Fine white sand, crystal clear turquoise waters, warm and by the Caribbean Sea, and real jungles filled with coconuts. Something like paradise where there is nothing else to do but relax in a chair and where you will immediately forget all your everyday problems. There is little more I can say about the beaches of Punta Cana, today, we all know more or less what it is about, we all know the ¨theory¨ thanks to so many brochures and advertising in the windows of travel agencies, but the fact is that everyone who goes will want to repeat their trip and it must be for a reason ...
It's almost necessary to combine the excursion to Saona Island from Punta Cana with the Altos de Chavon. Once at the coast, we boarded a speedboat to take us to see starfish on a shoal and then we got to Isla Saona, a really beautiful place. It's inhabited only by fishermen who offered us a grilled lobster, fish and meat apart from the usual Brugal brand rum. The trip back is made in catamarans, dancing bachata to the rhythm of the sea.
The Basilica of Our Lady of High Grace, patroness of the Dominican people, was built in the city center to replace an old 1572 sanctuary - it was completed in 1971. The French architects were A. Dunover de Segonazc and Pierre Dupré. We saw a beautiful picture of the Virgin and Child whose painting is Spanish school and dates from the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The frame that holds the image is a true work of art in gold and with precious stones of the eighteenth century. On a table near the altar there were plenty of candles for gratitude, for graces received or for new pleas. The structure of the church is a Latin cross, the door is gold plated brass and it has a bell tower with 45 bronze bells. I preferred the more humble and simple construction of the Church of San Dionisio, because to me the appearance of the Basilica does not seem consistent with the image of the Virgin which is kept inside, and it's so old. A wide avenue links the former with the Basilica Sanctuary. We returned to Hotel Riu Palace Macao, said goodbye to the driver and thanked him for the deference he had had for us.
Airport straw! On my last journey around the Caribbean I had the opportunity to use the small airport of Punta Cana and I say small because, in my opinion, it was very small. Just land the plane and go down the basement stairs, walk and you get to the airport itself, where you enter they take a photo of you with Caribbean girls and then try to sell to you when you leave the country on your last day. The feeling is basically of heat and exhaustion, because the humidity is very high and as said earlier straw appears (the roof is thatched and has some ceiling fans). Although you have to bring a passport you prepare a sheet of paper on the plane with your personal data and pay the $10 entry, that's where they put the entry stamp. You return again, fill out another paper and pay another $20, and they put the exit stamp in your passport. I must admit that this airport is so small that it has almost no shops, there were two: one with beloved Dominican products such as a bottle of Brugal rum (in any area of Punta Cana it costs $10 here they charge $21, so you see the difference twice!) and the other store sold international products such as very cheap snuff, perfumes, etc. There was also a store with food, another of Lacoste products, other pictures, and the $5 photo that was taken the day you came into the country.
A beach worth visiting! Macao Beach is situated in the north of Punta Cana, part of the Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic. This beach is the fourth in the tourist area of Punta Cana (before one can find Playa de Arena Gorda, Playa Bavaro Beach and Ibero Alto), ending up precisely with the beach of El Cortecito. Like the rest of the beaches of Punta Cana it has fine white sand with a very active sea that transforms into different tones of green, completely surrounded by palm trees. A beach worth visiting ... The beach is about 17 kilometers from the city of Higüei, belonging to La Altagracia, a province of the Dominican Republic. Tt was named one of the best Caribbean beaches in the world by UNESCO.
Claims to be the first Blue Flag beach in the Caribbean. The truth is that it is a magnificent beach, located near Bayahíbe, on which you can do all kinds of water sports and sailing and diving and snorkeling, because in this area there is a coral reef. Its calm and crystal clear turquoise waters are washed by the Caribbean Sea. The sand is white and fine, and, as in many other beaches in the country, the coastline is crossed by palm and coconut trees. It is surrounded by hotels and resorts.
A very nice hotel that is very luxurious and has all types of activities and amenities from big pools that give a feeling of splendor and huge stores with the best brands in the market. The inside is decorated nicely with donations from American artists and artists of other nationalities. There is a lot to see.
Bayahibe is a small town of about 3,000 inhabitants located in the province of La Altagracia, about 25 km from La Romana Higuey...you go down the road and take the turn headed south. It is a coastal fishing town which in recent years has been boosted by tourism. Its beautiful coves and beaches are washed by the Caribbean Sea. From the small jetty, you can take excursions out to the islands.
The beach of Cabeza de Toro is known as the birthplace of the sun. The sand is white and the water is almost always crystal clear. I say "almost" because, like almost all the beaches in the area, the currents are sometimes filled with algae and the water doesn't have that bright blue as it does further south. Most hotels try to clean the beaches in the morning. Best part of the beach (in addition to its warm waters) are the numerous coconut trees where you can relax in the shade. Cabeza de Toro Beach, is named for its shape and is between the beaches of El Cortecito and Cape Deceits, with Punta Cana and Juanillo at the other end. It's not so crowded so you can definitely relax.
This beach is where Punta Cana begins! The beach of Arena Gorda is located in the north of Punta Cana, a part of the Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic. The beach is the first stop along the famous tourist resort of Punta Cana and continues along Playa Bavaro, Playa Ibero Alto, Playa Punta Cana Macao and El Cortecito beach. Like most of the beaches of Punta Cana, it has fine white sand and a turquoise sea with blue or green tones. I thought that the sea would be calm but it has quite a lot of waves. There are various 4 and 5 star resorts in this area, including the Riu or Iberostar chains, among others. You can also find the famous clubs, Pacha and Mangu.
