Punta Cana Feature

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Popular Excursions

Beyond the gates of your resort there are many opportunities to leave your chaise longue behind and explore the surrounding area. The following excursions are all extremely popular, and several different tour companies generally offer similar trips (prices cited, in U.S. dollars, are just examples, and most charge tax on top of the fee):

Aquatic Speedboat Tour: Cruise along the coast in a speedboat to a magnificent snorkeling spot (Apple, $75).

ATV Tour: Get off the beaten path in a four-wheeler for an insider's view of the local countryside for half a day (VIP Travel, US$65 [shared ATV]–$90 [individual]).

Bávaro Runners: Tour the local countryside for the full day, with stops at sugarcane fields, cocoa plantations, and a typical Dominican home, and eat an authentic Dominican lunch (Apple, $90; Vacaciones Barceló, $90; VIP, $90).

Catalina Island: Sail to this uninhabited, pristine 6-square-mi island off the coast of La Romana. It's a secluded spot that's fabulous for snorkeling and diving. The all-day tour (9 hours) starts by bus from the hotels to Bayahibe (90 minutes); from there, you take a boat to the island. There's also a stop along the way to tour Altos de Chavón. (Colonial, $105, with lobster lunch buffet, water, and soft drinks).

Manatí Park: Exploring the park.

Marinarium: Snorkeling among nurse sharks and sun rays on a coral reef (Apple, $87).

Outback Safari: A half-day or full-day adventure takes you through the back roads to visit a cocoa plantation, local craft stores, a typical Dominican home, a cigar factory, and a secluded beach for some Boogie boarding (Apple, $70-$90; full-day includes lunch).

Samaná Whale Watching: From January through March, head out to watch the wintering humpback whales that return to Samaná in droves for their mating and birthing season (Colonial, $150, 9-hour tour includes flight and buffet lunch).

Santo Domingo: Full-day tour of the colonial capital, visiting the first cathedral in the New World and other architectural, historical, and cultural points of interest (VIP, $95, includes lunch at Hard Rock Cafe; Apple, $84, includes buffet lunch; Vacaciones Barceló, $75).

Saona Island: (about $90 to $95 for a full day, including fuel surcharge, lunch, and beverages).

Zip Lining: A half-day canopy tour that will have you swinging across Anamuya Pond on 10 different steel cables (the longest of which is 820 feet) from platforms spaced across a one-mile stretch of Taino Mountain. A 45-minute drive aboard a safari truck brings you to the welcome center, where qualified guides provide instruction and safety training. (VIP, $89, includes instruction, soft drinks, and fruit).

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* Some taxes, fees additional