As one of the most popular vacation destinations in the Caribbean, it is safe to assume that when people think Dominican Republic, they think BEACHES. And Dominican Republic beaches are plentiful since the country boasts about 800 miles of coastline; with the Atlantic Ocean creating wonderful surf waves in the north, and the Caribbean sea providing a tranquil turquoise paradise in the southern coastlines.
As avid travelers ourselves, we know how special finding the perfect beach in a new destination can be, let alone one as beautiful and full of natural beauty as the Dominican Republic. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best beaches of the Dominican Republic! So open up those Google chrome tabs and your wallets, because we assure you one of these beaches is perfect for your next travels to the Dominican Republic!
Finding the Best Dominican Republic Beaches By Region
OK, so – We’ve laid out these beaches by province so you can check out as many beaches as possible. For example, we often hear people mention “Punta Cana” as a general beach, but there are actually several beach options in Punta Cana, and you can very likely visit each one next time you’re there. And since we’re already talking about Punta Cana, let’s get this show on the road with…
Please Don’t Be THAT Tourist ON Dominican Beaches
- If you are traveling to the Dominican Republic to buy the bodies of desperate women, you are DIRECTLY funding the sex trafficking of little girls and women in the Dominican Republic. And we do not want you in our country.
- Please do not feed wild animals. It can later get them killed.
- Do not touch starfish. Many are dying from tourists picking them up for a picture. Here is why.
- Be careful with riptides in the water. Many tourists have tragically died this way.
- Please use eco-friendly sunscreen that isn’t harmful to the coral reef, sealife, or your health. Like this one.
- It is illegal to eat or fish lobsters from March 1 to June 30. This is to avoid their endangerment since they are mating during this time. Read more about the ban here.
- It is illegal to eat parrotfish (pez loro) in the Dominican Republic. They are essential creatures for helping maintain the sand in our beaches. They poop up to 200 pounds of sand per year! So if you see pez loro on the menu, kindly decline.
BEST BEACHES IN PUNTA CANA
As the easternmost part of the country, La Altagracia Province prides itself on its magnificent shoreline home to the most popular resort destination of The Dominican Republic: Punta Cana. Punta Cana is comprised of an array of gorgeous beaches all worth exploring, but below are our recommendations for a time well spent.
It’s really in the name. Playa Blanca (“white beach”) boasts some of the most beautiful fine white sand in Punta Cana. And its shallow waters let you wade out far and safely from the shore. Although the entry to this private property is $20, you can use that fee as a credit towards a restaurant purchase. Savor the delicious food while you kick back and enjoy the view with a full stomach and an expanded palette of the tongue. At Playa Blanca, you can also rent paddleboards, snorkels, banana boats, and more for about $20/hour.
You know, honestly, Playa Macao could go head to head with Playa Blanca sand-wise. In fact, Playa Macao is only about a 50-minute drive from Playa Blanca so you could compare and contrast the white sand yourself. And if the sand isn’t magical enough, the clear waters will definitely enchant you.
This is a public beach, so there is no fee to enter!
Isla Saona – Popular Beach Day Trip from Punta Cana
Lucky for all of us, this small island off the coast of La Altagracia province is easily accessible from many Punta Cana resorts, often via speedboats and party-style catamarans. This is one of the most popular islands in the Dominican Republic! So if you’re looking for something quiet, this is probably not the beach trip for you. The crystal clear waters will make you wish you brought snorkeling equipment– so make sure to get your hands on some goggles and a snorkel for the beautiful reef, starfish, and more!
Please do not touch or pick up starfish here. They are currently endangered on this beach. Please be mindful of your environmental impact on this protected area. Remember to wear eco-safe sunscreen like this one.
Playa Juanillo – Located in the Luxurious Cap Cana
Located 15 minutes from Punta Cana, is the luxurious Cap Cana neighborhood which is home to the private beach of Juanillo. This beach offers visitors an expansive coastline of turquoise blue water and fine white powdery sand. The water is very calm, so I had a lot of fun learning how to do stand-up paddleboarding here. This is, hands down, one of the best beaches in Punta Cana!
Entry price: The cost to enter this space is $20 and for security purposes, you must leave your ID until you exit. You are allowed to use this $20 credit in the restaurant as well.
