Skip to Content

Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata – Best Vacation in Dominican Republic

Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata – Choosing The Right Place for Your Vacation

If you are very interested in history and want to see a lot of historic and architectural beginnings of Dominican Republic, still with chances of spending time in the beaches, you might prefer to visit Puerto Plata.

If you want a vacation that is mostly about spending time in the beaches, and doing water-related activities like catamaran and boating, diving, snorkelling, luxury resorts stay and other touristy activities and parties, you might prefer staying in Punta Cana.

READ MORE: Best Dominican Republic eSIM for tourists, Best Prepaid Sim Card to Use in Dominican Republic, Top Dominican Republic Desserts for you to Try, Best Breakfast Dishes to Try When in Dominican Republic, What to Pack when Traveling to Dominican Republic, Drinks in the Dominican Republic You Need to Try, Vegetarian Food in Dominican Republic to Try, 50 Best Traditional Dominican Republic Dishes to Try, Travel Tips When Traveling Dominican Republic for the First Time

WHERE TO STAY IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – PUNTA CANA VS PUERTO PLATA

There are dormitory rooms where you can rent a bed for as low as $10 USD a night if you want the cheapest option. AirBnb is also available, mostly for about $20-25 USD a night. Double-room hostels can cost up to $30-40 USD a night while mid-range hotels cost more or less $80 USD a night.

BOOK YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE – Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata

You can read Heymondo Vs Safetwing cheapest travel Insurance. You can get for $135 USD your Heymondo Travel Insurance with Heymondo discount code valid for 90 days. Read our full Heymondo Travel Insurance Review

You can get Safetywing Travel Insurance for Digital Nomads valid for 28 days Safetywing for $50 USD per month with kids until 10 years old included

Click here to book online Punta Cana activities and day trips

Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata - Best Vacation in Dominican Republic

Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata: How to Get There

Punta Cana and Puerto Plata are two of Dominican Republic’s most popular destinations. Both have their own aiports, and are therefore reachable by planes. If you’re flying into Santo Domingo, which is Dominican Republic’s capital, you can get a taxi from there or a bus to go to either Punta Cana or Puerto Plata.

Things to Do in Punta Cana

Top FAQs When Traveling to Punta Cana

What is Punta Cana best known for?

Punta Cana is one of the most popular Latin America destinations especially because of its beautiful white sand beaches Punta Cana also has a lot of reputable and luxury hotels and resorts that makes it a top option for dreamy vacations and beach trips in the exptic Dominican Republic.

Punta Cana is one of the top holiday destinations for a lot of tourists around the world, especially from the United States.

Is Punta Cana Worth Visiting?

If you’re thinking of visiting a Latin America destination, Punta Cana has one of the best beaches in all of South America, and in the World. One of its most popular beaches is Juanillo.

Punta Cana is actually quite touristy for its beautiful beaches, however, there are still a lot of off the beaten and secluded beaches for you to spend time with your family, and friends, or for your planned romantic holidays.

If its shopping you’re going for in Punta Cana, you can check out the area of Santo Domingo for that.

Is it Safe to Travel to Punta Cana?

Punta Cana is touristy and safe, as long as you practice regular precautions when traveling.

Top Things to Do and See in Punta Cana

Here’s a quick list of the top things to do and sights to see when traveling to Punta Cana:

  • Relaxing in Juanillo Beach
  • Surfing in Macao Beach
  • Staying in Luxury Resorts in Serenis
  • Visiting Catalina Island
  • Boat Partying or Taking Boat Tours
  • Visiting Bavaro Beach
  • Snorkeling and Diving activities in Punta Cana
  • Relaxing in Saona Island
  • Exploring Los Haitises National Park
  • Taking Helicopter Tours
  • Visiting Monkeyland

1. Relaxing in Juanillo Beach

Deemed one of the top beaches in Punta Cana, you can enjoy Juanillo Beach basking in the sun, or enjoying any beach activity.

2. Surfing in Macao Beach

The best thing about Punta Cana is that it also has a surfing beach, Macao Beach. Good for all levels of surfing, you’ll find a good support for you to practice surfing here.

