When it comes to planning a tropical holiday, Punta Cana is often one of the first places that comes to mind. Located on the corner of the Yucatan, where the Caribbean Sea meets the Gulf of Mexico, Punta Cana is renowned for its white sand beaches, coconut palms, crystal-clear waters and lush coral reefs. But is it an affordable destination?
The answer is yes! While Punta Cana is not the cheapest place to go on holiday in the Dominican Republic, it is still one of the most affordable holiday destinations in the Caribbean. Prices for accommodation vary depending on the type of resort you choose. For example, the luxurious 260-room Le Blanc Spa Resort is one of the best (and most expensive) all-inclusive adults-only resorts in town. On the other hand, there are plenty of cheaper options such as Hostal Mayapan.
When it comes to beaches and scenery, both Cancun and Punta Cana don't disappoint. Cancun boasts warm, clear, turquoise waters and a wide stretch of white sand along its Hotel Zone coastline. 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.
Punta Cana also offers plenty of opportunities for kayaking, windsurfing, snorkelling and other non-motorised sports, depending on the all-inclusive resort. 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. Bavaro Beach, packed with sun-seekers and party-goers, is the most famous beach in the Punta Cana area.
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.
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.
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 during March and April. However, there are plenty of other venues that cater to a more mature crowd.
In conclusion, Punta Cana is an affordable holiday destination with plenty to offer in terms of beaches and scenery as well as activities such as kayaking, windsurfing and snorkelling. It also has a vibrant nightlife scene with venues catering to all ages.