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25 Top Punta Cana Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

Punta Cana pool with beach view
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A popular destination for tourists all over the world, Punta Cana welcomes swimmers, snorkelers, and beach bums to enjoy its year-round tropical climate and beautiful beaches.

Punta Cana is also located quite close to the historic towns of Higuey and Cabeza del Toro. History buffs will enjoy a day trip to Higuey, the 500-year-old city that is home to landmark moments in the Spanish colonization.

Because of its tropical climate, diverse population, and varied activities, this spot can be tough to pack for. We also include a guide for what to wear in Punta Cana, what NOT to bring, the seasons, and some FAQs to help you plan the best trip possible.

Punta Cana Parachute tour
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What to Pack for Punta Cana – 25 Essentials

  • 1. Waterproof Phone Pouch

    With a reliable waterproof phone case, you’ll never have to leave your smartphone unattended on the beach again and risk it getting stolen or covered in sand. This case is awesome because it not only protects your phone from the elements but it also allows you to take photos and videos underwater.

    waterproof phone pouch

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  • 2. Affordable Underwater Camera

    A trip to Punta Cana isn’t just endless blue waters and white sands, even though those are beautiful too. To capture the wildlife, adventure activities, and travel memories, make sure to bring a good underwater camera. We love this one because it’s waterproof, compact, and affordable.

    underwater camera

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  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Not to freak you out… but cybersecurity attacks are increasingly common in the DR and there were nearly 500 million attacks in the first half of 2023 alone. You will need a virtual private network to encrypt your personal data, ensuring no hackers or creepy onlookers can monitor your online activity.

    Use a VPN whenever you connect to Wi-Fi in public places, such as airports, hotels, and cafes to protect your sensitive info like credit card numbers, passwords, and social security numbers. This will also help you access websites from your home country that may be blocked in the Dominican Republic (common ones that encounter censorship are content-based apps like Netflix, HBO, PayPal, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) A VPN will give you access to 6K+ servers around the world, so you’ll have access to nearly every inch of the internet at lightning speed. My favorite bonus is the discounted flights since your IP address is anonymous (no geo-targeted pricing, woo-hoo!)

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

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  • 4. Neck Wallet

    A neck wallet will protect you from pickpocketing and petty theft during your trip to the Dominican Republic. Large enough to hold your passport, phone, wallet, and other valuables, this neck wallet can be worn around your neck and hidden discreetly beneath your clothes to keep your belongings organized and secure.

    Available on with an exclusive 15% discount using the coupon code “HERO”.

    Neck Wallet

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  • 5. Swimsuit Cover-Up

    Don’t forget to pack a trendy swimsuit cover-up to protect your skin from 11am to 2pm when the sun is at its strongest. Sticking to a cover-up made from delicate and breathable fabrics like this one will keep you cool, and your skin will thank you for it.

    Swimwear Crochet Dress

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  • 6. Travel Insurance for Punta Cana

    Your U.S. health insurance will not cover you in the Dominican Republic. We never travel without insurance, which covers your costs for lost or stolen items, baggage loss, flight cancellations, delays, and emergency medical expenses. You don’t want to be stuck paying international hospital bills out-of-pocket, and since your domestic provider doesn’t follow you out of the country, this could quickly get expensive!

    We use Faye because they modernize insurance and don’t create hurdles for you to jump through. Claims and reimbursements are super easy through their mobile app, and we received the funds quickly after our incident (when we needed it most) instead of waiting months and filling out stacks of endless paperwork. It’s one of the cheapest and most important investments of your trip; don’t skip it!

    Travel Insurance for Punta Cana

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  • 7. Packing Cubes

    If you’ve never used packing cubes, they will be a total game changer for you! Keep all your belongings organized and prevent overpacking with these awesome brightly colored cubes. With a space to label each cube’s contents on the outside, you’ll never have to dig through your suitcase searching for underwear again!

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  • 8. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    Whether you’re out and about exploring Punta Cana or spending the day relaxing on the beach, the last thing you’ll want to do is stop somewhere to recharge your phone or camera. Toss this lipstick-sized portable charger in your purse or beach bag so you can recharge your electronics as needed throughout the day.


