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El Cortecito, Punta Cana: Everything You Need to Know

Palm trees

General Information

El Cortecito is a small neighborhood located near the ocean in the well-known town, Bavaro. El Cortecito is known for having a fun, laid back, and funky vibe that attracts tourists, ex-pats, and locals alike. Make sure to try mamajuana, a specialty of El Cortecito containing rum, red wine, honey, and local herbs, it’s considered a natural aphrodisiac!

Things to Do

Tours and Excursions

Ocean Adventures Punta Cana

With something for everyone, this tour company features sailing, speed boats, a blend between snorkeling and SCUBA called “SNUBA,” pirate adventures, and the special Dr. Fish spa tour where you can do yoga on deck!

Cortecito Tours

This is your one-stop shop for Saona island and Samana excursions, helicopter rides, snorkeling, and parasailing. Regarded as incredibly reliable and welcoming, this may be your new favorite tour company so stop on in when you’re on the island.

Beaches

El Cortecito Beach

Beach

This busy white-sand beach features tons of gift shops and restaurants on one side and the beautiful waters of the Caribbean on the other. This beach is easy to access and great for families!

Bavaro Beach

This clean, white sand beach is also busy but with fewer vendors if you’re seeking a quieter environment than El Cortecito Beach offers. This beach is miles long and surrounded by palm trees.

Golf

Cocotal Golf

This course was designed based on the natural lay of the land and features strategic course details to challenge experienced golfers and help beginner and intermediate players improve their game.

Shopping

Olasouvenirs

Considered the best gift shop in Punta Cana featuring a wide selection of souvenirs, jewelry, and liquor the prices here are cheaper than those offered by street vendors and the staff are kind and give you time to peruse the selection.

Manuel Cigarros

Cigars

Large selection of smooth-smoking cigars sold by a knowledgeable staff at a reasonable price.

Places to Dine

1. Citrus

Known for excellent food options and a relaxing, indoor atmosphere, Citrus is an island favorite for visitors. Top recommended items include the mushroom risotto, pumpkin soup, red snapper, bacon sushi, and the pina colada made from a secret recipe that includes Dominican rum.

While this restaurant doesn’t have the best views on the list, it is remarked as affordable and as having a large menu where every item tastes delicious. Plan for a wait if you’re coming for dinner. Credit cards are accepted here. http://restaurantsnapshot.com/citrus/

2. Pastrata Mexican Restaurant

Pastrata is the place for authentic Mexican food with owners who truly care about your experience at their restaurant. Best known for affordable options that are described as light but filling in an open-air environment, this place will have you coming back multiple times during your stay in Punta Cana.

Great place for food allergies and picky eaters thanks to the accommodating staff! https://www.facebook.com/pastrata

3. Nam Nam

Veggie burger

Food at this vegetarian-friendly, family-run restaurant is worth the wait! The small restaurant with friendly staff members is constantly packed, which is how you know it’s great but also be prepared to wait.

The Namburger is listed as a must-try when you visit Punta Cana. Be aware that this place is cash-only. http://www.nam-nams.com/

4. Onno’s Bavaro

Looking for a beachfront experience with great drinks and even better tacos? Come to Onno’s! Reviewers talk about this place as a happy-hour-must with deals on drinks, pizzas, and tapas.

Looking for tacos? Come on a Taco Tuesday for the best tacos you’ve ever had paired with live entertainment and a fun, inviting atmosphere. http://www.onnosbar.com/bavaro/

5. Huracan Cafe

If you’re looking for a beach-front spot where you can lay in the sun or under an umbrella while enjoying delicious food and drinks, this is your place. Reviewers talk about spending all day at Huracan in their covered sunbeds enjoying Italian cuisine such as ceviche and pasta.

Huracan is also listed as an excellent location for a wedding and features live music at night. English menus are available here. http://www.huracancafe.do/

Where to Stay

Family Friendly:

Sunscape Bavaro Beach Punta Cana Resort & Spa

Hotel room

This all-inclusive resort offers up several restaurants, beach access to enjoy sunsets and lounging on chairs during the day, a swim-up pool bar, and tropical landscaping.

Now Larimar Punta Cana

This all-inclusive resort features 9 restaurants, 10 bars, a swim-up bar, a gym, and a kids’ club. The resort features large rooms near the beach with friendly, attentive staff. This is definitely a family-oriented resort with activities for all ages throughout the day.

Luxury:

TRS Turquesa Hotel

This adults-only, all-inclusive resort features fifteen restaurants, 7 bars, 5 pools, 6 tennis courts, and a spa. The resort is only a two-minute walk from the beach, is near two golf courses, and is near several excellent, off-resort restaurants. Stunning water views and great hospitality make this resort top of the line.

Insider Tips

Exchange Rate

Check out this website for current exchange rates:
https://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/convert/?Amount=1&From=USD&To=DOP

Cash vs. Credit

Note that there is a significant fee that restaurants and other local businesses need to pay on credit card payments so some do not accept credit cards at all. For places that do, if you plan to pay cash ask if you can get a cash discount.

Make sure to always have some $1 and $5 bills on you to tip servers, taxi drivers, etc. (note: tip your servers even when you’re at an all-inclusive resort!).

Transportation

Inside a bus

You’ll want to book airport transfers to get you from the airport to your hotel and then back again at the end of your trip. One company, Punta Cana NOW, is recommended by other visitors. Once in El Cortecito, the safest modes of transportation are marked, authorized taxis and transportation offered by your hotel.

Safety

While the Dominican Republic is a beautiful place to visit, tourists should keep their wits about them while traveling here. Pickpockets, drinks spiked with narcotics, and robbery of flashy jewelry and watches are something to keep an eye on here, as you would in any other tourist location.

Additionally, look out for unmarked taxis, fake police officers, motorcycle/route taxis, money exchange and ATM scams.

Women traveling alone or in small groups should practice caution and keep an eye out for “sankies.”

Sankies are male gigolos that hang around resort areas and will seek to extort money from women by forming intimate relationships with them and maintaining these relationships for as long as they can, sometimes until marriage.

Play it safe if a man is alone and approaches you, and if he asks you to pay for something, kindly decline and walk away.

Overall, do your research before you go and stay alert while you’re there, and you’ll be safe and have an enjoyable vacation in El Cortecito.

Family silhouettes at sunset

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