Punta Cana Beaches: the Definitive Guide | LPC Tours

Punta Cana Beaches: the Definitive Guide

With 35 km of continuous white sand, Punta Cana has no shortage of beautiful beaches. The beaches around Punta Cana are some of the best in the Caribbean, and without doubt the most spectacular beaches of the entire Dominican Republic. Ask anyone who’s been to Punta Cana, and they will tell you that the beaches are among the most picturesque that they’ve ever seen. Here, tall coconut palms dot much of the seashore, and the soft, white sand is inviting.

Now before describing the different beaches is very important to understand the geography of the area surrounding Punta Cana. First thing you can do is open this map in another window. It could sound strange but most of the tourists who come for the first time to visit Punta Cana are unaware that Punta Cana is far away to be considered a city. In fact Punta Cana is not Santo Domingo. It can be described as an area, a small region or better as a long, beautiful stretch of amazing beaches, dotted by resorts and hotel/condo accommodations, basically a tourist area away from everything.

It’s important to highlight that usually with the name of Punta Cana is wrongly indicated all the South-East part of the country but the East-Coast actually encompasses several areas: (Cap Cana, Punta Cana, Cabeza de Toro, Bavaro, Arena Gorda, Macao and Uvero Alto). Most of today’s resorts and hotels are located in Bavaro and Arena Gorda, but nearly all of them use the name “Punta Cana” in their branding even when they are not geographically located specifically there because Punta Cana is (in marketing terms) a very hot destination.

To make it simpler the ”real” Punta Cana is only the area close to the airport. If you check the map provided, it includes basically the resorts Punta Cana, Tortuga Bay, Westin and Club Med and the hotel Four Points by Sheraton. If you’re not staying in one of these resorts/hotels, well you know now that you’re not staying “straightly speaking” in the real Punta Cana.

Now let’s see all the beaches you can enjoy in the South/East Coast, nowadays called generally Punta Cana.

Punta Cana has in total 8 different main beaches, many of them wide and all boasting clean white or 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.

The following Punta Cana beaches’ descriptions go from south to north. Although all are located on the Atlantic Ocean, some tend to have calmer waters when the beach slopes gradually into the water. Except where noted, beach snorkeling typically is limited due to heavy boat traffic. Good reefs tend to be offshore. Water temperatures reach a winter low in the upper 70s and go to a summer high in the upper 80s.

Playa Juanillo (Juanillo Beach)


One of the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic and considered by many the best beach of the East Coast, this gorgeous palm-filled coastline usually is not crowded. Until a few years ago it was a very small village of fishermen a few miles from the Punta Cana Airport. The entire village was purchased as part of a very large project called Cap Cana, that today includes different hotels such as Sanctuary, Alsol and Fishing Lodge.
Cleaned daily by Cap Cana resort staff, Playa Juanillo has a cafe/bar with an extensive menu. While Juanillo was at one time accessible to the public, it is now only accessible to people staying at one of the Cap Cana hotels and to property owners within the Cap Cana project and their guests. Locals are usually not allowed to enter. For tourists and visitors the security usually is more flexible and allow them to enter. To access it, you’ll pass through a guarded gate at Cap Cana resort and swap your passport or driver’s license for a day pass.

Tours where you can see this beach:

Sunshine Cruise
Juanillo VIP

Punta Cana Beach aka Playa Blanca (White Beach)


Guests not staying at Punta Cana hotels (the ones mentioned before) can lunch at Playa Blanca’s beach restaurant (open daily) and access to the homonym beach which took the name from. For access to Playa Blanca, like Juanillo, use the guarded gate to Punta Cana Resort and leave your passport or driver’s license for a day pass.
Chic, cool and casual! The Caribbean water is crystal clear, lagoon-like as you can walk for quite a distance without getting in over your head. The water almost appears white in some areas. The sand is very white, with palm trees and gardens lining the restaurant and beach. There is an exquisite palm grove where private parties are catered to by Playa Blanca Restaurant. The tropical and international menu is excellent and the drinks divine!

