Punta Cana

Caribbean Sea Bávaro La Altagracia Province
Punta Cana
Dominicana-Punta Cana.jpg
Punta Cana is located in the Dominican Republic
Punta Cana
Punta Cana
Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic
Coordinates: 18°32′N 068°22′W / 18.533°N 68.367°W / 18.533; -68.367Coordinates: 18°32′N 068°22′W / 18.533°N 68.367°W / 18.533; -68.367
CountryDominican Republic
ProvinceLa Altagracia Province
Incorporated (town)27 June 2006[1]
 • Mayor of HigüeyRafael Barón Duluc (Social Democratic Institutional Bloc, 2020–2024)
 • Director of Verón-Punta CanaRamón Antonio Ramírez (Dominican Liberation’s Party, 2016–2024)
 • Total475.3 km2 (183.5 sq mi)
 • Total43,982
 • Density93/km2 (240/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−4 (Atlantic)
Area code(s)809, 829, and 849

Punta Cana is a resort town within the Punta Cana-Bávaro-Veron-Macao municipal district, in the municipality of Higüey, in La Altagracia Province, the easternmost province of the Dominican Republic. The area has beaches and balnearios which face both the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and it is a tourist destination. The weather is hot and humid, especially in late summer and autumn when the Northern Tropics receive their most direct sunlight.

Geography and climate

Sunrise over Punta Cana

The Punta Cana area has an estimated population of 50,000, with an annual growth rate of 6% as of 2009.[5] To the north, it borders the village and beach of Cabeza de Toro, and the Bávaro and El Cortecito beaches. The nearest city, the 500-year-old Higüey, is 45 kilometres (28 mi) away, which takes about an hour to reach by car. European entrepreneurs, particularly Spanish hotel chains, own all but two of the over 50 megaresorts at the Punta Cana tourism destination.

The province’s 100-kilometre (62 mi) coastline tends to be mildly windy. The ocean waters are mainly shallows, with several natural marine pools in which visitors can bathe without danger. From north to south, the main beaches are Uvero Alto, Macao, Arena Gorda, Bávaro, El Cortecito, Las Corales, and Cabeza de Toro, all north of the cape; and Cabo Engaño, Punta Cana, and Juanillo south of the cape.

Bávaro is the area starting from Cabeza de Toro until Macao Beach. As the hotels started to rise along the east coast, Bavaro itself became a center of services with shopping malls, fast-food stores, drug stores, fine restaurants, banks, clinics, workshops, supermarkets, and schools. The major town in the district is Veron, now bigger than Higüey in territory, a spontaneous – and poor – urban development running along the original road from the west. Verón, last name of the French proprietor of a timberline business in the early 1930s, is now the base-city for hotel workers and related. It has, besides Bávaro, one of only four gas stations in Punta Cana: the next one is located 48 kilometres (30 mi) west in Higüey, at the Fruisa crossroads; a new Texaco gas station opened in April 2010, 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) south of Macao beach; and the new Shell gas station close to the airport (on the highway Coral) opened at the end of 2010.


Punta Cana features a tropical wet and dry climate under the Köppen climate classification. The weather is fairly consistent all year, with an average temperature of 26 °C (79 °F). The hot and humid season lasts from May to October, and during the day temperatures might reach 35 °C (95 °F). From November to March, temperatures during the evening are around 20 °C (68 °F).

Climate data for Punta Cana
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 31.0
Average high °C (°F) 27.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 24.8
Average low °C (°F) 21.9
Record low °C (°F) 16.0
Average rainfall mm (inches) 66.4
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 10.0 6.8 6.7 6.6 10.1 9.2 9.1 10.0 10.4 11.4 11.5 11.0 112.8
Average relative humidity (%) 82.8 81.4 81.2 82.1 83.0 82.2 82.3 82.6 82.5 83.0 82.2 83.2 82.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 256.9 241.9 278.8 265.0 249.7 255.1 268.3 271.2 245.2 242.7 238.3 233.2 3,046.3
Source 1: World Meteorological Organization[6]
Source 2: NOAA[7]

Activities and landmarks

Punta Cana is a tourist destination,[8] and the area is a key contributor to tourism in the Dominican Republic.

Many of the excursions in Punta Cana are near the water, it being a beach destination. These activities include snorkeling, windsurfing, banana boat rides, speedboats, scuba diving, catamaran cruises, party boats, deep sea fishing, as well as swimming with dolphins and sharks and stingrays snorkeling. Visitors that prefer to see more of the Dominican country side, there are land based excursions such as safari tours, horse back riding and dune buggy.

