If you’re looking for an affordable beach vacation in the Caribbean, you might immediately (we hope) consider the Dominican Republic as your next destination. From Samana to Bahia de las Aguilas to Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic does not shy away from top-tier beaches. Expand your experience of Dominican Republic beaches by looking to the northern Dominican Republic coast, the famous Bride of the Atlantic: Puerto Plata. This Dominican province has plenty of things to do and experience, and its beaches rise to the top of that list. Start packing your bags, and don’t forget a beach towel, because here is our list of the top 17 best beaches in Puerto Plata!
Best Beaches in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
1. Cayo Arena (Paradise Island)
Know what a caye is? It’s basically an island, except it consists mainly of coral reef and sand. Cayo Arena is a white sandy plop in the middle of Puerto Plata, also known as Paradise Island. Reachable by catamaran, Cayo Arena is an integral Puerto Plata beach experience, from the catamaran ride to the moment your foot touches the caye. Once there, take a swim, bask in the glory of the ocean, or go snorkeling! [Book your tour here]
2. Encuentro Beach
We’ve definitely made this joke before, but Encuentro beach is quite the find (find– encuentro… Never gets old!). Perfect for riding the waves as a beginner surfer, there are many opportunities at Encuentro Beach for you to get surfing lessons and safely practice with professionals. Did you know you can always stand on the shoreline while learning how to surf? Grab a bite from any vendor at Encuentro Food Park to end your day!
3. Playa Caleton
Technically in Maria Trinidad Sanchez province, but just an hour drive from Cabarete in Puerto Plata, Playa Caleton is definitely worth the trip. Famous in the North for its proximity to Rio San Juan, you can “darte un champuzon” (take a dive) in the cool river, and then spend the rest of your day lounging by the warm and crystalline waters of Playa Caleton. If you can, go on a weekday to avoid the crowd! Please don’t forget: fried fish!
4. Playa Dorada
This beach is only a ten minute drive from the downtown area of Puerto Plata city! Noted as one of the best beaches in Puerto Plata, the crystal clear waters of Playa Dorada are its main attraction. Nestled in between two popular inclusive resorts, Playa Dorada is well maintained, meaning its gorgeous shore remains clean and enticing. Aquatic activities at this beach are easy to find if you want a safe and fun adrenaline kick!
5. Cabarete Beach
We’ll be upfront, Cabarete Beach is not the prettiest beach in this list, but some would say the vibe is impeccable! A popular intersection of foreigners from all over the world brings a certain energy to this town and its corresponding beach. Cabarete Beach is pretty great for kitesurfing and other aquatic sports, as well as wellness-oriented activities, and feasting on Dominican food at local restaurants by the shore.
6. La Boca
It’s all in the name! La Boca means mouth, and La Boca de Payita beach is where the mouth of Yasica river meets the North Atlantic ocean. This creates a dazzling scene of bodies of water, each perfect for kitesurfing, taking a swim, and sometimes paddle boarding. You can also rent ATV’s to explore the beach. Since it’s Puerto Plata, you already know to try the seafood– but you have to try it at Wilsons.
7. Playa Teco de Maimon
This quiet beach located by Bahia de Maimon and Rio Boca del Estero is definitely off the beaten path, but absolutely worth the journey if you want a less touristy, less crowded beach location. Get your tan on, grab a refreshing drink, and of course, eat some fried fish from your choice of the local restaurants. Horseback riding, camping, and ATV driving are available at this beach as well. There is plenty parking space available!
8. Playa Punta Rucia
Reader, do you remember that first recommendation at the very top of our list? Well, lucky for you, to get to that meta-beach you have to come to this one first! Playa Punta Rucia is the launching port for Cayo Arena boats and catamarans, meaning you get two beach experiences for one when you book a trip to Cayo Arena. This white sand beach has an elegant view of the mountains for your lounging pleasures.
PS: Both Cayo Arena and Punta Rucia are in the province of Monte Cristi, but they’re along the same shoreline and just two hours west of Puerto Plata city.
9. Playa Cambiaso
This beach is for travelers looking to build connections– if you like meeting locals and exploring non-tourist areas, Playa Cambiaso could be the beach for you. It’s a bit further away from the city so getting there might be a little tricky. Befriending (and properly compensating) an experienced local driver is the ideal method of arriving. Usually crowded on the weekends by families, the beach is otherwise a calm location surely worthy of the trek.
10. Playa Sosua
Playa Sosua is always a conflicting recommendation for us. While the beach itself is undeniably beautiful, food is memorable, and the waters are crisp, the beach has a history of sex tourism that preys specifically on vulnerable young boys and girls in the Puerto Plata community. Playa Sosua is definitely a popular site, so if you visit this beach, please be mindful of this phenomenon and make sure to contribute positively to the local economy. Go to a local restaurant on the beach and order a fried fish with a pina colada. If you want a guided beach adventure, consider this Sosua snorkeling tour.
11. Playa Luperon
Playa Luperon is lauded for its natural state and tropical vegetation, and so it’s often a beach that attracts professional divers and snorkelers who marvel at its pristine underwater conditions. For the average traveler, the beach is notable for its white sand and crystal warm waters perfect for swimming without a care in the world. This beach is another popular kitesurfing spot in Puerto Plata. Food and parking are available on the beach as well.
