This resort has the relaxation you need and the water park the kids are desperate for
Punta Cana is a popular tourist destination in the Dominican Republic known for its stunning white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and tropical climate. The beaches in Punta Cana are among the most beautiful in the world, with miles of soft, powdery sand and turquoise waters. When it comes to places to stay when traveling with young children, you will 100% want to stay at a resort known for children’s programs and we definitely recommend Nickelodeon Resorts, Punta Cana. Here’s the full scoop on what you can expect when you visit:Claire Zlobin
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This beachfront property has direct access to the beach and some of the rooms are literally steps from the beach. The beach is great for walking or frolicking in the waves and is not too far from the pool, the beach bars, and restaurants.Claire Zlobin
There are many accommodation options, including condo style and villas. Most rooms on the first floor have a private swim-up pool, and parents with little ones will love the baby gate that gives that extra safety from kids getting into the pool without parental supervision. For that extra bit of luxury and charm, your home away from home can be SpongeBob’s pineapple under the sea, where I’m sure your kids, big and small, will be delighted at the idea of staying in SpongeBob’s house.
It’s easy to get around the resort.
The rooms are on the side of the resort closest to the beach, and the waterpark is on the other side. It’s easy to get around the resort with shuttles and golf carts driven by staff and running continuously all day. If you are not experiencing mobility challenges, it’s about a 5-minute walk from the rooms to the waterpark once you’ve familiarized yourself with the layout of the property.
The food: Yummy! So many food choices you can’t do them all.
A big plus at Nickelodeon Resorts Punta Cana is the Gourmet Village, where most of the restaurants, evening entertainment, and other celebration happen. There is always something happening in the village, from live music, food displays, and signature cocktails to bouncy castles and fresh popcorn. And, of course, the gourmet dining options.
With nine restaurants and five bars, everyone is sure to find a favorite. Most of the restaurants do not need a reservation, and there are a few buffet options, but if you want to go to Spacewalker, Verdello, or Wok Wok you’ll need to book it in advance. At Spacewalker, there is a small additional fee for the VR glasses.
If you like ceviche and taco and want a quick bite with energizing music, Fresco Bar & Grill is the place; even better, there’s a playground with swings for the kiddos, and it’s right beside Jasmin swim-up bar. There are three swim-up bars in different areas of the resort.
If you love specialty coffee, you’ll be at Doppio most mornings. If you have littles, one tip is to send one parent off to get the coffee and baked goodies while the other gets the kiddos ready and then you can all go to breakfast together. Another tip is to stop by Doppio before breakfast and bring your coffee to the restaurant. Yes, there is a coffee station in the restaurants, but if you need any specialty coffee or milk alternatives, Doppio is your spot.
Most restaurants are open to the whole family except Vino Vino which becomes adults-only after 10 pm.
If you are traveling with an infant or toddler, you will love the many baby items available at the resort like baby food, strollers, pack-n-play, cribs, bottle sterilizers, bottle warmers, and baby monitors. Check out their specialized services before you leave so you can see what you really need to bring and what you can leave at home, making it that much easier to pack light and enjoy your vacation.
Likely you’ll find yourself dividing your time between the waterpark and the beach. Even if you are a beach person, the kids will 100% pull you to the waterpark. Aqua Nick at Nickelodeon Resorts Punta Cana includes various water-based activities and amenities, like water slides, splash pads, and lazy rivers. If you’ve been to the Mexico property, this waterpark is smaller and doesn’t have the larger slides or wave pool.
Swimming: Nickelodeon Resorts Punta Cana offers a gorgeous beach experience and a stellar pool experience.
In addition to your private balcony pool, if you have one, there are multiple swimming pools to enjoy. The main infinity pool near the beach is stunning. There is no deep end, and it’s long enough for adult-length swims if you want to do some laps. We like that it’s close to the beach, so if you have some family members who love the beach and others who love the pool, you don’t have to be too far from each and can share the same lounge area.
Balinese beds are available for rent with packages from the basic bed service to bed and bubbles. Whatever option you choose, the beach team will prepare the bed, pick up fresh towels, and order your drinks throughout the day.
As always, children are the parent’s responsibility anytime they are near water, but it’s very comforting to learn that Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana is certified by the Dominican Red Cross with rigorous training in place for all lifeguards. The resort is certified by the World Waterpark Association.
Some of the amenities at Nickelodeon Resorts Punta Cana that your family will love includes:
- Live entertainment: The resort offers live entertainment such as shows, parades, and special events like galas and parties. There are three areas around the resort where entertainment happens: Aqua Nick for the Orange Carpet event, the beach for the beach party, and the Gourmet Village, where something happens every night.