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  • 9. Aloe Vera

    The pain of a sunburn can easily be relieved by applying aloe vera gel liberally and frequently. It’s sticky stuff, but it works to hydrate your skin to heal the damage and relieve the pain. For even more relief, keep your aloe vera in the refrigerator during the day. When you come home in the evening, the extra cold temperature will soothe sun damage.

    Aloe Vera

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  • 10. Beach Bag with Built-in Cooler

    Keep your sunblock, towels, water bottles, and beach reads all in one sand-proof place, like this handy beach bag. This one is awesome because it comes with a built-in cooler to keep your snacks and drinks at the perfect chilled temperature all day.

    Beach Bag with Built-in Cooler

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  • 11. Water Bottle with Built-in Filter

    The tap water in Punta Cana is not safe to drink, but instead of using endless single-use plastic water bottles, opt for a more environmentally friendly option. This reusable water bottle has a built-in filter to ensure your drinking water is clean and safe to consume. This brand is a little pricey, but the quality reflects it to protect your health from bacteria, viruses, microplastics, lead, and more.

    Water Bottle with Built-in Filter

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  • 12. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    An incomparably valuable travel item to pack on your trip to Punta Cana is a quick-dry towel. Perfect in a variety of scenarios, this towel dries quickly, which allows you to toss it in your daypack or beach bag almost immediately after use. It will also come in handy if the towel your accommodation provides doesn’t meet your cleanliness standards.

    Quick-Dry Travel Towel

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  • 13. Handheld Fan

    In the peak of summer with high levels of a humidity, a handheld fan will be your best friend. As a super lightweight addition to your travel artillery, this is a small commitment for a big payoff, and your future self will thank you as you’re stuck in long lines or standing in direct sunlight for hours at a time.

    Handheld Fan

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  • 14. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    It rains regularly in the DR, often without any warning. Although these sudden downpours can feel romantic, you’ll want to be prepared so inclement weather doesn’t throw off your plans. This umbrella is high quality and made for travel. It weighs one pound in its nice carrying case and can fully cover two people.

    Windproof Travel Umbrella

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  • 15. Sand-Free Beach Blanket

    Speaking of sandproofing, you can’t go wrong with a sandproof blanket, like this one available on Amazon. The sand-resistant material ensures that sand is easily wiped away, allowing for more comfortable post-swimming naps on the beach.

    Sand-Free Beach Blanket

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  • 16. Activated Charcoal

    Though the food in the Dominican is delicious, food poisoning happens, and sometimes food or drink doesn’t sit well with you. Prevent discomfort and potential food poisoning by bringing activated charcoal tablets, which will absorb and expel any unwanted bacteria in your system.

    Activated Charcoal

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  • 17. Discounted Tickets on Punta Cana Excursions

    Whether you’re snorkeling by day or dancing the night away at the Coco Bongo – Punta Canta has amazing activities for all types of travelers. Take a catamaran to Saona Island, swim with dolphins, and relax in the Blue Lagoon Cenote.

    Get Your Guide is our favorite booking service for the best tours around the world. We love that they support the local tourism industry but allow you to book through a reputable platform.

    Discounted Tickets on Punta Cana Excursions

    See all Punta Cana attractions at ➜

  • 18. Gorgeous Dress

    You’ll definitely have at least one opportunity to wear a gorgeous dress in Punta Cana. Whether it’s a nice dinner or a night out on the town, you’ll be glad you packed some stylish evening wear. This dress is perfect for warm Dominican nights because it’s lightweight, breezy, and looks great on a variety of body types.


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  • 19. Mosquito-Repellent Wristbands

    Especially in the rainy season, you will need mosquito protection against pesky bugs and sand gnats. These wearable wristbands are super convenient so you’re not respraying toxic fumes all day. They’re deet-free and safe for kids, plus we love that they’re reusable and cost-efficient.

    mosquito repellent wristbands

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  • 20. Cooling Towel

    The Dominican Republic can get HOT! We never travel to tropical destinations or humid places without these magical cooling towels. They drop to 30 degrees colder than the outside air temp and keep you feeling refreshed for hours on end. Simply add water and wring it out. Want more chilly relief? Add more water again. They are a treat to wrap around your neck, head, and body, making hot afternoons way more tolerable.

    cooling towel

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  • 21. Mesh Slip-On Water Shoes

    You may decide to try your hand at kayaking, bodyboarding, or any of the many aquatic sports you can explore in Punta Cana. It is a good idea to protect your feet with a pair of rubber water shoes that will also provide some slip-resistant traction and stability if you decide to go sailing or wakeboarding.

