Life in Punta Cana, Outside of Resorts

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Originally Published on The Social Girl Traveler by Jen Morilla

My trip to Punta Cana was a spontaneous trip, but because I am always on social media and connecting with people from all over the world. I made friends from DR even before I landed!

I went out a few nights after dinner at the Paradisus Palma Real Resort with some local friends. I know that people are slightly skeptical about visiting the local villages and towns in Dominican Republic because they aren’t the safest.

So let me make it clear: I was with friends, locals, people who knew where to go and when to go. Before I get there, let me tell you about my days…

You all saw my surfing video from Macao (I hope!) and how it was my first time surfing. Well, a lot of people from many resorts went to the local Macao Beach, and didn’t surf, but just went to hang out at the local beach.

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If you stay in a resort, you are most likely on the same beach as everyone else who is staying in other resorts. Which means you can always walk up and down the beach and stop at the little local beach bars or stores (on the beach) in between the resorts. This also saves money (you don’t have to pay for cabs) and, if for some reason you aren’t comfortable, you can always leave.

If there is anything I’ve learned from traveling, especially traveling solo, it is that you need to keep an open mind and be aware of your surroundings. If you don’t feel safe, leave. It’s simple. Listen to your gut! (That goes for everything in life, not just for traveling).

And for obvious reasons, I don’t wander the streets alone, in a new city and I certainly don’t get drunk alone, at night. Also, I dress like a local. Never flashy! I never travel with expensive stuff. If you are traveling solo, your goal is to ‘fit in’—you don’t want to stand out.

Anyways, you can visit the local beach stores or beach bars on the beach, or you can speak to the guest services in your resort and ask about the best/safest recommendations. Most, if not all resorts, have shuttle buses that take tourists to local shops and beaches.

In terms of the night life, I went to a few places…
1. El Kan Drink HouseOff the street, in an open area. This place use to be just a liquor store, (still is) but they added an outside dance floor, tables and chairs. It’s now a bar! I saw a lot of tourists.

2. Onno’s Bavaro Bar—This is a beach bar, my favorite! The music was good and drinks were cheap. I didn’t see any tourists, but lots of dancing locals!

3. Drink Point—This is an outdoor bar, great for dancing! Drinks were cheap and I didn’t see any tourists, either.

4. Coco Bongos—This is one of the newest spots in Punta Cana. This is a full night club; people are very dressed up. I did see tourists, but more locals. Also, if the night club is too full, they have an outdoor bar which was really chill. Drinks are a little pricey. Overall, it’s a good spot with great music.

This was Dominican Republic, so the music was loud and very Spanish. I wasn’t the only non-local, but I was surrounded by locals (in most places). What I loved about most places was that they felt very Caribbean! Most women (including myself) were dressed in shorts and a nice top and maybe wedges or sandals. Like I said earlier, my goal was to fit in as much as possible!

If you aren’t a fan of loud Spanish music, you might want to step out of the resort for a nice dinner. I did go to La Yola Restaurant with my family. It’s a little bit more expensive, but very well worth it! The food was absolutely delicious, the fish was fresh and the service was amazing. The location of the restaurant was in a very secluded area, but that doesn’t stop people! This place is very well-known, to locals and tourists. It definitely lives up to its name.

La Yola Restaurant
La Yola Restaurant
Tuna Tartar with chips
Tuna Tartar with chips—delicious!
Fresh catch of the day!
Fresh catch of the day!

To read more about my recommendations and all the places I visited in Punta Cana, check out my Create Trips on the Create Trips App.

For more, head on over to The Social Girl Traveler!

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