In the Dominican republic you can find a part which is called Punta Cana, this simply stands for the end of the island. Punta Cana is located in the Eastern part of the Dominican republic and is home to thousands of palm trees, beautiful beaches and lovely people.
Useful to know before you go
Consider that Punta Cana is located on an island. Even thought the Dominican republic, together with Haïti, is the second largest island in the Caribbean, it can be very windy. In certain parts of the island you are even able to surf. Due to the high winds, weather can change hourly from pure sunshine to monsoon-like rain. The best time to travel is during their “winter” what means that showers are rare and if it rains only for a few minutes until the sun comes out again and it can get up to 30 degrees. The area of Punta Cana is mainly located on the Atlantic Ocean, the southern part on the Caribbean Ocean. The Caribbean Ocean is warmer than the Atlantic but also the Atlantic Ocean is not really cold 🌴. There is quite a lot you can do, you can relax at the beach or you can be active. You can surf, go parasailing, snorkeling, flying or whatever you like.
Playa Costa Esmeralda
One of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. I flew from Punta Canas helicopter station via La Jalda waterfall to the beach. The helicopter is landing directly at the beach. The beach itself is empty, there are no hotels, no tourists – nothing. It’s super nice to go for a swim as the beach is kind of a bay, so the water is super calm and crystal clear. When you book this trip you also have food included you can enjoy there. This was probably the best afternoon I had, there are only two helicopters doing this tour so you probably see other people there but never more than 4 as this is the maximum capacity for the helicopters there and they are not landing next to each other so it’s really quite private. On your way back you’ll fly all the way down along the coast.
There are also other helicopter tours available, one for example during sunset time. From what I’ve seen regarding sunsets – it could be worth it as you usually can’t see the sunset from this side of the island. The company which is organizing those flights is quite flexible so you can chose between different flight times and routes, just make sure you make a reservation early enough as these trips are quite in demand.
Although I already did this during my time in Australia we went out with a boat again and tried our luck. You can start your tour from Miches, a colorful fishing village. The wales can be seen in the bay of Samaná from mid of January until mid of March. After swimming more than 6000 km from the North Atlantic they stop in the bay of Samaná as this is a save place for them to give birth. We could see a whole family more or less directly next to our boat, they allowed us to follow their path. It was again a super impressive experience being so close to these giants.
Isla Saona & the natural pool
Well I heard a lot about Saona island, that it is a little paradise and the most beautiful beaches can be found there. I was there for a day trip and my personal conclusion differs a little bit from what you can hear and read about it. The island is a beautiful place, the beach is nice for sure but I was happy that we booked a private tour so we had a part of the beach which was separated from the rest were we could enjoy our lunch with a nice sea view and sand on our feet. The “general” part of the beach, open to all the other tourists arriving with other tours is crowded with hundreds of plastic sun loungers so close to each other that I thought I’m in Rimini during party season. If you wanna take some nice pictures better walk a bit away to the left, unfortunately as soon as the tourist area ends you can see rubbish every where, it’s a shame how people living here are treating the island.
Nevertheless it’s for sure a beautiful place but they should clean up the area and limit the number of boats arriving per day to keep the environment in track.
Also the natural pool is probably not really what you are expecting when reading about it. It’s just a spot close to Isla Saona in the middle of the sea, kind of a huge sandbank, the water is crystal clear, it’s beautiful to go for a swim but that’s it. If you are lucky like we’ve been you can see some big starfishes but nothing more. Not a single plant, no fish, no seashells nothing but sand. Needless to say that people were disappointed.
Conclusion: There are many many other much more beautiful tiny islands to visit around the globe with better organized tours and less crowded so if you have the chance to see another one – better save your money for that trip.
There are many other things to do on the island, you can go for a trip through the jungle, visit the national park or spend a day in Santo Domingo. Also the lake called Lago Enriquillo should be worth a visit. It’s the biggest lake within the Antilles and home to flamingos, crocodiles and iguanas.
I love the Caribbean islands for the good vibes and people who are super friendly and always in a good mood, also on this island. They are very open minded and talkative. People working for hotels or tour guides are very often coming from Haïti and are not locals. The situation between the Dominican Republic and Haïti is very tense and the political situation in Haïti itself is very unstable so people are trying to make it to the Dominican Republic to find work here, hence they are quite dedicated and the service is very good and friendly.
It’s for sure worth a trip, two weeks are recommended it you wanna go on some trips and see some stuff. The beaches are absolutely beautiful, if you love palm trees the way I do you will for sure not be disappointed. I’ve never seen so many palm trees before. The water is very nice (bear in mind that it is colder when you spend your vacay on a place located along the Atlantic coast than on the Caribbean one), there are fresh fruits and coco nuts all day and a lot of possibilities to do sports as well. If you’re looking for a place to find relaxation, activity and creativity all in one, this is it!