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Las Ballenas Beach
Named Las Ballenas because of three rocky stones in the distance that resemble humpback whales, this spacious, wide white sand stretch with a shallow, calm sea sits right in the heart of Las Terrenas’s small town. Lined in part by hotels, villas, bars, and restaurants, on either side of the beach, it offers plenty of shade, and shallow waters ideal for families. Along the western end is where the river meets the sea, and you’ll see locals cooling off in crisp cold water. Las Ballenas’s close proximity to accommodations and meals means it’s also an ideal spot for a quick morning or sunset swim.
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Playa Bonita is as pretty as its name suggests–a crescent-shaped, cozy white sand beach lined with a variety of boutique hotels, villas, and restaurants. The western edge of the beach is as still as a swimming pool, attracting families, while the eastern side–facing hotels and a kitesurfing school–offers active waves for the adventurous. Pair a day at the beach with lunch at the excellent Hotel Atlantis’s beachfront restaurant, for French and Caribbean cuisine by the sea.
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At only a 2 minute drive from Beautiful Playa Bonita…
Among the top three most stunning beaches on the Samaná Peninsula, this golden, soft-sanded beauty is located just a 20-minute drive west from the heart of Las Terrenas. Also reached via the scenic Boulevard Turístico del Atlántico, it’s ideal for long walks, popular for kitesurfing–with on-site classes–and body surfing, and there are a handful of boutique hotels flanking its western and eastern sides. Dominican-style fish and seafood are served off fire-hearth grills, onto tables set directly on the beach. Walk off your lunch along Playa Cosón’s length to the eastern end, where you will end up at Punta Bonita, a stretch of sand jutting out into the sea where it connects with Playa Bonita.
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Playa Punta Poppy
Playa Punta Popy is the social and water sports beach hub of Las Terrenas. Peppered with a maze of giant palm trees, its white sand shores offer the perfect wind and wave conditions for kitesurfers, new or experienced. On the western side, calmer waters attract swimmers and paddleboarders, as well as crowds who come here to enjoy daily sunset views with a meal and a cocktail from a range of international restaurants and bars across the road.
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Playa El Portillo
Lined with resorts and villas, Playa Portillo begins at the entrance of Las Terrenas town, stretching all the way east as the first part of the whopping five kilometer (eight mile) long coastline. Playa Portillo’s soft white sand boasts a coral reef close enough to swim to, and offers easy snorkeling opportunities. The beach is enjoyed for the most part by resort guests and is set farther apart from town than the rest. From here, the stretch continues with varying names and characteristics along the way–as Punta Popy, Las Ballenas, Playa Bonita, and Playa Cosón.