    Water Shoes

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  • 22. Motion Sickness Relief

    If you’re doing any sunset catamaran cruises or snorkeling trips, use these motion sickness patches. If you’re prone to any seasickness or motion sickness on windy coastal roads – these are super effective at preventing any nausea, especially since those smaller boats don’t have big stabilizers like cruise ships, so you could end up green even on some mild waves.

    Motion Sickness Relief

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  • 23. Hanging Toiletries Bag

    Bathrooms can lack countertop space and it can really be a pain in the butt to store all of your skincare, haircare, and makeup toiletries. This hanging toiletries bag will be your new best friend, unfolding to display 4 large pockets that will hold all your self-care items. We love that it has enough storage room to hold the whole family’s bottles, and we haven’t had a shampoo bottle explosion in our suitcase since using this compact bag.

    Hanging Toiletries Bag

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  • 24. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    Pickpocketing is common in many parts of the world. We use these locks when we check our suitcases at the airport since our belongings will be out of sight for long durations. To ensure only TSA security staff can open your bags, these locks are your safest bet. We even use these for backpacks and purses when passing through busy public transit stations or attractions that draw big crowds. Thieves are very stealthy and I’ve had someone take something out of my purse on an underground subway, even WITH my hand over the purse!

    luggage locks

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  • 25. Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    You know you always need one extra bag when traveling. Instead of forking out $50+ for a low-quality one at a tacky tourist shop, bring along this well-made duffel for a fraction of the price. It’s perfect for holding your last-minute shopping finds, gifts for your loved ones, or any special souvenirs you want to bring home. Since the bag fits under your plane seat, it’s the perfect way to avoid carry-on baggage fees, yippee!

    Packable “Just in Case” Bag

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What should I wear in Punta Cana?

Dominican style is mostly relaxed and suited towards the year-round tropical weather. Similar to American style, it is casual and comfortable with a few key exceptions. Known for its resorts, like Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic relaxes its dress code for vacationers—with resort wear significantly more relaxed by the beach or poolside. With so many aquatic sports available—from scuba diving to sailing and snorkeling— and the tropical heat, dress for comfort and protection. With Spanish and native Taino influences, bright colors are always welcome.

That said, there are a few exceptions. The Dominican Republic is a Catholic country and emphasizes more modest dress in church and more formal settings. Meanwhile, if you go out to dinner or drinks in trendy Santo Domingo, you will be expected to dress up. That means swapping out your flips flops for high heels and proper trousers. Feel free to dress to the nines!

What should WOMEN wear in Punta Cana? – (Click to expand)
Women feel free to wear bold colors, bright dresses, and sandals. Whether you’re out on the town or relaxing on the beach, the tropical and Spanish influences permeate local fashion. Opt for natural fabrics that keep you cool and protect your skin. Otherwise, the Dominican Republic is the perfect place to experiment with summer fashion. It is perfectly acceptable to show a little skin, especially on the beach or in trendy Santo Domingo restaurants, but for formal occasions and visiting historic churches, keep legs and shoulders covered.

What should MEN wear in Punta Cana? – (Click to expand)
To keep cool, men will also want to opt for natural fabrics like linen and cotton. They’ll keep you protected during the day, and most items, like a linen button-down, will transition well from beach to a night on the town. While the Dominican Republic boasts a casual sense of fashion, flips flops are a no-go off the beach. Opt for comfortable boat shoes and colorful shorts, or light fabric trousers if you go out for drinks off the resort.

Packing for the Seasons in Punta Cana

Spring — March, April, May:

Temperatures do not vary too much year-round in the Dominican Republic, with winter temperatures still quite hot. Spring temperatures see the thermometer go up by only a few degrees, from a February average of 28 (84) to an April average of 31 (88). Technically hurricane season begins in May. While it’s good to keep an eye out for inclement weather, conditions stay pretty clear until August.

Summer — June, July, August:

June and July are the nicest months of the year. The average sea temperature for Punta Cana is 32°C (82) – that’s the same as in June. While this temperature is great for swimming and sailing, with tropical winds at your back, bear in mind that the sun index is quite strong. For starters, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to get much hotter than that. Moreover, with the strong sun index and longer days, you’ll need to be extra cautious to avoid sunburn.