Tours where you can see this beach:

Punta Cana Cruise
Adventure Buggies
Full Day Combo

Playa Cabo Engano


An isolated and scenic beach good for beach-combing that’s unknown to most visitors. Located south of the community of Cabeza del Toro, it’s accessed on a dirt road best for 4-wheel-drive (but considering the area’s explosive growth, it may now be paved).

Tours where you can see this beach:

Polaris Adventures

Cabeza de Toro


People staying in resorts like Catalonia, Be Live, Dreams Palm Beach and Natura Park have the chance to enjoy this beach. This popular beach offers decent beach snorkeling in shallows at the Catalonia Bavaro Resort and the boat-traffic free side of the Catalonia Royal Bavaro resort, which has public access. Two resorts — Natura Park and Be Live Grand Punta Cana — have Blue Flag beaches. Cabeza de Toro beach is the perfect place if you want to be surrounded by the natural beautiful forests and wildlife of Punta Cana.

Tours where you can see this beach:

Titan Catamaran Booze Cruise

Bavaro Beach


The main tourist beach in Punta Cana, Playa Bavaro is beautiful with powdery white sand and coco palms leaning onto the shore, despite the hotels, restaurants and gift shops occupying it. The adjoining Barcelo Bavaro Beach and Palace Deluxe Resorts share a Blue Flag status section. Bavaro beach is very long and an evening walk along Playa Bavaro can seem endless.
The are different access points to this beach coinciding with the several gift shops and restaurants located along this beach: Plaza Bibijagua, Jellyfish, Los Corales, El Cortecito. El Cortecito, in the heart of Bavaro next to the Resort Vista Sol, is the closest to a small beach town/fisherman village in the area. A good 80% of the boat/catamaran tours in Punta Cana take place along this beach.

Tours where you can see this beach:

Catamaran Booze Cruise
Snorkeling, Hookah diving and Parasailing
Speedboat with Snorkeling

Playa Arena Gorda


The name translates as “fat sand,” meaning “wide” and the name is appropriate since this is one of the DR’s widest beaches. Arena Gorda slopes gently into shallow, usually calm water, making it a good beach for swimming and relaxing. Many people say this beach is perfect for kids. The sand is maybe a little darker than Bavaro beach. It’s usually indicated as the stretch of beach that goes from Ocean blue till Hard Rock. Three resorts — Barceló Punta Cana, Grand Bahia Principe Bavaro, Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro — have Blue Flag beaches. Arena Gorda is an exceptional beach. Public access can be difficult and you pretty much have to stay at one of the resorts in the area to enjoy it.

No tours offer a visit to this beach

Macao Beach


An undeveloped, virgin beach (the only completely public in the area) located around 20 to 30 minute drive north of Bavaro. Declared by UNESCO as one of the Caribbean’s best for its fine sand and beautiful palm trees. A surf camp offers lessons and rents boards. The middle of Macao Beach typically is best for surfing. Try some fresh fish and seafood at one of the small seaside eateries for a very affordable price. Macao is a popular area for Dominicans on Sundays and serves as a stop off point for a cooling swim for many tours like safari tours and the ATV/buggy tours. No resorts built along this beach, main reason why Macao is still completely public.

Tours where you can see this beach:

Dune Buggies
Country Safari
Country Safari with horseback riding


Uvero Alto Beach


Currently the farthest north of Punta Cana beaches, Uvero Alto is not a well-known beach area. Unless you are staying in one of the secluded high-end resorts in this area, you likely will never know about it. The area outside of the resorts and hotels is relatively undeveloped and with nowhere else to eat or shop. This area is the newest touristic development of the country and new resorts are going to open in the near future. Depending on the beach section, you’ll find open areas with large waves or calm waters protected by reef.

Tours where you can see this beach:

Horseback Riding

And don’t forget:
“Life is better with a little sand between your toes!”

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