The Best Beaches in the Dominican Republic

With 800 miles of coastline, the Dominican Republic boasts more than 200 beaches, from remote stretches of sand with limestone cliffs and no crowds, to soft shores with calm waters. On this varied island, you’ll also find populated beaches lined with all-inclusive resorts and restaurants; coves that are difficult to reach but worth it for the privacy; and shores backed by coconut palm groves and towering sand dunes. Whether you want to swim in tranquil water, surf major waves, or simply relax and do nothing, you’ll find a place for that here, along with standout beauty.

Dominican Republic
Close to the Haitian border on the Dominican Republic’s northwestern coast, this white-sand beach, which is part of Montecristi National Park, sits below an 800-foot-high limestone mesa. Hike a rough stretch through rocks to the beach and you’ll find clear water but strong currents—these waves are not for children, and even excellent swimmers should be very cautious. Shipwrecks from the colonial days draw experienced divers to nearby Isla Cabrita, while empty sands attract Dominican families on weekends. Playa El Morro is almost completely off the tourist radar and all but deserted on weekdays.
Playa La Ensenada, 57000, Dominican Republic
The best of several great Atlantic beaches around Punta Rucia, Playa La Ensenada is made up of a fishing village and 4.5-mile stretch of sand with calm, crystal-clear water. Here, you can snorkel around submerged reefs in waist-deep water, or take a 12-minute boat ride through mangroves to a dreamy sandbar (named Cayo Arena but also called Cayo Paraiso, or Paradise Island) to see even more colorful fish. The size and shape of the sandbar change depending on the currents and season, so you’re always in for a bit of a surprise.
Playa Rincon, 32000, Dominican Republic
On the Dominican Republic’s northern coast, near the tip of the Samaná Peninsula, this unpopulated Atlantic beach stretches three miles from Cape Samaná to the cliffs of Cape Cabrón. To get here, you’ll need to take a four-wheel-drive vehicle or a boat charter from the small fishing village of Las Galeras, but once you arrive, you’ll find a nearly empty stretch of sand. The west end of the beach features calm waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling, while the east end has great waves for surfing. You’ll also find spots to rent kayaks, snorkeling gear, chairs, and umbrellas, as well as a few food vendors serving rice, beans, and seafood cooked over an open-hearth fire. This is the place to go when you want to get away from the crowds.
Playa Bahia de Las Aguilas, Dominican Republic
Remote and difficult to access, this three-mile beach on the Dominican Republic’s southwestern Caribbean coast (15 miles from Pedernales and close to the Haitian border) is also blissfully uncrowded. Playa Bahia de las Águilas, which translates to “Bay of Eagles,” can only be reached via a four-wheel-drive vehicle on an unpaved road, or a 15-minute speedboat ride from the little village of La Cueva at Cabo Rojo. Once there, however, you’ll discover a pristine beach, bordered by rocky cliffs and free of any hotels or restaurants—the beach is located in the Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Biosphere Reserve, so building is forbidden. Turquoise water laps the white sand, while well-preserved coral reefs wait just offshore. Don your mask and snorkel to see starfish, sand dollars, and maybe even a manatee. Also remember to bring water and sunscreen as there’s virtually no shade, and pack lunch or plan to eat in nearby La Cueva.
Santo Domingo 21000, Dominican Republic
Just east of Guayacanes, this six-mile stretch of sand is a favorite of beach bums, with calm waters at one end of the cove and big waves at the other. Busier than Playa Guayacanes, Juan Dolio also offers more food and drink options, plus glass-bottom boat rides and parasailing. For an authentic slice of Dominican life, stop by on Sunday, when local families come to picnic and swim in the warm Caribbean water.
Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic
This three-mile stretch of white sand is the only public beach at the gated Puntacana Resort & Club. Even so, non-guests can only reach the beach after dining at the resort’s oceanfront Playa Blanca Restaurant. It’s worth it, though, as the calm turquoise water is ideal for swimming, kayaking, and catamaran sailing. A mesh barrier keeps seaweed out of the swimming and beach areas, ensuring pristine water and sand as far as the eye can see.
Macao Beach, Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic
One of the world’s best beaches according to UNESCO, this beautiful palm-lined stretch of golden sand 40 minutes north of Punta Cana is known for its top-rated surf school and its oceanfront restaurants that serve delicious, Dominican-style fish plates. Catch some waves at one end of the beach, then swim in the calm water at the other, where fishing boats loaded with red snapper and lobster pull ashore. Mid-beach, you’ll find food and drink stands alongside activity concessions, from buggy rides in the dunes to stand-up paddleboarding, horseback riding, and surf lessons.
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