Travelling is always fun, but it becomes more than fun when you visit a town that is full of adventures, luxury spots, and lots of fun activities. The Dominican Republic is full of such towns in hustling and bustling cities. Boca Chica and Juan Dolio are two such towns that are a world unto themselves, and each town offers a unique flavor of life that you can taste only here.
In Boca Chica, you will want something other than entertainment options. Hunt for galleries and shops in the downtown area. On the other hand, the next mouthwatering dish. What interests you the most? A delicious five-course meal at that trendy new restaurant? If you choose, read the paper over a cup of coffee at one of the numerous cafés in town. See a show, or just stroll the main drag and people-watch.
Why worry about what to do for hours on end? Just let yourself be carried along by the tide of opportunity as you venture into this uncharted territory. Put on your walking shoes and get to know the neighborhood. Browse the unique shops for the perfect memento or visit the newest gallery on your list to completely revamp your artistic perspective.
Are you picking up hints from the wind? Get in a rented automobile and drive it out into the countryside. Discover the history of the border towns and settlements you visit. Come back to your roots at a county fair and relive the joy of eating cotton candy for the first time. Enjoy some homemade jam at a rest stop on a long-forgotten route or get lost in the streamlined chaos of a major city. The opportunities before you, and the decisions you can make, are boundless.
Boca Chica is one of the most famous resort town of the Dominican Republic, which is near the capital Santo Domingo. Besides beach, coast, scuba diving and surfing, Boca Chica beams with nightlife as there are several bars, restaurants, pizza stands, souvenirs stalls and music which turns Boca Chica into a hustling town.
Boca Chica Beach
Boca Chica Beach is different when compared to what other beaches have to offer of Dominican Republic as its white sand accompanied with clear and calm water makes it a unique beach and icing on the cake is that you get to enjoy the magical view of the blue Caribbean Ocean. Soak up the sun here filtering through palm trees. The beach also has everything for watersports lovers, as water skiing, kayaking, banana boat rides, and the option to rent paddle boats are available.
La Matica Island
The beaches of Boca Chica are a paradise for sunbathing, swimming and water sports. A special charm is the rest on the remote from the coast island of La Matica. You can take a boat and swim in the mangroves. The forest, growing right in the water, is a fascinating journey which is full of mystery and gloomy beauty. It looks especially impressive at low tide, when the black ornate roots of plants are exposed, which create a kind of arches through which boats can sail. The island beach is not crowded, so it is ideal for lovers of a quiet pastime and mangrove tree lovers.
Los Pinos Island
If you just stand at the central beach of Boca Chica, you can see the Los Pinos Island from a birds eye view. Los Pinos island is perfect for surfing lovers. Los Pinos has a beautiful sandy beach and a pine forest. Yachts from the capital’s Santo Domingo and the Zar-Par Maritime Center often sail here. Although the waters here are shallow, and if you have booked a resort to stay in Los Pinos, it is not recommended to get to the island by swimming because the depth gradually increases. The island is quite large. Now Los Pinos is frequented by tourists for hiking. In order to explore the island, you will need shoes and mosquito repellent. Visiting Los Pinos Island will be one of the best things to do in Boca Chica, and you are going to love the experience.
La Caleta National Underwater Park
The best thing to do in Boca Chica is visit diving centers as it is one of the main tourist attractions here. What a bad vacation it will be if you just spend most of the part lying on a chaise longue and didn’t experience the life changing thrill of scuba diving. La Caleta National Underwater Park is just 10 km drive from Boca Chica, and it covers an area of 1550 square kilometers. In the past, two ships sank here, whose wreckage and the life that has evolved around it over the years can be experienced using scuba diving. If you are an experienced diver, then Padre Nuestro Cave which is located in the eastern part of the pool, should be your go to choice. Many underwater tunnels and caves make each dive a unique and unforgettable experience.
Scuba Diving in Boca Chica
Boca Chica is a vast harbor on the east side of Santo Domingo having turquoise waters and smooth, white sand which is protected by a coral reef. The water in the bay is generally no more profound than waist depth, and there are no unexpected drops or strong currents, making it ideal for partially submerged dives. The range of depths varies gradually which starts at 8 meters and ends at 35 meters. Boca Chica is home to different ranges of marine life as it has both hard and soft corals, sponges, and octopuses, along with reef fish, crabs, starfish, seahorses, and sole fish, among many more. Coral Garden and El Letrero are two of the most frequented and famous dive sites as they have an excellent visibility for underwater photographs and their abundance of marine life, including batfish, nudibranchs, lobsters and enormous colonies of jellyfish.
The Wreck of Catuan
On December 12, 2006, the Catuán went down to a level of roughly 18 meters (60 feet). This 108-foot-long (33-meter) tugboat is now a flourishing coral reef and home to swarms of tiny tropical fish that divers of advanced skill level can explore. The place is frequented by visitors for exploration of tiny tropical life, and it should be on your list of best things to do in Boca Chica.
