Beaches & Islands

Top 10 Best Beaches in the Dominican Republic

Cayo Levantado beach, Samaná

Photo: Javier Gautier

Here’s a list of the hottest Dominican beaches that are catching the attention of travelers everywhere

The season has come, when the hypnotic shores of the Dominican Republic form an irresistible pull of caressing tropical breezes, butter-soft sands, and a collage of turquoise, emerald, and larimar accented waters - all enough to set-off an explosion of Caribbean euphoria on your five senses.


So, if your heart is gravitating towards the ocean this summer, we’ve put together a list of the Best Beaches in the Dominican Republic that are calling your name.


We’ll show you the most convenient places to stay, locations to explore, and where you can go eat and party like a Dominican, with this brief guide to help you choose the best place to pitch-up your tent and lay out the towels for some well-deserved R&R.


So, let’s get it started on the Northeastern Coast with...

Playa Costa Esmeralda, Miches


01. Playa Costa Esmeralda

Miches, El Seibo Province

Located 102 km (1h 23min) Northeast of Aeropuerto Internacional de Punta Cana PUJ. 


Peacefully awaiting along the country's north-east coast, Playa Costa Esmeralda is located between La Bahia de Samaná and Punta Cana.


You’ll be treated to 5 km of exclusive beach area which lives up to its name as its waters emit a “blueish/greenish” glow when the sun is at its brightest, resembling a shining emerald.


Places to Stay

Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda

Glamping Los Hicacos Blanco by CREA


Things to Do

Kayaking in Laguna Redonda

Horseback Riding

Hike up Montaña Redonda

Cabo Rojo beach, Pedernales

Photo: José Miguel Pérez

02. Cabo Rojo

Jaragua National Park, Pedernales Province

Located 14.3 km (35min) Northwest of Bahía de Las Águilas, 134 km (2h 53min) Southwest of Aeropuerto Internacional Maria Montez AIMM.


Meaning "Cape Red" for its richness in a reddish mineral called Bauxite, Cabo Rojo can only be compared to its neighboring beach Bahía de Las Águilas, and dare I say, surpasses its beauty by far.


With intense sky-blue water you can see to the bottom, Cabo Rojo gives French Polynesia a run for its money.


Places to Stay

Rancho Tipico Cueva de Las Águilas

Vista de Águila Eco-Lodge

Hostal Doña Chava


Things to Do

Cabo Rojo Boat tour

Explore Jaragua National Park

Playa Punta Popy, Las Terrenas


03. Playa Punta Popy

Las Terrenas, Samaná Province

Located 27.9 km (29min) East of Aeropuerto Internacional Presidente Juan Bosch (El Catey).


Now, don't get me wrong, Las Terrenas is lined with crazy beaches to fit anyone's style, but Punta Popy stands out like a tall glass of cold water in the desert.


Its spearhead shape extending into the ocean, allows for a complete view of Las Terrenas from east to the west coast, where you'll also see: Playa Portillo, Playa Bonita, and Playa Cosón at a distance.


Places to Stay

Bahia Principe Portillo

Mahona Boutique Hotel

Hotel Alisei


Things to Do

Salto El Limon Waterfall


Kite Surfing

Saona Island beach

Photo: Ryan Bowen

04. The Beaches of Saona Island

Cotubanamá National Park, La Altagracia Province

Located 55.6 km (all day tour only) Southeast of Aeropuerto Internacional de Punta Cana PUJ, and 43.4 km from La Romana.


Saona Island is the "Grail" of beach destinations in the Dominican Republic for travelers from all over.  Receiving up to 600,000 to 1 million visitors per year around its 110 square kilometers of natural beauty.


The island is surrounded by colorfully radiant coral reefs, stark white beaches, and a high level of marine, terrestrial, and aerial wildlife diversity.


Places to Stay

Hotel Bocaino Boca de Yuma

AC Hotel by Marriott

Tropicana Suites Beach Club


Things to Do

Diving and snorkeling


Cotubanamá National Park

Playa Bavaro beach


05. Playa Bavaro

Bavaro, La Altagracia Province

Located 19.7 km (17min) North of Aeropuerto Internacional de Punta Cana PUJ


Beach lovers in Punta Cana head straight for Playa Bavaro where the party's on almost all day, the drinks stay flowing, and the live club music stays thumping.


