The Dominican Republic is known for its pristine white sand beaches, sunny climate, and spicy culture. The island's easternmost tip, where the popular Punta Cana is located, has become known as the "Coconut Coast" for its abundance of luxurious, all-inclusive resorts. But if you book one of the hotels near El Macao, you'll find yourself off the glitzy beaten path and a little closer to an authentic island experience.
About a half hour's drive north of Bávaro, you'll find the small town of El Macao, but it's the beach that is the true attraction. UNESCO called it one of the Caribbean's finest beaches, and you'll know why when you stick your toes in its soft sand and clear waters or take a nap beneath one of its abundant palms. It's a popular surfing spot, especially in the winter, and you'll find many locals there on weekends. Rent a board or take a surf lesson to work up an appetite, then refuel at one of the restaurants right on the sand or on the cliff overlooking the beach.
For a more primitive experience, buy some fish or lobster from one of the local fishermen. They'll cook it up right on the beach while you sip a cold beer. Many safari truck and buggy tours stop at Macao Beach to let their guests take a swim—the middle of the beach is typically the best spot to dive in, as the waves get more intense to the left. The whole family can enjoy activities like horseback riding and paddle surfing, but be sure to give yourself time to relax and soak in the sun on this undeveloped 3.2-mile stretch of sand, away from the crowds of the resorts. There are many hotel deals close to El Macao, ready to help you relax in this pristine Dominican paradise.