Playa Boca Chica
Because it is close to the city, Boca Chica is the most popular beach in Santo Domingo. This famous beach is about a mile long and is known for its beautiful white sand and turquoise waters that don’t go deeper than four feet. Boca Chica also hosts annual beach volleyball and sailing competitions.
With your toes in the sand, dine on fresh fish and shellfish at one of the many beachfront restaurants or fish fry shacks that line the waterfront. Small and large hotels, primarily located in the downtown area and directly on Boca Chica beach, border the shoreline. A few exclusive beach clubs may be found on the town’s eastern border, and they all have dining on the water’s edge and access to the water from lounge decks.
Located on the highway in Boca Chica, one of the commercial banks of Dominican Republic has transformed its elegant lobby into a museum which is dedicated to the contributions of Dominicans to Major League Baseball (MLB). The exhibit is conveniently located near several Boca Chica hotels, and it exhibits baseball artifacts from the Dominican Republic’s 2013 World Baseball Classic victory, along with bats and balls used in pivotal baseball events which were given by Dominican Major League Baseball players.
Dining in Boca Chica
Boca Chica have Dominican, Italian and Seafood special cuisines. The prominent places say they have outstanding cuisine and a vista to remember. They have attracted many Italians who have set up shops with modest lodging and dining establishments. Consequently, the ambience and cuisine are distinctly Italian. Places like Boca Marina, Pelcano, also Neptune’s Calle Duarte are best known. Buxeda entertains the residents with special customary fish that is fried. On Calle Abraham Nez, at Da Nancy, you can get pasta with seafood right off the boat.
El Pelcano Terrace-Restaurant at BeLive Hamaca is a great place to watch live performances. Calle Duarte, the city’s main thoroughfare, is a pedestrian-only zone after dark. The air will be full of merengue and bachata. Boca Chica has earned the nickname “the village that never sleeps” thanks to its lively nightlife and abundance of open bars.
Things to do & Places to visit in Juan Dolio
In contrast to Boca Chica, Juan Dolio is a long stretch of resort buildings facing the Caribbean Sea. The area was primarily used for fishing until the 1980s when developers from Boca Chica migrated east to take advantage of the beautiful beaches. These resorts, which are all-inclusive and include other developments, today cover an area of around 5 kilometers. Juan Dolio is a cosmopolitan beach town which offers a tranquil tropical escape near the capital city. Juan Dolio’s long, spacious and sparkling white sand beach is complemented with exotic hotels, diving opportunities, restaurants, bars, and vacation homes, which means that you are never going to run out of things to do in Juan Dolio.
Cueva de las Maravillas
Number of Taino petroglyphs along with pictographs stretching back thousands of years can be seen in this vast cave between San Pedro de Macoris and La Romana. This cave is among the DR’s most visitor-friendly with its well-lit pathways, ramps, and elevator. Explore the “cave of wonders,” which is called because of its magnificent rock art and stalactites and stalagmites.
Barceló Rum Historical Center
Get in your car and drive the 15 minutes east of Juan Dolio to the city of San Pedro de Macoris to check out the distillery of one of the best rums in the country, Barceló. The Barceló Rum Historical Center opened in 2012. It has a large museum with a lot of information about the history of making rum in the country, how strong rum is to the culture, and how Barceló makes its rum. You can tour the rum barrel storage rooms, sample the different kinds of Barceló rum at the elegant on-site bar, and buy your favorites before you leave.
Juan Dolio Playa
If you are thinking of taking a long walk with a loved one, then over an hour will be required to walk the entire length of this stunning 10-kilometer stretch of white sand beach. The beach in Juan Dolio, which is blessed with both waves and calmer places, stretches along the city’s main road, Calle Principal, and is dotted with waterfront establishments like bars, restaurants, condos, and villas. More and more city dwellers and tourists are attracted to this part of the town in Juan Dolio, as it has luxury beachside hotels and resorts. Tourists can reach the Juan Dolio beach from two different points may access the beach: the main street in town, and the boulevard which just passes Club Hemingway.
Surfers and boogie boarders from the capital come here on the weekends for some wave action at this half-moon-shaped beach that faces a gorgeous bay. You may take beginner surf instruction and rent a surfboard here. Eat a seafood lunch afterward to fill up.
Wreck of Alto Velo
Just south of Playa Caribe on the southern shore, a tiny tugboat called the Alto Velo went down in the water. Situated at a shallow 26-foot depth, it immediately became an artificial reef teeming with marine life.
In Juan Dolio the Metro Country Club is just a half-hour drive east of Santo Domingo’s international airport. Its 18-hole course contains several creative bunkers, lakes, and mounds complimenting the Caribbean Sea’s natural splendor. The system, which opened in 1995 and was built by Charles Ankrom, features putting green, driving range along with an 18-hole mini-golf course, in addition to winding through a gated residential enclave.
Guavaberry Golf & Country Club
Guavaberry Golf & Country Club is an 18-hole course which is set up on a nature reserve. Although it quickly earned a reputation as a tough course, it is playable for golfers of all skill levels as it has five sets of tees.