3. More adventure activities in Punta Cana

Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata - Best Vacation in Dominican Republic

4. Staying in Luxury Resorts in Serenis

Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata - Best Vacation in Dominican Republic

Of course, one of the best things of Punta Cana is that vacation options are available, but if you’re in the country to experience some luxury, you’re in luck because Punta Cana has an area for exclusive resorts and luxury hotels. You’ll find all these in Serenis.

5. Visiting Catalina Island

Catalina Island in Punta Cana is best if you’re looking at doing some underwater activities like snorkeling.

6. Boat Partying or Taking Boat Tours

Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata - Best Vacation in Dominican Republic

Travel to Punta Cana can be enjoyed in all ages, as you can also engage in boat parties, if you fancy a bit of party and harder and louder nights, or if you want to tour the coasts, you can take boat tours as well.

7. Visiting Bavaro Beach – Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata

Bavaro Beach is one of the top 10 beaches in the whole world and you wouldn’t regret visiting Punta Cana and spending your time here.

8. Snorkelling and Diving activities in Punta Cana

Punta Cana is a host to a lot of water activities. So if you’re looking for more things to do, other than just spending time in the beach. You can engage in diving and snorkeling activities in the islands.

9. Do a Catamaran in Saona Island

Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata - Best Vacation in Dominican Republic

One of the unique things you can do in Punta Cana is do a Catamaran tour in Saona Island.

10. Exploring Los Haitises National Park

Los Haitises National Park in Punta Cana - Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata
Los Haitises National Park via Anton Bielousov / Wikimedia

The Dominican Republic has a national park system full of rock formations, mangroves, caves and more. Explore Los Haitises National Park and enjoy exploring the vast natural nature in Punta Cana.

11. Taking Helicopter Tours

Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata - Best Vacation in Dominican Republic

There’s just so much to see in Punta Cana on the ground, but if you want some extraordinary adventure, see the area from the skies with a helicopter tour in Punta Cana.

12. Visiting Monkeyland – Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata

If it’s animals you want to see, visit Monkeyland to experience seeing some exotic animals in their natural habitat.

Things to do in Puerto Plata

Compared to all of the newer hotels and things to do in Punta Cana, Puerto Plata is more popular for being Dominican Republic’s first area for tourism in the whole country.

Puerto Plata is the only place in the Caribbean with an aerial tramway. You’ll see a lot of historical areas in Puerto Plata as well, that will include houses, buildings and architecture. In addition to all these, Puerto Plata also have beaches for swimming in relaxing, to add to all the local and historic things you want to see.

Here is a quick list of the top things to do in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic – Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata

  • Visit Playa Dorada
  • Visit Fort San Felipe
  • Visit Mount Isabel de Torres
  • Enjoy the waterfalls of Damajaqua Cascades
  • Relax in Cabarete Beach
  • Visit Paradise Island
  • Try the Cable Car Ride
  • Visit Samana Bacardi Island
  • Do some whale watching at Samana Bay
  • Visit Amber Museum
  • Visit Ocean World Adventure Park
  • Safari Adventure in Puerto Plata
  • Day Visit to Cabarete
  • Try Ziplines and Eco-Tours in Puerto Plata
  • Visit Casa de la Cultura
  • Visit Sosúa

Let’s look closely at all these spots and things to do in Puerto Plata

1. Visit Playa Dorada or Golden Beach – Puerto Plata vs Punta Cana

Playa Dorada or the Golden Beach in Puerto Plata is the most touristy beach in Puerto Plata. If it’s exclusive resorts, shopping and luxury vacation you’re after in Puerto Plata, you’ll have a great time in this area.

2. Visit Fort San Felipe / Fortaleza San Felipe

Dating back to the 16th century, Fort San Felipe is one of the most historic ports in Puerto Plata. It is a Hispanic Spanish fortress that played a lot in the Dominican Republic’s history.

3. Visit Mount Isabel de Torres – Puerto Plata

If it’s a bit more of an active adventure you’re after in Puerto Plata, hike Mount Isabel de Torres

4. Enjoy the waterfalls of Damajaqua Cascades

One of the main things to do in Puerto Plata is to visit Damajaqua Cascades, 27 waterfalls through a thick forest. If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, and want to be in the thick of it when it comes to nature, you’ll definitely love this.

Inside 27 Charcos De Damajagua, you can also do activities like rappelling, visiting cenotes and springs, and canyoning, apart from seeing 27 waterfalls. Perfect for an adventurous family day, or even enjoying with friends and loved ones.

