These 10 attractions prove that there’s more than meets the eye in Punta Cana

Punta Cana is a popular destination for sun seekers, beach lovers and golfers, but there is much more to this Caribbean paradise than meets the eye. If you are looking for some fun and unusual activities to spice up your vacation, here are 10 under-the-radar or offbeat experiences that you can enjoy in Punta Cana.

Visit Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve

Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve is a private protected area that covers 1,500 acres of subtropical forest. The reserve is named after the 12 freshwater lagoons that dot the landscape, which the Tainos called “eyes” because of their shape and clarity. You can hike, bike or horseback ride through the trails, and swim in the crystal-clear waters of the lagoons. You can also visit a petting zoo, a sugarcane exhibition and a fruit garden.

Explore Bavaro Lagoon

Bavaro Lagoon is a hidden gem that offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the resorts. You can explore this natural reserve by kayak, paddle board or boat, and admire the mangroves, birds and fish that inhabit this ecosystem. You can also learn about the history and culture of the Taino people, the original inhabitants of the island, who used to live around the lagoon.

Enjoy Sunset Horseback Riding

There are many unique ways to spend time on a beach, but not many get to experience the excitement of spending beach time on horseback. In Punta Cana, this is one experience not to miss out on. This ride will have you enjoying the cool ocean breeze and the views of beautiful white sand, as well as the surrounding coconut trees in a majestic way. You can choose from different levels of difficulty and duration, and even ride into the water for a refreshing splash.

Visit Isla Saona

Located just off the coast of Punta Cana, Isla Saona is famous for its incredibly untouched beaches. If Bavaro is too touristy, this is the place to go. The entire island is a government-protected nature reserve, so there isn’t an imposing high-rise or kitschy gift shop in sight, only pure white-sand beaches and swaying palm trees. You can take a catamaran or speedboat to get there, and enjoy snorkeling, swimming or relaxing on the shore.

Tour Monkeyland in Punta Cana

If you love animals, you will love Monkeyland. This is a sanctuary for squirrel monkeys that have been rescued from illegal trafficking or mistreatment. You can interact with these adorable creatures in their natural habitat, feed them fruits and nuts, and take pictures with them. You can also learn about their behavior and conservation from the guides. The tour also includes a visit to a typical Dominican house, where you can taste local coffee, chocolate and fruits.

Take a Cultural Safari Tour

If you want to learn more about the Dominican culture and lifestyle, you can take a cultural safari tour that will take you to different rural villages and towns. You can see how locals live, work and play, and visit schools, churches and markets. You can also sample some of the traditional dishes and drinks, such as sancocho (stew), mofongo (mashed plantains) and mamajuana (herbal liquor). You can also enjoy some music and dancing with the friendly locals.

Play at Punta Espada Golf Club

If you are a golf enthusiast, you will be thrilled to play at Punta Espada Golf Club, one of the best golf courses in the Caribbean. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, this 18-hole course offers stunning views of the ocean, cliffs and beaches. The course is challenging but rewarding, with holes that require precision and strategy. You can also enjoy the clubhouse facilities, such as the restaurant, bar and pro shop.

Visit Santo Domingo City

If you have some time to spare, you can take a day trip to Santo Domingo, the capital and oldest city of the Dominican Republic. Santo Domingo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a rich history and culture that dates back to the colonial era. You can visit the impressive monuments, museums and churches in the Zona Colonial, such as the Cathedral, the Alcazar and the Fortaleza Ozama. You can also enjoy the modern attractions, such as the Malecon, the Botanical Garden and the Blue Mall.

Visit La Isabela

La Isabela is the first European settlement in the Americas, founded by Christopher Columbus in 1493. It’s now a historical park that preserves the ruins of the fort, the church, the cemetery and the houses. You can also see a museum that displays artifacts and information about the history and culture of the site.

Explore Los Tres Ojos

Los Tres Ojos, or The Three Eyes, is a natural wonder that you can’t miss. It’s a series of three underground lakes that are connected by caves. You can access them by stairs or by boat, and marvel at the crystal-clear water, the stalactites and stalagmites, and the exotic plants and animals that live there.

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