Los Marlins Golf Course
Los Marlins Golf Course is the 18-hole course which features many artistic bunkers, and the surrounding lakes and mounds perfectly complement the surrounding beauty of the Caribbean Sea. If you love playing golf, then it will be a thrilling experience.
Juan Dolio Divers
Scuba diving is one fun and thrilling activity that you must experience in Juan Dolio’s blue pristine waters. There is a training session available if you are just a beginner or if you already know how to dive, you can straight jump into diving. There are other fun activities that you can do in Juan Dolio.
Jet skies are fun and thrilling rides which you can enjoy. Jet skis are available on rent on hourly basis and are a great experience.
Although banana boats were created to transport bananas rapidly from the North American countries to other parts of the world but in modern times, they have become a fun ride, especially for families. If you are looking for a fun and full of smiling ride, then book a banana boat and you are in for a joyful ride.
You don’t like sitting on a boat or just the idea that you are still farther away from water and want to be closer so you can get a feeling of floating! Well, water skiing is the one you should be looking for and you can easily rent the equipment after training to have a thrilling experience.
Cueva De Las Maravillas
Cueva De Las Maravillas houses hundreds of well-preserved Taino pictographs and petroglyphs which date back to hundreds of years and some even thousands of years. There are stunningly impressive samples of stalactites and stalagmites which you can only see here.
Playa Caribe faces a picturesque cove, and it has a half-moon shaped beach that delves downwards as it is the best attraction and most suitable place for surfers and boogie boarders on the weekends. If you are a surfing and kitesurfing enthusiast, then you must flock here for a wonderful experience.
Playa Guayacanes is a famous beach because it is frequented by both fishermen and tourists alike. This small fishing village of Guayacanes boasts a scenic white sand beach, coupled with nice and cozy restaurants and homes. Stroll at sunrise can be a lovely experience or watching a sunset here has its own charm.
Crazy Horse Ranch
Crazy Horse Ranch is one of the fun ride experiences. Horse riding can be enjoyed at a minimal cost and horses with basic training and wearing equipment is available for rent.
Los Delfines Water & Entertainment Park
Los Delfines Water & Entertainment Park is the finest entertainment park, which is offering fun activities in Juan Dolio, facing the ocean- what better place to scream in happiness than in front of the ocean. Experience a full day of unlimited excitement and fun in a unique and safe environment as the park is ideal for families. The park has 19 adrenaline attractions, 13 slides for adults and 6 for children, as well as 5 refreshing pools and a wave pool. If you prefer to relax in the shade and enjoy an authentic Caribbean cocktail, the ideal place is the ocean view bar at the Central Pool. Visiting this park might be one of the best things to do in Juan Dolio on your next vacation.
Barceló Rum Historical Center
Almost 15 minutes east of Juan Dolio, you must check out the distillery of one of the best rums in the country, Barceló. The Barceló Rum Historical Center opened in 2012. It has a large museum with a lot of information about the history of making rum in the country, how strong rum is to the culture, and how Barceló makes its rum. You can tour the rum barrel storage rooms, sample the different kinds of Barceló rum at the elegant on-site bar, and buy your favorites before you leave.
Dining in Juan Dolio
Hundreds of people flock to this beach region to dine at many dining options in Guayacanes on Calle Central and Juan Dolio on the Boulevard or Calle Principal, regardless of the view. Many of the eateries also function as nightclubs or bars.
Guayacanes is home to some of the world’s best restaurants and beaches, including Deli Swiss, La Playa by Nopal, Salitre, Playa El Pescador, Sca Club, St. Tropez Caribe, El Manguilito, and Cococane Beach.
El Sueño, El Mesón Español, Bistro Marianna, Sal Marina, El Lobo y la Sal, El Concón, Café del Sol, Paladar, and La Brissa, are some of the best restaurants in Juan Dolio.
The beachside pubs and lounges in Juan Dolio are popular late nightspots, with music and dancing. The Coral Costa Caribe Resort has a casino where you may have a good time, while closer to the heart of town, you will discover more pubs and lounges to enjoy cocktails in a more relaxed setting.
Juan Dolio has become a famous resort town as a vacation rental venue particularly with Canadians and North Americans. Many have discovered that Juan Dolio offers more competitive rental terms, a less crowded resort and interestingly it is more open to dynamic tourists from across the globe and enables visitors and locals to interact in an open way which is inclusive and welcoming.
When it’s time to choose between multiple destinations, distance and traveling is the first thing that comes to mind. What makes Boca Chica and Juan Dolio a perfect choice for tourists is that it offers all the experiences of beach life, activities, food and culture of the Dominican Republic in just a town. Time is precious and Boca Chica and Juan Dolio are the perfect icing on the cake where you can do so much in such a short span of time.
So, whenever you’re thinking about the best things to do in the Dominican Republic, it’s always good to include Boca Chica and Juan Dolio in your list. And who knows, and maybe reading all of the above has tempted you to book a flight and land straight in Santo Domingo, so you can come to this beautiful resort town and explore it by yourself with your loved ones!