Soft, white sand between your toes, the gentle sound of swaying palm trees floating through the tropical air and the ENTICING turquoise waters inviting you to dive in. You know when someone says ‘Go to your happy place‘ well…I close my eyes and imagine my trip to Punta Cana. 

This Caribbean paradise, nestled in the heart of the Dominican Republic, is like a siren calling luxury sunseekers and adventure lovers promising an unforgettable escape. Whether you want to marvel at the incredible underwater world or drink pina coladas on the beach all day long, Punta Cana has it all.

But finding the perfect spot to lay your hat can seem like a daunting quest; each area offers its own slice of this Caribbean dream. The choice can overwhelm even the most seasoned traveller.

Fear not, I’ve had the extremely tough task of venturing through the palm-shaded nooks and glorious shores of Punta Cana to bring you a treasure map of the best stays. Whether you’re after the ultimate luxury experience, budget-friendly travel, or family favourites, this guide is your compass to navigating where to stay in Punta Cana.

So… onward we push fellow globe trotter. 

Harv and Dani at the beach with palm trees in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Yes, our smiles were this big our whole trip.
Photo: @harveypike_

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Where Is the Best Place to Stay in Punta Cana?

Travelling in the Dominican Republic isn’t complete without visiting Punta Cana. The tropical beaches, enticing turquoise water and vibrant Caribbean culture will have you hooked from the moment you arrive.  It’s no surprise that the Dominican Republic is one of the top islands in the Caribbean

In this guide, I’m going to dive into the best areas to stay depending on your style and budget. But, If you are short on time, here are my top picks for the best Punta Cana hotels, hostels and Airbnbs.

Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa – Adults Only | Best Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana

Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa - Adults Only

This fantastical beachfront, adults-only, all-inclusive resort will quite literally, take your breath away. (see what I did there)

Spend the day relaxing at the spa or grab some popcorn and head to the on-site movie theatre. Or, if you’re feeling lucky, place your beats at the resort’s casino.

The hardest thing about staying at Breathless All-Inclusive Resort Punta Cana getting out of their lazy river or leaving!

Princess Family Club Bavaro – All Inclusive | Best Hotel in Punta Cana

Princess Family Club Bavaro All Inclusive, Punta Cana 2

Where luxury meets adventure; escape to Princess Family Club’s all-inclusive resort.

Start your day by diving into one of the stunning swimming pools. Followed by the explosion of flavours with the choice of 10 on-site restaurants. Or you don’t even have to get out of bed, make the most of the room service and live like royalty.

After an action-packed day exploring the magical beaches on your doorstep, put the kids in the kid’s club and unwind in the spa. You deserve it. This all-inclusive resort is truly a slice of paradise the whole family can enjoy.

Gava Hostel | Best Hostel in Punta Cana

Gava Hostel, Punta Cana 2

Nestled among buzzing bars, five minutes from the magical beaches, paired with the chance to forge friendships with fellow travellers. What’s not to love?

Grab yourself a bed at Gava Hostel, that won’t break the bank, in the heart of the action. Plus, they offer heaps of different tours that will take you to INSANE spots like Saona Island and Santo Domingo. It’s the perfect spot if you’re budget backpacking your way around town.

5 Star Beach-Front Condo | Best Apartment in Punta Cana

5 Stars romantic beach front condo with a jet tub, Punta Cana 2

Fancy a beachfront escape with a private, heated jet tub overlooking the enchanting ocean? Let me introduce you to this 5-start beachfront apartment; the perfect cocktail of romance and luxury.

Wake up to the sound of the waves crashing and the ocean breeze blessing your nostrils. Relax on your private balcony with your own heated jet tub. Pack your bags, your secluded oasis awaits.

Punta Cana Neighbourhood Guide – Best Places to Stay in Punta Cana

Punta Cana is not a huge city so deciding where you’re going to stay may seem like a simple task. However, some areas in the Dominican Republic are not safe for tourists to visit, so it’s a wise idea to know which neighbourhood you are going to set up base camp in before you arrive.

Let’s start with Cap Cana, which is super close to Punta Cana’s International Airport and full of amazing places to stay. If you have ever seen photos of the Dominican Republic, chances are they were of Cap Cana. With magical beaches and mouth-watering restaurants, this is hands down where to stay in Punta Cana if it’s your first time.

Gazing up at a palm tree, Punta Cana.
Palm tree gazing…(watch out for coconuts)
Photo: @harveypike_

If your heart yearns for soft white sand but your soul craves to explore the jungle, then Punta el Cortecito is where to stay in Punta Cana. It’s the ultimate basecamp for your Punta Cana adventures offering a slice of paradise at prices that keep your wallet happy. You’re not just staying here – you’re embarking on a budget-friendly adventure into this Caribbean wonderland.

