No way would we have thought of quick divorce and Dominican Republic synonymous. If there were one place in the Caribbean we could point you to for inexpensive resorts and sugar-white beaches, the Dominican Republic would be our destination of choice. It's romantic! And, it's the fastest-growing destination in the Caribbean because of the low prices and beautiful terrain. Especially, the Punta Cana area - what a boom!
Columbus found the Dominican Republic on his very first voyage to the New World. He said it was, "the most beautiful island in the world". A settlement was founded in 1493 and ruins still remain near Montecristi.
The Dominican Republic is located amongst the islands of Cuba, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. It is on the isle of Hispaniola (meaning Little Spain), and is divided between Haiti on the west and Dominican Republic on the east - about the size of the state of Vermont and New Hampshire combined. Most of the island interior is sugar cane plantations.
The cool thing is that much of what Columbus saw still remains - a natural, virgin landscape - still unspoiled. And, one-third of the island's coastline is the awesome beaches, which we'll review next!
Dominican Republic - BEACH INDEX:
- Sand - Most beaches are brilliant white, due to the high content of coral/shell.
- Facilities - DR beaches have full facilities near the tourist centers.
- Shade - Expect tall coconut palms. Tourist beaches offer umbrellas/shades.
- Sports - Full service at tourist centers. Sports fishing great in most areas.
- Notes - best time to visit - late November to April, as humidity is lower, temperature cooler. However, resorts are reporting high volume throughout the year due to the great bargains currently found.
The beaches in the Dominican Republic are unspoiled Caribbean jewels that sparkle in the island sun. The country boasts almost 800 miles of coastline, featuring some of the most stunning sands in the Caribbean. With so many beaches on one island, vacationers will never have to search for great surf and sand.
Sugary white sands and crystalline blue waters are just a few reasons to visit any of the Dominican Republic's pristine beaches. In addition to the ample sunshine and powdery sands, an assortment of watersports are available at many of the island's beaches. Also, because the Caribbean's tourism industry is mainly focused on other islands in the region, vacationers won't have to deal with heavy crowds, which gives beachgoers a truly relaxing time on the island's seashores.
The beaches of the Dominican Republic vary greatly in their individual characteristics and overall appeal. You can find beaches all along the island, but here are some of the more popular areas:
The small colonial town of Puerto Plata is one of the island's top beach destinations. Visitors come to this area mainly for the brilliant beaches, which consist of soft white sands and aquamarine waters. These clear blue waters are home to an offshore coral reef formation that is an excellent place for snorkeling. The coastal area in Puerto Plata also has a good selection of beachfront accommodations. If you want to visit more secluded sands in this area, head over to Guarapito, which provides a wonderfully relaxing beach experience, complete with sunshine, peace, and quiet.
Heading east from Puerto Plata, you'll find Sosúa, one of the island's small fishing villages. Though the town doesn't have a lot to offer, the beaches here are truly amazing. The locals say that the beaches at Sosúa are some of the most beautiful in the Dominican Republic.
The northern shores of the Dominican Republic are famous for windsurfing, especially in Cabarete. These northern beaches feature steady winds, making them ideal for this sport. Located about 25 minutes from Puerto Plata, Cabarete is easy to reach, so vacationers should have no problems getting to these shores. An annual windsurfing competition is held in Cabarete every June, so you can enjoy a little competition while catching some amazing winds and waves.
Samaná is another popular beach area on the island. Located on the Samaná Peninsula, the weather here is exceptionally good, the sands are snowy white, and the waters are crystal clear. A few small villages are situated along these shores, and this area only about an hour from Puerto Plata. From December to March, boats will take vacationers on whale watching excursions, where whales can be spotted mating and calving. Yachts from all over the world visit this harbor during the winter months, creating a colorful display against the blue Caribbean waters. While visiting the beaches at Samaná, keep in mind that there may not be a life guard on duty and the undertows here can be extremely dangerous.
Probably the most popular beach destinations for tourists is Punta Cana, where many of the island's top beachfront resorts are located. Along with amazing oceanfront scenery, there are plenty of places for entertainment and activities along these beaches. Numerous bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and shops edge the sands here, so you can find plenty to do after spending the afternoon on the gorgeous beaches.
The undeveloped region of Barahona, also known as the"Pearl of the South," is unique. Unlike much of the island's other coastal property, the development of beach resorts has not spoiled its beautiful beaches. In Barahona, the beaches are amazing and the waters are superb, creating the perfect beach experience without the hustle and bustle of more crowded shores.
Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic's capital city, is also home to several popular beaches. A few of Santo Domingo's beaches feature perfectly calm shallow waters, such as at Boca Chilca, and are very popular with families. Other beaches are frequented by vacationers who enjoy bathing in the sultry island sun. Still others boast plenty of activities such as sailing, diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, and much more.
Other lovely beaches are located throughout the Dominican Republic in places such as Azua, Baní, La Altagracia, Miches, Montecrist, Pedernales, Río San Juan, San Cristóbal, and San Pedro de Macorís. All of these areas have different styles of beaches, but all have one thing in common: their breathtaking natural beauty has remained relatively unspoiled.
Whether you're looking to stay near a beach, or looking to find a beach near where you're staying, you'll have plenty of options in the Dominican Republic. To learn more about individual beaches, click on the links below.