Airport Updates as of November 2013

There have been big changes at the Punta Cana airport over the past couple of years.  The Domincan Republic is steadily becoming a very popular vacation destination.  There are more and more resorts being built which are giving travelers more value for their vacation dollar because there are so many options.

When you land at the Punta Cana airport, after you deplane, you will be directed to a shuttle bus that will be waiting for you.  Once the bus is filled, their doors will close and you will be taken to Arrivals.  Before this change, you had to walk.  The only hassle that I see with this change is if you are one of the first on the bus.  Although not “steamy” hot; you can get a little warm sitting in the bus on the tarmac.  But there are no worries because you are on vacation and it’s not a very long wait.

There were no changes that I saw in going through Immigration and getting your passport stamped. The white immigration paper that was given to you on the plane is not needed.  This is only for Native Dominicans.   You wait behind the yellow line and you will be called when it’s your turn.  Immediately after, you will approach the desk to get your $10 Tourist Card.  These desks seemed out of place and temporary so that may be a part of the airport that will change in the future.  After you turn over your tourist card to the awaiting personnel, you then approach the baggage claim area.

This seems to not have changed.  Once you’re reunited with your luggage and pass through Customs, this is where you will see another new area of the airport: the Transfer Company area.  Here is where you will find the company who will shuttle you to your resort.  These desks again seem temporary and in a long line against the wall.  Here you will also find taxis and other transfers companies if you haven’t already made arrangements.

There will still be much chaos when you return to the airport for your trip home.  Once you check-in with your airline and they take your bags; you are then herded to Security.  Here again there is chaos depending on the day you are traveling.  There are no scanners here and every passenger must go through a pat down.  After security, it’s Customs where your passport is stamped and you turn in the blue immigration form that was given to you at your airline check-in.

You are then free to enter the airport and get some food or snacks to prepare for your flight home.  If you are leaving from gates 5 through 10, you must exit through the new Duty Free store.  Just after this store, there is an outdoor kiddie play area and a smoking area.  When your flight is called, you will exit through your gate and then it’s a walk outside to your plane.  Before you climb the stairs to the plane, you are required to show your passport at the base of the steps.

I’m sure things at the airport are changing on a daily basis.  This update was current as of November when I was there last.  If I hear of any other changes, I will be sure to post.  If you know of any, please share in the comment area.

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