The Best Cheap Hotels to Book in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Even on a budget, you can enjoy a swim-up bar at the Meliá Caribe Beach Resort
Even on a budget, you can enjoy a swim-up bar at the Meliá Caribe Beach Resort | Courtesy of Meliá Caribe Beach Resort / Expedia
Sara Darling

You really don’t have to spend much money to live royally in the beautiful tropical surrounds of the Dominican Republic – not least of all because these all-inclusive resorts – i.e., no hidden extras – pride themselves on first-rate amenities and access to some of the finest white-sand beaches in the Caribbean. There’s loads to keep kids entertained, with impressive water parks, while adults get to party all night at thrumming beach discos and pool bars. Whatever kind of place you want, you’ll find it here, with our pick of Punta Cana’s unique cheap hotels – all bookable via Culture Trip.

1. Family frolics at Bahia Principe Esmeralda


Childrens water park with slides and fountains at Bahia Principe Esmeralda
Courtesy of Bahia Principe Esmeralda / Expedia

It will probably take a day or two to get your bearings at this sprawling Bahia Principe resort – Esmeralda hides away among five other Bahia properties. But once you’ve done your exploring, you’ll realize that everything you need – the two pools, the kids’ playground and spa area – is all within walking distance. Not to mention stacks of restaurants, from Indian to Greek and Mexican to Italian. The bar shuts just before midnight, but if you’ve brought your dancing shoes – and you don’t want to hole up in your plush caramel-colored suite – the free shuttle will whisk you off to the disco at the other side of the resort.

2. Meliá Caribe Beach Resort, for tropical beauty


Immense pool area with palms and palapas at Meliá Caribe Beach Resort
Courtesy of Meliá Caribe Beach Resort / Expedia
The Meliá Caribe Beach Resort has gone all out to nurture a tropical paradise: the grounds are a delight to wander, past exotic plants, over a pretty bridge and towards the central water display. This is the Caribbean on steroids – in a very good way. Unfussy rooms are clad in expanses of practical dark wood, in whitewashed buildings that top out at three stories. All give you a pool or garden view – specify on booking. Adults can always get a spot to sunbathe around the pools, while the Splash Island Water Park keeps the little ones occupied for hours.

3. Golf fun at Hotel Karibo

Hotel, Apartment

Golf lovers don’t need to travel far to tee off at the Hotel Karibo – it’s got a prize location on the grounds of the White Sands Golf Club. If this kind of clubbing isn’t your thing, there’s plenty more to enjoy. Consider the impressive 24-hour pool, easily big enough for an hour of gentle breast-strokes. The 66 rooms are a mix of comfy, unobtrusively furnished rooms, and apartments with full-on kitchens, perfect for families. The large communal lounge, with its thatched roof, bright abstract art and wicker seating everywhere, never seems to get too swamped.

4. Ocean Blue and Sand, for a culinary smorgasbord


Brightly painted Mexican-themed restaurant space at Ocean Blue and Sand
Courtesy of Ocean Blue and Sand / Expedia

The head-turner here is the unique reproduction town center, cleverly modeled on a textbook Caribbean town – as the centerpiece of the Ocean Blue and Sand, it buzzes with activity, and here you’ll find Punta Cana’s only bowling alley. There are numerous dining spaces (we stopped counting at nine – having tallied 10 bars). Or how about a flutter at the casino? Elsewhere in this-laid back Eden, it’s all about lazing in the sunshine. There are two lagoon-style pools: one plays drifty dance music, so head there while the kids socialize in the staffed kids center, with no fear of you cramping their style.

5. Awesome Instagram ops at Royalton Punta Cana


Infinity pool facing beach with palms and palapas at Royalton Punta Cana
Courtesy of Royalton Punta Cana /Expedia

So super-powered is the wifi connection throughout the property (not always the case in the Dom Rep), you’ll have no excuse not to document your vacay on social media. There are endless photo opportunities, from the awesome lobby with its thatched roof and lounge-awhile seating, to the central plaza, where island artisans sell the photogenic things they’ve made. If you want to selfie in swimwear, great shots await at the beachside bar with its romantic swinging seats, where you can trail your toes in the turquoise water, a vivid contrast to the white-sandy shore.

6. Occidental Caribe by Barceló, for party people


Circular pool area with jacuzzi and palapas at Occidental Caribe by Barceló
Courtesy of Occidental Caribe by Barceló / Expedia

Modeled, unbelievably enough, after a medieval castle, the Occidental Caribe by Barceló is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for families and groups of friends. The lush grounds burst with tropical plants and mango trees, and the long, flour-soft sandy beach is as good as it gets. After a hard day’s tanning, join the other sun-kissed bodies clad in party gear as the volume rises for the pool and foam parties. They’re not for early-to-bed types: DJs entertain merry revelers until the early hours.

7. Time-warped Caribbean cool at Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana


Fountains in front of white buildings of Hotel RIU Palace Punta Cana
Courtesy of Hotel RIU Palace Punta Cana / Expedia

Hotel Riu is part of the gated Riu complex, where five resorts each offer an individual level of service. The impressive buildings are inspired by time-warped tropical Caribbean architecture, which you’ll notice in the spacious and tastefully decorated rooms, finished with stained-glass windows. You won’t have to jostle for a dip in a pool, as the resort has three. Better still, as it’s part of a group, guests at Hotel Riu have access to most amenities and many restaurants at sister properties.

8. Bahia Principe Bavaro, for stacks of activities


Aerial view of Bahia Principe Bavaros large beach and pool area with blue lounge chairs and palapas
Courtesy of Bahia Principe Bavaro / Expedia

The Bahia Principe Bavaro is not just an all-inclusive break – it manages to pack in loads of added extras, such as Olympic games contests, karaoke, a water park, themed nights and one hour of free paddleboarding, kayaking and snorkeling every day. Two pools have that magic addition any self-respecting resort needs: swim-up bars where you can sip merrily all day. After dark, there’s a late-night disco on the other side of the resort, easily accessed thanks to a shuttle bus. If you’re an early riser, the sunrise is a stunner – well worth the trek to the beach before the crowds arrive.

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