Punta Cana Nightlife | The 11 Best Bars And Clubs in 2020
There’s a number of reasons why Punta Cana nightlife is damn good. One of the main ones…
Punta Cana is one of the most popular tourist destination in Latin America.
Forget Cusco, Rio, or anywhere else, more travelers visit this paradisical beach resort than any other place in the region. And you know what reels in the crowds?
It’s not the beaches, although I’ll admit they are rather picturesque. It’s also not the culture, the resorts, nor the watersports.
A large proportion of the 5 million or so tourists that touch down on the Aeropuerto Internacional each year come here to party.
To let loose. To paint the town red. To ruuuuuuumba.
Although Punta Cana does cater to families, it’s also a top spot to go for hedonistic after-dark party times. The glitzy seaside town boasts the most boisterous megaclubs in the Carribean, not too mention a smattering of classy bars and lounges. No matter your taste, you’ll find a happening waterhole somewhere in the city.
Planning to suss out the action for yourself?
Then you’re in the right place because I’ll cover everything you need to know about Punta Cana in this here nightlife guide. Let’s dig in…
What to Expect From Nightlife in Punta Cana?
A damn good time! That’s what 😉
In all seriousness, there’s a few things to think about before you head out for a big night in Punta Cana.
Here’s what you need to know…
Punta Cana is huge
Don’t come to Punta Cana expecting a tight-knit little beach town.
Au contraire. Punta Cana is one of the biggest beach resorts in the Caribbean, which is the top beach destination in the world.
After all, it has to accommodate all those millions of visitors that touch down every year. Specifically, the area measures around 30 miles (50km) from end-to-end.
And you don’t want to take a 30-mile taxi ride from the resort every time you go out.
The megaclubs are insane
If you’re into megaclubs, then Punta Cana is heaven on Earth. Few destinations around the world can match the sheer variety of megaclubs here and the size of these behemoth discotecas.
The top venues pack out in high season and host several thousands of party-hungry revelers at a time. Expect massive laser shows, state-of-the-art sound systems, and world-class DJs.
Imagine, Oro, and Coco Bongo are the biggest and baddest spots in town, which I’ll cover in more detail a little later on.
There’s all sorts of music
Tourists from all over South and Central American descend on Punta Cana in droves. In fact, Latino tourists make up the lion’s share of the party-goers here. And for that reason, you’ll hear all sorts of thumping Latin rhythms, from reggaeton to merengue and everything in between. Even salsa and bachata fans will have somewhere to swing their hips in this lively party town.
Of course, plenty of gringos visit the place too, so lots of club will be busting out international tunes. All sorts of EDM genres can be heard booming out of the biggest spots, and you’ll come across a healthy dose of top-40 and R&B/hip-hop, as well.
And that’s the beauty of nightlife in Punta Cana:
There’s enough musical variety to cater to every taste.
You need to dress well
While some of the more low-key hangouts near the beach are totally cool with swimming trunks and flip-flops, you certainly won’t get away with that kind of attire elsewhere. Strict dress codes are in place for all but the most casual locales, and the bouncers won’t think twice about enforcing them if you don’t look the part.
Think smart casual…
A button-down, casual shoes, and well-fitting dark jeans, for example. Ladies get a little more leeway but will have to put in some effort if they want to fit in.
You won’t meet many locals
There’s no denying Punta Cana is touristy. However, it certainly isn’t the place to go if you’re after a slice of authentic Dominican life. Although you may come across a handful of wealthy vacationers from Santo Domingo, the vast majority of revelers you’ll meet will be from places like America, Albania, or Argentina.
So if you’re hankering to get down and dirty with an international crowd, Punta Cana is a winner. You’ll meet lots of people here from all over the world.
But if you’re searching for a more local party scene, check out Santo Domingo or Santiago de los Caballeros instead. Personally, these two spots are more my style. But I did have a couple of memorable nights out in Punta Cana.
Some clubs are in resorts
Some of the top clubs are located within their respective all-inclusive resorts. And their all-inclusive packages include as many drinks as you can stuff down your thirsty gullet.
This policy comes with two great advantages:
- Your alcohol expenses are already included in the price of your room, which makes things cheaper. This is especially true if you’re happy to keep hitting the same club night after night.
- You can easily stagger home from the club after you’ve over-indulged in its open bar 😉
Now, these resorts aren’t especially cheap, so it’s not going to be a good option for low-budget travelers. However, if you were looking to stay at this kind of resort anyway, it seems like a win-win.
