Depending on where you are coming from, you will be off-loaded directly either into the terminal or on to the tarmac.
- Most Canadian flights are to the tamac and most times they will bring a stairway to both the front and the rear sections of the plane to make leaving the plane go a little quicker. You'll step out of the plane and immediately enjoy the warmth and the sun on your face and then proceed into a bus that will take you to immigration.
- Most US flights will arrive directly in the terminal where you will walk up a ramp to to immigration.
On the plane your stewardesses will have given you forms to fill out for the immigration process. Some airlines such as West Jet and other tour companies will also provide you with a tourist card. Check with your airline if it is supplied otherwise you will need to purchase one when you arrive at the airport or you can purchase one on-line directly through the Dominican Republic Government website for $10 US. UPDATE: 2018 - All airlines will be supplying the tourist cards in the plane so there is no need to purchase this.
As you arrive at immigration, you will go through the line and pass an officer your tourist card and then 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.
You will then pass through a final check where you will hand over your second form that you received on the plane. These forms are also available as you head through customs. Your luggage will pass through an xray and it is possible they will do a secondary search of your luggage at this point but if so it is usually very quick. We frequently bring a large number of suitcases with us so we get searched quite often but I've always found the customs officers to be very friendly and polite - even if you don't speak Spanish!
So now you're finally through the airport and the taxi and tour companies are waiting directly outside with signs. If traveling with a tour company they will take care of everything for you from here. They will get you loaded into your bus and take you directly to your resort for check in. If traveling by taxi, an English speaking representative will discuss with you where you are going and give you the cost. They are pretty much standard rates from the airport to each hotel depending on the distance and non-negotiable. It can cost you anywhere from $20 for the close resorts to $80 for resorts that are further away.
All that's left to do is sit back and enjoy the scenery on your way to the hotel and start enjoying your vacation in Punta Cana!