Punta Cana Vacation Guide

Punta Cana is a special place and after visiting twice in the last two years, I’m excited to finally share more details about our travels in hopes that it will help you plan your trip to the Dominican Republic!

Peter and I traveled to Punta Cana in 2019, which was our first time to the Dominican, and we loved it so much that we decided to take the kids to one of our favorite Caribbean spots this year for spring break. Of course they loved it as much as we do and they are already keeping their fingers crossed that we will go back one day! We certainly have a bucket list of Caribbean destinations that we want to visit and that we want to take the kids to as well.

I’ll be sharing where we stayed in today’s post and what we did during our stay. I’m also sharing a few tips that I hope you will find helpful as you plan your next Caribbean vacation!

Where did you stay in Punta Cana and what are your thoughts about the resort that you stayed at?!

  • We stayed at the Westin Puntacana Resort & Club both times that we visited Punta Cana and we love it there. Call the Westin prior to your arrival and set up hotel transportation from the airport to the resort.
  • The resort is within a gated community and only minutes away from the airport. It is safe and the grounds are beautiful.
  • The staff is friendly, welcoming, and provides great service.
  • The resort is situated right on a beautiful pristine beach, the water is a stunning turquoise blue, you can swim out to a sand bar in the middles which is so neat, and is within walking distance from Playa Blanca Beach Club.
  • The resort is clean and the rooms are nice and spacious and there are nice room amenities as well. Our room was cleaned each day.
  • There are two restaurants on property…the Anani Restaurant and the Brassa Grill and Bar, which is located beachside.
  • There is a beautiful golf course within 1 mile of the resort and there are plenty of water activities that you can do on site.
  • You are able to walk to Playa Blanca Beach Club from the resort (we ate lunch here several days) and you can also rent kayaks, paddle boards, kite surf, snorkel, etc…all within a short beach walk on Playa Blanca.
  • There is a small gift shop on site that also has small snacks, etc.
  • There is a small workout facility that offers plenty of equipment to get in a good workout and there is also a spa on site, which we have not personally experienced.
  • The pool is large and very clean…a great place to hang and spend time.
  • The beach has nice chairs, side tables, and umbrellas out each day and they offer great beverage service throughout the day.
  • The staff at the Westin makes the best cocktails…be sure to try a Coconut Daiquiri, a Passionfruit Mojito, and a Banana Mama. They have happy hour from 5-6pm each evening as well.
  • Anani Restaurant has a breakfast buffet, which is delicious…be sure to check the schedule as to when the buffet is offered.
  • The resort fee includes a visit to Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve which we definitely recommend that you visit…you can swim in a few beautiful lagoons!
  • There is a ping pong table, which we enjoyed, as well as a volleyball net and soccer nets should you wish to play a game while there with your family.
  • The resort is also close to a private residential community called Tortuga Bay and there is a wonderful restaurant called Bamboo where you can have dinner.

Where did you eat while visiting Punta Cana?!

  • BREAKFAST – we ate at Anani Restaurant at the Westin each morning for breakfast. During the week we ordered our meals off of the menu and beginning Thursday through the weekend they have a breakfast buffet, which is great as well.
  • LUNCH – We ate most of our lunches at Brassa Grill and Bar or Playa Blanca Beach Club which are both right on the beach. Brassa is at the Westin and Playa Blanca Beach Club is a short beach walk away. You can just throw on your coverup and walk right up to both barefoot and sit down for a delicious lunch…there is a nice variety at both and the food is good.
  • DINNER – We ventured off of the resort property a few times and went to some amazing restaurants still within the larger gated community of where we were staying. Our favorite was Bamboo, which is at Tortuga Bay. Bamboo will be your more expensive dinner but it was well worth it. We also ate at The Grill and La Yola…both beautiful and delicious restaurants with outdoor seating. All 3 of these are just a short drive from the Westin and you can get a hotel shuttle to and from. On the other days we would stay on the beach, watch the sunset, have a cocktails, and then head to Brassa Grill and Bar right at the hotel.

