Things to do for FREE in Punta Cana
Your visit to Punta Cana does not have to be expensive, as there are plenty of activities and things to do for free in Bavaro and the surrounding area. While your experience at one of the beautiful beaches in Punta Cana is obviously free, there are further options which are completely free.
In addition to that you will have the opportunity to interact with the locals who are super friendly and will always be willing to show you their culture and territory.
TAKE A STROLL ALONG THE BEACHES
Punta Cana is not just a random Caribbean beach, Punta Cana is an entire area with plenty of beaches. Some of them are as long as 12 miles and allow for endless walks along the beach. It doesn’t matter if you stay in Bavaro, Arena Gorda, Cabeza de Toro, Macao or Uvero Alto, there is always a beautiful beach close-by, with miles of fine sand and swaying palm tres and the best part they are totally free!
INSTAGRAMMABLE PLACES IN PUNTA CANA
Once you are walking along the beach in Punta Cana, you will encounter plenty of unique settings for beautiful and memorable photos. Depending on where you are located and where you go, we suggest the following stunning photo opportunities.
Pristine coconut palm grove northwest of Cabeza de Toro
Pristine beach section between Macao and Hard Rock Hotel at Playa Arena Gorda
Deeply swaying palm trees between the beaches of El Cortecito and Playa Arena Gorda
Jetty at Playa Juanillo
The marina of Cap Cana
The most turquoise water and white sand at Playa Blanca.
Eroded rock formations and crashing waves at Cabo Engaño
VISIT HIGUEY AND CATHEDRAL
Punta Cana has remarkable neighboring towns and one of them is Higuey. This town with a population of 150 thousand people is famous for its pleasant atmosphere and a cathedral. The main attraction of Higuey is the Cathedral of Nuestra Señora de La Altagracia, which was built in 1971. Among other attractions of the town is the altar of the old cathedral decorated with gold leaf. Every part of this place is seemingly filled with antique history.
After the cathedral, you can take a rest in the beautiful natural park, called La Encantada Ecological Park. There you will see a lot of green trees and flowers blooming. These skies of blue and clouds of white will make your bright blessed day very unforgettable.
A DAY TRIP TO MACAO BEACH
Macao Beach is one of the locals’ favorites and features some decent waves, stunning scenery and a lot of small vendors selling fresh fish, cold beer and random snacks. If you take a short 15-minute trail from the eastern end of Macao Beach, you can also reach the small secret beach “Playa Escondida”.
Depending on where you are staying, Macao Beach should be a maximum of 30 minutes away from your accommodation and is reachable by Punta Cana rental car, taxi or public transport.
VISIT PRISTINE PLAYA ESMERALDA
This stretch, approximately one hour driving away from Punta Cana, is called Playa Esmeralda and is one of the most pristine beaches in the entire Dominican Republic. It is a gorgeous stretch of beach, something you expect in paradise when you get stranded on a beach with absolutely no infrastructure.
Playa Esmeralda can be perfectly combined with a visit to neighboring Montaña Redonda, the entrance to this place has a cost but you do not want to miss the views that this splendid place offers.
SALTO DE LA JALDA AND OTHER WATERFALLS IN THE CARIBBEAN
It is hard to believe that such a significant landmark like the highest waterfall in the Caribbean can be visited for free and without any other tourists as it is totally off-the-beaten-track. Salto de la Jalda requires a 2-hour drive from Punta Cana and a 3-hour hour hike (one-way) which is probably the reason why hardly anyone visits this hidden gem. However, it is absolutely worth it and if you are looking for an adventure and one of the most spectacular things to do for free in Punta Cana, Salto de la Jalda is your place to go.
If you think that Salto de la Jalada seems to be a bit eccentric for you, there are other options. Cascada Blanca is the closest non-artificial waterfall to Punta Cana and impresses with a roaring wall and cold natural swimming pools. While visiting Cascada Blanca is totally free, other waterfalls might charge a small nominal fee of 1-2 USD. However, the advantage of waterfalls like Salto Socoa, Salto de Yanigua and Salto Alto de la Bayaguana (all reachable from Punta Cana in less than three hours) is that they are easily accessible and don’t require a strenuous hike.
BLUEMALL PUNTA CANA
If you are more of a shopping person, discover the biggest and most modern mall in all Punta Cana with the best international brands and the best gastronomical experience.
BlueMall Puntacana also has an attractive calendar of events and activities for the whole family to enjoy, an outdoor amphitheater with a capacity for more than three thousand people, a golf spot, a batting machine and a children's playground.
ZONA COLONIAL, SANTO DOMINGO
In 1990, the UNESCO declared it World Heritage Site, appraising it as one of the most beautiful old towns in the Caribbean.
Founded by Bartolomé Columbus in 1496, the city of Santo Domingo was almost completely built during the 16th century.
Going through the gorgeous streets of the Colonial area, you’ll discover buildings from the early years of the 1500s, such as the Alcázar de Colón Fortress, the Primada Cathedral or the Ozama Fortress, among many others.
The main streets composing its valued heritage are El Conde, Las Damas and Las Mercedes.
An interesting tour around the area can be done by entering the city via The Count’s Gate that access to a pedestrian street with the same name located in front of the Independence Park and which passes through the area until reaching the Ozama river. Along its bank there are located a large number of Colonial buildings that were witnesses of the resurgence of the city and how it was progressively expanded inwards. Needless to say, you can only visit these remarkable constructions prior payment of the corresponding ticket.
ALTOS DE CHAVÓN
This option may not be free, but without a doubt, it is a place that you should definitely visit.
Being one of the most iconic places in the Dominican Republic and one of the main places for wedding celebrations, Altos de Chavón is an unmissable place.
Visit Altos de Chavón, the copy of a 16th century European village with its cobbled streets and buildings in coralline and terracotta stones blocks.
The Iglesia de San Estanislao Church is located in the main square of Altos de Chavón, and it is one of the most photographed monuments in the complex. Despite its old looking it was built in 1979, and nowadays it is the place where numerous national and international couples get married.
On its interior are the ashes of the patron saint of Polonia, San Estanislao, and a handmade carve statue of Krakow the Pope John II sent to honor the opening of the church.
It is located close to Casa de Campo which has three golf courses (Teeth of the Dog, Dye Fore and Los Links) and a magnificent coast, where you’ll be able to visit Catalina Island or enjoy Playa Minitas. You can also visit the prestigious Casa de Campo Marina just 4 Km far from there.
Punta Cana offers you many activities and places where it is not necessary to spend large amounts of money and you will always have a good time.
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By Veronica Rodriguez