Naming the best beaches in the Dominican Republic is challenging as it’s home to some of the most stunning coastal stretches in the Caribbean. In fact, there are well over 200 beaches to choose from! The country shares roughly half of the island of Hispaniola with Haiti to its west and boasts a coastal length of 1,288 km.

    Washed by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south, the shores of the Dominican Republic feature a collection of fine beaches that vary in scenery, vibe, and character. From tranquil southern seaboards to the rugged northern Amber Coast where thrill-seeking surfers can enjoy regular ocean swells, here’s our guide to the Dominican Republic’s top beaches.

    1

    Boca Chica Beach

    The main beach of the Dominican capital

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    Boca Chica Beach (Playa Boca Chica) is the beautiful stretch of white sand that’s overlooked by the namesake town on the Dominican Republic’s south coast. The bright coast is lapped by the sheltered waters of the shallow bay, with the mangrove-forested La Matica cay on the horizon.

    Beyond the family-friendly beach, underneath the waves, you’ll find vibrant marine life among coral reefs and sunken gardens. These underwater highlights, along with several shipwrecks, are all found within La Caleta Underwater Park (Parque Nacional Submarino La Caleta). 

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    2

    Macao Beach

    White sands and clear waters with plenty for adventure-seekers

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    Macao Beach (Playa Macao) is a wide strip of white sand in Punta Cana, known for its relaxing palm-fringed scenery and surfable waves. The beach attracts those looking for a laidback spot to lounge by clear waters, while surfers are drawn to its exposed beach break with consistent swells.

    Those who wish to learn to surf can enrol for classes throughout the year. Macao Beach is also graced by several local restaurants, where you can sit down and enjoy the views with Dominican-style seafood like shellfish stew and paella.

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    3

    Sosua Beach

    A sheltered bay with treasures beneath the waves

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    Sosua Beach is a hidden gem on the Dominican Republic’s northern coast. Despite being sheltered by low-lying green hills, this small crescent of light golden sand bordered by turquoise waters attracts a steady flow of visitors to enjoy the beautiful scenery and easygoing vibe.

    There’s a great selection of spots serving local Dominican seafood and beach bars where you can enjoy cold beers and cocktails along with the view. Discovery and thrills await on the water and under the waves – you can snorkel right off the beach and see tropical fish in shallow depths. Scuba divers boat out from Sosua for more wonderful spots offshore.

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    4

    Guayacanes Beach

    A quiet and scenic fishing village with calm surf

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    Guayacanes Beach is the main shoreline of the small fishing village of the same name, east of Santo Domingo. The quaint strip of white sand has a couple of restaurants and homes nearby and you can often see local fishermen pulling their boats in with their day's catch.

    Note that some parts of the beach are rocky and covered in seaweed, so it’s best to bring water shoes or proper footwear for exploring. Even so, the view is amazing, either at sunrise or sunset, and it doesn’t often get crowded. You can easily get beach chairs for rent from the few onsite beach bars, then sit back and take in the seascape with a cold one.

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    5

    Cayo Levantado Beach

    A small beach escape on a tiny islet

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    Cayo Levantado Beach (Playa Cayo Levantado) is one of the most gorgeous and famous beaches in Samana Bay, a boat ride southeast of the town of Samana. The beach may be tiny, being on the northwestern tip of the petite 3-sq-km cay, but it offers the perfect island getaway.

    The cay itself bears the nickname ‘Bacardi Island’ after it was featured in an ad for the famous spirit. Once here, you’ll know the reason behind their choice of shooting location – a usually quiet, paradisiacal, tropical setting with white sand and towering palm trees. Ordering an iced rum and coke with the view never gets old. Cayo Levantado is often part of tours offered in Samana Bay, involving a 10 to 15-minute ferry ride.

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    6

    Playa Najayo

    A rugged sandy beach on the Dominican Republic’s south coast

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    Playa Najayo is one of the great beach coves on the south coast of the Dominican Republic that offers a rustic and local escape. Unlike many of the soft white-sand beaches on Hispaniola’s northeastern coast, Najayo has rather coarse sand and rocky outcrops but with swimmable waves, which simply add to its less-touristy charm.

