Shopping in Punta Cana can be a rewarding experience; however, most people don't know how to do it. You just can't barge into Plaza Bavaro and buy the first thing that gets your attention. Well, you can, but you will get ripped off big time.
When you understand what places are best for buying certain items and how to go about it, then your time in the Punta Cana shopping malls is going to be sweet. Whenever you travel to Punta Cana, always remember the most important principle: haggling. There are several types of shops in the area: small kiosks, small stores, and malls. Each one of them has their advantages and disadvantages.
Buying at small kiosks require the use of the ancient trading technique known as bartering. The vendors won't make it easy, but if you do it right, you will get quality merchandise at great discounts. Souvenirs, dolls, casual clothing, and handmade crafts are often of acceptable quality.
Small stores are ideal for purchasing quality cigar brands, premium crafts, and high-end jewelry. You may or may not need to haggle to get a decent price; still, more often than not, you will be leaving the place with a smile.
Malls are great if you want to see how locals do their
shopping. Groceries, designer clothing, electronics, and furniture
among many other things is what you will find. The shopping malls are
quite similar to the ones in other countries so the experience may feel
A lot of Punta Cana travelers may find Plaza Bavaro to be one of the toughest spots to do some shopping at, and there is a good reason for that. Your first impression as you approach any of the stores in the area might be, “Wow, this is way too expensive,” and that would be true. Of course, store owners do it to boost their profits and to have some fun.
First, if you buy anything at the original outrageous price, they get away with it, and you lose. However, most of the time, they are expecting you to haggle with them. You see, they want you to barter until the asked amount reaches the actual price of the item or a bit less. A lot of people hate haggling as they aren't used to it in their home countries, but if you are willing to give it a try, it can be fun.
The other problem is that vendors while being polite, can also be quite pushy. As soon as you say no and leave, they will be after you ready to make a deal. If you aren't prepared to haggle your way out, you won't have a good time there. If you are, you will love it. The stores have a decent variety of purses, paintings, clothes, jewelry, and many other items.
Open Hours: Plaza Bavaro is open every day from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
Location: Avenida España, Punta Cana
Ready for some real shopping? Then it is time for you to head to the Palma Real Shopping Village (information). Unlike Plaza Bavaro, the prices are more down to earth, and the variety of items you can get is just staggering. In Palma Real, you won't have to worry about being chased by pushy vendors as the way people do business there is similar to one of most countries including the United States.
Souvenirs, casual and designer clothing, fine jewelry, crafts, restaurants, and even high-end items are found cheaper than in other shopping areas. The bargains offered in this shopping mall are legitimate and aren't the result of inflating prices and lowering them a bit later. To make the place even better, a lot of resorts have free shuttles ready to go to the mall, so no there is need to call for a taxi.
Telephone Number: +1 (809) 552-8725
Open Hours: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm
Location: Avenida, Alemania No. 57, Punta
In the following video, you can see what
shopping at the Palma Real shopping village is all about:
If you are into the local shopping experience without the insane prices, the San Juan Shopping Center is perfect for you (reference). Located in the Bavaro Area, you have ice cream stores, movie theaters, and designer clothing at the tip of your fingers.
With restaurants, popular phone companies, banks, gift shops offering crafts done by local artisans, and more stores than you would like to count, this mall has everything you need. You might be thinking, “How do I get there?” No problem, shuttles from most resorts to the mall and back are available to take care of your transportation needs.
Exchanging your cash for the local currency, buying groceries, and even befriending the residents of the area makes the San Juan Shopping Center a must to visit for all travelers.
Telephone Number: +1 (809) 455-7803
Open Hours: 9:00 am -12:00 am
Location: Barcelo Avenue, Punta Cana,
If you fancy high-quality jewelry, you should consider paying a visit to La Reina Dominicana. Unique larimar-based handcrafted jewelry will be waiting for you.
Amber and black coral collection pieces are also available. (info)
Location: Bavaro, La Altagracia, Dominican
Shopping in Punta Cana doesn't have to be boring. The Caribbean Street, found at the Hotel Riu Bambu, offers a tropical atmosphere with palm trees and brilliantly decorated shops. Elegant clothing, state-of-the-art jewelry, and crafts from local artisans are on display at a fair price.
