We’ve seen some amazing beaches in our travels. To be honest, finding gorgeous stretches of sand was a bit of a goal when we first started traveling and I can confidently say we’ve been fortunate enough to have seen some of the nicest beaches in the world.
One of the pluses to being based in North America is that getting down to the Caribbean is relatively simple. With hundreds of gorgeous islands, finding an amazing beach in the Caribbean is a piece of cake.
Finding a great beach is especially easy if you happen to be visiting one of the biggest countries in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic. Comprising over half of the island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic has over 250 miles of coastline and hundreds of beaches.
If you’re thinking of going there (and you should), here is a list of some of the best beaches you’ll find in the Dominican Republic as well as a few places to stay, and a few things to do while you’re there.
You would think that showing up on top ten best beaches in the world lists regularly for a couple of decades would diminish Punta Cana’s reputation, but it’s hard to deny the appeal of 20 miles of gorgeous white sand and clear turquoise water.
The beach in Punta Cana is as nice as it is famous. It’s also one of the busiest in the country considering more people visit this area than anywhere else in the Caribbean.
The majority of the resort-loving vacationers come to walk the miles of wide beautiful beach and enjoy the crystal clear water, however what gets them returning every year are the conveniences staying on a large resort offers.
To stay in the heart of Punta Cana, you can check out some all-inclusive Dominican Republic hotels and resorts and enjoy everything that makes these resorts famous. From five-star restaurants to night time extravaganzas, organized water sports on the beach to lounging in swimming pools the size of football fields, staying at a resort has nice perks. Oh yeah, it also doesn’t hurt that once you get there you don’t need to pull your wallet out ever again, because when you stay at an all-inclusive resort, there are also unlimited food and unlimited cocktails.
For families, most resorts also have a kids’ club where children can while away the day hanging out with other kids.
For those so inclined, there are a myriad of organised day trips around Punta Cana, so you can try everything from 4×4 adventures, to swimming with dolphins, to exploring the nearby towns and historic sites.
Playa Bavaro is rapidly becoming one of the the DR’s most sought after beach areas in Punta Cana. It’s set on the East Coast, where the stunning Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.
The beach at Playa Bavaro is wide, with stunning aquamarine water and soft white sand. There’s plenty to see and do here, with locals and tourists alike enjoying the beach and activities. It’s a wonderful place to soak up the natural beauty and enjoy some luxury at Lopesan Costa Bavaro. The resort itself has a world class 2,900 meter infinity pool with one of the best views in the DR, fantastic dining and drinks, plus all the pampering and amenities you’d expect at a luxury resort.
Playa Boca Chica
If you’re in the capital city of Santo Domingo, and need to get your feet wet, there’s no better beach than nearby Playa Boca Chica.
Protected by a reef a 1/4 mile out, the water at Boca Chica Beach is some of the calmest you’ll find in the Dominican Republic. Popular with locals and tourists alike, this palm fringed oasis of cheap restaurants and busy beach bars will have you grooving to the sweet sounds of merengue and bachata music.
There are tons of activities and water sports and if you’re looking for a happening beach this is the one to go to.
If you need more than sand and surf to make your day complete, you might enjoy the views of Playa Rincon.
Found on the eastern coast of the island, on the Samana peninsula, surrounded by lush jungle greenery and high seaside cliffs, you’ll need to go on a bit of a trek to reach the surf at Playa Rincon. Once there, enjoy the seclusion and check out the snorkeling before grabbing a bite to eat at one of the few small restaurants found along the beach.
It might be a hike, but I guarantee you’ll enjoy yourself once you get there.
Santo Domingo’s other main beach, the more upscale Juan Dolio is a little less crowded, a little less lively and a little more natural than its more famous sister beach Boca Chica.
Set along rows of coconut trees, the beach of Juan Dolio feels a little more unspoiled as well. There are also decent restaurants and higher end shopping nearby to help tourists spend their money.
Really just a subset of Punta Cana, Macao Beach is UNESCO approved and offers some of the best surf for beginners in the Dominican Republic.
The very popular and highly rated Macao Surf Camp can be found here and practically guarantees a good time while learning to ride the waves.
Situated on the north coast conveniently close to Puerto Plata, the up and coming resort strung Playa Dorada (aka Golden Beach) offers everything for lovers of all-inclusive resorts.
Clear water and golden sand line Puerto Plata’s busiest beach and there are dozens of things to do on and around the water, as well as take day trips into Puerto Plata for great shopping and dining.
Puerto Plata’s second busiest beach is Playa Sosua (Sosua Beach). Popular with the locals (especially on Sundays), this U-shaped beach has souvenir and snack shacks aplenty and is a great choice if your looking for a city/beach style vacation.
There’s also decent snorkeling right off the beach for a city style beach, so that says a lot for the water quality.
Known as the best hotspot for windsurfing and kiteboarding in all the Caribbean, the laid back surf town of Cabarete on the north coast caters to everything a water adventure junkie craves. From big wind to big waves, if you’re looking for someplace to get your adrenaline running, Cabarete is the place for you.
At night, the chill vibes of the one street town offers great dining and a lively night scene. Cabarete is also one of the most budget friendly locations in the Dominican Republic, and is a great place to relax if you want to get away from the big resorts that line most of the busier beaches.
Found just off the south coast of the Semana Peninsula, the island of Cayo Levantado isn’t the easiest to get to. That said, it’s beaches are amazing and the lush jungle greenery that surrounds them makes it one of the prettiest in all of the Dominican Republic.
With not a lot of facilities, the beaches at Cayo Levantado are some of the most secluded in all the country, with hiking trails crisscrossing the island joining the three main beaches.
To get there, you can hire a boat or take a short ferry across. You can also book a whale watching tour from January until March that tours the Bay of Semana that stops off at Cayo Levantado for lunch.
Bahia de las Aguilas
Also known as Eagle Bay Beach or the Bay of Eagles, no matter how you say it, Bahia de las Aguilas is a gorgeous eight km long strip of unspoiled paradise.
Found in the southwestern most corner of the country closest to Haiti, Bahia de las Aguilas isn’t the easiest place to get to. 25 kilometers from the nearest town, Padernales and over 300 kilometers from Santo Domingo, you need to pack a lunch when you go there, since the beach is as empty now as it was 200 years ago.
Located in Jaragua National Park, this protected stretch of beach is teeming with sea life and is often considered the nicest beach in the country by the Dominican people. It also has no facilities, no hotels, no restaurants and almost no people, so if you’re craving your own little private stretch of paradise then this is the beach for you.
You can bargain for a 15-20 minute boat ride or a 15-20 minute 4×4 ride (seasonal) out of Cabo Rojo, which borders the park entrance, however make sure you have everything you need when you get there because you’ll be on your own.
Also don’t forget to bring your snorkel gear since the beach at Bahia de las Aguilas has some extraordinary sea life right off the beach and is probably the best site in the country for snorkeling.