These top 5 best beaches in the Dominican Republic have been picked by me, an American who has been living in and has been running an English-speaking tourist transportation business here in the Dominican Republic for the last 5 years.
I have picked the top 5 best beaches in the Dominican Republic for you based on: how pristine the beaches are, what there is to do on and around the beach, and ease of getting to your destination from the airport.
You will notice not one of these beaches is located in Punta Cana. If you are thinking about going to Punta Cana, I urge you read the article on why you should avoid Punta Cana.
#5 Best Beach in the Dominican Republic
Coming in at #5 on our best beach in the Dominican Republic is Playa Juan Dolio, located in the small town of Juan Dolio on the Southside of the island and facing the Caribbean Ocean. Playa Juan Dolio is a cove that has just the right amount of Caribbean breeze & sun, clear blue water and golden, fine sand.
Walk in either direction of the cove and you will find yourself walking down one of the longest stretches of beach on the Caribbean side of the Dominican Republic. Relax on the beach overlooking the ocean or enjoy sitting at one of the many restaurants and bars that overlook the cove. Juan Dolio beach is in a quaint part of the of Juan Dolio and is a public beach. It has a great mix of local families enjoying the beach, expats who live close to the beach, and travelers. This beach offers you the best Dominican experience out of our top 5 beaches.
Part of the Dominican experience of enjoying the day at the beach is to finish with a nice dinner of whole fried fish and plantains. With several restaurants overlooking the cove that are just perfect for watching the sun retreat while enjoying and traditional Dominican cuisine this experience should not be skipped.
Playa Juan Dolio has many small hotels and homes that can be rented either on the beach or close to it. My favorite hotel because of its location on the beach, cleanliness, views, and multilingual staff, is the Parasio. Walk out one set of doors and you will have the Caribbean in front of you. Walk out the other set of doors and you will see restaurants, bars, cafes, etc. If you are looking for a little more modern high-rise type of hotel/apartment, Juan Dolio has those as well. They are located about a 5-minute cab ride from this beach and are also located on the water which makes for great views from these high-rises.
Juan Dolio is only about 45 minutes from Santo Domingo and makes for the perfect beach to be able to then visit the city to experience the culture of the capital, do a little shopping and visit the #1 tourist destination in the Dominican Republic, The Colonial Zone.
Getting there: This beach is only about 35 minutes from the Las Americas Airport (SDQ) in Santo Domingo which is the preferred airport for Juan Dolio.
#4 Best Beach in the Dominican Republic
Our 4th best beach in the Dominican Republic is also located on the northern side of the Island and is perfect for those looking for a more active vacation. Kite Beach in Cabarete is the #1 beach in the world for kitesurfing. Just next door to Cabarete, and the little sister beach to Kite Beach is Playa Encuentro. With its more protected waters this beach is known for great surfing in the winter months.
Whether you are an experienced waterman or a newbie needing classes from one of the many fines schools, there is no better place to kiteboard in the world. Classes and rental gear are available.
With over 30 hotels and many vacation houses to rent, you won’t have a problem finding a place to lay your head down.
Once you come off the water, the small but lively town of Cabarate has many restaurants, serving both local and international dishes, and bars and clubs for you to choose from. Find your spot, order your favorite rum drink and let the day turn into night while listening to the Caribbean sounds of salsa, merengue, and bachata. The town has a nice blend of locals, expats, and travelers.
Getting there: The closest airport is located in Puerto Plata (POP) and it is just a short ride up the coast to Cabarete. If this airport is inconvenient to fly into or too expensive, you can look at the airports located in Santiago (STI) about a 1 ½ hour-drive or Santo Domingo (SDQ) about a 3 ½-hour drive.
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#3 Best Beach in the Dominican Republic
#3 on our list of best beaches in the Dominican Republic is Playa Cayaco. Playa Cayaco on the Northern side of the island is located just outside of the downtown of Samana, a small quint town on the Samana Bay, where the water is calm and deep blue. The reason this beach made our list of best beaches in the Dominican Republic is not just because of the beach, but because of what the area has to offer the beach-goer on vacation — when not at the beach.
While you will definitely want to spend a lot of time with your toes in the sand, with this beach being only a 5-minute walk to the downtown of Samana, there are a lot of other options this area has to offer too. The seaside street, known in Spanish as the Malecon, has many restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, etc. located in walking distance to the beach with amazing views of the large Samana Bay.
