A Punta Cana excursion wouldn’t be complete without checking out picturesque Bávaro Beach. Tucked at the far end of a long run of the Coconut Coast, the stretch of soft white sand is one of the area’s most popular seaside spots. Its wide welcoming shores meet calm crystalline waters that shimmer with turquoise hues. In an Instagram-perfect setting, a backdrop of soaring coconut palms gently sways in a tropical breeze.

You’ll be tempted to settle into a shaded lounge chair before one of the many upscale resorts and laze away the day with a refreshing piña colada. But a host of water activities awaits. Hop on a paddleboard, windsurfer or kayak to navigate the gentle warm waves. Revel in motorized action with paragliding, jet skis or a wild ride on a banana boat. Head farther out for some deep-sea fishing and reel in blue marlin, yellowfin tuna and mahi-mahi.

If you’re up for snorkeling, a catamaran can sail you to an offshore coral reef for some incredible undersea exploration. The reef also protects against large waves to create calm natural pools close to shore that are perfect for swimming. For an unforgettable ocean encounter, take a short boat ride from Bávaro Beach to Dolphin Island Park. At the floating platform, you can choose from a variety of interactive experiences, swimming with dolphins, stingrays and sharks. Be sure to get a photo with your new finned friend!

Have you worked up an appetite? Bávaro Beach is also an ideal place to indulge in some genuine Dominican cuisine. Settle down at a breezy oceanfront eatery to sample traditional dishes like savory sancocho, a hearty beef stew seasoned with cilantro, oregano and garlic. Or dine like a true local with mangú, mashed plantains topped with red onions that are sauteed in vinegar. Of course, there are always tantalizing fresh catches on the seafood menus.

Close out the day by browsing Bávaro’s plazas and seaside shops for unique artisan works such as wood carvings and jewelry crafted with local amber. As the sun sets, the famed nightlife begins. Resorts along the coast offer a wide array of entertainment, from grand casinos and pulsating nightclubs to intimate cocktail lounges. The evening’s choices continue with area haunts. Order up some local Brugal Añejo rum and join a bonfire beach party. Enjoy Caribbean cocktails on an oceanfront terrace to the rhythm of steel drums. Or grab a table in the sand to sip Santo Libres as live bands and DJs keep the good mood going into the wee hours.