5. Relax in Cabarete Beach – Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata

Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata - Best Vacation in Dominican Republic

Another thing to do in Puerto Plata, Cabarete Beach is one of the best beaches in the area – don’t miss it!

6. Visit Paradise Island / Cayo Arena

Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata - Best Vacation in Dominican Republic

Paradise Island is also known as Cayo Paraiso or Cayo Arena in Puerto Plata. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches and top thing to see in Puerto Plata, a coral islet just off the coast, in Punta Rucia. You’ll see one of the bluest beaches in the world here, so if you decide to visit Puerto Plata, try to make time for this.

7. Try the Cable Car Ride

If you’re not into hiking so much, you can go see the top of Isabel de Torres Mountain, and see amazing panoramic views of Puerto Plata via a cable car ride.

8. Visit Samana Bacardi Island

Another of Puerto Plata’s top islands to visit, see Samana Bacardi Island to witness some of Puerto Plata’s incredibly blue waters.

9. Do some whale watching at Samana Bay – Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata

Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata - Best Vacation in Dominican Republic

If you’re visiting from January to March, you might be in time to see humpback whales in Samana bay. This activity is usually available from January 15-March 25, and a pretty spectacular and unique experience in itself. If you’re visiting these days, make sure to not miss it in Puerto Plata!

10. Visit Amber Route

Amber Route is a tour you can do in Puerto Plata where you can visit these areas where they mine amber, something they do really extensively in the Dominican Republic.

11. Safari Adventure in Puerto Plata – Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata

12. Day Visit to Cabarete

If you want to see other things about the Dominican Republic culture, they have a coffee farm in Cabarete, a tour popular to do in Puerto Plata. There is also shopping in the Cabarete area, so Cabarete can be a good day trip visit for you.

13. Visit Casa de la Cultura

In the Central Park of Puerto Plata, you’ll see Casa de la Cultura, a 3-storey historic building where you can see symbols during the time of Ulises “Lilís” Heureaux. It’s an art gallery that you’ll definitely love if you’re into history.

14. Visit Sosúa

Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata - Best Vacation in Dominican Republic

There is also a place for scuba diving and snorkeling in Puerto Plata, and you can do this in Sosúa. Here, you’ll also have the chance to visit Casa de Arte, a museum for arts and artifacts while you’re in the area.

WHERE TO STAY IN PUNTA CANA – PUNTA CANA VS PUERTO PLATA

Around $20 USD would be the range of your budget for accommodation in Punta Cana. There are hotels mid-budget $50-70 USD and you can find luxury accommodations starting from $120 USD.

WHERE TO STAY IN PUERTO PLATA – Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata

A vacation in Punta Cana and Puerto Plata can cost you about $45-$400 a night. That’s a pretty wide range, so you still have a lot of choices, but make sure to choose well as Punta Cana and Puerto Plata are definitely really touristy places in the Dominican Republic.

The trip to these two areas are definitely worthwhile, so just make sure you’re choosing the accommodation that fits your trip and budget, and of course to prioritize the experience you want to have.

BEST TIME TO VISIT DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata

In the Dominican Republic, in the summer (December to April), there are fewer rains than normal. In their winter (May to November), the rains are almost non-stop. For most tourists best time to visit the Dominican Republic is from December to April because of easier transport. 

Click here to know more about the weather in Dominican Republic!

CASH AND ATM IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata

The currency of the Dominican Republic is called Dominican Peso and as of now, $1 USD is worth 57 DOP Dominican Pesos. Do not exchange your currency at the airport because you’ll get less than what you’ll get with the city’s exchange. Anyway if you are bringing USD you can use them while traveling around the Dominican Republic no need to exchange them.

These are all useful exchanges when you’re talking about a vacation in Punta Cana vs Puerto Plata

Bank or debit cards in an ATM are the recommended way to access your funds while traveling in Dominican RepublicKnow real-time currency exchange here!

Feel free to use our links for discounts. By using our links, you will help us to continue with the maintenance of the website and it will not cost you anything. Thanks for the love guys. Happy Travels!

Ruben Arribas is the co-founder of Gamintraveler and a Spanish traveler who has traveled to more than 100 countries around the world. He is now a full-time digital nomad.