Visiting the Dominican Republic's smaller Caribbean islands of Saona and Catalina is a day trip from Punta Cana. The capital city Santo Domingo, and Los Haitises National Park, Samaná, are within a couple of hours. The Basilica Catholic Monument, built in 1962 and designed by two French architects, is in nearby Higüey, the 500-year-old capital of the province.


The electricity is powered by Consorcio Energetico Punta Cana Macao (CEPM), a wind and solar energy producer led by US-based Argentine businessman Rolando Gonzalez-Bunster.[9]



The Punta Cana International Airport is the primary airport. In 2014, Punta Cana received over 2.4 million passengers, making it the second-busiest airport in the Caribbean.[10] Grupo Puntacana built the Punta Cana International Airport in 1984 to facilitate tourism in the area. It was the western hemisphere’s first privately owned international airport.[11]

Hotels and resorts

Punta Cana has a number of luxury resorts.


Punta Cana received negative publicity in the summer of 2019 for a series of American tourist deaths.[12] Initially these deaths were reported as “mysterious,” with tainted alcohol and pesticides being rumored as possible reasons. However, with the help of the FBI and United States Department of State, it was found via toxicology reports that the deaths were from natural causes. To further ensure travelers that Punta Cana safety is of the highest priority, a consortium of 50 hotels developed the Punta Cana Promise which reaffirms their commitment to a set of safety and security guidelines.

Punta Cana is generally a very safe travel destination. With regards to unnatural deaths of Americans, Jamaica and the Bahamas are just two destinations in the Caribbean which are more dangerous.[13] Car accidents and drowning are the two leading causes of unnatural deaths to Americans in the Dominican Republic.

Other safety issues to keep in mind include natural disasters such as hurricanes, disease such as the Zika Virus and minor tourist scams.


Due to its location at the Caribbean Sea, diving is one of the tourist activities. The marine area surrounding Punta Cana was declared a marine reserve in 2012.[14]

Marine biodiversity

The following species have been registered in the waters around Punta Cana:

Group Common name Scientific name Image Notes
Fish yellowtail snapper Ocyurus chrysurus
Gorgonia ventalina - purple sea fan - Ocyurus chrysurus - yellowtail snapper and Abudefduf saxatilis - sergeant major - Punta Cana - Dominican Republic.jpg
queen triggerfish Balistes vetula
glasseye Heteropriacanthus cruentatis
whitespotted filefish Cantherhines macrocerus
spotted goatfish Pseudupeneus maculatus
yellow goatfish Mulloidichthys martinicus
Bermuda chub Kyphosus sectatrix
great barracuda Sphyraena barracuda
bar jack Caranx ruber
saucereye porgy Calamus calamus
French angelfish Pomacanthus paru
southern stingray Dasyatis americana
yellow stingray Urolobatis jamaicensis
spotted eagle ray Aetobatus narinari
Caribbean reef shark Carcharhinus perezi
goldentail moray Gymnothorax miliaris
spotted moray Gymnothorax moringa
mangrove snapper Lutjanus griseus
mutton snapper Lutjanus analis
porkfish Anisotremus virginicus
black margate Anisotremus surinamensis
blue striped grunt Haemulon sciurus
Caesar grunt Haemulon carbonarium
French grunt Haemulon flavolineatum
Spanish grunt Haemulon macrostomum
tomtate grunt Haemulon aurolineatum
white grunt Haemulon plumierii
black grouper Mycteroperca bonaci
coney Cephalopholis fulva
Nassau grouper Epinephelus striatus
sergeant major Abudefduf saxatilis
Gorgonia ventalina - purple sea fan - Ocyurus chrysurus - yellowtail snapper and Abudefduf saxatilis - sergeant major - Punta Cana - Dominican Republic.jpg
lucky grouper Epinephelus guttatus
yellowfin grouper Mycteroperca venenosa
graysby Cephalopholis cruentata
harlequin bass Serranus tigrinus
princess parrotfish Scarus taeniopterus
queen parrotfish Scarus vetula
rainbow parrotfish Scarus guacamaia
redband parrotfish Sparisoma aurofrenatum
redfin parrotfish Sparisoma rubripinne
redtail parrotfish Sparisoma chrysopterum
stoplight parrotfish Sparisoma viride
Spanish hogfish Bodianus rufus
hogfish Lachnolaimus maximus
bonefish Albula vulpes
long-spine porcupinefish Diodon holocanthus
red lionfish (invasive) Pterois volitans
yellowtail damselfish Microspathodon chrysurus
yellowhead wrasse Halichoeres garnoti
Reptiles green sea turtle Chelonia mydas
hawksbill sea turtle Eretmochelys imbricata
Mollusks Caribbean reef squid Sepioteuthis sepiodea
common octopus Octopus vulgaris
queen conch Lobatus gigas
Crustaceans banded coral shrimp Stenopus hispidus
Caribbean spiny lobster Panulirus argus
spotted spiny lobster Panulirus guttatus
Scyllarides aequinoctialis
Corals purple sea fan Gorgonia ventalina
Gorgonia ventalina - purple sea fan - Ocyurus chrysurus - yellowtail snapper and Abudefduf saxatilis - sergeant major - Punta Cana - Dominican Republic.jpg
sea ginger Millepora alcicornis
blade fire coral Millepora complanata
Millepora squarrosa
Stephanoccenia intercepta
elkhorn coral Acropora palmata
staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis
fused staghorn coral Acropora prolifera
Agaricia agarities
finger coral Porites porites
Montastrea annuligera
Montastrea colemani
Montastrea curta
Montastrea magnistellata
Montastrea multipunctata
Montastrea salebrosa
Montastrea serageldini
pillar coral Dendrogyra cylindrus
Algae Halimeda opuntia
cactus tree alga Caulerpa cupressoides
Coelothrix irregularis
Haploplegma duperryi
Rhodophyta orden
Dictyota cervicornis
Stypopodium zonale
Sea grasses turtlegrass Thalassia testudinum
manatee grass Syringodium filiforme
Echinoderms donkey dung sea cucumber Holothuria mexicana
black sea urchin Diadema antillarum
Mammals West Indian manatee Trichechus manatus
Birds brown pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
common tern Sterna hirundo
great egret Ardea alba
green heron Butorides virescens
yellow-crowned night heron Nyctanassa violacea
killdeer Charadrius vociferus
western osprey Pandion haliaetus
magnificent frigatebird Fregata magnificens

