5 Best Photo Opportunities in Punta Cana

Photo Opportunities Punta Cana

Lee Van Grack

Cutting the cake and kissing the bride rank up there. So does sunset as it reflects off the sand tingeing it pink or purple, yellow and orange. In fact, the beach here is so picture-postcard perfect, you'll likely gobble up your memory card with images of super soft sand and crashing waves. But photo opportunities in Punta Cana aren't limited to sun and sea. Venture outside the gates of your resort on a leisurely day trip or extreme dune buggy tour and you're bound to snap scenic shots you'll be proud to show the folks back home.

Tips for top Punta Cana travel photography include: shooting early or late, since daybreak and dusk provide the best light; using a simple (and cheap) UV filter to mute the sun's harshest rays; and "framing" your shot in a captivating way – with a quirky background or with your main subject matter slightly off to the side, for example. With the beauty of Punta Cana and these quick tips, that killer shot you're after is just a click away.

1. The Romantic Photo: The Happy Couple

Wedding bells are ringing all over Punta Cana, destination wedding and honeymoon capital of the Caribbean. If you're tying the knot here, you'll surely have a professional photographer to capture the initial moments of matrimonial bliss. But there's something about candid, do-it-yourself photos that convey love in an image unlike any other. Once the guests are already so drunk, danced out, or tired they've rolled into bed, head to a quiet corner (on the beach, by the pool, under a palm) to take a few photos of just you two using the timer on your camera. These photos may just become some of your favorites from that special day.

2. The Quirky Photo: Basilica at Higüey

A short 45-minute drive from Punta Cana is the booming town of Higüey, known for its colorful local market and friendly locals. But above all, Higüey earns its place on tourist itineraries for its monumental Basilica de la Altagracia, the biggest in the country. It was built as homage to La Virgen de la Altagracia, the Dominican Republic's patron saint. Looking like something out of Star Wars, the Basilica façade presents one of best photo ops for your Punta Cana scrapbook, and if you're in the area on January 21, you're sure to get some killer scenic shots, as this is when thousands of Dominicans make their annual pilgrimage to La Virgen.

If you aren't up for driving (let's face it, signage and road conditions here, not to mention other drivers, can present challenges), check out the stellar half-day Higüey tours offered by Punta Cana Mike. This loop tour includes visits to pristine Playa Macao and Bavaro ($65 per person). With Mike as guide, you're guaranteed to unearth your own quirky photo or three.

Punta Cana Mike's Dominican Adventure
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

3. The Family Fun Photo: Below the Sea

A renowned world traveler once counseled me to always bring an underwater camera on vacations in the Caribbean and other fun-in-the sun destinations. What a tip! Instead of the generic images everyone snaps on family vacations (the kids on the beach or at the pool), an underwater camera allows you to snap family photos while snorkeling with the Technicolor fish, instead of just on the catamaran ride to the reef. I guarantee neither you nor the kids will forget it.

4. The Scenic Photo: Playa & Laguna Limón

Whoever says this area of the coast is wall-to-wall resorts and crowded beaches has never ventured to Playa Limón. Sure, it's pretty removed from the Punta Cana action, but that's the point, right? Besides, getting there is half the fun. You can drive yourself the 75 miles along coastal Route 104, practicing your travel photography skills en route, or arrange a tour from your resort. Once you reach the end of the weathered one-track road leading to Playa Limón, you'll come upon one of the area's most scenic photo ops – palm-fringed Playa Limón with mountains forming a dramatic backdrop. Don't miss picturesque Laguna Limón, a five minute walk at the eastern end of the beach.

5. The Classic Photo: Punta Cana Sunset

I'm a sunset-photo kind of gal. Innumerable are the photos I have of the sun going down; from Telchac Puerto in the Yucatán to Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, I love shots that capture that moment as day turns to dusk before finally bleeding into night. Since Punta Cana faces east, some may argue that the sunrises trump the sunset for one of the best photo opportunities Punta Cana has to offer. But who wants to get up that early on vacation (although some stay up that late!)? Still, frame the sun going down with a palm tree in the foreground or the surf in the background, and you're on your way to snapping this classic shot.
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