The town of Samana is located on the Samana peninsula and offers the opportunity to go hiking, horseback riding, to take trips to see waterfalls, to go on boat excursions for either scuba diving, deep sea fishing, take trips to view the Los Haitises National Park, or to go whale watching (January to March).
The beach and surrounding area have much to offer any visitor and this is one of the best places to soak in the Dominican Republic. This small town with its beach makes for the perfect Caribbean romantic getaway.
There is one all-inclusive hotel that is within walking distance of downtown, several hotels, and houses that can be rented that also are within walking distance of the beach and town.
Getting there: El Catey (AZS) is the closest airport and is located in Samana about 30 minutes from Playa Cayaco. However, it is hard to find direct flight for a reasonable price. Most visitors prefer to fly into Las Americas Airport (SDQ) in Santo Domingo. It takes about 2 hours to drive up to Samana and Playa Cayaco, but the views of the Dominican countryside will make the time go by pleasantly.
#2 Best Beach in the Dominican Republic
Second on our list of best beaches in the Dominican Republic is Playa Bonita. Playa Bonita English means beautiful beach – and this beach lives up to its name. Located in Las Terrenas on the Northern shore of the Dominican Republic, this romantic beach has gentle waves, clear blue water, fine white sand and a contouring beach this is great for sunset walks down a beach that seems never ending.
Just off the beach there are many fine restaurants that prepare Dominican, French, Italian, fusion and many more flavors. With incredible views of Atlantic Ocean, there is no better way to finish your Caribbean beach day than at one of these many fantastic restaurants. You will also find many hotels, resorts and rental homes close by.
Just off the beach there are many activities: whale watching (January to March), deep sea fishing, boat excursions to the famous and breathtaking Los Haitises National Park, viewing waterfalls, horseback riding and so much more.
As an added bonus, you are not far from two other incredible beaches, Playa Corson and Playa Rincon.
Getting there: El Catey (AZS) is the closest airport and is located in Samana about 50 minutes from Playa Bonita. This airport is usually very expensive and hard to find flights into. Most travelers prefer to fly into Las Americas Airport (SDQ) in Santo Domingo. The ride takes 2 hours, but Playa Bonita and the town of Las Terrenas make this ride up the very beautiful countryside worth it. It’s one the prettiest drives in the country.
#1 Best Beach in the Dominican Republic
Our pick for #1 best beach in the Dominican Republic is Bahia de las Aguilas. This beach makes the #1 spot on our list for the best beaches in the Dominican Republic for its rough beauty, its absence of development and its location within the Jaragua National Park. It is a 15-minute small boat ride from where your hotel is located to reach this quite beach – but don’t worry, the ride is as good as the destination. You will be dropped off on a small stretch of beach you can call you own for the day and where you will be able to see wonderful marine life such as star fish, turtles, mangroves, and some of the best coral reefs the Dominican Republic has to offer. You also will see beautiful beach cactus, hawks, beach grass, and many other forms of nature.
You can stay in one of the very small towns next to the Jaragua National Park – either Pedernales or Playa Azul. They are small towns -if that, but they offer a chance to enjoy raw beauty with nice restaurants to finish the night off with a great meal and a rum drink. The hotels are small but enjoyable places to rest your head in order to be fresh to enjoy your next day.
This is a pristine beach that has yet to be tampered with, but unfortunately that may change. There are talks and plans to make a monster resort with a long-term goal of turning this pristine gem into a small Punta Cana. Hurry up and see this place before it is too late. Warning: This is not for the traveler looking to sit by the side of a pool at an all-inclusive resort sipping on pina coladas, but rather for the traveler looking to be immersed in the raw beauty this beach offers. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people.
Getting there: This is the hardest beach on our list to reach because of its remoteness. Most people fly in the Las Americas Airport (SDQ) in Santo Domingo and then take the 4-hour car ride to Bahia de las Aguilas. About 2 hours into the drive you will pass the small town of Bani – a great place to take a break for lunch and to try some local cuisine at one of the many restaurants. Because of its remoteness most people enjoy 2 days at this location – just long enough to enjoy the raw beauty, to justify the long car ride, and not too long so that you become bored.
The Dominican Republic is a wonderful place with a beach for everyone. We have many beaches to choose from and I could have easily written an article for the top 25 or 50 best beaches in the Dominican Republic. Whether you are coming here for a romantic getaway, fishing and golfing with your friends, a wedding, eco-tourism or for surfing and kite-boarding, we have a beach and a town waiting for you. If you need help planning the perfect Dominican Republic getaway, let us know and we will be glad to help you in any way we can.