Shopping in the Dominican Republic
There are a few things (besides a tan) you’ll want to take home with you as mementos of your trip to Punta Cana, namely cigars, rum, and the alleged aphrodisiac mamajuana, a mix of spices and bark that locals use to infuse their rum. You will enjoy the shopping at the Palma Real Shopping Village along with the new San Juan shopping mall.
The last item is basically the same no matter where you purchase it, but if you’re a cigar or rum novice, you may want to sample a few before purchasing the brand you’ll take back. There are more cigars produced in the DR than any other country in the world and some of the more famous brands include Romeo y Julieta, Cojimar (which comes in flavors ranging from vanilla to amaretto), and Arturo Fuente. You can certainly buy select stogies at your resort gift shop, but if you’re an aficionado, you’ll want to take an outing to see this process from start to finish. Watch a professional roll cigars at the Domenico Premium Cigar Manufactory (Bávaro, Domenico Ave. 6; free; 809/552-1414); then puff away on a free sample. As for rums, the three most popular brands are Brugal, Barcelo, and Bermudez. Tip You might get a great deal on great rum in Punta Cana, but airline restrictions limiting passengers to liquid carry-ons of less than three ounces means you’ll have to pack it in your checked luggage.
If clothes are your thing, stop at the open-air Plaza Punta Cana (across from the airport), where several shops stock high-end duds to take you from the beach to the nightclub. You’ll find beautiful bikinis and elegant one-piece bathing suits at Alta Mar (Plaza Punta Cana; 809/959-0069) and gorgeous sandals to go along with them at Scaviola (Plaza Punta Cana; 809/959-6393). Oscar de la Renta’s influence on Punta Cana (he keeps a residence here) extends all the way to this shopping center – you can purchase his high-end, yet casual, designer clothes at the Boutique Oscar de la Renta (Plaza Punta Cana; 809/959-6002). The prices at Coco (Plaza Punta Cana; 809/959-0058) are only slightly less expensive but, if you have the means, they carry gorgeous linen-wear for both men and women.
Finally, for souvenirs of the T-shirt and coffee mug variety, stroll through the beach town of El Cortecito (see above); the shop adjacent to Captain Cook’s sells fun T-shirts and Dominican-themed knick knacks.
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