Playa Bibijagua is the place where family memories are made that last a lifetime. Home to some of the best resorts in Punta Cana with kid clubs, magical beaches, and exhilarating water parks. Your days will be packed with fun under the Caribbean sun for all ages.

Cap Cana, Punta Cana 1

Cap Cana

Cap Cana is home to the majority of the largest and most popular resorts in Punta Cana. While many of the hotels have private beaches, there are also some exquisite public beaches in this area as well.

Punta el Cortecito, Punta Cana 1

Punta el Cortecito

With a handful of wonderful hostels, along with plenty of cheap apartments and hotels, Punta el Cortecito is certainly where to stay in Punta Cana if you are on a budget.

Playa Bibijagua, Punta Cana 1

Playa Bibijagua

Playa Bibijagua is a small beach community just down the coast from Punta el Cortecito. It’s where you will find Playa Bavaro, one of the most popular beaches in Punta Cana.

Puna Cana’s Three Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in

Now you have an idea of the best neighbourhoods in Punta Cana. Let’s look at each one in more detail, including recommendations for where to stay and what to do.

1. Cap Cana – Where to Stay in Punta Cana For Your First Visit

In the beating heart of Punta Cana, Cap Cana stands as the crown jewel. A perfectly blended cocktail of adventure and luxury, it’s home to some of the best luxury resorts with private beaches and dazzling villas in Punta Cana.

Yet it is the raw beauty of the turquoise waters and white sand that steal the show. Playa Juanillo Beach is a must-see; its enchanting views and inviting waves act as a beacon, enticing travellers to taste what it has to offer. Grab yourself some wheels, golf cart style. Spend your day exploring this magical coast, uncovering hidden gems and embracing your adventurous spirit.

Birdseye view Cap Cana beach, Punta Cana Dominican Republic.
Pelican took my camera. This is what he came back with.

As you venture into Cap Cana Marina, the scent from top-rated restaurants in Punta Cana will flood your nostrils with a fusion of delicious flavours. The fantastical array of boats awaiting another voyage will fill your soul with adventure.

If you are planning a boat trip, Cap Cana Marina is most likely where you will depart from. Another must-see is the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve; dive into the magnificent turquoise-coloured lagoons and capture that postcard-worthy pic.

Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa – Adults Only – All Inclusive | Best Adults-Only Hotel in Cap Cana

Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa - Adults Only - All Inclusive

Location, Location, location…Nestled in the heart of Punta Cana. Secrets Cap Cana all-inclusive resort offers an enchanting escape. Combining the raw beauty of a private beach, with the pinnacle of world-class luxury.

This adult-only paradise has it all. Enjoy a full body massage at the on-site spa, awe-inspiring ocean views and exhilarating water activities like windsurfing. Your slice of paradise wouldn’t be complete without a swim-up suite. Oh yes, that’s right, roll out of bed and into your very own private swimming pool.

Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana | Best Hotel in Cap Cana

Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana, Punta Cana

Tucked in the heart of Cap Cana, The Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana is your ticket to the good life. With breathtaking beaches on your doorstep, an exciting water park and a kids club, this hotel has everything you need (and more).

You’ll find everything from snug rooms, perfect for a romantic getaway to extravagant king suites that can sleep four people. Live like royalty and enjoy room service on your private balcony overlooking the magical tropical paradise. If that wasn’t enough float your boat, there’s a sauna to unwind, a lush garden, and a fitness centre.

5-Star Romantic Beach-Front Condo | Best Condo in Cap Cana

5 Stars romantic beach front condo with a jet tub, Punta Cana 1

Located inside a five-star luxury resort, this stunning two-bedroom condo has it all. For starters, it has a Caribbean-style interior design that is both modern and relaxed at the same time. With four beds, along with a sofa in the living room, it can comfortably sleep up to six people.

Additionally, it has a large terrace overlooking a golf course and the beach. It’s no surprise it’s one of the best places to stay in the Dominican Republic.

Villa Daniela Luxury Beach Club & Golf & Cap Cana | Best Luxury Apartment in Cap Cana

Villa Daniela Luxury Beach Club & Golf & Cap Cana

If you are looking to splash some cash and travel in style this luxury Balinese-style villa is nothing short of PERFECTION. Spend your days playing on their world-class golf course or relaxing with a full body scrub down at the on-site spa. This place truly has it all (and more).

This incredible luxury oasis sleeps up to 25 people so gather the troops and book this place out. If you split the cost you’ve got yourself a luxury villa for the price of a hostel. So invite ya Mum, ya Dad, Uncle Bob, the next door neighbour and everyone else you know… and get packing! The villa of dreams awaits.

