If a holiday to the Caribbean country of Dominican Republic is on your agenda, you are most likely thinking of a ‘beach vacation’. Occupying the eastern coast of Hispaniola island and sharing its border with Haiti, another Caribbean jewel, Dominican Republic has the North Atlantic Ocean to its north and the Caribbean Sea to its south.
With Santo Domingo as the capital, Dominican Republic feeds right into the eagerness of adrenaline junkies and sea lovers. The country has a diverse landscape – mountains, forests, reefs, beaches, museums, casinos, mangroves, and even deserts.
Spanish is the national language while Dominican Peso is the national currency.
Apart from the palm-fringed coastline, the country, with its elaborate music and dance culture, exotic cuisine, local sports, fishing culture, and remarkable colonial architecture, offers an insight into true Caribbean culture and lifestyle.
Speaking of a coastline, let us look at the best beaches in the Dominican Republic:
1. Bávaro Beach
The Dominican Republic is one of the top beach holiday destinations in the world, thanks to its supreme location in The Caribbean. Of all the beaches and views that the country has to offer, Punta Cana is considered one of the best, and Bávaro Beach, located at the northern tip, is undoubtedly the best stretch in this coastal town.
Bávaro Beach is famous for its wide, long stretch of palm-fringed coastline and typical turquoise blue waters. Another notable feature of the beach is its all-inclusive resorts and a lot of amazing beachside bars which are perfect for hanging out and grabbing a chilled beer.
The most admired beach in the Dominican Republic, Bávaro offers perfectly calm waters which are idyllic for water activities such as swimming and paddling. A little further from the calm swimming zone is the action-fueled parasailing and boating zone.
Bávaro is home to several luxurious beach resorts and spas.
2. Playa Rincón
Situated on the Samana Peninsula, Playa Rincón is a postcard-perfect, untouched beach decked with glistening, white sand and swaying palm trees. The beach is a 30-minute boat ride away from the fishing town of Las Galeras.
Rated as one of the ‘best beaches in the world’ by none other than Condé Nast Traveler, Playa Rincón features a protected cove at one end which offers a calm bay for swimming, and, on the other, the ocean conjoins with a pleasant freshwater river, Cãno Frio.
A small restaurant and a couple of food stalls sit near the parking lot at Playa Rincón.
The two-mile-long beach almost feels endless, and with an absolute combination of seclusion and stunning views wherever the eye goes, Playa Rincón is the ultimate beach destination in the Dominican Republic.
3. Cayo Levantado
Also known as Bacardi Island, Cayo Levantado island is located on the Samana Peninsula which is sectioned into two categories – the public category and the luxurious Grand Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Hotel. Needless to say, the latter section is reserved only for the guests staying at this opulent seaside resort.
The division of the beach island doesn’t make much difference since every nook and cranny of Cayo Levantado is equally striking. However, if you are a guest at the hotel, you get access to all the facilities available at one of the two private beaches which are approximately 130 meters each.
The beach waters are calm at either beach and there are lifeguards patrolling the area. There is a tiny island facing the hotel’s main beach where you can enjoy snorkeling, sunbathing, or observing the marine life.
Because of the beach’s popularity, hundreds of visitors come to the public beach on day trips and cruises.
4. Playa Dorada
Situated along the Amber Coast, Playa Dorada is one of the most celebrated beaches in the Dominican Republic, and a great hub of all-inclusive beach resorts.
When here, expect dazzling golden, sandy beaches, crystal turquoise waters, surrounding mountains, and a palm-fringe coastline. If this doesn’t completely satisfy your soul, try thinking of windsurfing and water-skiing on the somewhat wild waves of Playa Dorada.
Even though the beaches of Playa Dorada are a great hit among luxury and mid-range tourists who visit here to avail all the modern facilities that their all-inclusive hotels offer, the building codes in the area have restricted every building to a maximum of three floors.
Additionally, every property is built at a considerable distance from another. Hence, the natural ambience is intact and the beautiful island doesn’t feel crowded or too modernized.
