Covering just over half of Hispaniola Island, the Dominican Republic is enveloped in white sand beaches. From Punta Cana to Rio San Juan and along the Samana Peninsula, travelers will have a buffet of incredible choices. On this Caribbean island, turquoise waters are standard with a range of vibrant beaches, protected coves, and water sports havens to choose from. To help you decide where to go in the Dominican, we’ve rounded up its most beautiful beaches and where to stay.
Top Beaches in the Dominican Republic
From Macao Beach to Playa Grande you’ll have a chance to sip cocktails by the ocean, spend the afternoon surfing, or hike through the secluded jungle for a remote paradise. One thing is for certain, wherever you go, you’ll be met with resplendent views and clear, balmy water.
Lapped by the effervescent waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Playa Rincon comes with as much beauty as privacy. Its soft white sand spreads from left to right for 3 miles, backed by overhanging palm trees, balancing sunshine and shade to perfection. You’ll find Playa Rincon, one of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic, on the Samana Peninsula.
Take a 30-minute boat or car ride from Las Galeras to the North Coast to find your tropical bliss. When you aren’t lazing on the warm golden sands, venture into the colorful, shallow waters that lead to soothing swims. Later, try fresh seafood at the many beachfront restaurants.
Where to Stay: Adventura Rincon Ecolodge
Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana
Those pursuing the best beaches in the Dominican Republic quickly make a beeline for Punta Cana. On the eastern coast, the sun rises early in spectacular fashion, painting the local beaches. It’s here you’ll find the powdery white sand of Bavaro Beach. The iconic beach stretches for a vast distance, coated by towering palm trees and turquoise waters. Bavaro is teeming with natural beauty.
The calm water invites you with open arms before water sports take over beyond the swim zone. Travelers will find no shortage of luxury hotels and all-inclusive resorts along the vast wide beach. Stick around for the famed local nightlife.
Where to Stay: Barcelo Bavaro Beach
Playa el Valle
Fringed by a dense jungle, Playa el Valle is a complete 180 compared to Bavaro Beach. Despite its proximity to Samana Bay and Las Galeras, it feels remote and isolated. Serviced by a single chiringuito, it’s one of the most private Dominican Republic beaches. Grab a drink or three and step onto the soft white sand. Stare out into the endless Atlantic Ocean, while feeling the mountains rising imposingly behind you.
The beach is just a sliver of white between the deep blue ocean and the thick green landscapes. Away from mass tourism, relax under the coconut palms without a care in the world.
Where to Stay: Dominican Tree House Village
Further along the northern coast in Puerto Plata, Playa Dorada has mountain views, swaying palm trees, and electric blue water. It’s one of those gorgeous Dominican Republic beaches you’ve heard about. For travelers following the sun, sand, sleep, repeat game plan, then this may be the beach for you.
The long golden sand is backed by a dozen resorts. However, building restrictions have led to them being no taller than three stories and spread out. Despite the nearby amenities, Playa Dorada has kept its natural charm. With the beach’s position on the exciting Amber Coast, you’ll have access to plenty of nearby water sports, from windsurfing to water-skiing.
Where to Stay: Casa Colonial Beach & Spa
Cayo Levantado is a tiny isle in the heart of Samana Bay. From the center of the island, where a hill rises to splendid views, you’ll have access to three quaint and gorgeous beaches. You’ll quickly see why it harbors the nickname “Bacardi Island”, has been the location for an iconic ad. You can access the exotic trio on the local walking trails.
The most famous is Playa Cayo Levantado. It’s one of the top beaches in the Dominican Republic, a veritable paradise. The small beach is lined with beach chairs and juts out into the bay, with the cobalt blue water waiting just for you.
Where to Stay: Bahia Principe Luxury Cayo Levantado
Minutes from Rio San Juan, Playa Grande is the quiet sibling of the beaches in the famed towns of Punta Cana and Puerto Plata. Away from the fun, excitement but also the crowds, Playa Grande provides a peaceful escape. The hidden gem has few signs of modern development, with two resorts tucked away at the end of the beach.
Here, nature is the star of the show. As you wander onto the soft sand, you’ll be drawn in by the sparkling green-blue water. The waves crashing offshore promise an enthralling swim or surf, with the aromas of the beach’s rustic food stands tempting you with an early lunch.
Where to Stay: The Balaji Palace
Playa Boca Chica
On the southern coast, Playa Boca Chica is a great option for families. Dominican Republic beaches facing the Caribbean Sea tend to have a calmer personality. Playa Boca Chica is tucked away in a protected cove with shallow waters perfect for younger kids. The offshore coral reefs mitigate the swell, making for a calmer beach.