BEST BEACHES IN SAMANA
About a four-hour drive north of La Altagracia province is Samana province. This peninsula is home to some of the most breathtaking white sand beaches in the country. Here are some of its best:
Playa Las Galeras
There are plenty of options for white-sand beaches in the Caribbean, heck just in DR alone! But none of them like the white sands of Bahia de Las Galeras in the Samana Peninsula. Las Galeras has a main beach, but you can also treat this town as a launching pad to the several other uniquely beautiful beaches in this area. The town also offers delicious restaurants and cute Airbnbs to stay. Sneak away to this bay to enjoy the quiet and serene landscape. The waters around this coastline are often shallow, so you can safely lounge in the bay and enjoy the sun like the main character you deserve to be! But always be cautious of riptides, especially if you’re in an area with no life guard.
Only fifteen minutes away from Las Galeras is one of the most popular beaches in the Dominican Republic! Playa Rincon is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike because it offers both beach and river in the same spot! The beach during high tide has incredible waves perfect for bodysurfing and the river has docile waters for snorkeling lovers. Although the name translates to Corner Beach, the shape of the beach itself is crescent-like, and is home to Cano Frio, a meeting spot on the beach where the river meets sea.
Fun fact: Cayo Levantado is also known as Bacardi Beach because of a Bacardi commercial shot on the beach back in the 1970’s. Cool history aside, Cayo Levantado is absolutely gorgeous. Cayo is a Taino word for “small island”, and “levantado” means “raised.” You guessed it– it’s a tiny raised island. The size is just right, as it boasts a gorgeous natural display of palm trees and white sand. Accessible via boat taxis leaving Samana Bay, the beach is only three miles away and offers onsite overnight accommodations as well as activities like kayaking and paddleboarding. And must we say it? Don’t forget to try the fried fish.
Playa Fronton – For rappelling and rock climbing
Trust us– you’ve probably seen this beach without even having been there! Playa Fronton has been a set location for the popular television show Survivor and the acclaimed Pirates of the Caribbean. Situated right at the foot of a massive 300 feet mountain, the beach is remarkable for its beautiful balance of earth and water. The coral life is rich so definitely bring your snorkeling equipment. End your day sipping on a fresh coconut juice directly from the vibrant green coconut trees lining the shore.
Please note: You can only get here by 15-minute boat ride if nature allows it. That means if the currents are safe for boat passage. So check the weather and try going in the early morning when the ocean is usually calmer.
Playa Ermitaño 2 – Hidden Gem
For Aris, who leads tours in DR, this is the best beach in the Dominican Republic. Ermitaño literally translates to someone who lives isolated. Few people arrive here because the access is difficult but once you make it, you’ll realize why it’s one of the best Dominican beaches. The clear emerald-green waters are surrounded by forests which provide plenty of shade.
At Playa Ermitaño, you might even see some wild boar from the forest. But please note that these boars/pigs are not like the ones in the Bahamas, so it’s important to be careful because these are not domesticated animals. Never feed wild animals.
To arrive at Playa Ermitaño, you must hike 2 hours from Playa Las Canas or take a boat from Playa El Valle. You could also have a fun beach hopping experience, starting from El Limon on horseback, where you will pass 7 beautiful beaches (Playa Limon, Playa Moron, Playa Lanza del Norte, Playa Las Canas, Playa Hermitaño 1, Playa Honda, Playa Hermitaño 2).
If you’d like to hire a local to help you get here, call Meyo via Whatsapp at (829)289-7544 or (829)312-4998. He is a local Dominican who lives there and who Aris met trying to find the beach. He’s not a professional tour guide but you should still pay him for his labor starting at around $30. Call him and talk it out.
Playa Las Canas
Playa las Canas is another example of just how many world-class beaches Samana’s coastlines offer; some just one boat ride or hike away from each other. Playa las Canas is accesible by boat, horse, or hiking only. This means you’ll likely have this hidden gem all to yourself. Consider hiring Meyo, the local guide listed above, to take you beach hopping by boat, foot, or horse.
Playa El Valle
What makes this hidden gem of a beach so special is that it’s enveloped in jungle-covered mountains. There is also a chiringuito that offers food, drinks, and wifi. From Playa El Valle, you can also take a boat ride to Playa Hermitano (listed above). The perfect stop on your Dominican Republic beach hopping tour. As with all beaches, especially on the north coast, please be careful with rip currents. Consider staying at the Dominican Treehouse Village nearby which you can rent bikes from to visit this beach.
BEST BEACHES IN PUERTO PLATA PROVINCE
To the left, to the left! Or should we say, to the west? To the west of Samana, approximately a four drive will take you to Puerto Plata province. Puerto Plata has a rich history and culturally diverse ambiance, which makes its beaches a great place for Dominican Republic expats and tourists alike. Here are the beaches you need to see on your next visit:
Playa Cabarete – For outdoors activities & wellness culture
Are you looking for a beach that is great for water activities and also has excellent nightlife options in the area? Then Cabarete is the place for you.
