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With at least 28 island nations and more than 7,000 individual islands dotting the Caribbean, the task of choosing which destination to pick for a tropical getaway can be a daunting one. In the infographic below, we look at the best in beaches, resorts, activities and more from Caribbean heavyweights Punta Cana and San Juan and let you decide which is right for your next vacation. Let the competition begin!

RELATED: The best resorts and hotels in Punta Cana
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Annotated infograph transcript: Caribbean Face Off by Sarah Greaves Gabbadon

The Dominican Republic is the Caribbean’s most popular vacation destination, with more than two million North Americans touching down on the sugary sands of Punta Cana every year. But you don’t even need a passport for a trip to Puerto Rico, where San Juan gets raves for its plush resorts and superb restaurant scene. So which of these tropical towns, separated by just 150 miles, is right for you? Check out this infographic and find your perfect match.

GETTING THERE

Punta Cana: This Caribbean hotspot is four hours from New York and 2.5 hours from Miami.
San Juan: Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU) is the Caribbean’s busiest, with daily non-stops from most major North American cities, including Miami (2.5 hours) and New York (4 hours).

BEACHES

Punta Cana: More than 20 miles of Instagram-worthy white-sand beach lined with cinematically swaying palms is the town’s rightful claim to fame.
San Juan: Find good strands in the Isla Verde and Condado neighborhoods.

RESORTS

Punta Cana: There’s an all-you-can-everything playground for every taste and budget including big names such as Hard Rock, Club Med and RIU.
San Juan: Take your pick of boutiques such as Hotel Casablanca and Villa Herencia in Old San Juan, and plush high-rise resorts such as The Condado Vanderbilt, La Concha and the Ritz-Carlton San Juan in the Condado and Isla Verde neighborhoods.

STUFF TO DO

Punta Cana: La playa is the big draw but there’s plenty of fun beyond the sand, including day trips to Isla Catalina for diving and snorkeling, and the Caribbean’s only hot-air balloon ride.
San Juan: Tourthe cobblestonedquarter of Old San Juan’s and its historic fort, El Morro, or sample a piña colada from Barrachina, the bar where the cocktail was invented.

CUISINE

Punta Cana: Try local specialties such as mangú (mashed green plantains) and mamajuana, a liqueur made with rum, red wine, tree bark, herbs and spices.
San Juan: The city serves up everything from Caribbean-Asian fusion to French haute cuisine in hot spots such as Budatai, Jose Enriqué, 1919 and Santaella.

SHOPPING

Punta Cana: Locally made souvenirs such as coffee, mamajuana liqueur and hand-rolled cigars are available in every hotel gift shop.
San Juan: Home to the Caribbean’s largest shopping mall (Plaza Las Americas); it’s newest (the high-end Mall of San Juan); and indie boutiques in Old San Juan, the city is a shopper’s dream.

NIGHTLIFE

Punta Cana: Every resort has after-dark activities, from on-site nightclubs to cultural shows where you can learn to dance to the local rhythm, bachata.
San Juan: Enjoy live music and dancing at Nunorican Café, a glitzy lounge scene at La Concha resort, and the Old San Juan speakeasy and hipster hangout, La Factoria.

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Tagged: Caribbean, Family time, Infographic

Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon is a Caribbean travel expert, award-winning travel journalist, and TV personality. As jetsetter-in-chief at JetSetSarah.com, Sarah ventures to the beach and beyond, sharing the diverse culture, relaxed lifestyle and colorful people of the world’s favorite warm-weather destination. Follow her adventures on Instagram and twitter, and on Facebook.
Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon

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