The Dominican Republic province of Puerto Plata may be where Christopher Columbus made his famous landfall in the Americas, but today, the Atlantic-facing region is known for its azure waters, electric-hued coral reefs, and miles of sun-soaked sands. See below for a few of the premier beaches in Puerto Plata.
This picturesque, crescent-shaped stretch, about 20 minutes east of Puerto Plata by road, fills with both travelers and locals on weekends. Hang out on the white sands, cruise the turquoise waters by catamaran, or explore the underwater park on a snorkeling excursion.
Grand Beach (Playa Grande)
This palm tree-fringed beach may look tranquil, but its waters are not for the faint of heart—Playa Grande some of the biggest swells in Puerto Plata. Those who prefer to hang out on the safety of the sand will find plenty of diversions and deals—beachfront vendors are known to sell fresh-caught lobster lunches for under $20.
Golden Beach (Playa Dorada)
Beach-goers who crave a bit of action need look no further than this resort-filled swath of sand, known for its pristine waters and lengthy list of aquatic sports from paddle boarding to snorkeling and deep-sea fishing.
Located west of Puerto Plata, Cofresi is known for its calm, swimmable waters, pristine golden sands, and laid-back beachfront restaurants. Right next door, however, is the Ocean World Adventure Park (in case the kids get bored).
Travelers looking to learn a new skill—be it windsurfing, kiteboarding, or laser sailing—should make a beeline for this sports-centric beach east of Puerto Plata. The seas are regularly dotted with billowing sails, as both travelers and locals catch air out on the water. The beach is also dotted with small hotels, restaurants, and bars perfect for those seeking shade—or that 3pm Presidente beer.
Paradise Key (Cayo Arena)
Paradise Key is not technically a beach but rather a tiny, uninhabited islet off the coast of Puerto Plata where the electric blue sea meets bright white sands. Travelers typically arrive by boat (embarking in Punta Rucia, about a two-hour drive from Puerto Plata) on a full-day excursion. Pull up to the coral-fringed island, dive its crystal-clear waters, and kick back with a local brew—the journey will prove worthwhile.