosphere while observing the diverse flora and fauna.


5. Altos de Chavon: Step back in time as you visit Altos de Chavon, a recreated 16th-century Mediterranean village. This unique attraction is home to art galleries, shops, and a Roman-style amphitheater where you can catch live performances by local and international artists.


6. Manati Park: For an up-close encounter with Dominican wildlife, head to Manati Park. This eco-adventure park allows you to interact with dolphins, sea lions, and tropical birds, and learn about the country’s rich biodiversity and culture.


7. Macao Surf Camp: If you’re looking for some adventure, try your hand at surfing at Macao Surf Camp. With its consistent waves and expert instructors, this surf camp caters to both beginners and experienced surfers, offering an exhilarating and memorable experience.


These are just a few of the top attractions in Punta Cana. Whether you choose to relax on its pristine beaches, explore its natural wonders, or immerse yourself in its vibrant culture, Punta Cana will leave you with unforgettable memories of your Caribbean getaway.


Beach Activities in Punta Cana

Punta Cana is synonymous with stunning beaches and azure waters, making it a paradise for beach enthusiasts. Whether you’re seeking blissful relaxation or thrilling water sports, Punta Cana offers a wide range of beach activities that cater to every taste. Let’s explore some of the top beach activities in Punta Cana.


1. Sunbathing and Relaxation: With miles of pristine white sand and clear turquoise waters, Punta Cana’s beaches are an ideal place to unwind and soak up the sun. Grab a beach chair or lay out a towel, and spend your day basking in the warmth while listening to the gentle waves lapping against the shore.


2. Swimming and Snorkeling: Take a refreshing dip in the Caribbean Sea and cool off from the tropical heat. The calm and clear waters of Punta Cana’s beaches are perfect for swimming. If you’re interested in exploring the underwater world, grab a snorkel and mask to discover the vibrant marine life just a few feet from the shore.


3. Jet Skiing and Parasailing: For those seeking a bit of thrill and adventure, try jet skiing or parasailing. Rent a jet ski and race across the waves, feeling the adrenaline rush as you navigate the sparkling turquoise waters. Or soar high above the beach while parasailing and enjoy breathtaking views of the coast.


4. Kayaking and Paddleboarding: Explore the coastal beauty of Punta Cana at your own pace by renting a kayak or paddleboard. Glide through the calm waters, paddling along the coast and discovering hidden coves and mangroves. It’s a great way to get active while enjoying the natural wonders of the area.


5. Catamaran and Sailing Cruises: Embark on a catamaran or sailing cruise to experience the ultimate relaxation and luxury. Set sail along the coastline, feel the sea breeze on your face, and enjoy the stunning views as you lounge on the deck. Some cruises even include snorkeling opportunities and a delicious lunch on board.


6. Beach Volleyball and Games: Get active and join a game of beach volleyball with fellow beachgoers. Many resorts and beach clubs offer beach volleyball courts where you can show off your skills or simply have fun with friends and family. You can also bring beach toys and games like frisbees, paddleball, or beach soccer for endless entertainment.


7. Beachfront Dining and Refreshments: After a day of beach activities, treat yourself to a delectable meal at one of the beachfront restaurants or indulge in tropical cocktails at a beach bar. Savor fresh seafood, local specialties, and refreshing drinks while enjoying the stunning ocean views and tropical ambiance.


No matter which beach activity you choose, Punta Cana’s beaches guarantee a memorable and rejuvenating experience. From thrilling water sports to tranquil relaxation, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this Caribbean beach paradise.


Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

Punta Cana is a haven for underwater enthusiasts, offering an incredible array of snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. With its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life, this Caribbean destination is a dream come true for those looking to explore the underwater world. Let’s dive into the snorkeling and scuba diving scene in Punta Cana.


Snorkeling is a popular activity for beginners and experienced swimmers alike. All you need is a mask, snorkel, and fins, and you’re ready to discover the mesmerizing marine life just beneath the surface. Snorkeling in Punta Cana allows you to explore colorful coral reefs teeming with tropical fish, such as angelfish, parrotfish, and sergeant majors. Many snorkeling tours take you to the famous underwater museum, where you can marvel at the unique sculptures submerged in the clear waters.