Without waves, travelers can simply relax on the surface and bask in the sun. But when exploring the reef, you’ll enjoy amazing clarity as you swim beside tropical fish and admire the marine life. The beach is just over 20 miles from the capital of Santo Domingo, making it a popular beach for locals. During the week, however, Playa Boca Chica remains quiet.
Where to Stay: Boca Beach Residence
Macao Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic. Its stunning white sand is out of a fairytale and welcomes you with open arms. Once an unspoiled gem, the land behind the coconut trees is becoming the domain of resorts. But looking toward the Atlantic Ocean, the beautiful scenery remains in place.
The moderate swell helps the baby blue water glisten under the Caribbean sun. It also makes Playa Macao a great spot for beginner and intermediate surfers. After, fuel up on Dominican cuisine at the beachfront restaurants.
Where to Stay: Dreams Macao Beach
East of Santo Domingo, Guayacanes is the main beach for a small fishing village that bears the same name. Seemingly paused in time, Playa Guayacanes offers no hint of the Dominican’s rise to tourist mecca. Many travelers arrive to take in the morning sunrise, with local fishing boats dotting the ocean or arriving back on the beach.
The marshmallow sand is but a small bridge between the overhanging palm trees and the green-hued ocean. On the beach, you can hire chairs before exploring the underwater world. Guayacanes is also home to several cozy restaurants and bars where locals hang and take in the views.
Where to Stay: Apartimar Carimar Guest House
Playa Bahia de Las Aguilas (Jaragua National Park)
The 5-mile Playa Bahia de Las Aguilas provides spectacular settings on par with any Dominican Republic beaches. The beach is within the Jaragua National Park, just minutes from the Haitian border. It has been designated as a UNESCO National Reserve, providing a remote and rugged beach day.
Here, travelers can escape the rows of all-inclusive resorts to experience nature at its finest. Pack all you need for a day at the beach and say goodbye to civilization. With your picnic rug laid out on the untouched white sand, gaze upon the scintillating Caribbean Sea before diving in.
Where to Stay: Rancho Tipico Cueva de las Aguilas
From secluded and tranquil, to vibrant and captivating. Bahia de Las Aguilas and Cabarete Beach couldn’t be more different. The blue ocean and long golden sand may bring you to Cabarete, but it’s the beachfront atmosphere that will have you sticking around. The beach envelopes the popular town and is lined with bars, restaurants, and packed patios.
During the day, beach soccer and volleyball create a competitive atmosphere. At night, music floats along the beach, and the neon lights bounce against the water as much as the stars. The shallow waters of the crescent beach stretch well into the ocean, making it also a popular spot for young families.
Where to Stay: Valero Beach Resort
Along the coast from Cabarete Beach, the wind picks up a head of steam, creating one of the top water sports beaches in the Dominican Republic. The white sands may be as soft as any, but the action here means Kite Beach isn’t for relaxation. In the Puerto Plata Province, Kite Beach is revered internationally.
Travelers come from all over to not only kitesurf, but windsurf SUP, and for good old-fashioned surfing. The spot even hosts the Master of the Ocean, a world championship event. But newcomers shouldn’t be intimidated. There are several great schools to get you up to speed and ready to join the action.
Our guide to the best water sports in the Caribbean
Playa Rincon may be the star-studded beach around Las Galeras, but the popular town’s own beachfront is a worthwhile visit. The coastal town is enveloped in white sand beaches, with the shoreline stretching for miles in either direction. This makes Las Galeras not only a beautiful spot for a day at the beach, but also for long walks on the sand.
Eventually, you’ll make it to the eastern end, where tropical cocktails at the beachfront bar await. Las Galeras is a great spot to embark on a variety of ocean adventures. These can include deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling along the nearby reefs. It is said that this area has some of the best beaches on the island.
Where to Stay: Las Galeras Hotel
On the far eastern tip of the Samana Peninsula, Playa Fronton is far removed from the rest of the Dominican Republic. On a map, it’s just around the corner, yet you can only reach Playa Fronton on a guided hike or a boat trip. With no sign of development, the beach is like a scene from Castaway, a private beach just for you.
If you arrive by boat, your craft will float over the translucent water on your way to the palm tree-laden shore. Playa Fronton is calm and peaceful, with the tranquility only interrupted by the rustling of the palms and the waves crashing down.
Where to Stay: 21 Palms Bed and Breakfast
On the other side of Kite Beach, Playa Encuentro enjoys a similarly enthralling environment without the mass of kites. Just 20 minutes out of Cabarete, Playa Encuentro is one of the best Dominican Republic beaches for surfing. There are multiple offshore breaks providing a welcoming variation of difficulty. This isn’t a beach just for the pros.
