Getting to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Jeremias Padilla Picture
by Jeremias Padilla
updated 15 days ago

Punta Cana welcomes those who love to spend their days sunbathing in powdery white sand beaches bathed by crystal-clear waters. You can fly to Punta Cana International Airport from most continents from $400. Getting to your resort is possible on shared rides from $4 or prebooking private transfers from $12. Taking a taxi tends to be more expensive with rates from $30 for short distance hails. When it comes to moving around Punta Cana, renting a bike can help you discover the area in a free and eco-friendly fashion with rates starting at $20.

Punta Cana Key Information

Punta Cana, the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic, abuts the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Known for its 32km stretch of beaches, clear waters, lavish all-inclusive resorts, the Bavaro area and Punta Cana combine to form what is better known as the Coconut Coast. Activities such as windsurfing, kayaking, zip-lining, and sailing atract all sorts of lovers of warm weather and sun.

Punta Cana is famous for its All-Inclusive resorts for which you pay a fixed rate (usually surrounding the $200 price tag per night) in exchange for access to exclusive beaches owned by the resort, dedicated amenities, gourmet dining, unlimited beverages, transportation, 24/7 entertainment, and many more perks. This makes Punta Cana a coveted destination for people looking for a lush vacation without observing a budget.

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The tricky part about Punta Cana

There are 2 bus stations in Punta Cana. The main station is called Parada Sitrabapu and is located in Avenida Estados Unidos. There is a second bus station which is located in Boulevard Punta Cana. Make sure you go to the right station.

Punta Cana is not a town or a municipality but actually a very popular area along the coast. Most tourists spend time in their hotels and the beach. Some hotels are accessible only by taxi and private transfers.

Dominican Peso is official currency in Dominican Republic and it is advisable to exchange money at official banks and avoid using money exchange kiosks located on hotels. Cash is preferred by most of the business establishments since transaction using credit cards cost them additional fees. Use your credit card when booking for your hotel accommodation and use cash on other expenses.

ATMs are easy to find in Punta Cana and most banks are members of Maestro, Cirrus, and PLUS, hence you can use your credit card to withdraw. ATMs in Dominican Republic have a daily maximum withdrawal of 10,000 pesos or approximately $170. Using your credit card to get cash should be considered only on emergencies since you will be subjected to cash advance fee of up to 19%.

Punta Cana is relatively safe for tourists. Although, recent study shows that the crime rate in Dominican Republic is increasing. US State Department issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory, advising US citizens to exercise increased caution when visiting the country.

Recent crime statistic shows that Punta Cana is included to the six specifics areas in Dominican Republic showing the highest incidents of sexual assaults (specifically involving date-rape drugs), credit card skimming, and theft. Exercise extra ordinary diligence and keep your valuables attended at all times.

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Getting to Punta Cana

Punta Cana is a famous tourist destination located in the Veron-Punta Cana municipal district of Higuey, in La Altagracia Province, easternmost province of Dominican Republic. White sand beaches filled with lush palm trees and bathed by crystal waters, its spa town resorts facing the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean make Punta Cana one of the most popular vacation destinations.

Most tourists who visit Punta Cana travel by air. Serviced by Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) makes this one of the busiest airports in the region as most tourists book direct flights to PUJ. From the airport, there are multiple options able to reach your hotel destination. The easiest and the most convenient way is by hailing a cab or booking a private transfer. The nearest bus station is 15 minutes away from the airport and there is no direct public transportation from the airport going to the nearby hotels.

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Getting to Punta Cana by Air

Several airlines offer low cost flights directly to PUJ and this is the preferred mode of transfer travelers choose. You will save between 20% to 40% on your plane tickets if you book a flight for the low season starting in August until mid December. The high season starts in January and ends in July.

United Airways and American Airlines are the airlines of choice for most of the tourists coming from the United States and United Kingdom. The price of a round trip ticket goes between $400 to $800 per passenger.

Most of the tourists coming from the European Union countries (Spain, France, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Italy, Greece, etc.) opt to book with Delta Airlines, Air France, and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The price of a round trip ticket starts at $600 and goes to $1000 per passenger.

