**Updated July 2020**
Pack your bags and prepare for the trip of a lifetime! Because honestly, Punta Cana is one of the most amazing places in the world!
From the beautiful beaches to all of the friendly people you’ll meet throughout your stay, you’re sure to have a blast in the Dominican Republic.
As you prepare for your trip, here are a few tips to keep in mind when visiting Punta Cana.
The Sun in Punta Cana and Its Consequences
Punta Cana is located in the Caribbean, and the sun is a lot stronger than it is back home.
You need to wear sunscreen throughout your trip. That means -before– and -after– your wedding day.
We know that you want to show off an amazing tan while saying “I do.” But be careful. No one wants a red face on their wedding day, right? Take precautions to avoid tan lines or sunburns. And remember, that burn won’t only show on your wedding day… it’ll be in all of your wedding photos as well. And those are the photos you’ll be looking back at for years to come!
Think about your bikini style and the tan lines it will leave. Especially in the styles that cross your neck, chest, or back. While you’ll look sexy laying by the pool, those tan lines may not go so well with your wedding dress.
And don’t forget about your groom! Be careful of hat and sunglass tans. You don’t want your groom looking like a raccoon in all your wedding photos, right?
Lather up the sunscreen. Always!
Which Currency Should You Use in Punta Cana?
When traveling, you’re usually encouraged to exchange your money for the local currency… But you don’t need to do this in Punta Cana.
We use the Dominican Peso here, but you won’t need them if you are spending your entire vacation at an all-inclusive resort.
Every resort, excursion, activity, taxi, restaurant, etc. can be paid with US Dollars. And they usually accept this currency at the same value that a bank would. Save yourself the trouble and don’t worry about exchanging your dollars to pesos.
If you’re not coming from the USA, I’d recommend exchanging your currency for US Dollars instead of pesos. You’ll get a better rate and you won’t have any trouble exchanging it back when you return home. That being said…
DO NOT Exchange Money at the Airport
They will rip you off. And give you a terrible rate.
If you really want to use pesos -even though you don’t need to- it’s better to exchange at a bank or a money exchange house (Casa de Cambio). They offer the best rates.
Get to Know a Different Culture
You will not have any opportunities to know a different culture if you stay inside your resort for the entire trip. (No matter how many resort employees you speak with.)
Spend at least one day outside exploring.
Take an adventure to Higuey or Santo Domingo. Or up into the mountains. Even if it’s just a short trip. These places don’t stand out for their beauty, but you will be able to see the reality of the Dominican Republic. Outside of Punta Cana.
Book with an excursion if you’re worried about safety or don’t know how to get around. It’s worth the trip!
How and Where to Book Excursions in Punta Cana
Every hotel has tour operators that offer a wide range of excursions to book.
They are all trustworthy since they work directly with the hotel. And the hotel always seeks the best options for their clients.
Although it is the easiest way to book, it is also the most expensive one.
On the beach next to your resort, you will find workers that sell the same excursions, but at a way better price. Based on my experience, these salesmen are just as trustworthy as the tour operators. And you can even bargain the price to get a lower rate!
If you’d rather book with the resort directly, that’s completely fine. But you should at least ask for prices on the beach, then negotiate the price inside the resort.
Another helpful tip: Put your bargaining skills to the test whenever you want to buy something in Punta Cana. Whether it’s an excursion, activity, or souvenir, you should always try to bargain. Nine times out of 10 you’ll get a better price.
Be Careful with the Food
Health standards are not the same everywhere in the world. You’ll notice this when you travel to developing countries like the Dominican Republic. Hotels make a great effort to maintain good hygiene in their restaurants and cafes, but some resorts may not meet all the standards you’re used to back at home.
It’s best to take it easy on the food at your resort. There are a ton of options between the buffets and a la carte restaurants, and it can be tempting to binge on all the burgers, fries, and pizza, but you don’t need to eat everything you see. And don’t mix too many different things that you are not used to eating regularly. Your stomach may not be able to handle it. And you don’t want to spend your entire vacation bloated and uncomfortable.
Another tip: Don’t drink too many pina coladas. Coconut is a natural laxative! So don’t go overboard. You want to enjoy your vacation, not to be stuck in the bathroom the whole time.
DO NOT Drink the Tap Water
Stick to bottled water. You can drink the water at restaurants and cafes, as they’ll serve filtered bottled water. And they should stock water bottles in your room to take with you wherever you go.
Unlimited alcohol, time in the sun, and playing in the ocean can make you really dehydrated. So remember to drink lots of water during your trip.
Walk on the Beach Outside of Your Resort
The hotel may try to convince you otherwise because they want you to spend all your time (and money) at their property.
But walking on the beach is the best thing you can do in Punta Cana.
It is a magnificent experience that many tourists don’t do out of fear of what might happen. Well, I have something to tell you, NOTHING WILL HAPPEN.
Touristic spots are controlled by the police. And it is completely safe to walk on the beach. Especially during the day.
Enjoy the –Crazy– Weather
It is common to be on the beach, enjoying the radiant sun, and all of a sudden, it starts raining. Without clouds on the horizon. Without many clouds at all. You’ll start to pack up your beach bag, and then it’s over just as soon as it started.
The weather on this island changes constantly! It’s normal to look at the forecast before you leave and see that it’s going to rain every day. But don’t fret.
It may rain for five minutes. Or it’ll rain in one spot, but you won’t see a drop of water at your resort. Or even better, it might be sunny all day long and you won’t even notice when it rains overnight.
Don’t trust the weather forecast. It almost always fails.
Anything can happen on this beautiful island we like to call home. It’s a little slice of paradise.
Have some fun and make the most out of your time here. Engage with the locals. Try something new. Enjoy the magic.
Welcome to Punta Cana.
If you enjoyed this article you will LOVE reading our guide on Wedding Planning in Punta Cana. Have a look!