Things to See and Do in Cap Cana:

Jetty off the beach Cap Cana, Punta Cana Dominican Republic.
  1. Head to the Cap Cana Marina and embark on a snorkelling and catamaran tour.
  2. Spend a day relaxing at one of the many luxury spas in the area.
  3. Take a day trip to Saona Island and explore the “Parque Nacional de Este.”
  4. Test your luck and see if you can win big at one of Punta Cana’s popular casinos.
  5. Hit the links and play a round of 18 at the Cocotal Golf and Country Club.
  6. Go caving, discover hidden underground swimming pools, and zip-line at Scape Park.
  7. Sling up your portable hammock and enjoy a coconut at Playa Juanillo Beach.
  8. Hire a boat for a day and try and catch yourself some dinner fishing.
Is This the Best Backpack EVER???
audy on top of a mountain in japan with the osprey aether

We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.

Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

View on Osprey View on REI

2. Punta el Cortecito – Where to Stay in Punta Cana on a Budget

View of the beach Punta el Cortecito, Punta Cana Dominican Republic.
Punta el Cortecito lookin’ damn fine!

With a handful of wonderful hostels, along with plenty of cheap apartments and hotels, Punta el Cortecito is certainly where to stay in the Dominican Republic if you are on a budget. Don’t let the prices trick you though, it’s still an incredible area full of fun things to do.

The most popular activities, like everywhere in Punta Cana, are water and beach-related. They include snorkelling, diving, windsurfing, and parasailing. Or, if you’re a nature lover, get your hiking boots and camera ready – you’re in for a treat.

Another great thing about Punta el Cortecito is its proximity to the jungle. A short drive away you can visit one of the most famous National parks in the Dominican Republic Los Haitises National Park.

TRS Turquesa Hotel | Best Hotel in Punta el Cortecito

TRS Turquesa Hotel

If you’re looking for a luxury oasis a stone’s throw away from the soft, white sand beaches this all-inclusive resort is a match made in heaven. Expect the royal treatment with the staff going above and beyond to make this trip unforgettable.

Make the most of this all-inclusive, adults-only resort and let those drinks flow! Then why not relax with a couples massage after a romantic stroll along the beach? Love birds I’m looking at you.

Gava Hostel | Best Hostel in Punta el Cortecito

Gava Hostel, Punta Cana 1

Gava Hostel is the highest-rated hostel in Punta Cana, and without a doubt the best place to stay if you are travelling on a budget. Home to dirt-cheap beds (that are far from dirty) in four-bed dorm rooms, they come at a great price.

Nestled in the heart of the action, only five minutes from the beach you’ll be in a perfect location to explore from. They have a fantastical common room to meet fellow globe trotters and craft new friendships.

Suite With Pool and Beach | Best Apartment in Punta el Cortecito

Suite with pool and beach, Punta Cana

This charming guesthouse is only 30 meters from the beach and is perfect for solo travellers and couples. It’s located in a quiet neighbourhood with a bunch of restaurants and bars within walking distance.

Outside it has a small garden ideal for eating breakfast and sipping on your morning coffee. In addition, there’s a private pool which is only available to guests. Doesn’t sound too shabby, huh?

Things to See and Do in Punta el Cortecito:

Pelican standing on beams from the water Punta el Cortecito, Punta Cana Dominican Republic.
“Quick boys…act natural”
  1. Go snorkelling or scuba diving exploring the vibrant coral reef with Ocean Adventures.
  2. Spend a day drinking and dancing at the Zoho Beach Club.
  3. Get a bird’s eye view of the coast while parasailing.
  4. Enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many prestigious restaurants in this area.
  5. Go for a wild night out on a Coco Bongo Nightclub Experience.
  6. Relax and work on your tan at Playa del Cortecito or Playa de Arena Blanca.

3. Playa Bibijagua – Where to Stay in Punta Cana for Families

Playa Bibijagua is a small beach community just down the coast from Punta el Cortecito. It’s where you will find Playa Bavaro, one of the most popular beaches in Punta Cana.

Playa Bavaro is a vast beach with calm, crystal-clear turquoise water. Furthermore, all along the beach, there are tons of restaurants and shops. This makes it the perfect beach for spending the whole day!

View of the beach Playa Bibijagua, with palm trees and boats Punta Cana Dominican Republic.

This area is packed with family fun activities such as waterparks, hotels with amazing kids clubs, adventure parks, and escape rooms. Bavaro Adventure Park in particular is an awesome place to visit because it has so many different things to do.