If you’re a certified scuba diver, Punta Cana offers even more opportunities to explore the depths of the Caribbean Sea. Dive sites like The Wall, El Mosquito, and Astron Wreck offer thrilling underwater experiences, with excellent visibility and fascinating marine life. Descend to depths up to 30 meters (100 feet) and encounter sea turtles, eagle rays, reef sharks, and a variety of colorful coral formations.


For those interested in learning how to scuba dive, Punta Cana has a number of PADI-certified dive centers that offer Discover Scuba Diving courses and Open Water certification programs. Under the guidance of experienced instructors, you’ll learn essential dive skills and safety techniques before embarking on your underwater adventure.


Punta Cana’s warm tropical waters provide ideal conditions for snorkeling and scuba diving year-round. The water temperature ranges from 26°C to 29°C (78°F to 84°F), making it comfortable for extended dives. The calm seas and gentle currents ensure a smooth and enjoyable diving experience for divers of all levels.


Whether you choose to snorkel or scuba dive, Punta Cana’s underwater world promises unforgettable encounters with marine life, breathtaking coral formations, and a sense of awe-inspiring beauty. Remember to always dive responsibly, respect the marine environment, and follow the guidance of certified professionals for a safe and enjoyable underwater adventure.


Adventure Tours and Excursions

Punta Cana is not only known for its beautiful beaches but also for the thrilling adventure tours and excursions it offers. With its diverse landscape, lush jungles, and pristine coastlines, this Caribbean destination is an adventurer’s paradise. Let’s explore some of the top adventure tours and excursions you can experience in Punta Cana.


1. Zip-lining: Soar through the treetops and experience the adrenaline rush of zip-lining in Punta Cana. Strap in and glide along high-speed cables, enjoying panoramic views of the lush tropical forests. Many zip-line tours also include bridges and hiking trails, allowing you to explore the natural beauty of the area while engaging in a thrilling activity.


2. ATV or Buggy Tours: Take a rugged ride through Punta Cana’s scenic landscapes on an ATV or buggy tour. Race along muddy trails, splash through puddles, and navigate through forests and countryside. These off-road adventures provide an exciting way to explore the region’s hidden gems while satisfying your need for speed.


3. Horseback Riding: Saddle up and embark on a horseback riding adventure in Punta Cana. Gallop along the coastline, trot through palm groves, and immerse yourself in the stunning beauty of the Dominican Republic. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, guided horseback tours offer a unique and memorable way to discover the scenic landscapes.


4. Hiking and Jungle Exploration: Unleash your inner explorer and embark on a guided hike or jungle adventure. Discover hidden waterfalls, explore ancient caves, and encounter diverse wildlife as you navigate through lush rainforests and national parks. Knowledgeable guides will provide insights into the local flora and fauna, making your jungle expedition both educational and exciting.


5. Helicopter Tours: Take your adventure to new heights with a helicopter tour over Punta Cana. From the sky, you’ll witness breathtaking aerial views of the coastline, beaches, and coral reefs. Capture stunning photographs and create lasting memories as you soar above the picturesque landscape below.


6. Sailing and Catamaran Cruises: Set sail on a sailing or catamaran cruise and explore the stunning coastline of Punta Cana. Relax on deck, enjoy tropical drinks, and soak up the sun as you sail along the turquoise waters. Some cruises also offer snorkeling or swimming stops, allowing you to dive into the vibrant underwater world.


7. Deep-Sea Fishing: Punta Cana is renowned for its fantastic deep-sea fishing opportunities. Charter a boat and venture into the deep waters of the Caribbean Sea in search of prized catches such as marlin, sailfish, and mahi-mahi. Reel in the big one and create unforgettable fishing memories during your stay in Punta Cana.


