Adventure Activities in Punta Cana - Try if You Dare

by Conner Gorry, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Oct 20th 2010 04:38 PM

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Adventure Activity Punta Cana

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Lounging on floury white sand beaches, beholding a majestic sunset and gourmet dining by candlelight with your loved one - these are staples of a memorable vacation. But what about soaring above those white sands via parasail or galloping along the shore as the sun dips below the horizon? These days, adventure activity in Punta Cana is part and parcel of the experience and all resorts feature a varied menu of travel adventures from a couple's massage to a scuba diving trip.

Whether you're a certified adrenaline junky or thrill-seeker extraordinaire, there's likely something here for you. Not so much? Not to worry: even the most cautious travelers, or those with families, will find fun outdoor activities in Punta Cana within their comfort zone.


1. Soar Above Punta Cana on a Parasail


Your knuckles go white gripping the harness as the boat captain gives the signal. He starts off slowly, begins to pick up speed, and before you know it you're carried up, up and away, soaring above the water, beach and bodies below. Parasailing is a rush, no matter if it's your first or 50th time. The closer your captain keeps to shore, the more picturesque the experience since it permits a bird's-eye view of the sunbathers and resorts as you soar along.

Typical tours last 10 minutes (make sure they don't shave off a few!) and cost between $30 and $85 per person, depending if you book at your resort or directly with the activity leaders on the beach. There is no difference in quality since the ones booked at your hotel use the same purveyors.


2. Learn to Surf


Giving yourself over to the water's whim while standing on a long, thin board, the wave shuttling you towards shore, is arguably the most exhilarating, memorable adventure activity in Punta Cana. It's not easy, but with a patient, experienced instructor, even the little ones can learn to "hang 10." Maybe this is a bit ambitious for first timers. But still, why not learn to surf this vacation?

Macao Surf Camp is the go-to outfitter, with friendly, safety-conscious instructors who have years of wave experience, and are fluent in English. Lessons start at around $50, and they can arrange pick up and drop off from all Punta Cana resorts. They even bring a photographer if you want graphic memories of your first surfing lessons.

Macao Surf Camp
Playa Macao
Dominican Republic
809-430-9017 or 809-882-2331


3. Swim with Stingrays / Close Encounters with Sharks


Exploring underwater in Punta Cana is an easy and fun activity, with a plethora of snorkel tours offered in and around the resort area. If you're after something more daring, the Marinarium offers half-day Reef Explorer snorkel tours featuring swimming with stingrays, kayaking and checking out the local nurse shark population. The most adventurous Punta Cana vacationers even give the rays a kiss, though responsible travel tenets advise against human contact with wildlife. Please note: guests must be at least 13 years old to participate.

Marinarium Reef Explorer
Cabeza del Toro
Dominican Republic
809-468-3183
http://www.reef-explorer.com/english.html
Half-day multi-activity session $89 per person


4. Explore Off the Beaten Path in a Dune Buggy


You've seen these critters in the movies – open-framed, beach-ready and street-legal dune buggies that look like a praying mantis crossed with a low rider. In Punta Cana, these wacky vehicles are a wind-at-your-back, bugs-in-your-teeth adrenaline rush with lovely scenery to boot. Xtreme Buggy offers half- and full-day tours, plus a six-day island tour taking in the best of the Dominican Republic. The buggies accommodate four passengers, including the driver (which can be you if you drive stick shift – so remember to bring your license). Insider tip: Wear clothes you don't mind getting muddy, dusty or both!

Xtreme Buggy
Bavaro-Punta Cana
Dominican Republic
829-228-6825
http://www.xtreme-buggy.com/Xtreme-Buggy/Welcome.html


5. Gallop Along the Beach


Horseback riding along the picturesque beaches for which Punta Cana is known is a popular family adventure, but will also get romantic hearts throbbing, with a sunset gallop along the shifting sands. Rides are available for individuals or groups no matter how much (or how little) experience you have on horseback. All the resorts offer riding packages, but for more flexibility, consider arranging your tour directly with a ranch. When choosing a riding outfit, check to see that the horses are in good condition (e.g., not thin or listless) and without any injuries, that their equipment is in good repair and their stalls clean.

El Rancho Diferente consistently receives high marks – and you needn't be a guest at the Punta Cana Resort & Club where it's headquartered in order to utilize their services.

El Rancho Diferente
Punta Cana
Dominican Republic
809-959-2262
http://www.puntacana.com/dining-recreation/the-ranch
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