Finding great beaches in the Dominican Republic is easy, especially if you happen to be visiting one of the popular tourist areas of the country. Comprising over half of the island of Hispaniola, there are over 250 miles of coastline and hundreds of beaches in the Dominican Republic. If you’re thinking of going to this Caribbean paradise, then here is a list with the top 10 most beautiful beaches you should have visited.
10. Where: Playa Bavaro
Why you’ll love it: One of the world’s greatest beach strips is centered at Punta Cana and Bávaro on the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic. This stretch of beachfront goes on for about 30km (20 miles) and is renowned for its all-inclusive resorts, the largest concentration in the Caribbean. The beaches here are wide, filled with golden sand, gorgeous, and safe for swimming all year.
Pro tip: Visit Bavaro in low season as in high season it gets very crowded over here.
9. Where: Montecristi
Why you’ll love it: The town Montecristi is located at the northwest of the Dominican Republic, its shores are washed by the Atlantic Ocean, with an unforgettable scenery, dark sandy beaches, and crystal clear blue waters. It’s a bit of a drive to get here, about four hours from Santo Domingo and two hours from Puerto Plata, but the surroundings are well worth the journey. As the beach is resort and vendor-free, you will find here ultimate peace.
Pro tip: Combine a visit to Playa el Moro with a visit to Cayo Arena (#4 of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic) which is located almost on the route to Playa el Moro
8. Where: Juanillo
Why you’ll love it: Playa Juanillo is synonymous with calm, casual and cool. This bohemian corner of the world possesses a white beach, crystal blue pool-like waters which extend between Cap Cana Marina and Sanctuary Cap Cana Golf & Spa Resort. You won’t be alone on the sand when you visit Juanillo due to the many hotels nearby, but it’s relatively free of vendors, and there’s a pretty beach restaurant too. Juanillo is the most beautiful beach within the Punta Cana & Bavaro region.
Pro tip: Playa Juanillo is located in the luxury community of Cap Cana, to enter the community you need to bring identification and register at the reception of the main entrance. Entrance to Cap Cana and Juanillo Beach is free of charge.
7. Where: Barahona
Why you’ll love it: This is the Far West of the Dominican Republic, a place that stands out for its panoramic scenery, surfing beaches, biodiversity, forests and birdwatching. Only few tourists visit San Rafael beach, which makes it a great place to visit if you are looking for something different. It’s a bit of a drive to get here, about four hours from Santo Domingo. However totally worth it as there are several other sights within the area.
Pro tip: Visit Playa San Rafael on the way to Bahia de las Aguilas (#1 of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic).
6. Where: Fronton
Why you’ll love it: Playa Frontón is one of the most stunning beaches in the Dominican Republic. It boasts some of the country’s best snorkeling and scenery. In 2002 Expeditión Robinson was filmed here. Trails lead to the beach, but it’s easy to get lost, so hire a local guide or preferably, come by boat. Locals will charge you for the return boat trip which takes about half an hour RD$3000 (65 USD) per boat or RD$1000 per person (22 USD) when you are with 4 or more persons.
Pro tip: Come prepared, bring food, drinks and whatever else needed, as this is one of the most remote beaches in the country. This is also a great spot for overnight camping.
5. Where: Saona Island
Why you’ll love it: There’s a reason why boatloads of tourists descend upon this stunning island daily. The powdery, white-sand beach doesn’t seem real from afar, and a dip in the aquamarine surf is a gentle restorative, like the waters of the most luxurious spa, while palm trees provide a natural awning from the intense sun. Visiting Isla Saona is one of DR’s most popular day trip excursions.
Pro tip: The best way to get here is by day trip tours from your hotel in Punta Cana, La Romana and Santo Domingo that will bring you here by Catamaran or Speedboat. Most of the tours are full-day tours that include drinks, food and snorkel gear.
4. Where: Punta Rusia
Why you’ll love it: Also known as “Paradise Island,” Cayo Arena is truly a place that’s out of a tropical dream, where sand, sky, and crystal clear water combine to create a Caribbean outpost that seems too beautiful to be real. This sandy dollop rising up from the reef measures 2,100 square feet—which makes it less than a tenth of an acre of fine, sparkling white sand. The island itself is undeveloped—save for some thatched-roof huts—and snorkeling in the calm, turquoise lagoon is a way to literally come face to face with curious Caribbean fish.
Pro tip: The best way to get here is by day trip excursions from your hotel in Puerto Plata region, or by renting a private boat with captain at the beach town Punta Rusia
3. Where: Cayo Levantado
Why you’ll love it: A gorgeous public beach lies on the western side of this lush island, 7km from Samaná. It’s the only section that’s open to the public – a five-star hotel occupies the rest. Boatmen at Samaná’s pier can get you there for RD$500 (10 USD) per person round-trip; groups of up to 15 people can negotiate a private full-day boat for RD$3000 (65 USD) round-trip. Note that the idyll can be somewhat marred by the commercialization of the experience. Large cruise ships dock here regularly, and the facilities, including a few restaurants and bars, don’t offer much peace and quiet. If you choose to visit, try to go in mid- to late afternoon when most of the activity is winding down.
Pro tip: Would you like to see Humpback Whales? Then visit this island from January until March as there are plenty of them around during this period.
2. Where: Playa Moron
Why you’ll love it: Located on the eastern shoreline of the Peninsula Samaná, Playa Rincón is consistently hailed as one of the 10 top beaches in the Caribbean. Playa Moron is very quiet, has beautiful golden sand, there’s plenty of color in the sea — vivid turquoise, blues, and greens that are safe for swimming and ideal for snorkeling.
Pro tip: When visiting Playa Moron stay in the beautiful Cap el Limon, known for offering some of the most spectacular villas in the Caribbean.
1. Where: Jaragua National Park
Why you’ll love it: Bahía de Las Águilas is the kind of beach that fantasies are made of. This pristine utopia is located in the extremely remote southwestern corner of the DR about a 5-hour drive from Santo Domingo, but those who make it here are rewarded with 10km of nearly deserted shore, forming a gentle arc between two prominent capes. It’s reachable mainly by boat from Playa Las Cuevas – the ride weaves in and out of rocky outcrops and past gorgeous cliffs with cacti clinging to their craggy edges and sea-diving pelicans nearby. The sea life beneath the waves is fantastic, so bring your snorkeling gear and be prepared to swim in the company of starfish, lobsters and more. Paradise found!
Pro tip: The only way to get here is by 4X4 jeep or with a boatman from the nearest community. A return by boat will cost approximately 15 USD per person for groups larger than 4 people.