Punta Cana is not the cheapest place to go on holiday in the Dominican Republic, as it is one of the most expensive places in the country. However, Punta Cana is still one of the cheapest holiday destinations in the Caribbean, so it's worth taking a look at the prices in Punta Cana. See recent posts by Lilly LeClair When it comes to beaches and scenery, both places don't disappoint. Situated on the corner of the Yucatan, where the Caribbean Sea meets the Gulf of Mexico, Cancun boasts warm, clear, turquoise waters, the kind people often fantasise about when planning a tropical holiday.
The Hotel Zone's coastline offers plenty of white sand and pleasant water, allowing for water sports, sunbathing, swimming and long walks along the shore. In addition, the sand is likely to be manicured (i.e. free of algae) and you are likely to be close to a bar and a bathroom. The best diving in the Hotel Zone is towards the southern end.
The more unruly spring groups tend to hang around the pools (and pool bars). Like Cancun, Punta Cana, replete with white sand, coconut palms, crystal-clear waters and lush coral reefs, offers ample opportunities for kayaking, windsurfing, snorkelling and other non-motorised sports, depending on the all-inclusive resort. If seaweed accumulates overnight, many resorts have rakers remove it in the morning to keep the environment pristine. However, the coastline varies by location; some areas of the sea are rougher than others, and some resorts have a narrower stretch of sand that can be crowded.
The latter resorts also tend to rush in the mornings to reserve one of the somewhat rickety plastic chairs. Other establishments, such as the Iberostar Grand Bavaro hotel, have wide, uncrowded stretches of sand dotted with shaded palapas. Bavaro Beach, packed with sun-seekers and party-goers, is the most famous beach in the Punta Cana area. The soft white sand, towering palm trees and endless ocean views beckon, though be warned that the surf here is rougher than what you'll find in the D, R.
Prices for the Iberostar Grand Bavaro Cancun, once part of the ancient Mayan civilisation, is considered the gateway to The Mayan World, so there are plenty of options for day trips that can be arranged with tour groups. Popular day trips include Isla Mujeres (located eight miles offshore), Cozumel (an hour's drive plus a ferry ride) and sacred Chichen Itza (located two hours to the west). There's also a small cluster of Mayan buildings in downtown Cancun. Cancun also has better shopping options, with upscale malls such as La Isla and Luxury Avenue.
Two hours south of Cancún is modern Tulum, where centuries-old temples line the coastline. The Caribbean Sea offers coral reefs for snorkelling and scuba diving, including the island of Cozumel, and cenotes, a large sinkhole filled with fresh water and fish. Children can play with spider monkeys at The Jungle Place sanctuary. For more inspiration on what to do in and around the area, check out our reports on the best excursions in Cancun, as well as the most unexpected day trips from Cancun.
Both Cancun and Punta Cana consist largely of all-inclusive environments. In Cancun, many all-inclusive resorts include breakfast and lunch buffets, so most local restaurants serve lunch from 2 p.m. and keep their doors open until midnight for dinner. For those who like to venture out, various types of cuisine can be found in and around the Hotel Zone, but there are only a few beachfront restaurants.
Instead, those who want to dine with a breathtaking view can dine at the beachfront restaurants overlooking the Nichupte Lagoon, which also serve beautiful sunsets. Downtown Cancun is just a taxi ride away and features a variety of Mexican, fresh seafood and international cuisine restaurants. And when it comes to nightlife, many might imagine beer drinking, foam parties and wet T-shirt contests - after all, this is and has been a popular spring break destination. If the thought of this gives you the creeps, it might be best not to visit the destination during March and April.
However, the party spots have a steady year-round crowd, with ages ranging from 18 (the legal drinking age in Mexico) to 50+. In addition, nightclubs often sell open bar wristbands, which allow you to pay a fee to enter and drink all night; bottle service is also sometimes encouraged. Cancun also offers bar hopping tours, where you visit several nightclubs in one night. For a full list of the best nightlife venues, see our article on the best nightclubs and bars in Cancun, where we highlight places such as Coco Bongo, Mandala, Senor Frogs and many more.
Quintana Roo, which includes Cancun, has a level 2 warning from the U.S. This means travellers should exercise extra caution. The warning states that "Although most of these homicides appeared to be targeted, killings by criminal organisations and turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crimes in areas frequented by US citizens". Cancun's growth began to explode in the late 1960s, when the Mexican government realised the city's potential and unveiled plans for tourism development.
The Hotel Zone (with more than 100 hotels, it's where most people stay) is a 14-mile long strip of sand shaped like the number seven. It has a lagoon on one side and the sea on the other. Prices tend to be mid-range, although it won't be hard to find everything from cheap hostels, such as Hostal Mayapan, to luxury resorts, such as Le Blanc Spa Resort. Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa prices The luxurious 260-room Le Blanc Spa Resort is the best (and most expensive) all-inclusive adults-only resort in town.
It stands out for its magnificent white-sand beach in the heart of the Hotel Zone, its decadent spa (guests have complimentary access to the hydrotherapy area), its stunning pools (two with swim-up bars) and, above all, its pampering service, from the butlers who unpack your clothes to the pool attendants who provide fresh eye towels. There's a gorgeous modern aesthetic throughout the property, pristine white, and the bright, modern rooms have two-person whirlpool tubs; most have ocean or lagoon views. Le Blanc Spa Resort Cancun Pricing The oldest of the four resorts that make up the 2,000-plus-room Grand Palladium megaresort in Bavaro, the exclusive 537-room Palladium Punta Cana is also the most affordable, attracting an active, partying crowd of young adults, mostly North Americans. All rooms have a large whirlpool tub, and the main attractions are the clean white sand beach, access to four free-form pools and eight reservation-free restaurants.
All products are independently selected by our writers and editors. If you buy something through our links, Oyster can earn an affiliate commission. As mentioned above, Punta Cana is a destination where most visitors stay at their all-inclusive resort and that applies to all meals as well. Punta Cana was nothing more than a few sparsely populated fishing villages (and no road access) until five American investors saw its potential and bought the 30 square kilometres of land in 1969.If there were a popularity contest for sunny holiday spots offering a seemingly endless number of all-inclusive resorts to choose from, Cancun in Mexico and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic would certainly be at the top of the list.
Those looking for a more intimate boutique property can stay at the Tortuga Bay, a 30-room hotel that was designed by Oscar de la Renta and offers incredible service, including preferential treatment at Punta Cana's international airport. The oldest of the four resorts that make up the 2,000-plus room Grand Palladium Bavaro megaresort, the 537-room luxury Palladium Punta Cana is also the most affordable, attracting an active, partying crowd of young adults, mostly North Americans. The international airport opened in 1984 and since then Punta Cana has introduced more than 100 all-inclusive resorts. It should be noted that Punta Cana International Airport was the first privately owned international airport in the world (owned by Frank Rainieri), and receives some six million arrivals per year.
Punta Cana is located on the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic, next to the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Punta Cana has no historic centre or ancient ruins, so most visitors choose to stay at their resort. They partnered with a local businessman, Frank Rainieri, and travelled to France to convince Club Med to open Punta Cana's first resort in 1978.