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Punta Cana Neighborhoods

Punta Cana itself is not very neighborhood-y. Each resort in Punta Cana is basically its own little island so plan on going to a resort and staying there. It is, however, a safe area for tourists to rent a car and go exploring up and down the coastline and to the neighboring towns if they'd like. In fact, if you want to do a little exploring outside of where you're staying, you'll most likely need a vehicle.

El Macao and Playa Uvero Alto

El Macao is north of Bavaro, and bit by bit it is being built up as well. Currently, its beaches remain calm, quiet spots for surfing and relaxing without the commercialism—though you can see it from there. Head up to the cliffs for a view of an old shipwreck which local diving schools regularly use for classes, The Little Mermaid-style. Continue north to Playa Uvero Alto and you'll encounter a beach village with small boutique beach hotels for visitors seeking privacy and not much else, as this area is mostly ranches.

Bávaro

Bávaro is often grouped together with Punta Cana as it's where a number of the "Punta Cana" massive, all-inclusive mega-resorts are located. The area is full of fun activities catering to adventure seekers and includes the well-renowned Dolphin Island, where you can go swimming with dolphins and sea lions, and Manati Park, a nature-themed amusement park. A small fishing village called El Cortecito also resides in Bávaro and its open-air artisan stalls are a favorite among souvenir shoppers.

Higüey

The area west of Punta Cana is called Higüey, and you can only get there with a car. The reason to come here is the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia, a stunning structure with a magnificent shrine to the local orange grove where there was a historical vision of the Virgin Mary. You can purchase religious souvenirs out in front of the Basilica or head into one of the two open-air markets, Mercado Publico de Higüey and Plaza Higüeyana, to seek other treasures.

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