Playa Juan Dolio

Dominican Republic

  •  Photo: Theresa Boehl

  •  Photo: Theresa Boehl

  •  Photo: Theresa Boehl

Coastal Escape Near the Capital

White sand, saltwater lagoons and plenty of beachfront dining options await at Playa Juan Dolio, one of just a handful of beaches within an hour’s drive of the capital city of Santo Domingo.

Though Playa Boca Chica is actually closer to the city and the airport, many travelers favor this stretch, not just for the better scenery, but for the more subdued vibe and higher water quality. And the beach’s proximity to the city makes it a great option for independent travelers who want to experience both urban and beach areas.

Prime Spot in the Sun

Aside from overly busy Sundays, when city-dwellers descend on local beaches, Playa Juan Dolio offers a mix of serenity and activity, depending on the spot you choose to set up for the day. Bachata and merengue play at high volume near the cluster of beachfront restaurants, which have umbrellas and chairs set up on the sand.

Wander toward the rocky outcropping near the beach’s western curve for a bit more quiet, or head toward the middle of the beach to see fewer chairs and tables and more windswept palm trees. No matter where you end up, expect to come across a few beach vendor selling everything from fresh-sliced coconuts to the fried dough treat known as yaniqueque.

There are two nearby golf courses (Guavaberry Golf and Country Club and Metro Country Club), and snorkeling and diving operators can take you to the most active coral reefs.

Eat, Drink and Stay

To recharge after a day in the sun, head to one of the restaurants along Calle Principal, the avenue behind the beach. You’ll find a range of choices, with a focus on Dominican seafood dishes and Italian cuisine.

Accommodations tend to be budget-friendly and somewhat rustic, with a few guesthouses and no-frills rooms available near the beachfront. The all-inclusive Emotions by Hodelpa is a recent addition to the lodging lineup; four-star options include Xeliter Marbella and Coral Costa Caribe Hotel.

Playa Juan Dolio at a Glance

City:Juan Dolio

Country or State:Dominican Republic

Length of Beach:.75 miles

Access:By car and bus

Best time to visit:Fall - best hotel rates

High Season:Dec. to April

Low Season:May to November


  • Several beachfront restaurants; even more options along Calle Principal
  • No lifeguards
  • No public restrooms

Beach Type:

  • White sand
  • Saltwater
  • Popular