If you’ve read our article on the top things to do In Cabarete, then you already know that Cabarete is a premier Caribbean destination for water sports. The beach is a bay that boasts incredible wind in the daytime, making it perfect for sports like windsurfing, surfing, and kiteboarding. The active energy on the beach will have you wondering if you’re relaxing at the beach or getting a sneak peek into some niche Olympic training!
Once the kites come down and the sun bids adieu, Cabarete becomes one of the most fun beach towns but still in a laid-back way. The shore is lined with several options for nightclubs and good eats, and the town has an array of community events that take place on the beach. The beauty of Cabarete, aside from the refreshing waters, is the mix of people from all over the world with a plethora of their own experiences.
Expat Community: However, since Cabarete is a popular location for expats, this has also caused a lot of problems of displacement for locals. There are many problematic expats who hate Dominican locals and want to take the land and kick the people out. So please be mindful of your impact and where your money goes here. It’s a great place to meet interesting and friendly people from around the globe, but also remember to be respectful towards (and support) Dominican locals.
Kite Beach – Best Dominican Beach for Kite Surfing
Kite Beach is what it sounds like– a beach for kites! Well not kites exactly, but definitely kitesurfing! 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. While Cabarete is definitely available for kitesurfing, Kite Beach is a designated kitesurfing portion of Cabarete that will connect you with other kitesurfers and has fewer of those tourists that are just looking to enjoy swimming in the waters that you strongly desire to kitesurf over.
Playa Encuentro – Best Dominican Beach for First-Time Surfers
Playa Encuentro is a find indeed! (Encuentro, find– haha, get it?) About a 20-minute drive from Cabarete, Playa Encuentro is the best beach in the Dominican Republic to learn, practice, and master surfing. With multiple breaks and perfect wintertime swells, this beach is a surfer of any level’s dream.
This lesser-known beach is not on Google Maps but has become famous because of the Dominican photographers on social media. Arriving here is best done while connecting with Sosua locals who can guide you along the way. Playa Chiquita’s crystal blue waters are surrounded by coral rocks. And from here you can also walk to a natural pool in rocks called “El posito” overlooking the ocean (pictured below).
Playa Sosua – The Boca Chica of the North?
Full Disclosure: Due to the reputation that Sosua has been gaining in recent years of crowds, littering, and disgusting tourists/expats looking to buy desperate little girls in poverty for sex, this is not our favorite beach. However, we would be remiss to not include it as it’s one of the most popular beaches in the Dominican Republic.
I remember spending fun family vacations here, 10 years ago. Sipping on piña coladas and eating seafood on the beach. Some of my local Cabarete friends still love heading into Sosua for some good nightlife. So for some tourists and locals, Sosua might still provide some beach fun and joy. For others, like my local Dominican friend who had to move away from her hometown because she kept being solicited for sex by tourists, it’s a painful memory.
In the daytime, Playa Sosua still provides piña colada in actual pineapples. Elegant waves for all swimmers. Clear waters for divers and snorkeling. And banana boats galore. Playa Sosua not only has decades of stories intrinsic to understanding Dominican history and culture, but it is also one of the first resort locations in the country (second to Punta Cana). With its crystalline waters, a plethora of eating options, and fun local vendors selling art and beach day snacks, Playa Sosua can be a fun stop for families (in the daytime) or for water adventures + lunch on the beach.
For Greisy, whose family lives in Santiago, Playa Alicia is hands down a must-see if you’re in the region. And the best part? She loves that the beach is super accessible! Located between Playa Sosua and Casa Marina Beach Resort, Playa Alicia is a public beach just a seven-minute walk from the local Caribe Tours station. If you don’t already know, Caribe Tours is an intricate bus service connecting some cities and municipalities of the Dominican Republic.
Its accessibility means that even if your trip has you in Santo Domingo for the weekend, you can plan a full day trip to the north of the country via Caribe Tours to enjoy the pristine cyan waters of Playa Alicia, and still make it back to Santo Domingo before bedtime!
And we feel it’s worthy to mention: any of the businesses on the shores of Playa Alicia will cook you up some amazing lambi and fried fish. Between the view, the food, and the friendly locals, Playa Alicia will have you coming back every time you visit the country.