With its wide range of adventure tours and excursions, Punta Cana offers thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re zipping through the skies, exploring the jungle, or sailing along the coast, the adventures in Punta Cana are sure to leave you with amazing memories and a sense of exhilaration. Get ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime in this tropical paradise!


Cultural and Historical Sites

Punta Cana is not only a destination for pristine beaches and thrilling adventures but also a place rich in culture and history. Beyond its natural beauty, this Caribbean gem offers a fascinating array of cultural and historical sites that provide a glimpse into the heritage and traditions of the Dominican Republic. Let’s explore some of the top cultural and historical sites in Punta Cana.


1. Altos de Chavon: Tucked away in the Casa de Campo resort, Altos de Chavon is a replica of a 16th-century Mediterranean village. This charming village features cobblestone streets, stone buildings, art galleries, and an ancient church. Explore local shops, visit historical exhibits, and even catch a live performance at the Roman-style amphitheater.


2. Basilica Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor: Take a day trip to Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic, and visit the Basilica Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor. Built in the 16th century, this stunning cathedral is the oldest cathedral in the Americas. Marvel at its intricate Gothic and Renaissance architecture and explore the adjacent Alcázar de Colón, a museum dedicated to the history of the Spanish colonial era.


3. Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park: Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and culture of Punta Cana at the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park. This park is home to 12 freshwater lagoons, tropical vegetation, and endemic wildlife. Take a guided tour and learn about the indigenous Taino people, who once inhabited this land, as well as their customs and beliefs.


4. Museo de la Altagracia: Located in the town of Higuey, a short drive from Punta Cana, the Museo de la Altagracia is dedicated to the patron saint of the Dominican Republic, Our Lady of Altagracia. Explore the museum’s exhibits, which showcase religious artifacts and artwork, and learn about the significance of this revered figure in Dominican culture.


5. San Juan Bautista Church: Visit the San Juan Bautista Church in the town of Bayahibe, just a short distance from Punta Cana. Dating back to the 16th century, this historic church is considered one of the oldest in the country. Admire the colonial architecture and step inside to see the beautiful religious artwork and statues.


6. Macao Rum Factory: Delve into the rich history and flavors of the Dominican Republic by visiting the Macao Rum Factory. Learn about the traditional rum-making process, from the cultivation of sugarcane to the distillation and aging of the rum. Take a tour, sample different varieties of rum, and even purchase your favorite bottles to take back home.


7. Local Villages and Cultural Performances: Experience the vibrant local culture by visiting nearby villages and witnessing traditional dance performances. Engage with locals, learn about their way of life, and appreciate their music and dance forms, such as merengue and bachata. By immersing yourself in the local culture, you’ll gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Dominican Republic’s heritage.


These cultural and historical sites in Punta Cana offer a glimpse into the rich tapestry of the Dominican Republic’s past and present. Take the time to explore these sites, interact with the locals, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of this fascinating destination.


Shopping and Local Cuisine

When visiting Punta Cana, you not only have the opportunity to enjoy its beautiful beaches and exciting activities but also to indulge in shopping for unique souvenirs and savoring the delectable flavors of local cuisine. Let’s explore the shopping and culinary delights that await you in Punta Cana.


Shopping in Punta Cana offers a variety of options to suit every taste and budget. From vibrant local markets to upscale shopping centers, you’ll find an array of shops and boutiques selling everything from handcrafted souvenirs to high-end designer brands.


For a truly authentic shopping experience, head to the local markets such as the Higuey Market, where you can browse through stalls and interact with local artisans. Discover unique handicrafts, artwork, and jewelry made by skilled Dominican craftsmen. Look out for beautiful Larimar gemstone jewelry, handwoven baskets, and colorful paintings that reflect the vibrant culture and traditions of the Dominican Republic.


If you prefer a more upscale shopping experience, Punta Cana has several modern shopping centers and plazas. Palma Real Shopping Village and Blue Mall Punta Cana are popular destinations that host international brands, fashion boutiques, jewelry stores, and gourmet eateries. Here, you can indulge in luxury shopping, dine at world-class restaurants, and enjoy live entertainment.


