Although Santo Domingo Airport is in the capital of the Dominican Republic, it’s actually Punta Cana that holds the crown as the busiest airport in the country. This is thanks to the huge increase in popularity of the destination for American and Canadian tourists.
But it pays for travelers to be informed about the airport and any differences they may face when compared to traveling within the US and Canada.
The following are useful tips for travelers arriving at Punta Cana Airport
How To Get Through Passport Control Faster
Punta Cana has a reputation for a smooth and efficient passport control process, but slowdowns can happen. Thankfully, travelers can keep the chances of long immigration lines to a minimum by following a few bits of simple advice:
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Book A Seat At The Front Of The Plane
When booking a flight, choosing a seat right at the front will get you off the plane and into passport control much faster. Getting to passport control just 5-10 minutes earlier can make all the difference in waiting times. Once the queues set in, all it takes is one unprepared traveler to slow down the whole process.
Fill Out Your E-Ticket Before Arrival
Regardless of visa status, all arrivals to the Dominican Republic must fill in an e-ticket. While this can be filled in at the airport, doing so before arrival really speeds up the process. After filling in the e-ticket, travelers receive a handy QR code to be scanned at passport control.
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There are only two terminals in Punta Cana Airport, and both are served by their own baggage reclaim systems. The process is normally smooth, but as with any airport, misplaced baggage can be an issue.
If this does happen, immediately contact the airline directly and inform them of the situation. The airport can’t help with bags that haven’t yet entered the country, although when they do arrive, the process of reclaiming baggage is straightforward and smooth.
Those returning to Punta Cana after a few years will be happy to know travelers no longer need to queue up to purchase a tourist card. In an effort to streamline the airport experience, this is now included in the airfare for all arrivals.
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Travelers that book package holidays will likely have their airport transfer included. But those who choose to save money by organizing their own flights and resort, or who are staying in an Airbnb, will likely need to make their own way to the resort.
Thankfully, Punta Cana doesn’t share the same frustrating situation as other Caribbean airports like Cancun. There are numerous reputable airport transfer services, ranging from shuttles, taxis, Ubers, and car rentals.
Previous travelers have quoted private transfers from Punta Cana Airport to the Bavaro area to range from $25-35. It should also be noted Punta Cana has fantastic road infrastructure, so no matter how you travel after the airport, the journey will be smooth and fast.
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The Dominican Republic no longer has any Covid-19 restrictions in place. While we’re all hoping the pandemic is behind us, it’s recommended to follow some simple personal hygiene routines, such as using hand sanitizer and wearing face masks when in heavily crowded areas.
Travelers will still need to fill in a section in their e-ticket that confirms they currently have no symptoms of the virus. But other than this, there are zero restrictions on travelers entering the country.
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Important Items That You Can Bring While Traveling
Arrivals to Punta Cana are free to bring the following items with them when traveling:
E-Cigarettes & Vaping Devices
Travelers can rest assured that it’s perfectly legal to bring their e-cigarettes/vapes into the country. Unlike Mexico, which has taken a strict stance on these devices, the Dominican Republic has no restrictions on them.
It should be remembered that all battery-operated devices must be kept in hand luggage and not stored in checked baggage.
Many people love CBD oil for its supposed anti-inflammatory properties, and visitors to Punta Cana are welcome to bring this product with them, so long as the total amount doesn’t exceed 100ml. While it’s legal to travel with, travelers shouldn’t be surprised if airport officials wish to test it to be sure it is THC-free quickly.
Tourists are free to bring their prescription medication with them to Punta Cana. And while it isn’t technically necessary to have a Doctor’s note to confirm their legitimacy, airport officials may request to check nothing illegal is being brought in. A Doctor’s note confirming their identity may help avoid misunderstandings.
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Personal Protection Weapons Are Forbidden
Unsurprisingly, bringing weapons to the Dominican Republic is not acceptable. Regardless of whether a traveler has a valid concealed carry permit in the U.S., firearms here are strictly controlled and forbidden to be imported by tourists. Furthermore, their importation will result in severe consequences that’ll cut short what should be a dream vacation.
There are some exceptions to this, but not many. A detailed list of what is and isn’t acceptable to travel with can be found on the Punta Cana Airport website.
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