BEST BEACHES IN PEDERNALES PROVINCE (THE SOUTH)
Many people have no idea of the magic awaiting them in the Pedernales province of the Dominican Republic. This is Dominican Abroad‘s personal favorite region in the Dominican Republic. The sleepy quiet towns in Pedernales border neighboring Haiti (check out our trip to Haiti from the Dominican Republic) and is home to Jaragua National Park, Sierra de Bahoruco National Park, and Lake Enriquillo. Together, they are the first biosphere reserve in the country! This area is full of hidden gems where the desert meets the clearest sea you’ll probably ever see. These are our top beach picks in Pedernales province:
Bahía De Las Águilas – Best Beach in the Dominican Republic
If you happen to be on the southwestern border town of Pedernales or getting your hands on the precious Dominican gemstone larimar in Barahona, take some time to hop on a boat and visit Bahia de Las Aguilas. No– it is not a bay owned by the renowned international Dominican baseball team Las Aguilas (how interesting would that be?), but rather a secluded five-mile stretch of gorgeous white sand and vivid blue waters.
Bahia de Las Aguilas translates to “Bay of Eagles”, and is a part of Jaragua National Park. The beach itself is a biosphere preserved by UNESCO, inhabited by a few animals like turtles, flamingos, and endangered iguanas. Fortunately, the land has no resorts or hotels available– so check out our travel guide to visiting Bahia de Las Aguilas, written exclusively on Bahia de Las Aguilas and how to plan the perfect day trip out there.
Playa Trudille + Playa Blanca – Major Dominican Hidden Gem
Playa Trudille is a true deal, and I don’t say that to be punny. In exchange for a 14.8-mile hike beginning in Oviedo, Pedernales, and through Jaragua National Park, you get a quiet, isolated, and magical beach where you can camp out and rest from the day’s hike. If the ocean is calm, you can also hire a boat from Cabo Rojo (Bahia de las Aguilas) and do both of these beaches together.
BEST BEACHES IN BARAHONA PROVINCE (THE SOUTH)
Neighboring Pedernales province is Barahona, a province known for cultivating some of the best coffee in the country. Nicknamed “the Pearl of the South”, Barahona is truly a hidden gem. If you’re looking for resort-like beaches without the hustle and bustle of typical resort destinations, then Barahona has the perfect turquoise waters for you:
Playa Los Patos – For Good Food with Epic Views
Stop by this cerulean-blue beach to eat some delicious fried fish and explore the world’s smallest river. Los Patos Beach + River are a very easy stop on the road if you’re heading to Pedernales or Bahia de las Aguilas. While you can’t swim on this beach due to the strong waves, come here for some mesmerizing views of the beach over food and drinks. Make sure to ask for Kathy’s restaurant for the best-fried fish with tostones in town!
Mirador / Playa San Rafael – A Surfing Beach
You can catch epic views of San Rafael’s beaches and coastlines from Mirador San Rafael. This viewpoint is one of the most picturesque stops along your road trip through the Dominican Southwest. It’s easy to miss this spot even though it’s very easy to pull over here. Therefore, remember to save the location on your map ahead of time.
If you’re interested in learning how to surf, there is a surf school run by local Dominicans called San Rafael Surf School. They also offer some other cool community activities.
BEST BEACHES IN MONTECRISTI PROVINCE (THE NORTHWEST)
In the northwestern part of the country is the breathtaking Montecristi province. This province boasts several Cayos (small islands) perfect for overnight villa rentals. If you’re looking for a night feeling the breeze of the ocean and waking to the sun above your head then check out these Montecristi province beaches:
Isla Cabra – Hidden Gem Dominican Beach
Isla Cabra translates to “Goat Island”, and while the island isn’t run by goats, it was once a popular location for farmers to leave their goats because from their vantage point they could see if anyone was trying to steal their goats. This uninhabited island offers little hikes, naturally shaded areas for a picnic, and a beautiful emerald-green beach all to yourself. You can reach Isla Cabra’s Playa Paraiso by taking a boat which you can hire at the town fishing dock. This tour ranges between $20 and $100 a person (depending on the number of travelers) and can include many other Monte Cristi natural wonders.
Playa El Morro
The province of Montrecristi itself is a large plain with many small hills, including a plateau known as El Morro de Montecristi. These tall limestone mountainous cliffs surround the golden shores of El Morro Beach. There are at least three hikes you can do here for beautiful views from above or you can just walk down to the beach to see the views from below. Both are stunning. At night you can also get some mesmerizing views of the night sky. Perfect for astrophotographers. The paths here are rocky so bring proper shoes if you don’t have strong ankles.