Speaking Spanish helps
As one of the most touristy towns in the region, everyone in the service industry speaks at least a little English.
However, the same can’t be said for your fellow revelers. Jumbo jet loads of Latino vacationers arrive in Punta Cana each day, and many of them only speak Spanish. If you can throw a few words around in the local lingo, then you’ll have a far easier time making friends in Punta Cana.
Of course, a little español will help you charm that cutie at the bar as well 😉
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Where to Stay in Punta Cana?
Remember I said Punta Cana was big?
I wasn’t exaggerating. It takes almost an hour to drive from end-to-end. And if you’re staying down past the airport or in its northern fringe, then you can count on a 30-minute taxi ride each way to reach the best nightspots.
All that in mind, it’s essential you stay somewhere central if partying is on the cards. Grab a hotel or Airbnb within a short distance of the Punta Cortecito area to ensure you’ll have easy access to the best late-night venues.
The only exception is if you happen to be loaded and insist on an exclusively upscale drinking scene. In that case, the southern area of Cap Cana might be your best bet, which is awash with five-star hotels and ritzy venues.
I searched long and hard for a well-priced place in the center of Punta Cana and Eco Travelers is by far the best of the lot.
For a very reasonable rate, you’ll get a well-appointed room with a squeaky clean en-suite and access to a leafy garden and a pool. Best of all, it’s only a block from the beach in Punta Cortecito, perfect for a refreshing morning swim to soothe last night’s hangover.
You’ll find some of the best bars and clubs in Punta Cana within walking distance from here, along with a pretty decent little hotel.
The best budget hotel in Cortecito is Riviera Punta Cana Eco Travelers.
Punta Cana Nightlife | How Much Will It Cost You?
You could be forgiven for thinking nightlife in Punta Cana will be cheap. After all, this is the Dominican Republic–a developing country with a low cost of living.
Punta Cana is a vacation town, first and foremost. The clubs and bars here cater to cashed-up norte americanos and Europeans, not impoverished locals or shoestring backpackers. And the drinks are priced accordingly.
Consider the following as a rough guide:
- Small beer in an unpretentious bar: US$2-6
- Small beer in a club: US$5-8
- Cocktail in an unpretentious bar: US$5-8
- Cocktail in a club: US$7-12
- Bottle in a club: US$50-300
- Wine at a bar: US$30-75
Then you’ve got the covers to consider. A number of places around town include an open bar policy with the price of admission, which works out good value for money for heavy drinkers. You’ll only get low-grade local spirits though, which aren’t the tastiest but will do in a pinch.
US$70 is a cheap night out here. You could get away with less than that if you only frequent the more basic bars. You could also spend far more if you go all out.
Best Bars in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic | Top 6
Enough of me fluff, though.
Below you’ll find everything you need to know about the top bars in Punta Cana, including where to unwind and where to pre-game before hitting one of the big clubs here…
Cheap and cheerful El Kan is a top spot to start off the festivities for the night. The lively open-air bar sees some people take to the dance floor to bust a move to salsa beats, but it’s mostly about sitting around and sucking down cold cerveza while you chat among your friends.
Highly recommended if you just want a casual place to hang out and drink.
On the other end of the spectrum, this cozy upmarket bar attracts a well-heeled clientele who want to indulge in the Carribean’s most quintessential pleasures: drinking rum and smoking cigars.
The ritzy joint resides within The Westin Punta Cana Resort & Club on the southern end of town, so it might be a little too far out of the way if you’re in the center.
Dreaming of a sunset margarita by the beach? This cookie-cutter little seafront establishment has got you covered. Sure, it’s small and nothing flash, but it’s right in the middle of the Cortecito beach and the friendly staff whip up a mean cocktail.
Don’t bother coming later in the evening because it’s more a day-time and sunset kind of deal.
Drink Point is the best budget bar in town, hands down. No dress code, cheap booze, and a breezy open-air building keep this place friendly and casual.
It’s also one of the only spots in town where you’ll bump into locals, so come here if you want to mingle with the Dominican crowd. As you’d expect, Latin beats reign supreme here and the rumba rages well into the early hours.
A sophisticated speakeasy in the center, this classy lounge serves up some of the finest cocktails in the Carribean. Master mixologist Vladimir has got the artform figured out and presents his creative concoctions in an uber-innovative way. It’s a little upmarket so put on some decent clothes.
