Punta Cana vs Hawaii: Where to Vacation


Punta Cana or Hawaii?

Punta Cana and Hawaii are both great choices for a relaxing and picturesque getaway, but there are many differences between the two. If you are considering which destination is right for you, here is some information to help you decide.

What is Punta Cana?

You probably already know that Hawaii is the fiftieth state, comprised of eight main islands and located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but you might not know as much about Punta Cana.

Punta Cana, which means “tips of white palms,” is located on the east coast of the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana actually consists of the small area around the airport, but often is used to refer to the greater surrounding region.

This is basically a resort area comprised of a stretch of beaches along the coast far away from any major city. The area first started to be developed as a tourist area in 1969. Today, the airport welcomes approximately 2.4 million passengers per year.

Getting there


One reason why Punta Cana has become such a popular tourist destination is its accessibility. Located at the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is at the juncture of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. To get there, just hop on a commercial or charter plane.

Built in 1984, the Punta Cana International Airport is conveniently located within ten minutes of the resort area and offers direct flights from ninety-six cities and twenty-eight different countries. Flight time from New York is only three hours, so you will be in paradise in no time.

You will probably need to dig deeper into your pocketbook to get a flight to Hawaii and it might take more time depending on where you live. To get to Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island, you will likely need to connect in Oahu. The flight to Oahu from the West Coast is approximately five hours.


Compared to other places, the cost of a vacation in Punta Cana is quite reasonable. The fees at the all-inclusive resorts cover all of your meals and drinks as well as your room, which is not only convenient but also saves you money.

While Hawaii also offers all-inclusive resorts, they are significantly pricier. Consider renting a condo for a more affordable choice.


The climate in Punta Cana is tropical and it is warm year round with an average temperature of eighty degrees. The warm, sunny weather is a big attraction for tourists throughout the year.

It is also consistently warm in Hawaii throughout the year, but the climate has more variation. Four distinct climates can be found in Hawaii: desert, tropical, temperate, and tundra.

The Beaches

Pool and beach view

The pristine beaches with their powdery white or golden yellow sands, clear water, and tall coconut trees are a highlight of a Punta Cana vacation. There are eight main beaches to choose from.

There are well-known beaches, such as Playa Juanillo, Punta Cana Beach, also known as Playa Blanca or White Beach, and Bavaro Beach, as well as some more isolated ones. The beaches vary in terms of the amenities and activities they offer, how crowded they are, and how accessible they are. Each one has its own character and charm.

Beautiful beaches of every type, with white, black, green, or red sand, can be found in Hawaii. Waikiki Beach in Oahu, Kauna ‘oa Beach on the Big Island, and Lahaina Beach in Maui are some popular choices.

Where to stay

Most visitors to Punta Cana stay in one of the all-inclusive resorts because they are so convenient and affordable. They offer amazing deals and everything that you need is provided on site.

Hotel room door

There is no need to travel beyond the resort unless you are so inclined so it very relaxing. For families, this is especially attractive.

Hawaii offers a variety of accommodations ranging from luxury hotels and five-star resorts to B&Bs, secluded beach bungalows, and beach campgrounds. So depending on your preferences and your budget, you will have plenty of options.

Getting around once you are there

If you are staying at a resort in Punta Cana, you will be fine getting around by foot. You might consider renting a car if you want to explore the surrounding area. There are also taxis available to help you get to where you need to go.

There are many ways to get around in Hawaii, but most visitors choose to rent a car. Public transportation, cruises, flights from island to island, and helicopter rides are other ways to get from one place to another.



In addition to relaxing at the beaches, Punta Cana offers activities for the whole family. Adults can enjoy sightseeing, shopping, and golf, while kids might prefer zip lining, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

Other activities include tours for the whole family featuring windsurfing, boat rides, fishing, horseback riding, and safari adventures.

Hawaii also offers quite a few activities beyond the beaches, including helicopter rides, whale watching, snorkeling, horseback riding, and luaus which feature Polynesian music, dancing, food, and entertainment.

When is the best time to go?

Any time of year is fine to visit Punta Cana, but the ideal time is during the shoulder season, from March to May, when the weather is beautiful, the beaches less crowded, and the prices lower.

December through February is the most crowded and expensive time to visit, and hurricane season is from June through November.

While summer is the peak season for tourism in Hawaii, winter and spring have much to offer. From December through March is the best time for whale watching and the temperatures are cooler, while you might find better deals in the spring season from March through June.

Where should you eat?


In Punta Cana, you will probably stick to the restaurants at your resort if you are choosing an all-inclusive. Most resorts offer dining options ranging from fine dining to more casual eateries. If you want more variety, you can check out restaurants in the area.

Be sure to enjoy the region’s tropical fruit, especially the passion fruit, and the local dish known as “The Dominican flag” made of white rice, red beans, meat, and plantains.

In Hawaii, you will find a range of restaurants, from fine dining establishments to casual restaurants. Seafood is plentiful as are Hawaiian tropical fruits such as mangos, papayas, and lychee.

Beautiful beaches, warm weather, plenty of sunshine, and fun can be found in both Punta Cana and Hawaii. But if you are looking for a convenient, reasonably priced, and hassle-free trip, an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana might be the way to go.

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