Autumn — September, October, November:

September still remains hot, with average temperatures around 28 degrees. By October, it begins to cool down by a slim margin, with temperatures reaching 29 or 30 (86 to 89) and steadily into December. The sun index gets a little weaker, so those visiting from more temperate climates, like New York or London, will find autumn weather a pleasant change of pace.

Nevertheless, September and October are peak times for hurricane season, so be extra mindful of weather reports. Otherwise, your vacation may be interrupted by heavy rains and dangerous conditions.

Winter — December, January, February:

Christmas in the tropics? With temperatures hovering around 84 degrees (28), who can say no to such pleasant conditions? Far away from hurricane season, you can expect a January and February full of sunshine. January occurs in the dry season, so you can expect perfect conditions to explore the island’s natural beauty.

What NOT to bring to Punta Cana

  • 1.Heavy Footwear

    Unless you’re hiking a natural trail, leave your heavy trainers and hiking boots behind. The lighter you pack and the lighter you dress the better for Punta Cana.

  • 2.Dark Colours

    Just like your fabrics, keep your colours light. Resort wear may be relaxed, but who wants to dress like Morticia Adams to go to the beach? If you go into town, bright colours are encouraged by the local fashion sense.

  • 3.Electric hairstyling tools

    Natural is the way to go, especially as the heat, wind, and humidity are bound to do a number on a perfectly polished coiffe. The most stylist and easy-to-maintain option? Let your hair down, literally, and you’ll blend in with the locals.

  • 4.Too many layers

    You’ll do well to bring a light jacket or jumper for the breezy evenings, but if you bring any autumn or winter outerwear with you, you’ll be boiling. A simple wind-resistant jacket will take you through any sailing adventures, and a breathable cover-up will suit for any evenings out.

FAQs for traveling in Punta Cana

  • 1. What is transportation like?

    Public buses, known as guaguas, connect the Punta Cana and Bavaro area. However, taxis and shuttles are easily available (fairly affordable and infinitely faster) to connect you to the airport or any major hotel. If you want to explore the island, your best bet is to rent a car yourself and travel on your own schedule.

  • 2. What Cities should I visit?

    Punta Cana is a small town that offers over 32 kilometers of beach territory, golf courses, and a few local joints to try the local cuisine. That said, the country is a small island nation so it never hurts to spend a day or two in the capital, Santo Domingo, or explore historic towns like La Vega or Santiago.

  • 3. Do people speak English?

    While Spanish is the official language, most people in resort towns like Punta Cana speak pretty proficient English. Still, it is always polite to learn how to say thank you (gracias) and please (por favor). Small efforts will go a long way.

  • 4. Is it safe to drink the water?

    No, it isn’t, as the tap water is not purified. Your best bet in all cases is bottled water, and opt for drinks without ice if you can’t see where the ice is sourced. If you’re taking a tour, bring a bottle of spring water with you.

  • 5. What is the best time of year to visit?

    Spring, Autumn, and winter are all lovely, as the heat cools down just a little. Summer brings extreme hit and direct sunlight so if you’re prone to sunburn, it may the time of year to avoid taking a trip.

  • 6. What currency is used in Punta Cana and the DR?

    The official currency is the Dominican peso, which you can easily exchange at hotels or the airport upon landing. That said, if you are at a resort, you can tip in American dollars, which servers can exchange just as easily. Many restaurants and hotels in Dominican cities will accept American dollars and Euros directly.

  • 7. Do I have to tip in restaurants and bars?

    It is customary and good courtesy to leave 10% if you enjoyed your services. Some restaurants will add 10% gratuity to your bill, so make sure you look at your check before leaving extra. You will know if it has been added if you see “propina incluida” on the check.

  • 8. What is the food like?

    Dominican food is a real mix – of fresh with fried, of meat paired with colorful fruits and veg – all of which are absolutely worth your while to try. Sancocho, a traditional meaty stew, is packed with flavor—especially if you go for sancocho de siete carnes, with a varied selection of meat ingredients, which promises a rich and varied flavor. Vegetarian? Try mangu, a plantain mash, with coffee for breakfast. Otherwise, opt for stewed beans, braised chicken, and don’t skip out on the fried plantains. Expect a rainbow on your plate with contrasting flavors and textures that are sure to tickle your palate.