Puerto Plata & Samana, Dominican Republic: beach vacation guide for Canadians
Plan a beach getaway to Puerto Plata or Samana with these beach recommendations from our deal experts.
Backed by the tropical mountain of Isabel de Torres, Puerto Plata was named “Silver Port” due to the colour of its coast at sunset. It combines the spectacular beaches and the convenience of the all-inclusives with colonial architecture and off-resort activities rich in culture and nature.
Hike Mount Isabel de Torres for breathtaking views of the province, or take the funicular to the top. Visit Fort San Filipe, built in 1577 with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, or the Amber Museum for a little bit of off-the-beach sightseeing.
Playa Dorada, the main resort beach in Puerto Plata, is located in the Amber Coast (so named for the golden sand). The beach is lined with palm trees, and there are numerous local centres along the coast offering lessons in kitesurfing, catamarans and more. All-inclusive resorts are common, although the area is less densely packed compared to Punta Cana.
Playa Sosua is located close to Puerto Plata International Airport, and features an underwater nature park for divers and snorkellers. This crescent-shaped coastline is a favourite destination for families, as the coral reef surrounding the beach makes for very gentle waters. Playa Sosua is also known for some amazing sunsets, so be sure to try to catch one while you are here.
Other places to check out in Puerto Plata include Alicia Beach, which is considered a great starting point to Paradise Island and Playa Bergantin, located just next to Playa Dorada.
Punta Rucia is also a great destination just west of Puerto Plata. A small fisherman’s village with a stunning oasis-like beach, it can be your gateway to Cayo Arena, also known as Paradise Island and a great day-trip destination for snorkelling.
Kitesurfing mecca Cabarete
Cabarete is located just half an hour from Puerto Plata International airport. It is known for its watersports and is considered the best kitesurfing spot in the Dominican Republic.
The destination has one of the highest concentrations of hostels and surf lodges, and is the ideal destination for backpackers looking for a more laid-back, bohemian beach vibe (a little different from all-inclusive family vacation spots).
Kite Beach is an internationally acclaimed destination for windsurfing and kitesurfing, with kiteboarding schools that welcome newcomers for lessons. There are restaurants and bars right along the coast, including some with tables on the sand. Encuentro Beach, also located in Cabarete, is known for its amazing surfing conditions.
Rio San Juan is located to the east of Cabarete, and has some beautiful “hidden gem” beaches. Playa Grande is on the outskirts of Rio San Juan, and with only a few luxury hotels, has a quieter and tranquil vibe. Playa Caleton is a smaller and calmer beach, and a great destination for families with children. Playa Los Mino and Playa Preciosa in Rio San Juan have peaceful and tranquil vibes.
Located on the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic, Samana Province is a popular beach vacation destination. It is also an ideal getaway for those looking for quieter beach vacation spots with the comforts of an all-inclusive resort.
Travelzoo tip: Thousands of North Atlantic humpback whales mate, give birth and nurse in Samana Bay between December and April. The area is part of the Marine Mammal Sanctuary, protected waters since 1986.
Located at the tip of Samana province, Las Galeras is a coastal town just beginning to rise in prominence. Full of hidden beaches and a wide variety of accommodation from budget hotels to five-star luxury all-inclusives, it's home to famous beaches including Playa Rincon and Playa Fronton.
Playa Rincon is easily one of the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican. Featuring pool-like water, tall palm trees and stretches of gorgeous coastline, this picture-perfect beach is 20 minutes away by boat from Las Galeras; be sure to get an early start.
Travelzoo tip: Make it a day trip by including a stop off at Boca del Diablo blow hole.
Must visit beaches
Playa Fronton, located beyond the Boca del Diablo, is a secluded beach with a stunning backdrop of mountains and palm trees. Accessible by boat or hiking through the terrain, it's best visited in the morning, as in the afternoon it is shaded by the cliff walls.
Playa Bonita is also a beautiful beach, as is as Playita, which boasts very gentle water and diamond-white shores.
Visit Cayo Levantado (also known as Bacardi Island thanks to its use in advertisements) between January and March to catch humpback whales on their migratory route.
Travelzoo tip: The island has a public beach, and also a private beach for guests of the Grand Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado. We’re on the lookout for deals, so sign up for an alert!
Travelzoo tip: Located close to Samana is Coson Beach, a little slice of heaven with a stunning coastline and an ideal destination for romantic getaways. Couple-friendly hotels range from quaint bed & breakfasts to luxurious villas and beach lodges.
Browse our Dominican Republic deals, or visit our Dominican Republic beach vacation guide for more inspiration.