The Dominican Republic is known world-wide for its resort beaches, but you won’t find any of those on this list; we’re allergic to resorts.
And what’s the point of going to a beach packed with tourists when there are so many alternatives! To help you break out of the all-inclusive bubble, we’ve come up with a list of the non-resort Dominican beaches closest to our hearts.
Many, but not all, are pretty remote and unfrequented. Others we love because of their surf.
These are 13 of our most favorite, publicly accessible beaches in the country.
The Best Beaches in the Dominican Republic
Sosua’s turquoise waters are great for snorkeling. Sure, it’s not what it used to be, having been exploited and ignored environmentally for almost two decades. However, efforts are being made to restore the reef, and it’s still a really chill place to get yourself a pina colada in the sun, or come face to face with the ocean’s dark secrets. The other killer highlight is the silhouette of Puerto Plata’s Mt. Isabel de Torres as a backdrop. Sunsets here are to die for.
Of course, as surfers, the top surfing destination in the Dominican Republic had to make the list. It’s also very close to our hearts because it’s where we spent most of our mornings while living in the Dominican Republic.
We made great friends here and so will you! Especially if you come hang out for Master of the Ocean.
Known for its beach-front nightlife and restaurants, we actually love Cabarete’s main beach because of its confetti-like, kite riddled skies. Sure it’s not as easy to watch kite tricks being pulled off in comparison to Kite Beach, but there’s something really beautiful and calming about this unique landscape. We also loved watching sunrises here, and the occasional breakfast beach picnic too.
This beach nearly killed us once, all the more reason to love it. Not as well known as its neighbor Playa Grande, Preciosa is a haven for surfers when the swell direction is right. Surfers beware though, waves are bigger than they appear from atop the 30 meter cliff. Know how to deal with ocean currents before you venture out to this break.
Playa Bonita’s crystalline waters are so iconic we decided to show you it’s still just as gorgeous under cloudy conditions. Of course we know it as a surf beach break, and if you want to get into the sport, Carolina’s surf school is at your service, but Bonita’s gently sloping soft sand bottom, and slightly out-of-the-way location, also makes this beach perfect for a gentle and relaxing swim in a pool-like environment.
Playa El Valle
Definitely still remote as of 2014, you’ll have to drive down a long dirt road and cross a river to get to this beach, and that’s part of its appeal. While swimming isn’t generally recommended here because of the strong currents, El Valle does have it’s calm days. Regardless, its cliff-flanked kilometer of sandy perfection is one of the wildest locations in the Dominican Republic, and home to some of the most delicious local food you’ll ever taste.
Altogether one of the most aesthetically pleasing locations you’ll ever see in your entire life, Playa Rincon is close to two kilometres of almost virgin white sand beach with waters of stunning shades of blue yet to be named in most human languages. The land surrounding it is just as breathtaking, and there’s even the mouth of a river on the western side of the beach which can be explored by canoe or boat. You’ll find a few beach chairs and other tourist stuff on either end of the beach, but mostly it’s just palm trees and untouched nature.
Only accessible by boat or via an hour hike through a beautiful jungle trail, Playa Fronton is great for snorkeling and for getting away from it all. The reason for this beach’s remoteness is the 30 meter cliff wall bordering it to the west, a cliff that you can hike up to the top of for an absolutely stunning view of the ocean floor as seen from above.
Stretching from Miches in the west to Macao in the east, pretty much the whole north shore of the easternmost part of the island, lies almost 20 kilometers of undeveloped white sand beach. So far it’s been difficult (while far from impossible) to get here because of the lack of infrastructure. However, as of 2014 a brand new highway is being built to connect Miches to Bavaro. Our guess is this stretch of beach won’t be this immaculate for long, so go take advantage of it while you can. Bring a hammock and lay beachside, with no one else in sight, for days if you wish.
You could technically walk here form playa Limon, although it would take you days, but Macao would be the first sign of civilization you’d see. It’s on the cusp of “too developed” for us, being too close to Bavaro for comfort, tourists spilling over with their loud quads & jet skis and locals soliciting all kinds of rif-rafs on the beach, but it truly is gorgeous and has nice swell, so it made it on the list anyway.
In the South West of the country, there’s a very special beach we absolutely fell head-over-heels-in-love with called Bahoruco. The first appeal is the fact that it’s a pebble beach, which we like because sand doesn’t get stuck all up in your panties. What’s more, you’ll find that some of these pebbles are blue, because they’re made of Larimar, a semi-precious stone that only exists in the Dominican Republic. Bahoruco’s local population is very welcoming and warm, and this beach is home to one of the nicest surf breaks on the island.
Playa San Rafael
Also a pebble beach, and also not-so-safe for swimming we still love San Rafael because it’s so visually stunning. On a day with bigger swell, you’ll see the waves crash upon the shore with booms that sound like thunder. What’s more, this beach has, nestled in the lush tropical shade, a series of natural pools that are indeed safe to swim in. We could have added every single beach from here until Bahia de las Aguilas to our favorites, but we’ll just stick to this one for simplicity’s sake ;)
Bahia de las Aguilas
This beach is HOT hot HOOOOT. If it weren’t so far from civilization Bahia de las Aguilas might just be one of the most famous beaches in the world, but it’s saved from fame by its inhospitable surroundings. The land here has been named national park and as far as we know will never be developed, which means this will hopefully remain one of the most extraordinary natural monuments in the country for a long time.
We’ve actually left out some our favorite “absolutely secret” beaches, the kinds of beaches we loved so much we don’t want anyone to ruin, so if you want to find them, get out there and explore ;)