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Destination Guide: Punta Cana

Punta Cana
Allianz - Punta Cana

Fifty years ago, the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic was a quiet, remote stretch of sand and jungle. Today, it’s a wildly popular vacation spot, with dozens of all-inclusive resorts rising on golden beaches. The weather’s almost always perfect, the nightlife is lively, and active travelers will find plenty to do.

Compared to other Caribbean destinations, the Dominican Republic has few COVID-19 restrictions for tourists. As of November 2021, a negative test is not required for entry. However, a vaccination card or proof of a negative PCR test may be necessary in order to leave the resort and enter certain restaurants or attractions.1

3 Reasons to Buy Travel Insurance for the Dominican Republic

Many American travelers wonder, “Do I really need travel insurance for the Dominican Republic?” The answer is always yes — here’s why.

  1. Emergency medical benefits are absolutely essential. According to the U.S. Embassy, tourists should know that in the Dominican Republic, public medical clinics lack basic resources and private hospitals usually require advance payment — your domestic health insurance won’t be accepted. Not only that, but “some hotels, resorts, etc. have exclusive agreements with medical providers, which have costs associated and may limit your choices in seeking emergency medical attention.”2 Don’t risk your health: carry insurance for covered medical emergencies.
  2. Medical transportation benefits can get you to safety. For travelers to the Dominican Republic, the U.S. Embassy strongly recommends travel insurance with emergency transportation benefits, which can pay for a medically necessary, approved evacuation following a covered illness or injury.3 If you suffer a serious illness or injury during your trip, these benefits can pay for your evacuation as well as your safe transport home.
  3. In case of emergency, 24/7 Assistance is there. While Punta Cana is considered to be safer than the rest of the Dominican Republic, venturing outside of resort areas may leave you vulnerable to theft or assault.4 24/7 Assistance — which can be rapidly accessed from the free TravelSmart app — can help you reach local emergency services, report crimes, replace lost passports, get money wired from home, etc.

What’s the best travel insurance plan for the Dominican Republic? OneTrip Prime is a good choice for families, because it covers kids 17 and under for free when traveling with a parent or grandparent (not available on policies issued to Pennsylvania residents). If you’re planning more than two getaways this year, you could save money with an AllTrips annual travel insurance plan.

Most of our plans include the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, which adds covered reasons to select benefits for certain losses related to COVID-19 and any future epidemic. (Benefits vary by plan and are not available in all jurisdictions)

3 of the Best Things to Do in Punta Cana

  1. Catch a wave at Playa Macao. Considered one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches, this undeveloped stretch of sand features reliable breaks for novice and experienced surfers alike. Take a surfing class, try paddle boarding, or just laze on the sand.
  2. Explore the Reserva Ecológica Ojos Indígenas. If you want to get away from the touristy side of Punta Cana, head to this 1,500-acre private nature reserve. Hike the trails, swim in freshwater lagoons, and visit the iguana habitat.
  3. Charter a fishing boat. Sport fishing is a popular pastime in Punta Cana. You’ll have the chance to catch blue and white marlin, yellowfin tuna, mahi, wahoo and sailfish, depending on the time of year. Some charters offer snorkeling and SCUBA diving, too.

3 of the Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Punta Cana

Punta Cana is known for an abundance of all-inclusive resorts, from affordable to luxury. The Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa on Bávaro Beach is a family favorite, with surprisingly reasonable rates and a wide array of amenities. Shared with the neighboring properties, there are eight à la carte restaurants, five show cooking restaurants, 25 bars and six freshwater pools.

The Iberostar Grand Bávaro is a super-luxe, adults-only resort. Enjoy butler and concierge service, sip cocktails at a bar shaped like a Spanish galleon, and have a nightly nosh at the 14-hour gourmet station. The resort promotes sustainable practices: it has an on-site coral nursery and sources its food responsibly.

At the highest end is the Tortuga Bay Puntacana Resort and Club. The only AAA Five Diamond resort in Punta Cana, Tortuga Bay’s suites and villas were designed by Oscar de la Renta. You’ll be picked up in a private car, pampered at the Six Senses Spa, and served fine meals at the onsite Mediterranean and Dominican restaurants.

3 of the Best Restaurants in Punta Cana

For creative fine dining, try Jellyfish Restaurant. You’ll be charmed by the unusual architecture and attentive service. Fresh, locally sourced and Caribbean-inflected cuisine includes seafood paella, coconut shrimp and grilled lobster.

La Cava Kitchen and Bar is consistently acclaimed as one of the best restaurants in Punta Cana — better than most resort fare, diners say. You’ll find Peruvian-style ceviche, sushi, pasta and steak. A standout is the peje macao, fried red snapper with Dominican coconut sauce.

While many Punta Cana restaurants cater to tourists’ tastes, we recommend seeking out some that serve authentic comida criolla, traditional Dominican dishes. One favorite is Platanitos, which claims to have the best mofongo (a fried plantain-and-garlic mash) and sancocho (beef stew).

Remember: the best time to buy travel protection is right after you book your vacation! See affordable plan options from Allianz Travel Insurance.

What Do I Need to Travel to Punta Cana?

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Nov 11, 2021