Which is the Best Beach in Punta Cana for Your All Inclusive Getaway

things to do in Punta Cana with kids. Saona Island
Take a cruise to the protected Saona Island for a day trip. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Punta Cana is a place to worship the sun and the sea. From Bayahibe to Macao, travelers will find many options for the best beach in Punta Cana. Punta Cana’s beaches routinely pop up among the top beaches in North America with its turquoise water, wind-swept palm trees and white sand beaches. Here are the best beaches in Punta Cana.

Best Beaches in Punta Cana

La Romana
Saona Island
Playa Juanillo at Cap Cana
Playa Blanca
Bavaro Beach
Macao Beach
Playa Palmera

Why Visit the Dominican Republic

After several trips to the Dominican Republic, this is one of my favorite beach destinations. I appreciate the convenience of several flights a day from major U.S. airline hubs. Punta Cana is a beach lover’s paradise, and the beaches are particularly beautiful in DR.

However, it also appeals to adventure travelers, families and nature lovers. Punta Cana International Airport is located inland and between popular resort spots. Travelers can spoke out to find the best places to stay in Punta Cana for their island vacation. With about 200 beaches in the Dominican Republic, it might be overwhelming.   I have several recommendations, from the luxury traveler to the eco-conscious to the families.

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Watch a perfect sunset while visiting the Dominican Republic. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Bayahibe, La Romana and Saona Island

The beachside town of Bayahibe offers a Blue Flag Beach and water sports. This resort area is best for eco-conscious travelers who desire a quieter vacation spot. It is an easy walk to town for Dominican Republic dining and souvenir shopping. For an all-inclusive resort option, consider Hilton La Romana. It offers a family-friendly side and an adult all-inclusive.

An Excursion to Saona Island

One of the top excursions in the Dominican Republic is Saona Island. This island is part of Cotobonama National Park, also known as East National Park. It is only open to day trippers and appeared in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie. For pristine beaches, we recommend Cano de la Playa, Playa Bonita, and Playa del Gato. Guests take a boat cruise to Saona Island, and most excursions include lunch on the island.

On my trip to Saona Island, I departed on a Scuba Caribe boat from Bayahibe. Typically, a trip is a day-long excursion that includes lunch and drinks. First, we stopped at a natural swimming area with shallow water, where I could stand in warm turquoise water, enjoying a cocktail. Then, I headed to Saona Island for the afternoon. After a Dominican lunch, I headed to the beach to grab a lounger to sunbathe for the rest of my time.

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The Juanillo Beach at Hyatt Zilara and Ziva is 5 acres in size. credit: Catherine Parker

Cap Cana and Playa Juanillo

One of the newest developments, Cap Cana, is a gated community with several resorts. Located on the Southeastern tip of the Dominican Republic, Cap Cana is home to Juanillo Beach, one of the best beaches in the country.

This area is ideal for water sports like kayaking, SUP boarding and sailing. Cap Cana Marina offers boat excursions for a guided option. Since this area is gated and the resorts are fewer, it’s the ideal location for those yearning for a luxury escape.

Sanctuary Cap Cana and Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana are the best luxury resorts for adults. For families, Hyatt Ziva is also located on the pristine Juanillo Beach and offers a five-acre beach with water sports like Hobie Catamarans.

After staying at these properties, I consider them some of the Best All-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana.

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Enjoy the Caribbean Ocean at Ocean Blue and Sand in Punta Cana.
With water the color of my favorite jewelry box, Ocean Blue and Sand offers everything needed to relax. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Punta Cana and Playa Blanca

Since the entire southeast coast of the Dominican Republic is called Punta Cana, this area is often called Playa Blanca, its main beach. Closest to the airport, Punta Cana is home to the Punta Cana Resort and Club. There are several resorts in the gated community and vacation homes to rent.

For travelers who want to explore a tropical forest, the Indigenous Eyes (Ojos Indigenas) Ecological Park is ideal. SCUBA divers frequent this area for a shipwreck off its shore. Located just north of Cap Cana, this area hosts a Kite Surfing competition.

Explore Ocean Blue and Sand in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
The blue water beckons at Ocean Blue and Sand by H10 Hotels in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Bavaro Beach

This area is the most developed and often called the Coconut Coast. With resorts standing shoulder to shoulder, Bavaro is the most lively area with lots of people walking the beach. Dance music rolls out of the resorts and offshore visitors will see water sports and pleasure craft. We recommend this area if you want to a party to go with your beach getaway.

Several of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic are located there, like Playa Cabeza del Toro to the south and Playa Bavaro, Playa el Cortecito and Playa Arena Gorda farther north. Off the coast, visitors will find dive spots like shipwrecks and caves. This beach area extends for 30 miles, so one beach blends into the next.

The resorts range from family-friendly properties like the Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana. For an adults-only all-inclusive, I recommend the Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana or the Iberostar Grand Bavaro. This area offers the largest selection of the Best All-Inclusives in the Dominican Republic Punta Cana.

Learn how to surf at Macao Beach as one of the things to do in Punta Cana with kids.
The Macao Beach offers surfing along with surfing lessons. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Macao Beach

 I recommend this kicked-back corner of the Dominican Republic for surfers. With trade winds and swells, this area is the most reliable for surfing. For those new to the sport, learn-to-surf classes are offered most days and are open to all levels.

Macao is north of the Bavaro area and lacks the resorts of its neighbor. We found the vibe to be quieter and a local favorite. There are even fish shacks on the beach. For travelers who want to stay in the area, we recommend Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana.

Playa Palmera

North of Macao, Playa Palmera is located on the Atlantic Ocean. With more resorts than Macao, visitors will find amenities like loungers and palapas, often reserved for resort guests. However, this area is less developed than the Bavaro Beach area. Playa Palmera offers palm trees for shade as well.

You should consider the Jewel Punta Cana for Playa Palmera or the Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Punta Cana. It features a popular waterpark. Offshore, visitors can see the NB Rock, a rock formation.

Blue Flag Beaches

The Foundation for Environmental Education, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, designates Blue Flag beaches annually. Its criteria include environmental, safety, educational and accessible considerations. According to the 2023 results by, the Dominican Republic boasts 25 Blue Flag beaches.

The Dominican Republic’s Blue Flag beaches are located at La Romana’s Bayahibe Beach. At Bavaro, visitors can enjoy Blue Flag beaches at Playa Arena Gorda, Playa Bávaro, Playa el Cortecito and Cabeza de Toro. These beaches offer recycling bins, and some offer accessible equipment, like sand chairs.

Visit Maria's House in the Dominican Republic and 4 other things to do in Punta Cana with kids.
Maria House in the Dominican Republic offers a glimpse of traditional housing near Punta Cana. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

How to Get to Punta Cana International Airport

The Punta Cana International Airport is modern and one of the largest in the Caribbean. It offers about 26 international departures, including direct flights from Britain, France and South America. U.S. travelers can use American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Jet Blue Airlines, Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines to get to Punta Cana.

A valid passport with more than six months before expiration is required for your trip. A 30-day tourist visa will be stamped into your passport upon entry. The Dominican Republic Entry fee is included in your flight. The Dominican Republic requires U.S. Passengers to fill out an online Immigration form before they arrive.

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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