Punta Cana has 10 different beaches extending for more than 30 miles, many wide and all boasting clean golden yellow sands. Several beaches are ranked as among the world’s best by the European Blue Flag organization notorious for its stringent environmental and water quality standards. The DR, overall, has more Blue Flag beaches than any other Caribbean island. .
Our Punta Cana beaches descriptions go from south to north. Some beaches have calmer waters than others based on how gradually the beach slopes to create such calm shallows. Except where noted, beach snorkeling typically is limited due to heavy boat traffic. Whatever you read in ads or hotel descriptions, all resorts are situated on the Atlantic Ocean; true Caribbean beaches are on the south coast.
Playa Juanillo: My favorite beach in the world, this gorgeous palm-filled coastline usually is rarely crowed. Cleaned daily by resort staff, Playa Juanillo has a cafe/bar with extensive menu. Check for kayak and small sailboats nearby. For access, pass through a guarded gate at Cap Cana resort and swap your passport or driver’s license for a day pass.
Punta Cana Beach: The name means "Point of the White Cane Palms" for the great stands of trees lining the private strand. Guests not staying at Punta Cana hotels can lunch at Playa Blanca’s open daily beach restaurant, considered one of the area’s top beach dining experiences. To access, use the guarded gate to Punta Can Resort and leave your passport or driver’s license for a day pass.
Playa Cabo Engano: An isolated and scenic beach good for beachcombing. It's located just south of the community of Cabeza del Toro on the first dirt road after Tropical Racing, a go-kart track. The route tends to be rutted, so drive slowly unless you have 4-wheel-drive.
Cabeza de Toro: This popular beach offers good beach snorkeling in wide shallows full of fish. For snorkel locations, look for the calm shallows at the Catalonia Bavaro Resort and the boat-traffic free side of the Catalonia Royal Beach resort, which has public access. Two resorts here-- Natura Park and Be Live Grand Punta Cana--have “Blue Flag” status.
El Cortecito/ Las Corales: These adjoining beaches have no access restrictions and offer everything for the day. Like a small fishing village, it has several beach restaurants, shops and water sports vendors. Off the beaches are some of the area’s main commercial centers containing supermarkets, shopping centers, gift shops and restaurants., The famous seafood restaurant Captain Cook’s is at Cortecito.
Bavaro Beach: One of the most developed beach sections and often crowded, it remains a striking palm-lined stretch despite the hotels, restaurants and gift shops occupying it. Walk the beach to book activities from parasailing to speed boats. An offshore reef helps protect the beach. One resort, Barcelo Bavaro Beach Resort, has “Blue Flag” status.
Playa Arena Gorda: The name translates as "fat sand," meaning it’s wide and the name is appropriate since this is one of the widest beaches. Arena Gorda slopes gently into shallow, usually calm water, making it a good beach for swimming and relaxing. Get here early to claim the shade of a palm tree. With three resorts-- Barceló Punta Cana, Grand Bahia Principe Bavaro, Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro--earned “Blue Flag” status. Arena Gorda is an exceptional beach.
Macao Beach: Cited by UNESCO as one of the Caribbean’s best for its fine sand and beautiful palm trees, Macao is the beach people often write home about. A surf camp offers lessons and rents boards; the middle of the beach is often best for swimming. Lunch at one of the small seaside eateries or at the cliff restaurant at the southern end of the beach. Popular with Dominicans on weekends.
Uvero Alto Beach: The farthest north, the fine bronze-colored sands and overall lack of development appeal to those wanting an uncrowded beach. Depending on the beach section, you’ll find open areas with large waves or calm waters protected by reef. Nowhere to eat outside the resorts.
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