The best market to shop! The market on Bavaro Beach is one of the most traditional ones on the Caribbean island of Punta Cana, I think anyone ve has been here has been to it, and those ve have gone out of the blue market left because they already knew it was there ... The group of friends we made decided to go on the second to last day of our visit to buy gifts for the family. To get there, you have to go across the entire beach and it depends on where you are staying, you may need to go by many beaches to reach Playa Bávaro, in our case we went by Arena Gorda beach past all the Riu complex Iberostar complex and all, being on the left side of our complex, but others had to do the reverse Beach Ubero traversed to reach the market Alto. It is said to be more specifically the Bavaro Beach Flea Market is located just past the Iberostar Bavaro and can be seen from the hotel's beach. It is very interesting and worth seeing as the market is full of stalls to buy any souvenir you can think of, from magnets, boxes, snuff, masks, etc. Ah! And do not forget to haggle ... Besides you nicest thing is that it is on the beach, which in our case as the girls continued to buy the kids we were not to go bathing so hot lol ... You know if you go to any complex Punta Cana not forget to go to the best shopping on the island ... because I also remember that shops or stalls that you see in your complex will always be more expensive than any in this market.
This National Park is a protected natural environment of 42.000 acres, situated at the southeast end of the island. It has two areas, one peninsular is formed by a coral rock (where you can find the [poi = 109961] Palmilla beach) [/ poi]), and one island (which includes Catalina and Isla Saona Island), is separated by the [poi = 109977] Catuano Channel [/ poi]. It is home to 112 different species of birds (some endemic to the country and the Caribbean Sea), manatees (endangered mammals) and sea turtles. The vegetation consists of mangrove trees (beware of gnats). Almost all tourists visiting this park take part in an excursion to Isla Saona or Catalina Island, two islands that are part of this peninsular. They are uninhabited so their main attraction is the wonderful beaches, although due to all the tourist development, they are not as "pristine" and they used to be. There are also some small markets, areas with sunbeds and beach bars where you can eat. The boats and catamarans depart from [poi = 110002] Bayahíbe [/ poi]. The peninsular area is also interesting, there are several visitor centers and hiking trails.
To reach this beach was like arriving to paradise. Although it is in the Atlantic the color is a deep turquoise blue, clear , the water is warm and there are small waves and soft white sand . Thousands of chairs under palm trees. There is a fantastic climate and splendid sun, accompanied by a breeze. The beaches of Punta Cana were declared World Heritage Site by UNESCo in the year 1990. The Cortecito Beach is one of the many beaches in the tourist area of , and I noticed that the term "Punta Cana" does not refer to any city or town, but simply a tourist area with one beachfront after another, and many resorts (almost all of 4 or 5 stars in all inclusive). The name of the area is given by the Cape of Punta Cana. Since there are 50 km of beaches, they are given different names: Playa de Arena Gorda, Playa Bavaro, Playa Ubero Alto, Playa Macao, Playa El Cortecito, Cabeza de Toro, Cabo del Deceit Beach, Punta Cana and Juanillo. The beaches are not private, they are public. In the Playa El Cortecito lies the hotel where we were staying: Palladium Palace. On the beach there were activities (assorted games, aerobics, salsa lessons, beach volleyball, etc.) as well as the possibility of practicing water sports (those without motor were free) and diving (there is a Diving Center). There is also room for purchases: At about 300 meters walk along the beach is the Plaza El Cortecito, with multiple local delis crafts and souvenirs.
I smoked a true Dominican cigar! After our tour of the Dominican land excursions we went to see the cultivation fields of tabacco and the steps to make it. Best of all was the smell of dry tobacco, when they leave all the dry leaves and put them together to make the real Dominican cigar. The twister is the person ve is making the tobacco, while another one of our guides told us step by step was the the most important things to consider in the creation of cigars. To finish off we got to the end we got to try out the Dominican cigar flavor, as well as go to a shop where we could buy them.
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On a trip we took from the Hotel Riu Palace Macao , we took a taxi and the driver, a Dominican, in a neighborhood that was filled with very humble but very friendly people. We stopped for a while and the lady invited us to a fruit juice in the area and even danced a traditional dance for us, and then take us to go to the church, a temple that was very simple and old that was constructed between the year 1569 and 1572. The church has a nave with a transept, and a polygonal apse vault whose arcs are subject pipes and buttresses are slanting as they did in the 15th century. Here the Virgin of La Alta Gracia is still venerated but the original picture is in the Basilica of the Alta Gracia.
Much more expensive than Higüei! Like all Dominican hotels in a complex with at least two hotels, this one has a Caribbean Street, basically a shopping area open to everyone in the complex. In the case of RIU hotels, the Caribbean street was very close to Riu Bambu and Riu Taino, the road was paved and led directly to the beach. There was a photo developing shop, pharmacy, jewelry, souvenirs, tobacco shops, paintings stores, etc ... Remember that `prices in the shops in the Caribbean Street were much higher than those in the stores or at the market in Higüei Bavaro Beach.