12. Playa Ensenada
We have to bring it back to that first recommendation again by adding another stop. So you start at Playa Punta Rucia, lounge out a little while you wait for your boat to Cayo Arena to arrive. Get to Cayo Arena, and get your snorkel on. And if by the time you make it back to mainland you’re still not beached out, then please stop for some delicious lunch and afternoon swim at Playa Ensenada!
13. Playa Alicia
Playa Alicia is a special beach, and personally, a favorite for its easy access. And in comparison to other beaches on the coast, Playa Alicia is NEW. It’s only formed in the last ten or so years and has quickly risen to be a local favorite. If you’re going solo on your travel to the Dominican Republic, then popular transportation company Caribe Tours has a station only a 7-minute walk from the beach. Make sure to try the lambi!
14. Cofresi Beach
Fun fact: Cofresi Beach is named after colonial pirates who frequented the bay the waters of this beach collects in. It’s a small beach, but expect some level of crowding due to its widely popular Ocean World Adventure Park and local resorts and hotels. The beach is lively and you can find so many ways to enjoy your time there outside of swimming and lounging, from connecting with travelers to engaging in fun water sports.
15. Kite Beach
Move aside, Dubai! The Dominican Republic’s own Kite Beach in Cabarete gets its name from the popular aquatic sport that dominates the beach’s scene. Situated between Playa Encuentro and Cabarete, Kite Beach offers several opportunities for kitesurfers from multiple entry points. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, Kite Beach has you covered. Its cleanliness, friendliness, and restaurant options make it a favorite in our book. Transparently, given all the kitesurfing and waves, this isn’t the best beach for swimming.
16. Playa Chiquita
This secluded beach has only recently become more well known because of Dominican photographers on social media. Its seclusion means little to no vendors on the beach, so you can relax and enjoy the ambience of the beach. To get there, definitely connect with Sosua locals who can guide you along the way. Playa Chiquita’s crystal blue waters are surrounded by coral rocks, and you can walk to a natural pool in the rocks called “El Posito.” An adventure within an adventure!
17. Monte Cristi + Isla Cabra
Alright, you caught us— this beach is technically not in the Puerto Plata province, but just 2.5 hours west is the majestic town of Monte Cristi, with some of the most uniquely beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic. Here you’ll find tall soaring cliff mountains, arid terrain, all surrounded by crystal clear waters. Where else can you see such a rare mix? You can do a boat tour through Monte Cristi National Park so that you get to see several beaches in one day! Our favorites in Monte Cristi are El Morro Beach and Isla Cabra.
Other Puerto Plata Beaches
We haven’t been to any of these but we’re adding them so you get the full list of the top beaches in Puerto Plata. Have you been to any of these? Are they worth adding to our list of the best Puerto Plata beaches? Let us know in the comments below!
Just ten minutes from Playa Dorada is Playa Costambar, a one-mile-long serene beach perfect for swimming due to its minimal wave activity. This beach tends to be on the less crowded end of Puerto Plata beaches, making it a great place to enjoy a good book or some solo travel introspection. It’s a good beach for families with kids who want safe waters and smaller crowds. Hotels in the Dominican Republic are popular, but Playa Costambar has excellent house rentals available by the beach.
Cosita Rica Beach
Located on Avenida General Gregorio Luperon, this golden sand beach in the city of Puerto Plata is a local treasure. It shares the Puerto Plata beach stamp of kite-surfing options, and similar to Costambar, it has calm waves that are ideal for children to swim in. There are so many delicious food options at this beach, so make it a family lunch affair! It’s a small beach with a lot of character. Check it out!
Playa El Chaparral
Alright reader, pop quiz time. What was the fourth beach on this list? Because this one is right next door. A natural follow up to your necessary Puerto Plata beach day at Playa Dorada, Playa El Chaparral is just a few minutes away from the more popular Dorada. You might not even notice the transition from one beach to another, but it makes our list because it is slightly less crowded than everyone’s favorite beach.
Long Beach is the eastern end of the beach that runs alongside the highway of Puerto Plata city, also known to locals as el Malecon. The beach is lined with restaurants and bars, and is the ideal place to watch the sunset from in Puerto Plata. This is a popular beach location for locals and tourists alike. There is a surf school on the beach for those who want to try anything from surfing to kayaking.
A subset of Long Beach is Acapulco Beach, known to locals for its proximity to the city. Only a 20-minute walk from the social section of Long Beach, Acapulco tends to be deserted, minus local families who populate the beach on the weekends. Another perfect beach for lounging, photos, and a one of a kind Puerto Plata experience because of its location between a busy highway (that you completely forget about) and the ethereal ocean.
Our Other Dominican Republic Blog Posts
- Islands of the Dominican Republic to Visit
Dear reader, we know there are several beaches in different provinces across the Dominican Republic that are absolutely breathtaking. And so, so many of those beaches exist in the magical Amber coast that is Puerto Plata! We hope this comprehensive list of beautiful Puerto Plata Beaches makes it to your bookmarks as you plan your next beach vacation to the Dominican Republic. And if you need even more of a buy-in to visit Puerto Plata, this article on things to do and places to see while you’re in the town is sure to fill your itinerary up with family friendly and solo activities. Safe travels!