The only downside is it can be a little quiet at times. Aka this is more of a date spot, than somewhere to really tie on a big night.
One of the best bars and restaurants in Punta Cana that actually turns into a party on weekend nights. Onno’s is a Dominican Republic nightlife classic. With locations in Punta Cana, Cabarete, and Santo Domingo — you’ll be sure to find a party at any of the locations.
The Punta Cana location is found in the heart of Bavaro, and within walking distance to dozens of hotels and hostels.
Best Clubs in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic | Top 5
Now we’re getting to the part you’ve been waiting for…
The absolute best nightclubs in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Here’s my favorites:
Coco Bongo puts on a hell of a show. In fact, you could probably argue it’s more of a cabaret than a disco. Professional actors, acrobats, and dancers do their thing to a backdrop of killer beats and crazy pyrotechnics, all the while everyone is dancing and drinking like mad.
It’s a unique concept that’s a heck of a lot of fun, so you really should check it out at least once while in town. The cover is US$70, but that includes an open bar until 2 am.
Go once. See the show. Enjoy the Coco Bongo experience. Then never think about it again.
Imagine boogying the night away in a glitzy megaclub comprised of a series of swanky interconnected caves. Well, that’s exactly what you’ll get at Imagine, which I feel is the top place to party in town.
Up to 3,000+ revelers pack out the joint in high season, creating a feverish fiesta that is unlike anywhere else in the city. As with Coco Bongo, it charges about US$70 in cover which includes an open bar.
Located within the glitzy Hard Rock Resort, this pumping club has a distinctly upscale vibe. Simply put, that’s because it’s quite a bit pricier, with cover costing about US$60 and open-bar around US$100.
Nevertheless, if you don’t mind spending a few extra pesos, or if you’re already staying at the all-inclusive Hard Rock Resort, then this rowdy place is pretty damn good. Oro attracts top international DJs and there’s a killer wall-mounted LED display to enchant inebriated punters.
Set within the glamorous Casino Avalon, this place pulsates every night of the week. Neon nights, booming beats, and beautiful peeps define the scene, which rages on until about 3 am or so.
It’s not as big or brash as the aforementioned super clubs, so come here if you’re too claustrophobic for that kind of scene. VIP table service is available for the ballers.
Pearl is Punta Cana’s go-to beach club, perfect for when you’re looking for a relaxing spot to unwind during the day.
Bali beds, infinity pools, and Jacuzzis comprise the space, backed by a pristine white sand beach and swaying palm trees. It does put on some after-dark action but it’s definitely more of a day time place.
Is Punta Cana Safe at Night?
Punta Cana survives off tourism.
If us well-heeled foreigners were to feel threatened or unsafe, the town would shrivel up and die. Consequently, a heavy police presence keeps a close eye on the after-dark entertainment.
Violent crime is relatively rare here.
However, it always pays to be vigilant — you are in Latin America after all. Monitor your intake and avoid sketchy alleys or unlit streets. If possible, group up with other travelers from your hotel.
Most big resorts and clubs offer transfers to and from the venue, which is a great way to meet people and enjoy safety in numbers.
P.S: Click here to learn more about Dominican Republic safety.
Best Nights to Party in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic?
Every night of the week is a crazy party in Punta Cana, especially during high season when the whole damn city starts to heave.
However, some places are going to be better than others on certain nights, especially mid-week. Although the following info was accurate on my visit, things change fast so double-check the details on each club’s social media and/or seek local advice.
- Monday: Drink Point Dominican night
- Tuesday: Cocobongo ladies’ night
- Wednesday: Oro ladies’ night
- Thursday: Coco Bongo couples specials. Imagine discounted covers
- Friday: Anywhere
- Saturday: Anywhere
- Sunday: Imagine hip-hop night
Overall, you shouldn’t have much issue finding a rager on the weekends in Punta Cana. You may need to do a little more research though, when looking for a solid mid-week fiesta.
Punta Cana Nightlife Guide | The Verdict
There we have it…
The inside scoop on the best spots to party in Punta Cana.
If you love letting loose in tourist resort towns with beautiful people from all over the world, then Punta Cana is going to be one hell of a party.
Just remember, dress well and get ready to splash some cash because this ain’t no bargain-basement backpacker scene. Punta Cana nightlife requires a little more style and cash.
Have a good time out there tonight, fam!