Things to Avoid in Punta Cana: Tips by DR Locals

A couple hugging in the beach

You are sure to have a wonderful time in the Dominican Republic by taking into consideration some helpful tips and knowing what to avoid while in Punta Cana.

Food and Beverages:

  • A helpful rule of thumb is to buy bottled water that is sealed. Also, do not ask for ice with beverages and avoid blended drinks (high-end resorts are very careful of their food and drinks treatment so you should be ok there). Be mindful to not swallow shower or pool water.
  • Some travelers are not accustomed to the local cuisine. Fruits, such as pineapple and drinks with coconut, can act as natural laxatives. Please sample with caution if you tend to have a sensitive stomach.
  • As with any food, if it just doesn’t look or smell fresh use common sense. If your salad looks as though it has been lying out in the sun all day it’s perfectly fine to request another.
  • Always choose cooked meats over raw. That includes other protein sources such as eggs and seafood.
  • As any experienced traveler will tell you, it never hurts to come prepared and have a little Pepto-Bismol or Imodium on hand. Remember to bring your own medications as you may not be able to purchase what you need in Punta Cana- and if so, it might cost more than you are accustomed.

Fun in the Sun:

A couple getting tanned in a Punta Cana beach

Time to hit the beach! Wait. Sunscreen, bug spray, bottled water? Check, check and check. Bathing Suit?
Well … you may have yours but don’t count on others being as well attired as yourself.

It’s against the law in the DR to be topless or nude at the beach, however, a lot of people seem to do it anyway. If this offends you, or you have little ones in tow, please do your research and be prepared so that you can avoid an awkward outing.

And as mentioned above, to avoid a blistering sunburn and dehydration, always come prepared with sunscreen and plenty of water.

When to Visit (or Not for that Matter):

There are just certain times of the year when Punta Cana will be bustling with tourists a little more than the rest of the year. Avoid the peak time by visiting from March to May.

Night Moves:

People dancing in a disco club

Thefts are more common once the sun has gone down and people have had a few alcoholic beverages. Be mindful of yourself, your surroundings, and your belongings.

It is not uncommon to be approached by locals offering soft drugs or prostitution (both are illegal in DR) in the evening.

And please, be mindful of visiting a public beach at night. If this cannot be avoided, do so in groups, especially if you are a woman and only with people you know and are traveling with.


Any tropical destination comes with its local creepy crawly inhabitants. The best way to avoid these pests is to use bug spray. Some swear by those that contain DEET. There are many options, some of which are environmentally friendly.

Choose wisely but please do choose. Mosquitoes can carry many illnesses and no one wants to go home with one of those!

Other Nuisances:

A seller in the beach

As many experienced travelers will tell you, in some locations, there’s just no way to escape the dreaded pushy timeshare salespeople. The best way to avoid these folks is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Some vacationers stick to the tried and true:

  • Say no thank you and keep walking.
  • Fib and say you are already an owner.
  • Or, you listened to the presentation last year and you aren’t interested.

Punta Cana is a great tropical destination to unwind and relax. With these tips in mind, you can plan accordingly, be prepared and stay wise to what may or may not come. Happy and safe travels!

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