Air Canada, Air China, and Asiana Airlines are the top airlines of choice from tourists coming from ASEAN 11 countries (Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Brunei.), India, and China. The price of a round trip ticket starts at $600 but goes up to $1000 per passenger.

Passengers traveling from Australia and New Zealand tend to chose Air New Zealand and United Airlines since they offer the best deal for a round trip ticket with prices between $3000 to $4000 per passenger.

Once you have arrived to Punta Cana International Airport, there are multiple options of transportation to reach your hotel available at different but very convenient price points. Bavaro being the main touristic destination/zone in Punta Cana with multiple resorts filling most of the coastline of Bavaro Beach. Since Public Transportation is not availble from the airport directly to neighboring towns, most travelers prefer to arrange a private airport transfer or hail a taxi upon arrival. On demand services such as Uber and Lyft are not yet available in Punta Cana.

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Getting to Punta Cana by Bus

Expreso Bavaro operates the bus that runs to limited stops in Punta Cana. From PUJ, the neartest bus station is 15 minutes away. You will have to an airport taxi for $10 to reach the bus station. The bus stops in Punta Cana is limited to some of the hotels and the price of the ticket starts at $1. Travel time takes between 30 minutes to 45 minutes and may vary due to traffic condition. It may be best to just take a taxi for $10 to reach your hotel destination.

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Getting to Punta Cana by Train

Is it possible to get to Punta Cana by Train? Unfortunately, there are no train companies servicing Punta Cana. The railways network in Dominican Republic consists of several lines, for freight and passenger transport, using several gauges. Due to the closure of some of them, during the 20th Century, the network has been partly reduced to a series of scattered branches, mainly concentrated around the cities of San Pedro de Macoris and La Romana.

Getting to Punta Cana by Ferry or Boat

REPLACE WITH THE "BY FERRY/BOAT" INFORMATION.

Getting to Punta Cana by Car

REPLACE WITH THE "BY CAR" INFORMATION.

The Frugal Option

REPLACE WITH INFORMATION ABOUT THE FRUGAL OPTION

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Private Transfer Options

Prebooked through Mozio with its local partner My Transfers, a private sedan for up to 4 passengers from only $6. For larger parties, a private van for up to 8 passengers starts at $13. This car service from the airport offer door-to-door services with your private professional driver furnished by local partner My Transfers guaranteeing a pleasant ride to your destination.

If you did not arrange a private transfer in advance, hailing a cab is your compromise option. Taxi rates in Punta Cana are set by the local authorities and fixed by zones. Taxis can be taken directly from taxi bay in Punta Cana Airport located just outside the customs area on your right when you exit. Most taxi drivers carry a fare matrix chart and they accept dollars, euro, and dominican pesos alike.

Some common destinations and their fares from PUJ:

  • To Higuey from $70
  • To El Seybo from $120
  • To Hato Mayor from $150
  • To Santo Domingo from $200

The fares indicated above are subject to change but can be consulted from Punta Cana Airport's website.

The Mozio Recommendation

Most of the tourists who visit Punta Cana limit themselves to staying at their hotels and sunbathing on the beach thus missing a lot of what Punta Cana has to offer. Renting a car to venture out and explore the beauty of the countryside of Punta Cana is highly recommended and less expensive than riding taxis to get there while allowing you to discover these places with freedom.

If you find driving on unfamiliar roads a daunting task, you may book a private transfer and have a local drive you to your destination. At the end of the day, booking a private transfer can save you a little more than hailing a cab.

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Moving AROUND Punta Cana

Exploring Punta Cana can be achieved by making use of either private transfer, hailing a taxi, renting a car, bike, or motorcycle.

Something to consider is that if you are staying in an All Inclusive resort, Ground Transportation may be included in your package. If this is the case, then you should have no problem exploring with ease using this feature of your vacation stay.