You can go zip-lining, paint-balling, rock climbing, ATVing, and more! If you are travelling as a family, this spectacular area is unquestionably where to stay in Punta Cana.

Princess Family Club Bavaro – All Inclusive | Best Hotel in Playa Bibijagua

Princess Family Club Bavaro All Inclusive, Punta Cana 1

If you are travelling with children, this awesome all-inclusive resort is where to stay in Punta Cana. It’s a beachfront luxury resort that has multiple swimming pools, a gym, a playground, and even a waterpark!

The rooms themselves are modern, spacious, and have large private terraces. They also have a family club where you can play darts, table tennis, and a wide range of other games. Or enjoy a day for yourself and make the most of dropping the kids at the kids club.

Buddha Lounge Apmt, 700m to the Beach | Best Apartment in Playa Bibijagua

Buddha Lounge 2 Apt Entire Jacuzzi 700m Beach, Punta Cana

This is a quiet and peaceful apartment ideal for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of crowded resorts in Punta Cana. It has a gorgeous tropical garden home to banana trees and a private hot tub.

Mere steps from the apartment, you’ll find incredible spots to go snorkelling and marvel at the magical underwater world. A stone’s throw from the stunning Caribbean beaches you won’t be short of action-packed adventures to get involved in.

Best Luxury Beach Front Space | Best Luxury Apartment in Playa Bibijagua

Best Luxury Beach Front Space in Punta Cana, Punta Cana

This giant luxury home is an unrivalled place to stay if you are travelling as a large group. It has four bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, and can sleep seven.

Additionally, its back door opens right onto the beach. As a guest here you will also have access to a stunning infinity pool, a hot tub, a ping pong table, and a bloody delicious restaurant. No complaints here!

Things to See and Do in Playa Bibijagua:

Couple walking towards the ocean at Playa Bibijagua, Punta Cana Dominican Republic.
*Do Not Disturb ON*
  1. Take a surfing lesson on Macao Beach.
  2. Spend a fun-filled beach day at Playa Bibijagua or Playa Bavaro.
  3. Zip down the thrilling waterslides at Pirates Island Water Park.
  4. Work together as a family and figure out how to escape from the Punta Cana Escape Room.
  5. Explore the ocean floor with “Scuba Doo” for a once-in-a-lifetime underwater adventure.
  6. Ride an ATV, paintball, rock climb, and more at Bavaro Adventure Park.
  7. Shop until you drop in downtown Punta Cana.
  8. Swim in incredible blue/green water in the lagoons at Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve.
Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

Hide Yo’ Money!

FAQs About Finding a Place to Stay in Punta Cana

Here’s what people usually ask me about the areas of Punta Cana and where to stay.

What To Pack For Punta Cana

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a Punta Cana stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

What is the best adults-only resort in Punta Cana?

TRS Turquesa Hotel Is the best adults-only, all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana. This kids-free paradise includes an on-site spa, tennis courts and a choice of swimming pools. It has everything you need to make your trip one to remember.

What hotels have the best private beaches in Punta Cana?

Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa – Adults Only – All Inclusive is unmatched. Experience the secluded pristine white sand and glorious turquoise water on your doorstep with this luxury all-inclusive resort. Plus the staff are amazing and will make your trip unforgettable.

Which hotels have swim-up suites in Punta Cana?

Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana Is the go-to for luxury swim-up suites. Roll out of bed and straight into your private pool. Luxury at its finest.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Punta Cana

Unfortunately, things can go wrong when you least expect it. This is why good travel insurance is essential before you head on your trip to Punta Cana.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Punta Cana

Punta Cana, what an enchanting destination. The magical charm of this tropical paradise will be imprinted on your soul and fill you with memories to last a lifetime.

To get the most out of this tropical oasis, it’s important to base yourself in the right neighbourhood. If you still can’t decide where to stay in Punta Cana, I’ll recap my top accommodation picks for ya.

If you are looking to live a life of luxury, Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa – Adults Only – All Inclusive is one of the best luxury all-inclusive resorts around. Swim-up suites, an on-site spa and tropical beaches are just a stone’s throw away. What more could you want?

For my fellow Broke backpackers exploring on a budget, Gava Hostel is an absolute gem. Bag yourself a bed at a bargain, in the thick of the action. Surrounded by bustling bars and a five-minute walk from the beach, it’s hard to go wrong with this hostel. 

No matter where you stay I hope you have the same incredible experience as when I travelled to Punta Cana. It’s a pretty special place!

Dani with her backpack on waiting at the airport.
Pack your bags…your Punta Cana adventure awaits!
Photo: @harveypike_
Looking for more info on travelling to Punta Cana and Dominican Republic?