- Character Meet & Greet: Meet your favorite characters at the character sport in Aqua Nick or you can book the character breakfast.
- SLIME! Daily slime sessions at the waterpark are a whole production with dancing and a countdown to getting slimed. You can also book your private family slime session, a great photo opportunity.
- Children’s play areas: There are many designated areas for children to play and have fun at the waterpark, including play structures, slides, and other interactive activities. Club Nick is available free of charge for kids ages 4-12, and babysitting is available for younger kids at a nominal cost. The kids’ splash pool near the childcare area is perfect for babies.
- Dining and shopping: Nickelodeon Resort Punta Cana has various dining and shopping options available for guests, including restaurants, cafes, and retail stores.
- Spa and wellness: Relax in luxury with a full menu of world-class treatments at the 14,000-sq.-ft. Vassa Spa. The Vassa Spa is full service and includes the use of the herbal steam room, dry sauna, chromo therapy showers, bubble beds, and whirlpool. Whether you want to go with your little ones or leave the kids in childcare and go with your partner, there are many service options available. The location of their massage bed overlooking the sea is just perfection.
- Water Standards: You’ll be happy to know that the resort maintains high water quality standards, and the water quality is monitored daily to ensure safety.
Tips for making the most out of your stay:
- Downloading the app is a great way to see all the offerings throughout your stay. Everything you need to plan your day is available on the app, from the restaurant menus, kids club activities, all entertainment and shows, specials, and spa services.
- Club Nick is a nice air-conditioned space decked out in Nickelodeon-themed decor and filled with fun, age-appropriate activities for kids 4 to 12 years old.
- Instead of the sofabed, you can ask ahead of time to add one or two single beds to the room, which might be a better option for older kids.
- Need some guidance to make your Nickelodeon stress free? Each room block has a concierge office to assist you in whatever you need to make your vacation just right.
Things to do nearby:
There are a few options for day trips, and booking with a guide through the resort is your best option. We suggest taking snacks and water with you as the water is not drinkable on the island. Often times you’ll have to take beach towels from the resort; check when booking your tour if towels are provided. Don’t forget extra sunscreen and hats!
- Visit Scape Park: This adventure park offers a range of activities, including zip-lining, cave exploring, and swimming in a natural pool. Kids will love the thrill of flying through the air and exploring the park’s natural beauty.
- Island Tour: Saona Island and Catalina Island are two popular day trip destinations from Punta Cana, located off the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic. Saona Island is a protected nature reserve that boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. On the way to the island, the tour includes stopping along the way to snorkel or swim in the clear waters. Once on the island, visitors can relax on the beach, take a walk through the mangrove forests, or enjoy a traditional Dominican lunch. Saona Island is also home to various wildlife, including iguanas, sea turtles, and various birds. Catalina Island is another popular day trip destination known for its crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life. Visitors can swim, snorkel, or dive in the reef. Both Saona Island and Catalina Island offer visitors the chance to escape the crowds of Punta Cana and experience some of the natural beauty and rich culture of the Dominican Republic.
- Visit the Dolphin Explorer: Kids can swim with dolphins, feed them, and learn about these amazing creatures. The park also has a sea lion show and a variety of other activities for kids to enjoy
- Santo Domingo City Tour: If you are interested in history and seeing a bit of the country, this tour is a great way to explore the rich history and culture of the Dominican Republic’s capital city. Highlights of the tour include the charming Zona Colonial, home to the oldest cathedral in the Americas, and the Alcazar de Colón, a beautifully preserved palace showcasing the country’s early Spanish settlers. Visitors can also see the National Pantheon, a neoclassical mausoleum for the country’s most important figures, and enjoy the stunning views of the Caribbean Sea from the Malecón.
- Visit the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park: This nature reserve is an excellent place for kids to learn about the local flora and fauna. They can hike through the forest, swim in the natural lagoons, and observe the many different species of plants and animals.
A few extra things to make the most out of your trip, especially with kids
- Keep a small travel-size amount of sunscreen in your carry-on and put it on during the last 30 minutes of your flight. You’ll feel the sun the minute you exit the airport.
- Pre-book your transfer with the resort or a reputable company like BRX; their luxury private transfers are perfect for families who prefer not to share transportation.
- Bring your water shoes and plan to wear them at the waterpark.
Editor’s note: This trip was paid for by Nickelodeon Resorts, but all the opinions belong to the writer.