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The Ultimate Packing List For Punta Cana + What To Wear in The Dominican Republic

If you are looking for the best packing list for Punta Cana during your upcoming visit, you’re in the right place!

You have booked an unforgettable vacation to Punta Cana, now you need to figure out what to wear in the Dominican Republic. It can vary depending on where you are staying, and the season you are visiting in.

Many resorts have dress codes for dinner that include long pants, while others allow guests to come in more casual attire. A visit in the rainy season may make a poncho a top packing item, while a visit during hurricane season will make travel insurance a top thing to put on your packing list.

What To Wear In The Dominican Republic
Wear casual clothing around the resorts in Punta Cana

The tropical climate of Punta Cana makes this the ideal beach vacation. Let’s dive into what to pack and wear during a visit to the Dominican Republic.

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What To Wear In Punta Cana

What Is the Weather Like In Punta Cana?

The first thing to consider is what time of year you will visit Punta Cana. While visitors enjoy warm, 80 degrees average temperatures year-round, the peak season runs from January to March. During the winter season, the temperature does creep down to the low 60’s, which may warrant a sweater or light jacket in the evening.

The rainy season starts in May and runs till November. During the offseason, hurricane season is in full force, so plan accordingly if you decide to book during this time. It is the low season so tourist resorts will often offer great deals during this period.

The best time to visit Punta Cana is April-May, when the country sees fewer crowds. This shoulder season yields good weather and cheaper rates on accommodations.

Check Your Resort Dress Code

If you opt for an all-inclusive vacation, many resorts have dress codes in place, especially in the evening at restaurants. Causal elegant is often the recommended dress, with long pants and collared shirts for men, while women can wear blouses, skirts, slacks, or dresses. Beachwear of any kind is often not permitted.

If you are wondering what should I wear in the Dominican Republic today, here are our general year-round tips:

  • Bring a bathing suit or two, especially if you are planning on enjoying the beautiful pools and beaches of the Dominican Republic. Having multiple bathing suits allows one to dry if you wish to go for another swim. I also enjoy having an extra in case one breaks.
  • Flip-Flops are another standard item to place in your suitcase. They are ideal for walking to the beach and pool.
  • A pair of causal walking shoes. While I often wear my walking shoes on the airplane, others pack them. Many resorts offer excursions that require closed-toe shoes that could involve a fair amount of walking.
  • Pack light-weight clothing. The year-round temperature in the Dominican Republic is in the 80’s and sunny. Expect humid temperatures in the summer season.
  • A great beach bag or travel backpack. Bring a beach bag to hold towels, drinks, snacks, sunscreen, and sand toys for kids if you are hitting the beach. If you are planning on exploring the capital city, Santo Domingo, I recommend bringing a backpack that is easy to keep bottled water, snacks, sunscreen, and bug spray in and has a lock to keep your wallet and credit cards safe.
Packing List For Punta Cana
Check dress codes at resorts in Punta Cana

Depending on if you are staying at a resort or a hotel room during your visit to the Dominican Republic, your general Punta Cana clothing packing list should include:

  • Tank tops and lightweight t-shirts.
  • Swimsuit Cover-Up (I particularly loved this black beach cover-up.)
  • 2 Swim Suits
  • Flip Flops
  • A few pairs of shorts, capri pants or casual dresses.
  • A pair of water shoes. There a few beaches in the Dominican, especially in Cap Cana that have very rocky beaches. If you plan on doing a day trip to the Scape Park they are a must.
  • A few beautiful dresses
  • A pair or two of long pants for dinner
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Casual shoes or flats to wear to dinner
  • Sunglasses
  • A fun purse
  • Hats, especially for kids.
  • Pack a set of fitness clothing.
  • A lightweight jacket or sweater. Bring one for everyone as the evenings can get cool or in air-conditioned spots.
  • Pack a pair of PJs. 
  • Undies and Socks.
  • Accessories for outfits such as jewelry, headbands, scarfs, etc.

General Dominican Republic Packing List

While planning for your sunny Caribbean vacation to the Dominican Republic, there is more to pack outside of your beach and resort wear. Coming prepared with the necessary documents, travel gear, and essential items will keep you from making a mad dash to the gift shop and paying higher prices for everyday items.

Putting together a travel plan can help in packing. Start by placing important items such as passports, printed e-ticket custom forms, medical insurance, travel insurance, mobile phones, phone chargers, keys, money, and wallets in a designated area in your carry-on baggage.

It is a good idea always to pack an extra pair of clothes, prescription medications, and contact lens/glasses in your carry-on as well in case your flight gets canceled or delayed.

When traveling to tropical destinations, I typically pack a swimsuit in my carry-on. In the event my luggage is lost, I have something to wear to the pool or beach.

What to wear to Punta Cana
Bring a beach cover up and plenty of sunscreen.

Currency Exchange

Our local guide gave us a tip: do not exchange currency for Dominican Pesos at the airport. You will pay a higher exchange rate than exchanging at the resort.