Cayo Arena – Popular Day Trip from Puerto Plata
This popular cayo is tucked away by the fishing town of Punta Rusia, where you can catch a boat to the island from La Isabela Bay. This cayo is also known as Cayo Paraiso, as it truly is a paradise for any beach lover. The cayo is naturally perfect for divers and snorkeling enthusiasts, and it boasts some of the most diverse accessible marine life, with lively starfish, octopus, crabs, and fish of all types in the water surrounding the sandbank. There are tons of tours you can take there, like this one.
Please note, if you’re looking for something quiet, this is probably not the trip for you unless you go on a private tour before or after the group tours.
Playa Buen Hombre – For some of the Best Kite Surfing in World
Just the beautiful road to Buen Hombre is well-worth the visit to this lesser-known fisherman town an hour from Monte Cristi town. Cactus plants nestled next to coconut palm trees and colorful wooden houses imbued by olive-green pastures. The road goes up a lush mountainous terrain and then back down where you can see a massive backdrop of the beach from the top just before reaching the town.
Locals and expats argue that Buen Hombre is one of the best places in the world to go kite surfing. I actually bumped into a pilot from Delta Airlines who supported that claim! If kitesurfing is not your thing, then I highly recommend a trip here even if just to eat a whole fried fish a lo Dominicano on the beach.
Ojo: Careful que senti un toque de tigeraje here.
BEST BEACH IN ESPAILLAT PROVINCE
If you’re looking for a calmer beach where you can swim (it’s harder to find this on the northern coast), check out Playa Caleton just an hour east of Cabarete town. Playa Caleton offers calm clear emerald-green waters and an interesting decor of sculpture heads at the very end of the beach. They say the sculptures (pictured above) are by a local Dominican artist. And they are rumored to be a representation of the Taino people’s return after the genocide by European colonizers.
In Playa Caleton, you can also sit down and order seafood with an array of side dishes. This is well worth the trip for the food + beach! It is one of my favorite beaches in the Dominican Republic.
Hope you enjoyed our list of the top beaches in the Dominican Republic to visit. We love our island nation and our Dominican people very much and hope you will too! Check out all of our Dominican Republic travel guides here.
About the Authors
Greisy Genao (she/they) is a published poet and filmmaker from Queens, NY with a BA in English Writing and Film Studies. As a Fulbright U.S. Student Researcher, she has conducted research on Dominican folklore and film in the Dominican Republic. Their award-winning film work has been celebrated across the Dominican diaspora and praised at film festivals from Santo Domingo to New York City. Greisy has also produced “Stories of the Diaspora,” a series dedicated to capturing the narratives of multi-generational Dominicans in New York. As a multidisciplinary storyteller, Greisy seeks to explore and honor the connection between folklore and nostalgia as it appears in the hyphenated Dominican experience. Follow Greisy on Instagram @Grei-mg.
Gerry Isabelle of Dominican Abroad is a Dominican-American who runs the popular multicultural media platform Dominican Abroad focusing on travel, culture, and lifestyle. Gerry is passionate about travel, the arts, decolonizing history, reclaiming spaces, supporting local small businesses, cultural heritage preservation and so much more. She is also the founder of the Dominican Heritage Tour which serves to reconnect Dominicans around the world back to their Afro-Caribbean-Indigenous ancestral roots. Follow us on Instagram @DominicanAbroad to stay connected. Or subscribe to the newsletter for monthly travel + culture updates.
Tours to the Best Beaches in the Dominican Republic
We love supporting local small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. If you’re interested in a tour to one or more of the below beaches or other cool places to visit in the Dominican Republic, then contact me with the details of your request and I will forward it to local guides.
Our Other Dominican Republic Travel Guides
When you add up 800+ miles of coastline, cool mountain towns, an impactful history, and delicious cultural cuisine with the captivating vibrance and friendliness of the Dominican people, you get every reason under the sun to plan a vacation to the Dominican Republic. From Santo Domingo’s hidden gems to Cabarete’s wellness culture, there are countless options for every sort of traveler. Below are some of our many Dominican Republic travel guides:
- 20 Beautiful Waterfalls in the Dominican Republic + How to Visit
- 40+ Beautiful Things to Do in the Dominican Republic
- 27 Incredible Places to Visit in the Dominican Republic Beyond the Resorts
- Dominican Republic’s Uniquely Stunning Airbnbs to Book for Your Next Vacation
- Best Time to Visit the Dominican Republic (& When to Avoid!)