Getting Around Punta Cana by Bus

Bus operations in Punta Cana and to neighbouring towns are mainly managed by Expreso Bavaro with buses leaving every 15 minutes. Bear in mind, this frequency is not always respected and wait may take up to one hour from time to time. There are limited bus stops in Punta Cana and they are usually located in front of hotels such as Vista Sol, Paladium, Presidential Suites, NOW Larimar, Secrets Royal Beach, Melia Hotel, Barcelo Hotel, and TRS Turquesa.

There are two main bus stations in Punta Cana. The principal station is Parada Sitrabapu located in Avenida Estados Unidos and this is where buses depart. The second bus station is located in Boulevard Punta Cana and serves as a stopping point where more passengers are picked up by these same buses.

Public transportation such as Guaguas (local buses) are available but not recommended for tourists. Unfortunately, the bus system in Punta Cana is mediocre, bus stops are limited (bus stops are mostly in front of selected hotels), and bus schedules are rarely respected. In spite of the cons, riding the bus is generally safe, cost effective, but not recommended as a means to get around Punta Cana.

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Getting Around Punta Cana by Subway, Train, or Tramway

Punta Cana does not count with a subway service nor a train service that can be used to explore the area.

Getting Around Punta Cana by Taxi or On Demand Apps

Riding a taxi in Punta Cana is the most expensive way to get around, prices go from $10 to $80 and expect to pay an extra $10 to $20 more after dark. Taxis do not count with meters in Punta Cana. This means you will need to negotiate the fare with the driver before boarding.

Taxis should be your last resort as a mean of transportation due to its high cost.

On demand apps such as Uber, Lyft, Cabify, etc. are not available in Punta Cana.

Getting Around Punta Cana by Bike

CuleBike offers professional mountain bike rental for only $20 per day. This includes the delivery and pickup of the bike and helmet to your hotel.

Scooters & Motorcycles Punta Cana offer the best deal in their motorcycles and scooters line up, price starts at $20.

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Getting Around Punta Cana, Other Transportation Means

Motoconchos (motorcycle taxis) are the most popular from of transportation in Punta Cana, you can find them literally anywhere offering cheap rates for short distance trips. Ride costs start at $2.

Bear in mind, safety is a concern when using this means of transport. Ride at your own risk as most of these motorcycle taxis offer no helmets to passengers and tend not to follow traffic rules.

The Frugal Option to Move Around Punta Cana

Punta Cana is comprised of beaches and hotels along coasts. The most cost-effective way to get around Punta Cana is by renting a bicycle or scooter.

While Motoconchos are also available at very low costs, the safety concerns make them an option we would not recommend.

Are Rideshare & TaxiApps Readily Available In Punta Cana?

Available On-Demand Providers

No known on-demand providers available in this area

Not Available Options

  1. cabify

  2. uber

  3. lyft

  4. grab

  5. freenow

  6. gojek

  7. didi

  8. bolt

Are Rideshare & TaxiApps Readily Available In This Resort?

On Demand services (like Uber, Cabify, Lyft, etc.), Ride Share services, and Taxi Apps are not available in Punta Cana.

Car Rental Options

Renting a car and motorcycle in Punta Cana is relatively easy. The required age is 21 years old and a valid driver’s license from the country of origin. An International Driving Permit is required if the driver’s license is not written in Roman Alphabet. You can either pay it upfront by cash or credit card and you do not need to leave a copy of your passport.

Avis, Sixth, Budget Rent A Car, Prestige Rent A Car, and Alamo are some of the car rental companies you may check when considering renting a car. The price of a regular sedan for rent starts at $20 daily.

Consider renting a car only if you want to get out of Punta Cana and explore the nearby towns. Driving a car in Punta Cana is not recommended as the traffic is on constant gridlock.

Day Trips Around Dominican Republic

Saona Island

Saona Island is located at the southern coast of Dominican Republic and 1 and a half hour away from Punta Cana. Famous for housing some of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic, crystal clear water, and natural pools, Saona Island was featured to many tropical paradise advertisements and Hollywood movies; like The Blue Lagoon and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Saona Island is 1 and a half hours away from Punta Cana and the best way to reach this is by booking a tour. For $110 per person, Punta Cana Tours offers a group tour (10 people per group) of the island with complimentary food and beverages. If you wish a more intimate tour, they also offer an exclusive tour for a minimum of 2 persons for $170 per person. This package includes an open bar, snorkeling gears, buffet lunch and dinner, and a private tour of the island. Both packages include the entrance fee to the island and a door to door transportation.

