The Dominican Republic offers an excellent choice of gorgeous beaches along its 1400km-long coastline.
Enjoy creature comforts at the vast Playa Dorada Complex near Puerto Plata, which features a choice of 15 all-inclusive beachfront hotels.
Then explore the picture-perfect northern coast by hire car: the region is indented with numerous secluded and active beaches around Sosúa (great snorkelling), Cabarete (excellent kite and wind surfing) and Cabrera (for the best surfing).
Some of the island’s best historical sights are just a short drive away from Puerto Plata and the region is famous for its large deposits of semi-precious stones featuring amber, which make for great souvenirs.
The historical city of Santo Domingo is short on beaches, but the resort area of Boca Chica is just 31km from the city centre and offers several beachfront hotels.
If historical sights are not your interest and you prefer to unwind in one locale, head to the bustling east coast beach strip centred around Punta Cana (above photo), featuring a choice of gorgeous, palm-fringed white-sand beaches shelving into gin-clear waters.
Or try one of the mainly undeveloped and uncrowded beaches around La Romana on the southeast coast.
(North Coast) – Pick your own spot to sunbathe on this wide, 3.4km-long, pale golden sand beach that curves around a wide bay facing the clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Go swimming and windsurfing or snorkelling at the rocky headlands. Ride a horse along the shore or tee-off at the 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr-designed Playa Dorado championship golf course.
This recently refurbished palm-fringed beach is lined with a choice of 15 hotels, three casinos, three banks, a large shopping mall, dance clubs and numerous bars and restaurants that spread over a 20km-long stretch of beachfront.
Splash out in style at the elegant Casa Colonial Beach and Spa Resort, probably the most prestigious hotel in the Dominican Republic. Facilities such as towels, umbrellas and sun loungers are provided for hotel guests; otherwise they can be hired from beachside concession stands.
Water sports include waterskiing, sailing, kayaking, parasailing and fishing.
Playa Dorada is the primary beach destination on the north coast and is located a 10-minute drive east of Puerto Plata and just 18km from Puerto Plata’s International Gregorio Luperon Airport.
(North Coast) – Unwind on the wide golden sands of this 1km-long palm-fringed beach that faces a small cove framed by the Ocean World marine and water park to the west and low grass- and palm-covered cliffs to the east.
Come for a day and join the locals who often turn this popular beach into a giant weekend party scene with barbeques and merengue dancing. Or stay longer at the beachfront Sun Village Resort and Spa, which offers a range of facilities including umbrellas, sun loungers and a beach bar.
Visit the Ocean World Adventure Park to see dolphin and sea lion shows, snorkel with rainbow-hued tropical fish, pet a nurse shark or sting ray and perhaps (if you’re brave) feed a Bengal tiger.
Playa Cofresi is 5km east of Puerto Plata.
(North Coast) – Unwind on the golden sands of this 450m-long beach that shelves into the calm waters of Sosúa Bay.
The beach offers perfect conditions for swimming, snorkelling over the offshore coral gardens and scuba diving at the nearby wreck, canyons and wall.
The shrub- and palm-fringed beach sits between tree-covered rocky outcrops. Facilities include umbrellas, sun loungers, snack bars and water sports equipment for hire from beachside concession stands.
Come for a day or stay at the colonial-style beachfront Sosúa Bay Hotel or La Puntilla de Piergiorgio Hotel, which sits on a rocky promontory overlooking the beach. Playa Sosúa is 24km east of Puerto Plata, a 20-minute drive.
Playa Casa Marina
(North Coast) – Choose from three golden-sand beaches that lie just over the cliff-top promontory from Playa Sosúa, stretching 1.2km northeast along the coast.
The first is a picture-perfect 80m-wide strip of sand that stretches for 200m beneath tree-clad cliffs flanked by rocky headlands.
The second palm-fringed strip sits between the Casa Marina Beach Reef Resort and calm turquoise waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkelling the rocky headlands.
To find a more secluded section, you can simply walk north and relax in the sun beneath a wild and pristine tree-fringed beach.
Facilities such as umbrellas and sun loungers are available from the three resorts that front this gorgeous beach.
Water sports equipment including snorkelling gear, windsurfer boards and sailboats can be rented from one of the many water sports kiosks.
Playa Casa Marina is 25km east of Puerto Plata.
(North Coast) – Stretching for more than 2km along the coast, this tree-lined beach is the region’s best surfing beach. It is also great for beachcombing along the unspoiled golden sands.
Playa Encuentro is around 25km east of Puerto Plata and 5km east of Sosúa.
(North Coast) – This is the best beach for wind and kite surfing in the Dominican Republic.
Take your own rig or hire one from the numerous beachside instructors, who also offer lessons if required.
The windiest month on Kite Beach is March. Beachside facilities include bars and restaurants. Come for the day or stay longer at the Sosúa Bay Resort.
Kite Beach is 2km east of Cabarete.
Playa El Breton
(North Coast) – Escape the more crowded beaches on a trip to this quiet golden-sand beach that edges a small cove framed by the dramatic-tree covered cliffs of the Parque Nacional Cabo Francis.
Go swimming, snorkelling and beachcombing. Take your own food and drinks, as there are no facilities.
Playa El Breton is around 7km east of Cabrera.