You can find some of the hottest events in Punta Cana being held in Playa Bavaro - which usually has a high number of tourists and locals walking the shoreline -  just chillin' out and gettin' some sun.


Places to Stay

Punta Cana Seven Beaches

Bahia Principe Grand Bavaro - All Inclusive


Things to Do

Party Excursions

Swimming with Dolphins and Stingrays

Deep Sea Fishing

Bahía de las Águilas beach, Pedernales

Photo: José Miguel Pérez

06. Bahía de Las Águilas

Jaragua National Park, Pedernales Province

Located 134.6 km (3h 2min) Southwest of Aeropuerto Internacional Maria Montez AIMM


Over the past few years, Bahía de Las Águilas (Bay of Eagles) has become a star in the "Best Dominican Destination" universe.


It's only 35 minutes (14.5km) from the town of Cabo Rojo - representing the Jaragua National Park as one of its main attractions within the natural reserve - home to endangered endemic species of mammals, reptiles, and aquatic creatures.


Bahia de Las Aguilas's 7 kilometer stretch of beach is a front-runner for the best in the Caribbean.


Places to Stay

Glamping Ecolodge Cueva De Las Águilas

Hotel Villas del Mar


Things to Do

Explore Jaragua National Park

Isla Beata Island Tour

Paradise Island, Puerto Plata


07. Punta Rucia

Monte Cristi and Puerto Plata Province

Located 98.8 km (2h 14min) West of Aeropuerto Internacional La Unión POP


Along the northwestern coastal region of the Dominican Republic, Playa Punta Rucia sits on the border of Monte Cristi and Puerto Plata.


Punta Rucia is most popularly known for the area's main tourist attraction Paradise Island.  A destination definitely worth visiting if you're trekking the north coast.


Places to Stay

Punta Rucia Lodge

Villa Rosa


Things to Do

Paradise Island

Catamaran Tour

Catalina Island beach


08. The Beaches of Catalina Island

La Romana Province

Located 14.9 km (25min) Southwest of Aeropuerto Internacional La Romana LRM


Isla Catalina (also known as Isla Ikiita) is the second most coveted island next to Isla Saona, which is only 15 miles away on the southeastern coast of La Hispaniola.


Just a 20-minute boat ride off the coast of La Romana, the island has a total surface of 9.6 km2 of pure Caribbean beach and lively coral reefs, with schools of shimmering color-laden fish species.


Places to Stay

Guesthouse Villa La Isla

Hotel El Dorado

Hilton La Romana All-Inclusive Resort & Water Park Punta Cana


Things to Do 

Visit Altos de Chavon

Scuba diving and snorkeling

Playa Macao beach, Punta Cana

09. Playa Macao

Punta Cana, Altagracia Province

Located 35.8 km (33min) Northwest of Aeropuerto Internacional de Punta Cana PUJ


Driving up north from Punta Cana - passing Playa Bavaro and Playa Arena Gorda - the almost crescent-shaped Playa Macao is a local Dominican favorite.


Macao has become a growing international beach-goer attraction, and with only one resort onsite, it offers a certain desired level of seclusion from its neighboring areas.


Places to Stay

Hostal Johnnier Macao Punta Cana

Dreams Macao Punta Cana


Things to Do

ATV 4 Wheeling

Horseback riding

Cayo Levantado beach, Samaná

Photo: Javier Gautier

10. Cayo Levantado

Bay of Samaná, Samaná Province

Located 56.3 km (1h 7min) Southeast of Aeropuerto Internacional Presidente Juan Bosch (El Catey)


Cayo Levantado or Isla Bacardí, is a 1 square kilometer islet off the coast of Samaná that's home to the renowned Bahia Principe resort - an exclusive all-inclusive property with ultra-anonymity, as visitors are only allowed on the beach area.


Apart from Playa Punta Popy in Las Terrenas, Cayo Levantado has the most beautiful white sands, clear waters, and 360-degree oceanic views in all of the northeast coast.


Places to Stay

Nilka Hotel Boutique

Xeliter Vista Mare, Samana

The Bannister Hotel & Yacht Club by Mint


Things to Do

Whale watching

Los Haitises National Park

Written by Omar Guzman.


Published April 2022.

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