All Articles How to do spring break in Punta Cana

How to do spring break in Punta Cana

The scoop on this spring break hot spot—for couples, families, and the college crowd

Matt Bell
By Matt Bell2 Oct 2023 3 minutes read
Beach loungers lined up on an empty beachfront
Saona Island in Punta Cana
Image: gise/Tripadvisor

The allure of spring break in Punta Cana is as clear as the Caribbean. Its world-famous nightlife, white sandy beaches, and a trove of affordable all-inclusive resorts draw travelers of all ages. And it becomes even more exciting from the end of February to early April, when a healthy dose of college students joins the mix.

Most of Punta Cana’s all-inclusive resorts offer some sort of entertainment. Think, DJ sets and booze cruises. A few (Riu Republic, Royalton Chic) have made bottomless frozen drinks and pool parties the backbone of their brand. But what really makes Punta Cana an ideal spring break destination is that it is just as easy to take a pass on the party as it is to find one. Most resorts have quiet pools away from the scene and a menu of on-property options—from kids clubs and golf to spas and fitness centers.

Resorts are also your gateway to non-hangover-inducing adventures. From the sea to the jungle, you can go zip-lining, parasailing, horseback riding, swimming in lagoons, playing with monkeys, and learn all about the Dominican Republic’s famed coco and coffee. And no matter where you go, there are beaches that stretch for miles, from pretty Juanillo Beach in the gated community of Cap Cana to Bavaro Beach, a beautiful stretch of coastline that’s home to many of the area’s top resorts.

Here, we break things down to help you find the perfect Punta Cana spring getaway—whether you’re looking for some grown-up fun, a family-friendly scene, or a trip that’s perfect for you and your college crew.

Why go?

  • A postcard of tropical paradise
  • Affordable all-inclusive resorts
  • One-of-a-kind nightlife

Punta Cana for adults

Open-air dining area overlooking the beach beyond
Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar in Punta Cana
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

Adults-only resorts in Punta Cana range from tranquil and serene to foam parties and DJs. Higher-priced resorts are typically a little older and quiet, but by no means boring. Budget properties skew younger and livelier but still have plenty of space for unwinding. Some adults-only resorts are paired with family resorts, so pay attention to the size: If the family side is gigantic, you may feel overwhelmed by kids.

Beyond the resorts, Punta Cana’s dance floors dial up the experience a few degrees. Like Imagine—where bottle service comes inside an actual cave. If you’re more of a chilled-out beach bar person, there are spots like Onno’s Bavaro, which is ideal for sunset drinks in the sand.

The under-21 crowd is noticeable at each of the party resorts and nightclubs in town, but they’re usually outnumbered by everyone else, especially at the Royalton Chic. If you’re not trying to center your story around shots of rum—or even if you are—make some time for off-property exploring. Dune buggy through the jungle to a cenote (water cave) or head on a day trip to the pristine beaches of Saona Island—it takes a bus and two boats, but a drink is never far away.

Where to stay

Dining area full of tables of dining guests
Vespa at the Royalton CHIC Punta Cana, An Autograph Collection Resort & Casino
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

Sink Your Feet in the Sand: Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar

I traveled with 3 girlfriends just for a girls trip getaway and We absolutely loved this resort… Yaro greeted us when we first checked in and was the best guide for us the entire time we stayed. We absolutely loved breakfast at the snack bar off the beach in the morning. And we never had any issues finding chairs at the beach or pool for the 4 of us, occasionally we had to wait a min but we were always able to get something together. Danielly in the spa did an amazing job with the facial/massage package. The beach was super nice, clean, and there were servers on the beach. The water was perfect and not too wavy. Overall we highly suggest the resort.

Themed Parties: Royalton Chic

This is an amazing hotel, there is plenty of choice for food, the breakfast has to be the best I’ve had from my experience, the foam party and neon party are brilliant. The staff are absolutely amazing, they go out of there way to make this a great hotel. Jcarlo is the fitness instructor and he is a great at what he does, extremely friendly and makes all guests feel very welcome, the rooms are lovely but small, but lovely and clean. The drinks are branded, and a great choice of cocktails. Would definitely return 😍

Feed Your Inner Food Critic: Excellence Punta Cana

Second year in a row at Excellence Punta Cana and had an incredible time. The resort and their staff are fantastic, always there to serve with a smile! Food was top notch and never hard to get a table even for our group of 8 people/villains.Big shout out to Mr Black and CocaCola from the entertainment team and Wander, Luis, Plata, Santiago and Chenyi from the wait staff and restaurants. Love this resort and will be back to this and other Excellence properties.

