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a house with bushes in front of a building

Punta Cana is a town full of variety. Many people seek it out to find relaxing times, good food and a ton of sunshine. This time, we want to show you a great time a lil bit closer to nature. Since ecotourism is a trend, we’ll be patient followers.


What is ecotourism? Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving visiting unspoiled and fairly undisturbed natural areas and leaving them that way. We’re talking caring for the environment, cleaning up after ourselves and not misusing local animals or plants in any way. This way, we’ll invest in our nature and keep it clean for future generations! Wikipedia: “Responsible ecotourism programmes include those that minimize the negative aspects of conventional tourism on the environment and enhance the cultural integrity of local people.” Recycling, responsible water use and buying from locals all help the area.

These are our top picks for ecotourism in Punta Cana! Aside from this eco-paradise and these natural beauties, of course.

Macao Beach Hostel

Macao beach hostel is a gem for backpackers and more adventurous travelers, craving the sound of the waves and a lush breakfast outside, chatting to fellow explorers. This is your classic beach place, full of friendly hippies, nature lovers and surf dudes. Making art or music is more of a norm than an exception at Macao, and they also host a yearly art weekend with workshops & exhibitions. This place is chill. Next to a shared dorm or a double room, you can also opt for a night in a tent! Camping in Punta Cana? Yes. Macao hostel owns 20 tents in which you can truly immerse yourself in Caribbean nature. Bathrooms and the kitchen are shared.

Rancho Ecologico Tio Pepe

Rancho Ecologico is a little out of the way – it’s an hour and a half drive from Punta Cana. But with a focus on a truly local and natural experience, this is a great spot. The Rancho consists of a few cute wooden cabins, like you’re in the mountains. The local grounds are full of (pet) geese, ducks and the occasional rooster. The sunrise from your cabin? Like no other. Pepe is a truly friendly gent, too. This is a bit of a secluded spot, for those who enjoy the quiet of nature. However, the owner easily arranges a rental car from you so you can explore the close surroundings, like the Montana Redonda in Miches. Staying put and reading a book in the gardens or swimming in the natural pool of the Rancho is an option, too. Recommended!

Habitación ecocultural (Miches)

A bit more to the north, you find this cultural center slash eco place in Miches, a two hour drive from Punta Cana. Here, you’re in truly undisturbed territory – the area has mangroves, coconut trees, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, caves and tropical forests. Know how much we love waterfalls? This place is a great stop inbetween the beautiful waterfalls of Cascada Lulu and Punta Cana. This is an ecological dream house! Don’t mind sharing dinners with a local Dominican family? Then this is your spot.

A guest says: “The location is eclectic as you will find artwork everywhere, I would say it adds to the character of the place. The couple is well traveled and enjoy sharing about their adventures. As a Dominican myself I can vouch for the authenticity of this family as far as cultural customs is concerned. Don’t hesitate to support the cultural center by purchasing any of the art around the home. It helps them to promote art in the area and provide access to art to young people.

Banana Ranch Villages

Banana Ranch Villages is a bit less primitive and a bit closer to Punta Cana – perfect for those who enjoy nature but don’t necessarily want to sleep in a tent. These cute wooden huts with private patio are part of a resort area that’s all about greenery and lush plants. Can you imagine yourself sitting at the patio with a glass of wine while you hear that typical cicada sound in the distance? The evening breeze on your feet, the sun going down.. perfection. Next, to this, you can enjoy a meal with other nature lovers in Banana Ranch’ big outside dining area – try a local dish! Around the small pool, it’s all plant life and a natural feel. Every hut is decorated authentically and comes with a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. Besides these luxuries, you can rent a bike and cycle around the area of Higuey. Punta Cana is only a 50-min drive away!

A guest says: “I Highly, highly recommend this beautiful eco-retreat. This is a true sanctuary…quiet, peaceful, great food & staff, animals…you really get a sense of the incredible culture as well. The service is far superior to any 5-star I have experienced so far.”

Natura Eco Resort

Ok, you like nature and you’d sponsor ecotourism, but you’re a fan of luxury too. Not to worry! The best of both worlds can be found at Natura Park, Beach eco resort in Bavaro, right on the beach. Think lush, tropical gardens and exotic birdlife, while also enjoying all-inclusive hospitality and your mini-bar. That resort feel, in a natural environment. You might even see a flamingo! Next to beauty treatments, you can also enjoy eco tours straight from the hotel or with Explora.

A guest of Natura says: “This resort is perfect if you are appreciative of natural settings, wildlife, less concrete more grass/ocean. The beach is stunning, especially to the North/west (left) where there is 2 KMs of eco-territory – no development on the beach, pristine sand and aqua water. The hotel is 2 or 3 stories and spread out amongst beautiful grounds – flamingos, peacocks, herons, geese, turtles, wandering the property freely.

Would you sponsor ecotourism? Why (not)? Let us know! Tag us in your pics or tweets, @bestofpuntacanaofficial!


Photo: Tio Pepe