From Punta Cana, you can reach Saona Island by boarding the bus from Bavaro Express Bus Station going to Santo Domingo and inform the conductor to drop you off La Romana Bus Station for $4 per person. You will have to take cab for $40 for 3 passengers to reach Bayahibe, a resort town and gate way to Saona Island.

The fastest way to reach Saona Island from Punta Cana by car is by heading west towards Boulevard Punta Cana and Turistico del Este, taking the exit onto Autopista del Coral. Continue onto Carr Benerito until Avenue La Laguna enroute Bayahibe town center. It takes 1 hour to reach Bayahibe from Punta Cana and you will have to purchase tour packages to reach Saona Island. There are many locals peddling tour packages to tourists going to the island and you can shop and haggle a better deal. The price of a regular tour in Saona Island starts at $70.

Altos de Chavon

Altos de Chavon is one of the most popular attractions in Dominican Republic. A replica of a Mediterranean village, perfectly located atop the Chavon River which offer a charming and romantic medieval feel.

You can reach Altos de Chavon via bus at Bavaro Express Bus Station. Board the bus going to Sto. Domingo and inform the conductor to drop you off La Romana Bus Station. From Punta Cana to La Romana, the price of the ticket cost $4 per person. Buses depart going to Santo Domingo every 6am, 8:20am, 10:50am, 1:20pm, 3:50pm and 6:20pm. Once you arrive in La Romana Bus Station, it is best to take a cab for $20 for 3 passengers from La Romana Bus Station going to Altos de Chavon since there is no direct access by bus. One-way trip to Altos de Chavon takes 1 to 2 hours via public transportation.

If you want to save time, you may hail a cab for $150 from Punta Cana to Altos de Chavon. It takes only 1 hour to reach your destination. If you are driving a car from downtown Punta Cana, head west to Boulevard Punta Cana and Autopista del Coral en route to La Romana. Turn left towards the runabout and keep right to Avenue Rey Juan Carlos until you reach Altos de Chavon.

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Basilica de la Altagracia

Basilica de la Altagracia is a minor basilica and cathedral dedicated to Our Lady of Altagracia, patroness of the nation. It is one of the famous cathedrals in Dominican Republic and the famous for its symbolic architecture and for housing a beautiful Madonna painting called “Our Lady of Altagracia”.

Basilica de la Altagracia is 1 hour away from Punta Cana by car. Head west to Boulevard Punta Cana and take the 2nd exit onto Autopista del Coral. Take the exit toward Avenue Altagracia and keep right until Banco de Ahorro y Crédito Adopem. Turn left at Departamento de Bomberos and you will reach the your desitination.

If you are on a budget, take the bus from Punta Cana bus station for $2 per person each way going to Basilica de la Altagracia in Higuey. Inform the driver to drop you off the Basilica de la Altagracia, the bus stop is located in front of the basilica. Alternatively, you may hail a cab from Punta Cana going to Basilica de la Altagracia for $30 each way for 3 passengers.

ChocoMuseo Punta Cana

Chocomuseo (Chocolate Museum) offers a true taste Dominican flavors and the opportunity to learn more about the native cocoa beans and chocolate production process. The entrance to the museum is free but joining the workshop cost $15 per participant.

It takes 15 minutes to reach Chocomuseo from downtown Punta Cana, you may take a cab for $10 for 3 passengers. For large parties, a private bus for up to 16 passenger cost $22 (each way) booked through Mozio with its local partner, My Transfers. By car, head southwest via Boulevard Punta Cana and turn left on Cana Residence. Turn right at Punta Cana Inmobiliaria onto Avenue Barcelo, Chocomuseo will be on your left side.

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