No visit to Punta Cana is complete without savoring the local cuisine and experiencing the mouthwatering flavors of the Dominican Republic. The culinary scene in Punta Cana reflects the country’s rich cultural heritage and blends influences from African, Spanish, and Taino indigenous cuisines.


Seafood lovers will delight in the fresh and flavorful offerings, with dishes like ceviche, grilled lobster, and shrimp mofongo being popular favorites. Don’t miss out on trying the traditional Dominican dish called Sancocho, a hearty stew made with various meats and served with rice and avocado.


To truly immerse yourself in the local food culture, venture out of the resorts and try the street food delicacies. You’ll find vendors selling empanadas, fried plantains (tostones), and Dominican-style fried chicken (chicharrón de pollo). Wash it all down with a refreshing batida, a tropical fruit smoothie blended with milk or water.


For those looking to hone their culinary skills, cooking classes are available, where you can learn how to prepare traditional Dominican dishes with fresh local ingredients. From making mangu (mashed plantains) to mastering the art of making delicious rum-based cocktails, these classes offer an interactive and educational gastronomic experience.


Whether you’re seeking a vibrant shopping experience or a mouthwatering culinary adventure, Punta Cana offers it all. Explore the local markets for unique souvenirs, indulge in luxury shopping, and savor the flavorsome local cuisine. The shopping and dining experiences in Punta Cana are sure to leave you with lasting memories of your Caribbean getaway.


Tips for Visiting Punta Cana Cruise Port

Visiting Punta Cana as a cruise port is an exciting and memorable experience. To make the most of your time in this Caribbean destination, here are some useful tips to keep in mind:


1. Plan Ahead: Research and plan your activities in advance to make the most of your time in Punta Cana. Determine the top attractions you want to visit and book any shore excursions or activities ahead of time to secure your spot.


2. Time Management: Take note of the time frame you have in port and plan your activities accordingly. Consider the travel time to and from attractions and make sure to leave enough time to return to the cruise ship before departure. It’s always better to plan for extra time to account for any unforeseen delays.


3. Stay Hydrated and Wear Sunscreen: Punta Cana is known for its beautiful sunny weather. To stay comfortable and avoid dehydration, drink plenty of water throughout the day. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen regularly to protect your skin from the strong Caribbean sun.


4. Use Local Currency: While most places in Punta Cana accept major credit cards, it’s a good idea to have some local currency (Dominican Pesos) on hand for small purchases and tips. Exchange your currency at a local bank or ATM for the best rates.


5. Dress Comfortably: Punta Cana has a warm tropical climate, so it’s advisable to wear lightweight, breathable clothing and comfortable footwear. Don’t forget to pack a hat, sunglasses, and a swimsuit, as you’ll likely want to enjoy the beautiful beaches and water activities.


6. Respect the Culture: The Dominican Republic has a rich culture and traditions. Respect the customs and local norms while visiting Punta Cana. Learn a few basic Spanish phrases to communicate with locals and show appreciation for their culture.


7. Stay Safe: While Punta Cana is generally a safe destination, it’s always important to take precautions. Keep your belongings secure and be aware of your surroundings. Take authorized taxis or use reputable transportation services for your travels.


8. Try the Local Cuisine: Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in the delicious local cuisine of Punta Cana. Experiment with different dishes, flavors, and local specialties. Ask locals for recommendations on where to find the best traditional Dominican food.


9. Capture the Memories: Punta Cana is incredibly picturesque, so be sure to bring your camera or smartphone to capture the beautiful moments. Take photos of the stunning beaches, colorful architecture, and memorable experiences to preserve the memories of your trip.


10. Learn Some Basic Dominican Republic History: Before visiting Punta Cana, familiarize yourself with some basic history and culture of the Dominican Republic. This will enhance your understanding and appreciation of the places you visit, and you’ll be able to engage in meaningful conversations with the locals.


By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your visit to Punta Cana cruise port. Enjoy your time exploring the beautiful beaches, engaging in exciting activities, and immersing yourself in the vibrant culture of this Caribbean paradise.