What Not to Do in Punta Cana in 2020
Planning to spend your Christmas or Easter 2020 holidays in Punta Cana? If yes, you have already or will certainly make a to-do list, since the Dominican Republic offers you a great choice of touristic attractions, nature reserves, beautiful beaches and adventurous excursions. So many things to do in one country and especially in its touristic area of Punta Cana. However, we also recommend sticking to our not-to-do list to make sure you avoid any inconveniences during your stay in Punta Cana. Forewarned is forearmed 😉
Basic Safety Precautions in the DR
Travelling to foreign countries, all tourists think primarily about their security. What to do and not to do to feel secure in Punta Cana? Here are our basic security rules for all who come here for a short or a long term.
If you want to feel and stay safe, consider our recommendations:
- Do not choose lodging randomly. Obviously, to feel secure, one should stay in a secure area. That means that booking an apartment, a villa or a hotel wherever it seems more or less convenient is not a good idea. Never book your lodging randomly. On the contrary, imagine that you are a FBI agent who needs to find the most secure place for stay in Punta Cana. Imagine and find it. Consider secure gated communities with 24/7 security service and video surveillance. Thus, you will not only avoid robbery and petty theft, but will also stroll quietly in the evening and not be afraid of returning home late at night. Consider the areas of Los Corales and Cocotal when looking for budget-friendly and luxurious apartments and villas. You can check them here.
- Do not show off. I am not a child, you will say. You are not, we know. But make sure you do not show off and do not exhibit personal belongings in public areas. Even though Punta Cana deserves to be considered the safest area of the Dominican Republic and relatively secure community in general terms (according to safearound.com), pickpocketing still exists here, just as in any other part of the world. So, take necessary precautions and better not show valuable things, especially to the strangers.
Transportation Safety in Punta Cana
This is actually the only weak point of Punta Cana – lack of safe public transport. If you come to Punta Cana for a couple of weeks or more, you will need to rent a car. The only area where all the infrastructure and facilities are in a short walking distance is Los Corales. If you stay in any other area, you will strongly feel the need for your own transportation means.
When moving around Punta Cana, remember the following:
- Not use motor-taxi (in Spanish “motoconcho”). It is not only extremely dangerous for your life, but also not less expensive than traditional local taxi. It seems to be less expensive at first, but local motor-taxi drivers recognize foreigners and charge them three or four times more than their compatriots. So, it is not prudent nor budget-friendly to use motor-taxi. If you do not have other choice and need transportation urgently, opt for traditional taxi.
- Not use public buses in rush hours. There are public buses circulating in Bavaro and Punta Cana, however, avoid using them in rush hours when pickpockets are active.
- Not ride bicycles without helmet. There are no routes for bicycles in Bavaro, however, there are several routes in Punta Cana and Cap Cana. Anyway, never ride a bicycle without helmet: even if you follow all transit rules, other drivers and vehicles often not follow them at all. Do not put your life at risk.
Lodging Safety in Punta Cana
While some tourists prefer staying at all-inclusive resorts and buy travel packages, others prefer travelling on their own and book their lodging through vacation rental platforms or even search for it right upon arrival. Consider rental options at different platforms and pay attention to websites specialized in properties of Punta Cana, for example, you can check our own apartments.
When choosing your lodging, take into account our recommendations:
- Not book lodging outside gated communities. Your safety must be your first priority while in the foreign country. Make sure your apartment or villa is located in a secure gated community before completing the reservation.
- Not put it off until the last moment. We strongly recommend booking your apartment, villa or studio beforehand, especially in high season. Bavaro and Punta Cana feature a lot of attractive properties in high demand. Even in low season, the best ones are always occupied. Start searching for lodging 6 months before arrival. The earlier – the better.
Hygiene and Sanitary Rules
Although the sanitary situation has been constantly improving in the Dominican Republic over the last years, it is necessary to follow the same old basic hygiene rules to protect oneself from common infections and parasitic diseases.
NEVER DO the following in the Dominican Republic:
- Never drink tap water. Even though its quality varies from district to district, take necessary precautions and never drink tap water. Buy bottled water for cooking, drinking, brushing teeth and even washing babies. The price of bottled water is affordable: all local residents buy it on regular basis.
- Never eat fruit and vegetables from stalls and fruit kiosks without washing and peeling them. To avoid parasitic infections, make sure you wash all fruit and vegetables with boiled potable water several times. You may also add vinegar or a bit of baking soda to water and then rinse fruit. It will help get rid of any particles that cause stomach infections. It is also recommended to peel fruit when possible.
- Not drink fresh juice from fruit kiosks. The risk of getting some infection after drinking juice made of fresh fruit at a fruit kiosk is quite high, since the Dominicans often neglect to wash the fruit properly. It is better to buy fruit and prepare juice at home after washing it thoroughly.