5. Playa Grande
Another hidden gem among the beaches of Dominican Republic, Playa Grande sits far from the bustling beach towns of Puerto Planta and Punta Cana. Located on the outskirts of Rio San Juan, the area has two luxury hotels at the far end of the beach.
The beach area of Playa Grande maintains its privacy by not permitting any hints of mass-tourism anywhere near the beach.
The soft-sand, coral-colored Dominican beach is complemented by swaying palm trees in the background and giant waves. A few rustic food stands are scattered here and there around the beach.
Day trips to Playa Grande can be conveniently organized from the nearby towns of Puerto Plata and Cabarete.
Playa Caleton, a smaller and calmer beach, sits near Playa Grande and is a safer bet for children.
6. Boca Chica Beach
Located 20 miles east of the capital city of Santo Domingo on the southern coast of Hispaniola island, Boca Chica has been regarded as one of the nicest and most popular beaches in the Dominican Republic for over a couple of decades.
As compared to the likes of Cabarete and Puerto Plata, the water at Boca Chica is calmer and shallower, and the sand is whiter, even though the area may be busier than the others due to its proximity to the capital.
Boca Chica Beach is protected by a huge crescent-shaped coral reef, and the water itself makes up for an approximately 1 mile wide Cove. The reef acts as a natural break wall between the waters at the beach and the Caribbean Sea which makes the Cove usually super-tender.
Boca Chica is a great hit among families. Visitors to the beach often indulge in swimming, sailing and beach volleyball tournaments.
The beach gets crowded with locals during the weekends but on a typical weekday, you can almost have the beach all to yourself.
7. Las Galeras
A small village at the very end of Samana Peninsula, Las Galeras is popular worldwide for its magnificent beach locations which are as picturesque as they are secluded.
Though getting to and from the village is a bit of a task, once you are here you will find yourself amidst the paradisiacal charm of the ‘three beach’ spot in Dominican Republic – Rincon, Madama, and Fronton.
With a small population of only 3,000 people, Las Galeras remain untouched by mass tourism and urban development, yet the village has plenty of hotels, restaurants, and other tourist businesses which are mainly operated by a modest community of French, Italian, and German expats. The village also has several apartments for long-term rentals.
With its vibrant fishing culture, Las Galeras is a popular spot for deep sea fishing. Other significant recreational activities offered in the area include scuba-diving, snorkeling, boating, horseback tours, ATV quad tours, hiking and beach explorations.
8. Kite Beach
World-renowned for its amazing water sports, Kite Beach, in the town of Cabarete, derives its name from the grand kiteboarding destination it is. This internationally acclaimed beach is also a popular location for windsurfing.
Kite Beach hosts the annual ‘Master of the Ocean World Championship’ where participants from all over the world come together to partake in various water-based competitive activities such as kiteboarding, surfing, windsurfing, and stand-up paddle-boarding.
Several kiteboarding schools around the area welcome newcomers to learn the sport.
The atmosphere at Kite Beach is warm and friendly. The active water adventure scene around the area ensures that the area remains filled with several tourism-related businesses such as hotels, restaurants and bars, souvenir shops, and tour agencies.
9. Cabarete Beach
Flowing from tip to end of the waterfront of Cabarete, Cabarete Beach is more popular for its ambiance than the mesmerizing turquoise water.
One of the very few areas in the country which sees calm waters almost all around the year, Cabarete Beach is well-admired by swimming enthusiasts from all around the world.
The shallow shore makes it child-friendly, which is a rare feature for most beaches in the Dominican Republic.
While the casual and warm vibe of the area makes it an ultimate beach experience, what’s interesting is the abundance of trendy restaurants that adorn the coastline. Some even offer tables, chairs, and lamps to be set right on the sand. Live music bands and solo artists fill the evening air with rhythm and romance.
Cabarete is known as the ‘windsurfing capital of the world’.
10. Playa Bahoruco
Located on the southern coast of Barahona, Playa Bahoruco flows right in front of the famous Barceló Bahoruco Resort. Most visitors here comprise guests staying at the nearby resorts but there is a fair number of tourists from other parts of the country and the world.