Location: Near the Hotel Riu Bambu
Although not exactly in Punta Cana, Plaza Uvero Alto is a prime spot where you can get good deals on crafts done by local artisans. You may also exchange your currency at the nearby bank and even get low-priced beverages.
Location: Carretera Uvero Alto, Uvero Alto
One of the top artisanal marketplaces is the Bibijagua shopping plaza (resource). Cigars, amber, larimar, paintings, wooden sculptures, and even the renowned mamajuana are a sample of the crafts you can find at a very low price.
It isn't like the San Juan shopping mall at all; the place could be considered the Punta Cana flea market; still, getting high-quality souvenirs shouldn't be a problem. Arriving there is as easy as taking a stroll along Bavaro Beach.
Open Hours: 8:00 am - 12 midnight
Location: Bavaro Beach, Dominican Republic
Bavaro Beach and IFA Villas Bavaro)
If you need groceries, exclusive ornaments or feel like eating somewhere outside the resort, the Galerias at Punta Cana village might do the trick (information). The now popular touristic destination is also known to harbor churches for anyone in need of a service.
Phone number: +1 (809) 959-7325
Location: Boulevard Primero de Noviembre, Punta Cana
More Info: Located at Puntacana Resort
The prices are low, and they also accept US dollars and Euros, so if you need to purchase items like clothes, shot glasses, electronics, music and coffee (which is pretty good with a rich flavor), that’s the place to do so.
Also, in this supermarket, you can find the famous Presidente beer and also another Dominican beer named Soberana. Some wine can be bought too, but the variety is not too great. As you can see, there is always something you can buy.
Location: Av Libertad Carretera Mella, Higüey 23000, Dominican Republic
Phone number: +1 (809) 554-4444
Open Hours: 7:30 am - 9 pm
If you are an art and crafts enthusiast, the Guirigui
Artisanal Plaza and the Macao Artisanal Plaza are for you. Located
between Arena Gorda and Macao beach, this small shopping area has
wooden sculptures, handcrafted cigars, and a fair variety of other
souvenirs you will love.
Found near Arena Gorda, one shopping mall that may rival Palma Real Shopping Village is Plaza Tres Center (reference). With a huge number of stores selling groceries, crafts, jewelry, clothes, furniture and even hardware, you will find everything you need for your Punta Cana holiday. Furthermore, you can eat and drink at any of the restaurants, coffee shops, and bars around. Feel like partying? The Imagine Disco is just a few steps away.
Phone numbers: +1 (809) 552-0435
+1 (829) 962-9741, +1 (829) 962-9763
Location: Avenida Estados Unidos (Punta Cana – Bavaro)
La Altagracia - Dominican Republic
You can get excellent deals on handmade jewelry made of
larimar (stone facts), locally-crafted
cigars, paintings, and lots more at Plaza
Artesanal Blanca close to Arena Gorda.
Remember most shops are typically open from 9 am to 7 pm, so if you want to buy anything, do it around that time. Yes, you may find open shops at 9 pm, but it is better to do it at day time.
You can stay at the resort and buy most of the things you need, but be warned; you will pay more than double and often triple.
Souvenirs sold at some resorts may not be crafted by Dominican artisans at all, so to be safe, the small shops and kiosks you see on the streets and beaches are where you should go.
Street vendors offer you the best chance of cheaper hand-made crafts; however, you have to be willing to haggle. Haggling is a way of life in the DR allowing you to lower the price to even a fourth of the original amount.
Don't go too overboard with the bartering. Keep in mind vendors need to eat as well, so lower the price until you feel is a win for both of you.
One problem often encountered by tourists is fake merchandise. Shifty street vendors might try to sell you fake larimar, amber or cigars. The best way to prevent this is by purchasing directly from manufacturers or artisans.
At some point, you may need to exchange your currency to the local one or vice-versa. Resorts can do this easily, but be aware that their exchange rate isn't the best for you. Dominican banks are your best bet for a better rate, and they even have ATMs just in case.
Always carry cash, even if your wallet or purse is jam-packed with credit cards, cash is better. Some vendors don't accept them, but they sure love when you buy with cash, and they might even reward you with an extra discount.
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