Can You Get Vanilla In Punta Cana?

When planning a dream vacation to Punta Cana, preparing for that perfect tropical getaway often involves thinking about the delightful flavors you’ll get to enjoy under the sun. The refreshing sweetness of juicy mangos, the burst of tangy passionfruit, and of course, the creamy and aromatic deliciousness of vanilla. Whether you’re envisioning a decadent vanilla shake at the poolside bar or a fragrant tropical vanilla bean cake at a beachfront cafe, wondering if you’ll be able to find and experience that distinctly vanilla taste can be an essential question when envisioning your ideal Dominican escape in Punta Cana.

About Punta Cana

Punta Cana is located on the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic, right at the point where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. It sits on a peninsula that juts out from the eastern shore of the Dominican Republic. Geographically, Punta Cana is part of the Punta Cana-Bávaro-Veron-Macao municipal district in La Altagracia province of the Dominican Republic.

Punta Cana stretches about 38 miles along the eastern shore, from Bávaro in the north to Playa de Macao in the south. It is bounded on three sides by the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. To the west, Punta Cana is bordered by the province of El Seibo.

Thanks to its prime beachfront location, Punta Cana has emerged as a popular tourist destination over the past few decades. It boasts many luxury resorts, restaurants, and amenities to serve the influx of international visitors. Though its downtown area Laguna Bávaro is sparsely populated, Punta Cana has seen its population and infrastructure boom through tourism development along the coastline.


Popularity as a Tourist Destination

Punta Cana is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean. According to the Dominican Ministry of Tourism, the country saw nearly 5.4 million arrivals from January to June 2023, a 31% increase from the same period the previous year (source). The Dominican Republic overall welcomed over 10 million tourists in 2023, making it the most visited destination in the Caribbean (source).

Punta Cana accounts for over 60% of the country’s tourism industry. Its white sand beaches, luxury resorts, and sunny weather attract visitors from North America, Europe, and South America. Over 80% of tourists to Punta Cana are from the United States and Canada. The Punta Cana International Airport serves over 10 million passengers per year, making it one of the busiest airports in the Caribbean.

Tourism is a major part of the Dominican Republic’s economy, accounting for over 15% of the country’s GDP. The tourism industry employs over 500,000 people across the country. Punta Cana is the epicenter of this industry, with dozens of large resorts and hotels providing jobs and economic opportunities in the region.

Food and Dining Scene

Punta Cana is known for its all-inclusive resorts, which offer generous buffets showcasing cuisine from around the world. But visitors should also make a point to sample authentic Dominican dishes beyond the hotel restaurants. Dominican cuisine reflects the island country’s Spanish, African, and indigenous Taino influences.

Popular local dishes in Punta Cana include sancocho soup, a hearty stew made with meat, plantains, cassava, and pumpkin. The national dish is mangú – mashed green plantains typically served with fried cheese and eggs or meat for breakfast. Seafood features prominently on menus, especially fresh fish, shrimp, and lobster. Traditional meat dishes include chicharrón (fried pork belly), moro de guandules con coco (rice and pigeon peas), and la bandera (stewed meat with red beans and white rice). Tropical fruits like guava, pineapple, and mango add refreshing flavors to many Punta Cana specialties.

To experience authentic Dominican cuisine in Punta Cana, dine at local restaurants like La Casita de Yeya and El Burrito Taqueria. Many resorts also offer Dominican-themed restaurants or weekly Dominican nights. Exploring the local gastronomy is a delicious way to immerse yourself in Punta Cana’s culture.

punta cana offers authentic dominican cuisine

Availability of Vanilla

Vanilla is widely available and commonly used in desserts and drinks throughout the Dominican Republic. The country has a long history of cultivating high quality vanilla beans, dating back to the 19th century when vanilla was first introduced by French settlers (Source). Today, the Dominican Republic is one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of vanilla.

Vanilla beans grown in the fertile volcanic soil along the island’s southeast coast produceVanilla with an intensely floral, sweet aroma and flavor. Dominican vanilla is prized by chefs and bakers globally for its smooth, rich taste that enhances everything from ice cream to cocktails (Source).

In Punta Cana and throughout the Dominican Republic, vanilla is commonly used to add fragrance and flavor to desserts like flan, rice pudding, and dulce de leche. It’s also popular for scenting and sweetening beverages such as coffee, hot chocolate, and tropical cocktails. Vanilla’s sweet aroma makes it a defining ingredient in Dominican cuisine.