See also


  1. ^ (in Spanish) Law -2006. Senate of the Dominican Republic.
  2. ^ https://m.diariolibre.com/actualidad/politica/cholitin-celebra-victoria-electoral-como-nuevo-alcalde-de-higuey-LD17721578
  3. ^ https://www.eltiempo.com.do/quien-es-ramon-ramirez-el-virtual-ganador-de-la-direccion-distrital-de-veron-punta-cana
  4. ^ a b (in Spanish) 9th Census of Population and Housing (2010), General Report Archived 2012-12-02 at the Wayback Machine. National Bureau of Statistics.
  5. ^ Valdez Architects & Associates. 2008–2009 Zoning Plan assigned by the Hotel Association.
  6. ^ "World Weather Information Service - Punta Cana". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  7. ^ "Climate Normals for Cabo Engaño (Punta Cana) 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  8. ^ Robinson, William I. (2013). "L'Amérique latine face au nouveau capitalisme mondialisé". Mouvements. 4 (76): 14–24. doi:10.3917/mouv.076.0013 – via Cairn.info.
  9. ^ "Company Overview of Consorcio Energético Punta Cana - Macao, S.A." Bloomberg. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  10. ^ "Punta Cana Facts Sheet" (PDF). Punta Cana International Airport.
  11. ^ "The Official Website of Punta Cana International AirportDominican Republic flights to Punta Cana International Airport". www.puntacanainternationalairport.com. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  12. ^ "8 questions about the unexplained tourist deaths in the Dominican Republic, answered". The Washington Post.
  13. ^ "Americans are far more likely to be killed in the US than in the Dominican Republic". CNN.
  14. ^ Domínguez Brito, 2017, p. 1
  15. ^ "Yellowtail Snapper - Ocyurus chrysurus - Snappers - - Tropical Reefs". reefguide.org. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  16. ^ Domínguez Brito, 2017, p.10
  17. ^ Domínguez Brito, 2017, p.11
  18. ^ Domínguez Brito, 2017, p.12
  19. ^ Domínguez Brito, 2017, p.13
  20. ^ Domínguez Brito, 2017, p.14
  21. ^ Domínguez Brito, 2017, p.15