With the most consistent surf in the eastern half of Hispaniola, beginners, intermediate, long, or short boarders can all enjoy the fun. The inner waves offer a mellow experience, perfect for getting up to speed or getting the rust off. The outer reef breaks come with thrilling hollow barrels. The best conditions come between September and April.
Where to Stay: El Encuentro Surf Lodge
On the southern coast, minutes from Barahona, Playa Bahoruco is another underrated gem. The beach runs along the quiet coast in front of the epic coastal highway. But the wide expanse of beach means you’ll have no trouble finding your own slice of paradise. Playa Bahoruco is rugged compared to many of the soft white sand beaches around the Dominican. However, there are few signs of civilization at Playa Bahoruco.
The shell-laden shore, overhanging palms, and aquamarine sea make it a natural haven. From your cozy spot, enjoy the waves crashing down before trying to tame them yourself.
Where to Stay: Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge
Within Cap Cana, a private retreat with 30,000 acres of impeccable beachfront, Juanillo is as picturesque as it gets. Landscaped to perfection, here every detail has been refined to the nth degree, providing a layer of elegance and luxury. Near Punta Cana, the beach’s location within the gated community, often makes it a bridge too far for travelers.
Who instead prefer to ease of other local beaches. However, your effort will be rewarded. Juanillo Beach is lined with beautiful palms, spaced out like statues along the shore. With mass crowds mitigated, the vibe is social yet utterly tranquil, and with so much beach to yourself, you can truly check out from the world.
Where to Stay: Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa
The beaches along the North Coast can often feel the effect of the Atlantic and have powerful undercurrents. While you can often work around this, for a soothingly still beach experience, check out Playa Caleton. Within a protected cove, the crescent beach is like a relaxing eddie on a white water rafting adventure.
Lay your towel down on the golden sand and take a deep breath. Enveloped lush greenery it’s hard not to feel the restful spirit wash over you. From there, you can venture into the water that features zero swell. After a swim as good as a massage, enjoy some of the fresh seafood with a view.
Playa los Patos
Speaking of great beachfront food, Playa Los Patos is a great way to combine two of the Dominican Republic’s best qualities. With the pale blue water streaming in, pop into Restaurant Katty for delicious authentic dishes including tostones, fried fish, and crab.
After your feast, wander along the beach to discover the local river that is as clear as glass. Sit down in the refreshing Los Patos River or meander along on a blow-up watercraft. The beach itself isn’t great for swimming. So stop by for a river adventure and a great feed on your way to Bahia de Las Aguilas.
Where to Stay: Hotel Vista Sur
Playa Juan Dolio
Between Punta Cana and Santo Domingo, Playa Juan Dolio is a public beach teeming with personality. To reach the shore, you’ll first wander through a sandy grove full of coconut palms. Among the lush green trees are several beachfront bars and rental outfits. Grab yourself some beach gear, including chairs and an umbrella, and find yourself a spot for the day.
After admiring the beach, which stretches for 6 miles, put on your snorkel gear and explore the coral reef. When you need a breather, head to the bar for a colorful cocktail or two or settle for a freshly picked coconut.
Where to Stay: Emotions by Hodelpha
The translation of Playa Ermitano will tell you everything you need to know about this must-visit beach. Essentially, Hermit Beach, Playa Ermitano is a challenge to get to. This weeds out the pack, leaving you will an untouched paradise to rival any of the aforementioned beaches. There are two ways to make it here: walking or boating.
The hike is a two-hour trek from Playa Las Canas, while the boat is a 25-minute journey from Samana. Enveloped by a rising jungle, those who make it will have the cobalt blue water all to themselves. As you step onto the beach, you’ll get the sense that no one has been here before.
Where to Stay: El Valle Lodge
Sosua may feel like a quiet coastal town, but around its main beach, the vibe kicks up a notch. Sosua Beach is one of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic for vacationers. Those that wish to do nothing but enjoy paradise will have everything on their doorstep. Sosua Beach has several fantastic resorts, alongside beachfront restaurants and bars, perfect for taking in golden hour.
As for the beach itself, it’s popular among locals, travelers, and families thanks to its relaxing waters and great snorkeling. Local shops provide beach chairs, umbrellas, and snorkel gear so you can kick back and relax.
Where to Stay: Casa-22
As you can see the Dominican Republic is filled with beautiful beaches. The major tourist areas are Puerto Plata, La Romana, Santo Domingo, The Samana Peninsula, and Punta Cana and most of the best beaches can be found around these upscale resort areas. If you choose an all-inclusive stay or a vacation rental near these places, you’ll be sure to have an amazing vacation in the Caribbean.