I found that during our trip if you were not leaving the resort, there was no need to exchange currency as everything could be paid via credit card. Tips for taxis, transfers, and hotel staff are gladly accepted in US Dollars. I recommend bringing a variety of bills from singles on up to have available to tip.

If you are traveling on a budget, you will often save money using local currency. Visitors planning on venturing away from tourist areas should carry Dominican Pesos. Your local bank can often exchange currency for your prior to your trip. Check with your local bank on currency exchange rates and give them a few weeks to handle the exchange.

IMPORTANT TIP: Another valuable item to pack is a filtering water bottle, as the water in the Dominican is not safe to drink. Many of the resorts offer complimentary bottled water. However, if you are not staying at an all inclusive resort, bringing filtering water bottles will keep you from paying for bottled water.

Dominican Republic Packing List
Don’t forget to pack for excursions like the Scape Park

After packing your carry-on for international travel, here is your general packing list for Punta Cana. 

  • Sunscreen, but check to make sure it is reef safe.
  • Insect Repellent, bring if you are venturing out on a hike, a zip line adventure, or anything outside of water.
  • Bring an Underwater Camera if you plan on going snorkeling or doing fun activities that involve water. We have this particular waterproof camera, fell in love with it, and ended up buying all the extra accessories that come along with it.
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Wellness Kit: This includes Benadryl, Ibuprofen, Tylenol, stomach medications such as Pepto tabs and Pepcid, and decongestants. Epi-Pen if needed.
  • Quick-dry beach towels if staying at Airbnb or other lodgings which won’t have them available.
  • E-reader or tablet and charger
  • Headphones
  • Travel size umbrella or ponchos, especially if visiting during the rainy season.
  • Baby wipes
  • Toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant
  • Shaving Supplies
  • Hair products and accessories
  • Makeup
  • Body Lotion
  • Lip Balms
  • Aloe Vera in case of sunburn
  • Small travel towel
  • waterproof phone case allows you to take your phone in the pool, the ocean, etc.
  • Sun hat
  • Special occassion supplies such as anniverary gifts, birthday decorations, etc.
  • Towel Clips for those windy beach days.

Packing List and Travel Tips For Traveling With Kids To Punta Cana

Travel Tips With Kids In Punta Cana

  • If testing is still required to enter your home country upon departing the Dominican Republic ( it was for U.S Citizens during our visit) it will behoove you to pack a few extra toys and games in the event quarantine is needed.
  • Downtime will often be needed, especially if there is plenty of beach and pool time.
  • Teach your kids a few phrases in Spanish, as that is the primary language. Many Dominicans also speak English but exposing your kids to another language can be beneficial.
  • Depending on how far you are traveling, you may be experiencing a significant time change. My best advice is that you know your child best. If you feel altering their schedule before leaving will help, do it. We found that immediately adjusting to local time was the best bet.
What to pack to the Dominican Republic with Kids

Here is our general packing list for kids in the Dominican Republic:

  • Great things to pack that doesn’t take up much space is a memory game, go fish, Melissa and Doug Activity Books, Usborne Activity Books, sticker books, small action figures, hot wheel cars, coloring supplies, look n find books, and a tablet loaded with their favorite shows and games.
  • Don’t forget to pack water shoes, sandals, and gym shoes for the kids!
  • Lots of sunscreen, and don’t forget to reapply frequently; the sun is intense.
  • Kids do exceptionally well with Mosquito Repellant Wristbands.
  • Band-Aids, you know they will need forty of them for that single scratch.
  • Goggles, floaties and sinkies for the pool.
  • Brightly colored swimsuits. If traveling with multiple kids, get them all the same bright colors, so they are easy to spot in the pool and at the beach.
  • Check with your lodging to see what is available before packing. Some baby/toddler supplies could be provided, depending on where you stay. For example, the Nickelodeon Resort offers complimentary pack-n-plays, strollers, high chairs, bottle warmers, etc.
  • A portable pop-up beach tent is a good idea if you are at a resort that doesn’t offer shaded canopies or loungers.
  • Resorts can be pretty extensive; a stroller could come in handy if you don’t want to carry your little one around.
  • A Children’s Wellness Kit: Be sure to pack plenty of kids ibuprofen, Tylenol, a thermometer, diaper cream, Aquaphor, any other medication that could be needed.
  • Sun hats for kids.

Looking for a great all-inclusive resort to visit with the kids in Punta Cana? Read our review of the Nickelodeon Resort Swim-up Suite!

Whether this is your first trip to Punta Cana or the tenth, it is also good to remember that the Dominican Republic has almost everything if you forget something important at home. Going to a new destination can be intimidating, but once you see those beautiful beaches and clear waters, you will be planning a return visit.

Did you enjoy our Ultimate Packing List For Punta Cana article? Be sure to check out these related articles:

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The Ultimate Packing List For Punta Cana + What To Wear in The Dominican Republic

Ultimate Packing List For Punta Cana