The palm-fringed, sandy shores of Bahoruco offers immaculate sunsets and amazing waves that are perfect for professional swimmers. Amateurs must take great caution in these waters as the strong undercurrents can be harmful.
The waters are a striking shade of topaz while the surrounding rocks give the landscape a rugged look.
Lack of any residential or commercial building around the shoreline protects the beach’s natural environment and the fairly untouched vibe makes Playa Bahoruco a well-kept jewel.
11. Macao Beach
Once regarded among the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches in the Dominican Republic, Macao Beach is rapidly undergoing major urban developments. Located around the beach town of Punta Cana, Macao beach provides a glorious shoreline which still maintains a quiet, serene vibe.
Beautifully rugged cliffs adorn the right end of the beach while the turquoise waters spread across miles of distance, as far as your senses can fathom. Swaying coconut palms provide shade to visitors.
Amateur surfers enjoy the mild waves of Macao Beach. Macao Surf Camp, a highly-reputed surfing school offers great surfing lessons to enthusiasts.
Macao Beach is approved by UNESCO.
12. Playa Bahia de Las Aguilas
Considered as one of the most natural and far-off beaches in the Dominican Republic, Playa Bahia de Las Aguilas is a part of the Jaragua National Park, a UNESCO approved National Reserve. This protected beach is a part of an exclusive tourist attraction on the island.
With its environment-friendly ambiance and setting inside a National Park, Playa Bahia de Las Aguilas is a haven for eco-tourists. It offers a perfect getaway from the bustling cities and beach towns of the country.
The 5-mile-long stretch of fine sand and greenish-blue water is entirely undeveloped, thus, finding common public facilities is not an option. Most tourists usually bring their own lunch and make a picnic out of it.
Most visitors come here on a day trip and stay at Barahona.
13. Juanillo Beach
Juanillo Beach is one of the best-kept beaches in the Dominican Republic and even though the beach is open to the public, the entrance is guarded by Cap Cana. The gatekeepers at the entrance are easy to handle if you tell them where you are going.
The beach offers an upbeat, social atmosphere but isn’t overcrowded at all. In fact, Juanillo Beach is the perfect balance between total seclusion and complete craziness.
The calm and clear topaz-colored waters of Juanillo Beach are well-adorned with towering palm trees.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many public convenience facilities around the beach but most-likely that is to protect the natural vibe of the beach.
There is a considerable range of accommodation options and restaurants within close range of Juanillo Beach.
14. Grand Laguna Beach
Backed by a resort of the same name, Grand Laguna Beach lays approximately 2 miles from the beach town of Sosua on the northern coast of Dominican Republic. Though Grand Laguna may not be among the most secluded beaches of the country, it offers just enough privacy and serenity for you to enjoy a perfect beach vacation.
The turquoise-colored beach has a slight slope and is surrounded by tan-colored sand, light greenery, and rock-strewn edges. The water at the beach is not too rough but not too gentle, just about perfect for plenty of excitement around the area.
Grand Laguna is well-liked by families as well as couples. Since the beach is in a popular area, you may want to avoid visiting during public holidays and weekends if you don’t want to see too many people on your beach holiday.
Casino Playa Chiquita, approximate 1.5 miles from the beach, is one of the closest attractions around Grand Laguna Beach.
15. Sosua Beach
With plush seaside resorts, open-air bars and restaurants, tourist-oriented shops, and flea markets, Sosua Beach is the most happening thing about the town of Sosua. The bustling beach scene attracts visitors from all around the country and the world.
Sosua Beach is approximately 20 minutes from Puerto Plata and is highly popular among families. A coral reef surrounds the crescent beach making it a great spot for snorkelers and early swimmers as well.
Glistening golden sands, clear blue waters, and a vivid variety of shops and restaurants lining the shore make the surrounding ambiance lively and fun.
Lounge chairs and umbrellas can be rented. Unfortunately, there aren’t any public restrooms but the restaurants and bars around the area are easily accessible. Rental shops provide snorkeling gear and equipment.
If you wish to avoid the crowd, come here for a breakfast picnic or an early-morning swim.