Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) – official site – is today the Dominican leader in number of arrivals of passengers. Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ), is a privately owned (by Groupo Punta Cana click here for more info) commercial airport. The airport itself is considered something to see, as it is built in a traditional Dominican style with open-air terminals with their roofs covered in palm fronds. Punta Cana International Airport is between 15 to 40 minutes from the major hotels.
The current Punta Cana Airport has three terminals: Terminal 1 and 2 are the terminals for international flights while Terminal 3 is used for domestic flights within the Dominican Republic and private jets. The privately owned commercial airport (the unique in the world) is small and easy to navigate upon arrival and baggage claim is close at hand. As it is the closest to the resorts (La Romana Airport is about a hour away), Punta Cana International Airport is probably the best airport to fly into, and most major airlines fly there. (click here to find all the international and domestic airlines)
When arriving, you’ll walk out off the plane right outside using the wheeled stairs that connect to the plane door. As you can see in the top photo, the Punta Cana Airport does not have ramps connecting to the terminal but not to worry, it is a short nice walk to the immigration area. As you enter the airport you might be asked to take a picture with two beautiful local Dominicans that you can purchase upon your departure.
On the plane your stewardesses will have given you the forms to fill out for the immigration and customs process. A blue customs entry form and a white customs declaration form. The blue form is the immigration form taken at passport control, while the white form will be taken by Customs at the customs desk, usually only when they choose you as their target to check your luggage there (upon arrival).
If you did not receive this form don’t panic, they have plenty that you can fill out on your arrival. If you are traveling from Canada or Europe, you will also have been given a tourist card. If you are traveling from the United States, you will probably need to purchase one at the airport for $10.
At immigration you will form a line where you will hand over your tourist card if you have one, or purchase one if you don’t. (**tip: if you have a tourist card you can take the “Residents queue” even if you are not resident in DR. It will be much faster. Otherwise you must take the “No Residents queue”). A customs officer will stamp your passport and take one of your forms and then you’re off to collect your luggage. There are television screens that will direct you to the correct area for your baggage. There are many porters available to help you with your luggage for a small tip and they will also help you find where to go with your tour company or to get a taxi.
After clearing customs you will usually pass a band playing Caribbean music with a hat on the floor hoping you will drop a dollar in it. As you exit the Airport you may be approached by guys that want to cart your bags to your taxi. Make sure to have people in charge of certain bags so none are scattered while they grab your luggage. If you choose to let them take your luggage please sure to tip them, that is why they are there. The drive is another 15 to 40 minutes which allows you to see some of the life style in the Dominican Republic.
About the departure, dress comfortably for the airport. As stated above, it’s an open air building. Until you are all checked in you will be without benefit of air conditioning. The lines are not dreadfully long, but it could take an hour to get completely checked in. Keep all your identifications handy. You will have to present them at different locations up to 7 times. Also, there is no indoor gateway. You have to exit and enter the plane on the tarmac via portable stairway.
AVOID E-CIGS: there are now almost everywhere signs that say “no electronic cigarettes allowed”. Seems it is ok to take them into the country but not back out for some reason. It’s ok with the airlines (provided they are in carry on), but not allowed at PUJ.