What activities did you do while visiting Punta Cana?!

  • When Peter and I visited in 2019 we did a few different activities. We did an excursion with Adventure Boogies, which was a lot of fun. You drive dune boogies through the countryside, out to a beautiful beach, and then to a cenote to swim in. I definitely recommend this but not with small children. We also rented paddle boards and kayaks one day. You can rent these from a place a short beach walk away from the Westin and take them out right off of Playa Blanca beach.
  • With the kids, we primarily stayed right on property with the exception of going to the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve where we hiked and swam in beautiful lagoons. The reserve is a short drive away from the resort and the hotel will provide a shuttle to and from.
  • We took the kids snorkeling with SP Divers, which was also great. You can walk to their rental hut from the resort…again, another short beach walk away. We brought our own snorkel gear that we ordered from Amazon and they provided life vests and flippers. It’s best to do this on a day when the water is more calm and when it’s not as windy. One of their guides takes you out into the water and stays with you the entire time. There were a lot of fish and a nice variety of fish as well…it really was a great snorkel trip.
  • We also spent a lot of time playing ping pong right at the resort property which was a lot of fun.
  • We took lots of beach walks and enjoyed swinging on the swings in front of Playa Blanca Beach Club. The kids also enjoyed swimming in the pool a lot and of course lounging in the hot tub.

What other thoughts can you share or tips to help with planning a trip to Westin Puntacana Resort & Club?!

  • make sure you schedule a shuttle from the airport to the Westin in advance and confirm confirm confirm before landing.
  • when you arrive to the airport, there will be A LOT of people there trying to take your bags and assist you…we only had 4 bags and did not want their assistance but they are very persistent so be aware and understand that this will most certainly happen. There will also be a lot of people trying to get you into their car in order to take you to your resort…that is why we recommend scheduling your transportation well in advance and ensuring that you end up with the correct transportation company.
  • take your own snorkel masks (we love these), take some smaller blow up floats to use at the pool and in the ocean, ensure you have a few pool toys like diving rings for the kiddos, take a nice size beach bag like this one to ensure you can fit all of your pool/beach gear, ensure that you take good goggles for your kiddos (we love these), sunglasses (we love these for the kids), and hats…the Caribbean sun is so strong!
  • make sure you pack lots of sunscreen and after sun care including aloe, after sun lotion, cortisone, Benadryl, Tylenol, ear drying drops, and swimmers ear drops. We also recommend that you pack mosquito repellant…we didn’t have an issue with this but it’s better to be prepared.
  • we love the Westin but a few things you should know include: there isn’t an easy place to just get a quick snack or breakfast. The restaurants are sit down restaurants so you have to plan for that. The resort is definitely missing a quick service option.
  • there is seaweed but its only in certain spots and they do an excellent job of cleaning up the seaweed…often times you will see tractors on the beach plowing up the seaweed. The water is absolutely beautiful and there is plenty of crystal clear blue water to swim in…you may just have to scoot around or over some seaweed. You should also swim out to the sandbar…its amazing but please know that there are some deeper parts to swim over…not many but you cannot stand the entire way out to the sandbar.
  • we found ourselves picking up some plastic off of the beach as we saw it…overall, it is a very clean beach and they do not allow plastic straws, which is great, but we would often times pick up plastic bottle lids, etc that was left behind.
  • the Westin can definitely update some of their common area furniture, etc. but overall it is a nice Caribbean resort.
  • although we feel that the service overall is wonderful, it can be slow at times…primarily when having our meals…everything is on island time so as long as you know that, your expectations won’t be too high. We would play a game of cards or Heads Up while waiting for our meals sometimes.
  • when traveling home, make sure you allow at least 2 hours to get through the check in process. The Westin will shuttle you to the airport as well.

Overall, we absolutely loved both of our trips to Punta Cana and we certainly recommend traveling here and staying at the Westin Puntacana Resort & Club! We truly think you will make many incredible memories and leave feeling rested, relaxed, and ready for your next Caribbean adventure!

As always, thanks so much for stopping by…see you back here real soon!