Things to do in Punta Cana

Itineraries for Your Trip to Punta Cana

Punta Cana locals share their perfect days.
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2 Days in Punta Cana for First Timers

Curated by Lydia SchrandtLydia Schrandt is a writer, editor, and award-winning photographer currently based in Houston. She’s a contributor for USA TODAY 10Best and serves as the first chair of the Editors Council of the Society of American Travel Writers. Her work has appeared in Draft, Time Out Beijing, Travel+, USA TODAY, San Francisco Chronicle, and others.

With two days to spend in Punta Cana, situated at the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic, you’ll have enough time to soak up the sun at the beach, get out on the water, explore the island’s interior, and experience some authentic Dominican culture. Here are some ideas for how to spend your 48 hours.

Day 1: Morning

Take advantage of the cooler morning hours with an outdoor adventure on land; you’ll have plenty to choose from. Go horseback riding along the Punta Cana River, zipline through the lush rain forest canopy, get behind the wheel of a dune buggy to explore the countryside, or look for squirrel monkeys in the mountains of Anamuya.

Day 1: Afternoon

As the day begins to warm up, beat the heat by heading to one of Punta Cana’s many stellar beaches for some fun in the sun. Spend time relaxing on the white sand, or opt for a guided activity, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, or cruising through the warm Caribbean waters.

Day 1: Night

Now that you’ve experienced Punta Cana’s outdoor appeal, find out what makes its nightlife legendary with an evening of dancing and drinking at one of the area’s best nightclubs. Leave the driving to someone else, and enjoy an all-you-can-drink open bar as you dance the night away to live music or a spinning DJ.

Day 2: Morning

It would be a shame to visit Punta Cana without experiencing the Dominican Republic outside the resort. Use your second day on the island to get a taste of local culture with a tour through the countryside. Meet locals as you visit coffee and chocolate plantations, schools, churches, and a beach popular with island residents.

Day 2: Afternoon

If there’s one thing Dominicans love to do above all else, it’s surf. This afternoon, make the beach your classroom during a private or small-group surfing lesson, whether you’re catching your first wave or polishing your skills. Alternatively, opt for an afternoon spa treatment at one of the area’s resorts.

Day 2: Night

Finish off your exploration of Dominican culture with an evening cooking class. Get hands-on as you learn to make traditional dishes such as sancocho, a traditional soup, from a local chef. You’ll walk away with some new recipes and a greater appreciation for the culinary culture of Punta Cana.

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