(North Coast) – Unwind on this 1.2km-long white sand beach that sits between swaying palm trees and the clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
While you can go swimming, the beach is better known among locals for its excellent windsurfing, scuba diving and snorkelling.
Come on a day trip or stay longer at the Luperon Beach Resort. Facilities include umbrellas, sun loungers and water sports equipment for hire.
Apart from the hotel, there are several beachside bars where you can also order food.
Luperón Beach lies about an 80-minute drive west of Puerto Plata.
(North Coast) – Unwind on the picture-perfect golden sands of this 120m-long beach that fringes a sheltered cove framed by tree-covered rocky headlands.
Go swimming and snorkelling in the calm turquoise waters. Facilities include food stands.
Playa Caleton is around 8km west of Playa Grande.
(North Coast) – Dip your toes into the soft pale golden sand of this idyllic 800m-long palm-fringed beach.
Playa Grande stretches between a tree-covered headland and a cliff top that is home to the 14th-hole of the Playa Grande golf course.
Go swimming, windsurfing, surfing and boogie boarding or tee-off from the 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr-designed course.
Come for a day or stay longer at the luxurious, all-inclusive Allegro Playa Grande by Occidental, where you can enjoy a wide range of creature comforts.
Beachside facilities including umbrellas, sun loungers and a bar are provided by the resort.
Playa Grande is located on the north coast, mid-way between Rio San Juan and Cabrera, around a 90-minute drive east of Puerto Plata.
(East Coast) – Pick your own spot to sunbathe and swim from a 56km-long strip of interconnected, palm-fringed white-sand beaches that shelve into warm, tranquil waters.
Sitting where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea, all these beaches are flanked by coconut palms that merge behind beachfront hotels into a tropical jungle that rises up to rolling hills and distant mountain ranges.
Choose from more than 30 hotels and resorts, most of which offer all-inclusive deals and a wide range of facilities and creature comforts. Punta Cana has developed a reputation as one of the most affordable holiday destinations in the Caribbean.
Try the Oscar de la Renta-designed luxurious Punta Cana Resort and Club, part of a sprawling 6000ha residential community fronting 4.8km of white-sand beaches.
Or enjoy the spacious Natura Park Eco Resort and Spa, which faces a shimmering unspoiled white-sand beach set in 32ha of protected parkland.
Water sports include parasailing, kayaking, windsurfing, jet skiing and deep-sea fishing.
Land-based activities include volleyball, soccer, golf (with a choice of five courses), tennis, horseback riding and jeep safaris into the nearby jungle.
Children will especially love the Manati Park Bravaro, which features dolphin, sea lion and talking parrot shows, as well as a replica native Taino village. A bustling shopping mall boasts a range of stores.
After dark, enjoy a flutter at one of several casinos, including the Barcelo Bavaro complex and the Riu Palace Macao. Watch an exciting merengue and bachata musical dance performance or party until the wee hours at one of the many nightclubs and discos.
Punta Cana is located on the east coast and, depending on the resort, is between 15km and 65km from the Punta Cana International Airport.
Playa La Minitas
(Southeast Coast) – Unwind on the clean, golden sands of this small, 400m-long palm-fringed beach that shelves into a calm and protected lagoon near the glamorous Casa de Campo Resort.
The resort boasts four 18-hole golf courses – Golf magazine named Casa de Campo the finest golf resort in the world. This beautiful beach is lined with bars and restaurants and is just a 10-minute shuttle ride from the resort. Facilities include umbrellas and sun loungers.
Playa La Minitas is around 2km west of La Romana.
(Southeast Coast) – Escape the crowds for this gorgeous, undeveloped white-sand beach that stretches in a 900m-long crescent along a palm-fringed shoreline.
Facilities include shade huts, umbrellas and sun loungers for hire.
Water sports such as diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, Hobie Cats and fishing are also available from the beachfront Dreams La Romana Resort, where you can purchase a day pass to use all the amenities.
Visit on a day trip or stay longer at La Romana. While here, visit the Altos de Chavon, a recreated 16th century fortified Italian village complete with cobblestone streets, artist workshops and an archaeological museum.
Playa Bayahibe is around 4km west of La Romana.
Playa Boca Chica
(South Coast) – Pick your own spot to sunbathe and swim on this 2.4km-long stretch of white sand that is the principal beach resort near the capital Santo Domingo.
The east end of the beach offers the most facilities, with umbrellas and sun loungers for hire. Swim, snorkel or kayak in the clear shallow waters that stretch out to a natural coral reef. Water sport concession stands dot the beach.
Visit for a day from the city or stay longer at a choice of beachfront resorts, including the Don Juan Beach Resort, Hilton Coral Hamaca and the Oasis Hamaca Resort.
Boca Chica is less than 12km east of the international airport and around 31km from the centre of Santo Domingo.
Playa Barcelo Capella
(South Coast) – Unwind on this attractive crescent of white sand that stretches for 300m around a small palm-fringed cove.
Go swimming and snorkelling in the shallow reef-protected lagoon. Facilities include umbrellas and sun loungers for hire.
Visit for a day or stay longer at the beachfront Barcelo Capella Beach Resort or at the nearby Playa Real Resort.
Playa Barcelo Capella sits in the Juan Dolio region at the centre of a 7.5km-long stretch of white-sand beaches that indent the shoreline around 55km east of Santo Domingo and just a 20-minute drive east of Boca Chica.
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