Playa Las Ballenas

Dominican Republic


  •  Photo: Theresa Boehl

  •  Photo: Theresa Boehl

Pristine Playground

To find some of the Dominican Republic’s loveliest, least-crowded beaches, you’ll have to head to the Samaná peninsula, to the charming fishing village turned international seaside community known as Las Terrenas.

Here, you can take in the enchanting blue waters and golden sands of Playa Las Ballenas, a stretch that has as of yet avoided the influx of major hotel brands and giant all-inclusive resorts.

Beach-lovers from all over the world have abandoned their homelands and fully embraced this Dominican town, and the mix of cultures means that in addition to Spanish, you’ll hear French, Haitian Creole, German and Italian on the sidewalks and at the scores of hip bars and cafés. Playa Las Ballenas, located away from the bustle of the town center, is where expats and vacationers come to lounge and savor the tranquility.

Focus on Food

Speaking of food, if you like variety, you’ll definitely have it here, thanks to the widespread international influence in town. And with tons of independently owned eateries offering great beach views and al fresco dining in lush surroundings, you might never run out of options.

Great cocktails can be found at thatched-roof El Mosquito Bar, and solid wine options are presented at several Italian restaurants in Pueblo de Los Pescadores, a row of restaurants sharing an oceanfront patio. Otherwise, head to a colmado, or corner store, for a Presidente, the country’s beloved pilsner.

Nearby Attractions

Though it may be tempting to spend all your time submerged in the gorgeous waters of the Atlantic, there are some natural wonders nearby that simply cannot be missed.

Travelers’ favorites are the Salto del Limón waterfall and the lush Los Haitises National Park, both nearby and well worth the visit. Book an excursion to the ever-popular Cayo Levantado, a hilly island full of beaches waiting to be discovered.

Playa Las Ballenas at a Glance

City:Las Terrenas

Country or State:Dominican Republic

Access:By car, by taxi

Best time to visit:May to June - fewer crowds, better rates

High Season:December to April

Low Season:May to November


  • Many restaurants, bars and shops nearby
  • No lifeguards
  • No public restrooms

Beach Type:

  • Golden sand
  • Saltwater
  • Popular

Special Events:

  • Las Terrenas 10k