Where to Find Vanilla Desserts

When it comes to enjoying delightful vanilla desserts in Punta Cana, there are plenty of excellent options to choose from. At Dalia’s Cafe & Bakery, located in Plaza Uvero Alto, you can indulge in delicious vanilla cupcakes, cheesecakes, and milkshakes ( The Hard Rock Cafe Punta Cana also offers dynamite vanilla bean cheesecake and classic vanilla ice cream sundaes on their menu – perfect for satisfying any vanilla craving (

If you’re staying at a resort, be sure to check out the vanilla dessert offerings at their buffets and restaurants. The Now Onyx Punta Cana has a creperie that serves sweet and savory crepes, with vanilla ice cream as one of the tasty fillings. At Club Med Punta Cana, you can find French vanilla creme brulee as well as vanilla macarons at their gourmet patisserie. And at Excellence Punta Cana, vanilla panna cotta and vanilla bean cheesecake are just two of the decadent vanilla treats on their extensive dessert menus.

No matter where you choose to dine in Punta Cana, keep an eye out for vanilla tres leches cake, vanilla flan, vanilla ice cream, creme brulee, and other classic vanilla desserts on the menus. You’re sure to find plenty of delicious options to satisfy your vanilla cravings.

Other Vanilla Treats

Beyond desserts, there are plenty of other tasty vanilla treats to enjoy in Punta Cana. Many shops and markets sell locally-made vanilla extract, vanilla beans, vanilla sugar, and vanilla-scented soaps and lotions. The Ecological Market in the Cabeza de Toro region is known for its wide array of vanilla products made from Dominican vanilla 1. You can find vanilla beans harvested in the Dominican Republic as well as vanilla sugar, vanilla salt, vanilla paste, and vanilla oleoresins. Sampling the high-quality vanilla at this market is a great way to experience the true flavor of Dominican vanilla.

Local shops like Mundo Artesanal in Bavaro sell vanilla soaps, lotions, candles, and other self-care products infused with vanilla 2. You can pick up gifts and treats like vanilla lip balm, vanilla and cinnamon soap bars, and vanilla body scrubs. The scent of vanilla in these items is noticeable yet subtle. It’s a nice way to bring home a little bit of Punta Cana’s vanilla essence.

Vanilla-Infused Cocktails

Punta Cana is known for its incredible cocktails, many of which feature vanilla as a key ingredient. At the luxury all-inclusive resorts, talented mixologists craft vanilla-infused drinks that showcase the beautiful flavors of this versatile spice. Some popular options to try include:

The Punta Cana Daiquiri at Pearl Beach Club blends lemon, vanilla, and rum for a refreshing frozen concoction (

The Moscow Mule, topped with vanilla vodka, lemon, and ginger beer, offers a zesty vanilla twist on a classic (

For a sweet vanilla treat, order a vanilla bean martini made with vanilla vodka, Kahlúa, and cream. Shake it up with some vanilla sugar on the rim.

Pair your sunset view with a Vanilla Paradise, blending rum, pineapple juice, coconut milk, grenadine, and vanilla.

Or enjoy the Vanilla Colada, a piña colada made extra creamy with vanilla ice cream.

Bringing Vanilla Home

If you want to bring back some high-quality Dominican vanilla as a souvenir from your trip to Punta Cana, there are several places you can purchase it before heading home:

Many resorts and hotels in Punta Cana have gift shops that sell food souvenirs like vanilla extract, vanilla beans, and vanilla sugar. For example, the gift shop at the Hard Rock Hotel has Dominican vanilla products available.

You can also find vanilla sold at souvenir stores and markets in Punta Cana. The Palma Real Shopping Village and the Plaza Uvero Alto are two shopping centers where you’ll find vanilla extract, vanilla-scented soaps and candles, and more items infused with vanilla.

Lastly, the Punta Cana International Airport has several shops selling souvenirs, including Dominican vanilla powder and vanilla beans to take home. Prices are similar to those in town, and you’ll have one last chance to pick up local vanilla before your flight.

Dominican vanilla makes a wonderful, useful, edible souvenir. Look for fair trade and organic certified products for the highest quality vanilla to savor once you’re back home.


Parting thoughts on enjoying vanilla in Punta Cana. Despite its reputation as a party capital and all-inclusive resort destination, Punta Cana offers delightful opportunities for travelers seeking a more relaxed vacation focused on nature, culture, and culinary experiences. Vanilla is an integral part of the cuisine and culture of the Dominican Republic, and Punta Cana gives visitors abundant ways to enjoy this iconic tropical flavor. From traditional vanilla ice cream to artisanal vanilla liqueurs, foodies and vanilla lovers will find much to savor. Strolling through local markets, sampling vanilla-infused cocktails at beach bars, and indulging in creamy vanilla desserts at restaurants are memorable ways to end a vacation in Punta Cana. With its sunny climate, lush landscapes, and warm hospitality, Punta Cana proves itself to be a tropical paradise for those desiring a getaway seasoned with the rich taste of vanilla.

Similar Posts