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- 08 Dec 2021, 3 nights
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With the rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the calm Caribbean Sea on the other, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is a haven for water sports lovers. Surfers can skim over the glittering turquoise waters of the northern beaches, while snorkelers and divers can explore coral reefs teeming with tropical fish. This region has about 50km of white sandy coastline trimmed with coconut trees, as well as subtropical forests and freshwater lagoons.
Punta Cana hostels take their relaxed vibe very seriously. Some are surrounded by lush papaya and banana groves, while others are just a five-minute stroll from the beach. At some hostels in Punta Cana, you can cook your meal in an outdoor kitchen surrounded by shady trees, or wander down to an onsite bar. You'll also be able to find hostels that have pools, private beaches and private rooms equipped with TVs and cooling air con.
The Punta Cana coastline is divided into 10 different beaches. The Bávaro beach resort includes Playa El Cortecito and Los Corales. Here, you can grab a snorkel to see shoals of tropical fish darting through the water, or if you prefer something less energetic, just bask on the sand and top up your tan. If you're there till later, the town itself has many lively bars and international eateries to choose from. For a popular surfing spot, head north to Macao Beach. The quiet and secluded stretches are more to the south; here, you can take a drive to the secluded Playa Cabo Engaño, or to the long and pristine Playa Juanillo.
It's easy to fill up your Punta Cana itinerary with water-based activities, as almost every beach has a diving school or sports centre offering surfing, paddle-boarding and snorkelling gear for hire. Venture off for a walk amongst nature by visiting the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve. It covers 1,500 acres of subtropical rainforest and has 12 freshwater lagoons, five of which you can swim in. Or, for more of a thrill, dive right into the eight-metre-deep Guamá Lagoon from a platform.
Punta Cana International Airport receives flights from all over the world, and it's a mere 20-minute drive from Bávaro. You can take a taxi or hop on a Guaguas from just outside arrivals. While these minibuses are easy to find in Punta Cana, they tend to stop at every hotel in the area, so leave about an hour if you're travelling from Bávaro to the airport.