What to do

Waste the Day: Soana Island with Lunch and Open Bar

This was my absolutely favorite “excursion” in Punta Cana - I was initially surprised at how tight the seating was and how long the drive was to get to the boat but the people were friendly and the scenery was interesting - the boat ride to the isles was a lot of fun - we stopped at a starfish breeding area which seemed quite aways from the beach - everyone got out of the boat for a swim and a couple of drinks - they brought up some starfish for us to see and we all took some pictures than back in the boat and on to the island where we spent a magnificent day in one of the most beautiful places I have seen, the beach was a little rocky at the edges but so perfect and amazing once we got in the water - we enjoyed the native food and scenery and had an incredible day, then back on the boat with continued drinks, music and dancing - If I go back to Punta Cana, I will absolutely do this trip again!

An Off-Campus Excursion: Off-road Dune Buggy Adventure and Amazing Water Cave

This tour was excellent and I’d recommend it, an easy 8 to 9 out of 10. Our guide David was knowledgeable and efficient at getting our group to each location with enough time to explore yet no so much as to linger. The cenote was amazing, the beach was beautiful and the coffee/chocolate experience was fun. The tour lasted from 7:30 pickup to about 12:30 by the time we got back to the resort. I would recommend this tour to anyone that wants to see the off-resort Dominican experience without a long commitment in their day.

Punta Cana for families

Close-up of a monkey
Monkey at Monkeyland and Plantation Safari Tour
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

Can you find family fun in the sea of adults holding frozen cocktails? Yes, you can in Punta Cana. In fact, you can find programs geared for toddlers to teens at two of the most popular all-inclusive resorts along Bavaro Beach. Both the Barcelo Bavaro Palace and Hard Rock Hotel and Casino come with bowling alleys, teen clubs, and water parks, in addition to a seemingly endless selection of kid-friendly pools.

Venturing off-site, Scrape Park in Cap Cana lets the whole gang hang with zip lining and a different kind of pool—a freshwater lagoon with waterfalls and cenotes.

Nature-loving families won’t want to miss a trip to Monkey Island, a reserve where you can interact with squirrel and capuchin monkeys. You can also combine a visit with other adventures like horseback riding or—for the parents who need a caffeine jolt—a coffee farm.

Where to stay

Beach All Day: Barcelo Bavaro Palace

We have been to this resort 6 times for spring break with friends and family and love our experience…The rooms, pools, and beach are exceptionally clean. Everyone in our group from little ones to adults can find something to do. The ocean is very calm at this resort which makes it enjoyable to swim. They provide non-motorized water sports like kayaks and paddle boards for use. Already looking forward to our trip next year!

Play All Day: Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

We just returned from our third trip to Hard Rock Punta Cana and we are already planning our next trip! We travel as a group of 8 with kids ranging from 7 to 19 and there is something for everyone at this resort! The teenagers loved the new water park, everyone loved the beautiful pools and beach, the adults thought the new beach club restaurant was amazing and the 7-year old declared the poolside deep fried Oreos with Nutella as her fave.Our trip was made so much more enjoyable by David and Ogalis. From sand toys and a special poolside pizza lunch, to coordinating a scooter for mobility for the duration of our stay, they were available 24/7 for anything we needed. They checked in on us multiple times a day, coordinated all of our reservations for dinner (and changes), and were especially helpful on checkout day when we had multiple airline delays and needed a comfortable place to wait for over 7+ hours unexpectedly. David and Ogalis were so helpful, friendly and made everything so easy for us - all we had to do was enjoy! We hope to see them again in 2024!