- Not use ice from kiosks. The quality of ice sold at street stores and kiosks is also questionable. We recommend drinking beverages without ice at cafes and restaurants, since it may be made of not potable water. However, if you are longing for an ice-cold drink, ask a waiter to show you what ice is used. If it is of good quality, the waiter will show you a large transparent sack full of ice, marked with a sanitary register number and the trade name of the manufacturer. Alaska is the most popular water distributor with good reputation in Punta Cana.
- Not play with street animals. Animal lovers run a risk of getting infections transmitted by street animals. If you want to rescue some cat or dog, follow special rules and better contact a local animal rescue group. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching such animals. Be careful with exotic species, for example snails. Some of them may also transmit infectious diseases, although they never attack you and it is hardly possible you will get in touch with them.
- Not eat raw meat and fish (ceviche). Although ceviche is a favorite gourmet dish of many tourists and residents of Punta Cana, it is important to make sure the exquisite dish is prepared of fresh raw meat or fish duly cured in citrus (lemon or lime) juice and spiced with chili peppers, salt, onion and other seasonings. Sushi is also a high-risky food in the tropical climate.
To feel safe in Punta Cana Night Clubs
You can enjoy nightlife in Bavaro and Punta Cana and feel absolutely safe in night clubs located on the territory of hotel complexes, for example Oro located at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Imagine and Coco Bongo are also clubs with very good reputation where you can feel safe, although they are located outside hotel complexes, but in the very center of Bavaro. There are also small street bars in Bavaro, quite popular among local residents and curious tourists. You must take more care at these bars and protect yourself from pickpockets.
Anyway, these recommendations apply to all nightlife establishments
in Punta Cana and Bavaro:
- Not drink beverages with strange smell and taste. If you suspect that your favorite Margarita or Piña Colada tastes strange, do not take a risk and better not drink it. It is hardly probable you will be served a low-quality drink at big clubs, but always trust your nose and mouth.
- Not accept any drinks from other guests at a club. Invited to a drink by a stranger partying by your side? Accept the invitation and order a drink from the bartender. Do not accept drinks or food from others nor taste their drinks.
- Not take a night ride with strangers. You might be invited for a ride on a motorbike or a car by a person you have just got to know at the club. That may be a usual act of favor, but may be some plot with intention to rob your smartphone or money. It is better to ask for a taxi or return home on your own vehicle.
Activities and Excursions Safety Rules
Punta Cana features a lot of activities and excursions worth trying. You can try half-day and full-day excursions, enjoy them in the same touristic zone or go to some other precious region of the country. Check our list of excursions for more details. However, there are some important facts to consider before buying an excursion.
Pay attention to our activities not-to-do list:
- Not buy excursions from not licensed providers. Licensed touristic operator – enough said. An original touristic license tells a lot about the excursions provider. If an excursion seller cannot give you a license number or RNC (National Taxpayer Registrar) number, consider other provider without any doubts. Buying tours from not licensed operators is associated with high risk. Operators without license offer lower prices, but not guarantee your security and safety during the excursion. They often lack civil responsibility insurance and may cancel your tour without previous notification and let it go. Paying a bit more to the licensed operator, you get the guarantee of reimbursement if the tour is cancelled or postponed. Finally, you get what you pay for.
- Not be afraid of bad weather. Punta Cana boasts perfect weather all year round; however, sometimes it rains here as well, especially in summer. Do not be afraid of rains! Licensed excursion providers stay aware of sudden changes of weather and notify you if the excursion must be cancelled or postponed due to weather conditions. Anyway, more often rains do not last long, and it is probable that on your way to the destination point it gets sunny and hot again.
- Not buy souvenirs at the first gift-shop on your way. Most excursion providers will take you to gift shops to buy local souvenirs. They will persuade you to buy gifts only at that shop, justifying it by the best prices and the best offers. Obviously because they get their commission of sales. Feel free to take your time and compare prices at different shops. Be sure that you can return to any of these gift shops later because most of them offer free transportation from your hotel or pick-up point to the shop and back. Moreover, do not be afraid of bargaining. You will surely get a good discount.
To sum it up, the things you should not do in Punta Cana in 2020 are the same as in previous year: do not run unreasonable risks, do not trust strangers, do not show valuable things, do not ride motor-taxi ;).
But feel free to do all you want to enjoy your unique vacation in Punta Cana! By the way, there are many new activities to try during this new high season. By 2020, many excursion providers have updated their excursion programs to meet the requirements of the most demanding tourists. Make sure your TO-DO LIST includes the following activities:
La Hacienda Park. Punta Cana!from $99 Read more
Excursion to Surfing School in Punta Cana – «Chill Out in Paradise»from $30 Read more
Swim with Dolphins in the Dominican Republicfrom $149 Read more
Juanillo Beach VIP Excursion by Scape Parkfrom $169 Read more
Coco Bongo Night Club Party. Punta Cana. No Dress Code !!!from $119 Read more
If you have special requirements to your unique experience in Punta Cana, contact us for assistance in organizing your exclusive vacation in Punta Cana!
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