    Even so, along the beach, you’ll still find local rattan-roofed beach bars serving cold beverages and cocktails, and beach chairs for hire are never hard to find. If you’re feeling peckish, try the fried snapper served with fried plantains (tostones). The beach is in the province of San Cristóbal, an hour’s drive southwest of Santo Domingo.

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    7

    Playa Rincon

    Enjoy seclusion on this untouched beauty

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    Playa Rincon (Rincon Beach) is one of the Dominican Republic’s picture-perfect beaches, with off-white, soft sand and pristine blue waters. Located on the Samaná Peninsula, the beach remains delightfully unspoilt, even though it's popular with locals and the lucky travellers who are told of it.

    Peppered along these 3 miles of blissful seascapes are swaying palm trees, perfect for perching under with a book or for a sunbathing break. One side of the beach has tempered waters ideal for snorkelling and leisurely swimming, while the northern side offers decent waves for bodysurfing. Enjoy some freshly caught seafood served at either Playa Rincon's rustic seafront restaurants or the fire-hearth cookshops that offer picnic tables.

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    8

    Playa Juan Dolio

    A natural and unspoilt public beach in Guayacanes

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    Playa Juan Dolio is the public beach of the small seaside community of the same name on the Dominican Republic’s south coast. It's one of the beaches belonging to the district municipality of Guayacanes that’s better known for its public access (despite several hotels and private condos in the area). Its natural setting has coconut groves on the sand bordering turquoise waters.

    The beach is well-maintained and the coastal strip is naturally protected by an offshore reef. This means great swimming and snorkelling opportunities await right off the sand. Beach chairs and umbrellas are readily available for hire from the beach bars. Local peddlers often wander along the beach, offering fresh coconuts, souvenirs and handmade jewellery.

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    9

    Las Aguilas Bay

    The secluded Eagles Bay of the Dominican Republic

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    Las Aguilas Bay (Bahía de las Águilas) or Eagles Bay is the go-to beach for adventure and ecotourism in the Dominican Republic. The beach on the far southwestern coast has a length of white sand that stretches for about 8 km. Besides its pristine setting and natural beauty, much of its appeal lies in its isolation – it’s a protected area part of the Jaragua National Park, about a 6-hour drive west from Santo Domingo and an hour’s drive south from Pedernales.

    To get there, you can rent a boat or a 4x4 from Pedernales and make the trip down the coastline. Local guides at the entry to the national park can lead you on a tour of the best highlights of the coast for a fee. No beach bars, no restaurants… just swimmable, crystalline teal-to-aquamarine waters and the occasional sightings of manatees, turtles and green iguanas in their most natural habitat.

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    10

    Bavaro Beach

    Punta Cana’s long and wide Coconut Coast

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    Bavaro Beach is one of the longest and widest stretches of white sand in the Dominican Republic. This part of Punta Cana on the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic is nicknamed the Coconut Coast(La Costa del Coco), as most of its length is lined with coconut palms. The area is also dotted with plenty of luxury and all-inclusive resorts catering to couples and families as well as modern facilities for nightlife and entertainment.

    The beach stretches for about 48 km. It offers plenty of action on the sand and in the waves, with everything from ziplining, windsurfing and parasailing to sea kayaking, and sailing readily available. A great offshore reef shelters half the length of the beach, providing swimmers and snorkellers ample space to frolic in and explore.

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    11

    Playa Caleton

    A tiny, ‘hidden’ cove on the north coast

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    Playa Caleton is a small beach in a cove on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Rocky low-lying hills with lush vegetation surround this sandy crescent. The cove itself is lined with ample trees for shade, while there are also plenty of sunny spaces on the sand if you’re looking for a tan.

    You can enjoy a nice and cheap meal right on the beach or crack open a cold one while taking in the view. The narrow seascape features huge rocks in the water while the waves closer to the shore are calm and great for families to swim and snorkel in. Just beyond the wooded outcrop to the west is the even smaller and secluded Playa de Los Enamorados. Despite being ‘hidden’, they’re easily accessible via a sandy trail from the fishing village of Río San Juan.

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