Worth the Splurge: Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana

Get ready for a great vacation here at Hyatt Ziva. Gorgeous- they thought of everything when they built this resort. Weather was perfect on 7-night stay. Food galore. Staff is so kind, professional and accommodating. Swim up suite was beautiful- patio and two chaise lounge chairs in the pool shared by other swim up suites. Tipping is optional but not expected- I tipped a lot. Pools, multiple restaurants, buffet, coffee, bars (swim up too), chaise lingers on beach, entertainment, water park, huge workout facility- everything you can imagine is right here. If you stay at Hyatt Ziva you can go next door (separated by a walkway) to Hyatt Zilara (Adults only) and vice versa. Had the best time here! Worth every penny! Recommend bring tip money, lots of sunscreen, good books when lounging poolside or on the beach, and motivation to eat, drink and be happy. My travel agent recommended this resort- A+++

What to do

Young woman ziplines across the jungle
Ziplining at Scape Park at Cap Cana in Punta Cana
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

Meet the Monkeys: Monkeyland and Plantation Safari Tour

Amazing experience. Our tour guides were so fun and so experienced. They made kids with fears confident by the end of the tour. Such an incredible experience. Lots of time with the monkeys and very knowledgeable. Loved every minute of it.

Zip Line over Water: Scrape Park

A great adventure for the family! Everything about this park was excellent and it exceeded our expectations! Our kids are 9 & 11 and we all enjoyed every activity! There was a mix of thrilling zip lining, jumping into water and relaxing explorative activities. All the staff were helpful! Water shoes are a must! They work well for climbing from zip lines. Be aware, a lot of walking is required. Bring money to purchase water, snacks and souvenirs. There’s photographers everywhere and they get some really great action shots! I would highly recommend anyone seeking adventure to visit Scape Park!

Punta Cana for the college crowd

Line of young women pose in the water
The Punta Cana Party Boat in Punta Cana
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

Spring break culture blends well with the party lifestyle of Punta Cana. And while the resorts may not be plastered with hordes of students, that doesn’t mean the hordes aren’t, well, plastered.

Unlike places like Cancun—where it’s hard to ignore all the students—spring break here is shared with party people from all over the world. But Punta Cana knows you’re coming. You will dance arm-in-arm with your best friends and sing the latest pop anthems, whether it’s in a cathedral-sized cave, a Vegas-style nightclub, a catamaran cruise with an open bar, or a foam party by the pool.

And then, you will debrief about it at an all-inclusive breakfast the next day—and for years to come.

Where to stay

Bird's eye view of resort grounds and beachfront
The Occidental Caribe in Punta Cana
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

Party Central: Riu Republica

What a crazy time at Riu Republica. If you’re after an actioned packed and great holiday with your friends book this place! The party scene is brilliant with pool parties every week, just a short bus trip away and plenty of other activities in the resort itself. If you’re a couple I would choose another location if I’m honest. But for myself and 6 of my mates it was class. Food was good not amazing but considering the price we didn’t mind. Lots of choice. Rooms were bog standard but again didn’t bother us as we knew that coming into the holiday. Staff were brilliant and put up with all kinds of antics so they deserve all the tips they get!

Crew HQ: Occidental Caribe

Alexander Cabral at reception was so nice and helpful! All the staff was working so hard and wanted the best for those staying at the resort! Had an excellent stay here! Definitely great for college spring break with your besties!!

What to do

Night Club Theater: Coco Bongo

Essential part of a memorable week, breaking Punta Cana. Dancers are world class, and music is overwhelmingly crushing. Pays off the gold pass to skip the line, it was packed.

Cave Rave: Imagine

A lot of tourists and locals go here, I come here every time I come to punta cana, Latin hip hop music on one side and house music on the other. If [you] want to have a good time go here.

Booze Cruise: Punta Cana Party Boat

Really fun spring break party boat booze cruise. Me and 56 others had a great time drinking and sailing, as well as snorkeling and swimming. Was definitely my favorite part of our spring break vacation. Drinks were good and there were plenty.
Matt Bell
Matt Bell is a Philadelphia-based writer and restless explorer. He digs into buzzing metropolises, far-flung villages, and the serenity of nature to discover inclusive and sustainable ways to make lasting memories. When he's not on the move across the globe, you can still find him in motion closer to home, as an enthusiastic, amateur rollerskater.