The Punta Cana tourist region has enough activities to keep you busy, but we encourage you to take a break from the marvelous resort life in Punta Cana (we know is hard) and take at least one day trip. We have come up with a great list of places to visit with great cultural experiences, historical sites, and dreamy nature reserves.
Some of the day trips mentioned you can do on your own by renting a car, some are best experienced by booking a tour and letting knowledgeable friendly tour guides take care of all the details.
Punta Cana has amazing beaches, but the beaches and water of Saona Island are on another level, it is an unspoiled nature reserve with the most beautiful crystal clear turquoise water you’ll see during your vacation in Punta Cana. Saona Island has a charming small fishing village and magazine-worthy scenery. The way there is part of the fun, most tours make a stop at the Natural Pool, tours typically include food, drinks, and lively music to keep up with the all-inclusive theme of Punta Cana.
Top Rated Saona Island Tours
Los Altos de Chavon, a Mediterranean village set on a hill with sweeping views of the Chavon River and the famous golf course in Casa de Campo. Los Altos de Chavon was designed to capture the romance and elegance of the Old World with the vibe of the vibrant and colorful culture of Dominicans.
Top Rated Private Tours to Altos del Chavon
Higuey is the city of Altagracia Province, just 45 minutes from Punta Cana, you can visit one of the most recognized and visited cathedrals in the Caribbean, a religious museum, an artisan market, and a farmer’s market. As you tour around Higuey, you’ll be driving through the communities where most employees of resorts in the Punta Cana Tourist Region reside.
Top Rated Tours to Higuey from Punta Cana
Santo Domingo Historical District
The best way to connect with the history and culture of the Dominican Republic is by taking a day trip to Santo Domingo, the capital city. Santo Domingo, the first city established in the New World was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. The colonial historic district (Zona Colonial) houses a number of 16th-century business turned into museums, forts, castles, churches, and elegant squares. Today, Santo Domingo is a mix of old-world, modern and traditional colorful touches of Dominican culture.
A number of tour operators offer well planned day trips to Santo Domingo from Punta Cana, offering tours of the most significant sights of the city and cultural experiences.
Santo Domingo’s top attractions in the Colonial Historic District
- Catedral Santa Maria La Menor – first cathedral in the New World.
- Fortaleza Ozama – The oldest fortress in the Americas
- Alcazar de Colon – the first castle in the Americas where Diego Colon, the son of Christopher Columbus resided. The castle is now a museum, the structure was built in 1510 and restored in 1952.
- Ruins of Monasterio de San Franciso – the first monastery in the Americas
- Dominican Convent – the first convent in the Americas.
- Plaza de España is a nice point of interest with shops and restaurants, it was the first commercial center in the established in the New World.
Popular modern attractions and places in Santo Domingo
- Fine Arts Palace
- Presidential Palace
- National Theatre
Don’t miss taking a walk along El Malecon, a lively place along the water with a string of restaurants and shops.