Homepage / Excursion Guides / Our Expert Guide to Playa Grande: Top Activities, Golf & More

Our Expert Guide to Playa Grande: Top Activities, Golf & More

Welcome to Playa Grande, a slice of heaven nestled on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. This isn't just any beach destination; it's a treasure trove of stunning views, thrilling waves, and an array of experiences that cater to every kind of traveler. Whether you're an adrenaline junkie, a peace seeker, a cultural enthusiast, or a foodie, Playa Grande has something special just for you.

In this expert guide to Playa Grande, we're going to take you through the top activities, the must-play golf courses, and the hidden gems that make this place a paradise.

So, are you ready to find out why Playa Grande should be at the top of your vacation list?

Dive in as we unfold the wonders of this Dominican Republic jewel!

What is Playa Grande Known For?

Beach Let's get real – the charm of Playa Grande goes way beyond its stunning beach. This place has stories to tell.

Did you know it was first explored by the Taíno people and later became a hotspot for Spanish conquests? Yep, every step on this beach is like walking through a history book. But don't worry, it's not all about the past.

The vibe here is lively, filled with the beats of Merengue and Bachata – trust me, you'll be swaying to the music even if you can't dance.

The food? It's a game-changer. We're talking about mouth-watering lunches with the works – rice, beans, chicken, or pork – and dinners that'll introduce you to the best local cheese and root veggies. This is where you'll taste the real Dominican Republic.

Tourism's booming here, especially with the new Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club. It's not just fancy – it's a lifeline for the locals, creating jobs and keeping the economy buzzing. But hey, Playa Grande isn't just about making money. It's big on protecting its natural treasures too. From leatherback turtles to lush wetlands, they're all about keeping this paradise, well, a paradise.

If you're into eco-friendly travel, you'll love how Playa Grande balances tourism with nature. It's not just a beach – it's an experience.

And let's not forget, this place is a treasure trove for surfers. Whether you're riding the waves or just watching them from the shore, Playa Grande makes you feel alive.

So, what makes Playa Grande stand out in the Caribbean? It's simple.

It's a place where history, culture, nature, and fun come together. It's not just a spot on the map; it's a vibrant community that welcomes you with open arms and an open heart.

How to Make the Most of a Visit to the Beach at Playa Grande

Surf

Timing is Everything

Playa Grande is a hot spot for both locals and tourists, and for good reason. But if you're looking to dodge the crowds, aim for a weekday visit or swing by during the low season from May to November. You'll get more beach to yourself and a chance to soak up Playa Grande’s beauty in peace.

Home Away From Home

Accommodation here ranges from the lap of luxury at places like Playa Grande Beach Club and Amanera to charming guesthouses that offer a cozy stay. Book in advance to snag your perfect spot. Remember, this beach fills up fast!

Pack Like a Pro

Since Playa Grande is au naturel, you'll need to bring your beach essentials – think food, drinks, sunscreen, and towels. There are some local vendors for quick bites, and you can hit up nearby restaurants and bars like Cappuccino & Vivero Flor Cafe or the Playa Grande Golf & Ocean Club for something more upscale. Just keep in mind, they might need a reservation.

Dive Into Fun

Water enthusiasts, rejoice! Whether you’re into gentle swims in clear waters, catching waves, snorkeling among coral gardens, or seeking the thrill of a jet ski ride, Playa Grande has it all. And for the anglers, there’s tuna, marlin, and dorado waiting for you offshore.

Explore Beyond the Beach

Why not take a boat tour to the mesmerizing Gri Gri Lagoon or La Cueva De Las Golondrinas? Discover mangroves, birdlife, and fascinating caves – it’s a whole new world out there.

Unwind and Reconnect

Playa Grande is the perfect backdrop for some R&R. Lie back on its soft sands, indulge in a sunset walk, or capture the breathtaking landscape through your lens. Some nearby resorts even offer yoga and meditation sessions – a blissful way to reconnect with nature and yourself.

Golf at Playa Grande

Golf on the beach Ever dreamed of teeing off in paradise? Well, Playa Grande in the Dominican Republic is calling your name!

This isn't just any golf course; it's an 18-hole masterpiece with golfers around the world buzzing. Think panoramic views, cliffside fairways, and the kind of pristine greens that make your golf buddies back home green with envy.

A Course with a View

Playa Grande Golf Course boasts ten oceanfront holes – yeah, you read that right, ten! That's the most you'll find in the Western Hemisphere. Imagine swinging your club with the Caribbean Sea as your backdrop, surrounded by mountains and lush greenery. It's like playing in a postcard.

Not Your Average Golf Day

But here's the twist – golfing at Playa Grande is not just about chasing birdies and eagles. It's about having fun, and I mean real fun. Ever tried ax throwing or an ice shot toss between holes? Well, here's your chance. The Point and Las Brasas are not just comfort stations; they're your ticket to a golfing adventure that's equally challenging and chill.

A Legendary Farewell

And get this – Playa Grande's course is the last one designed by the golf legend Robert Trent Jones Sr. Playing here is like walking in the footsteps of greatness. With each swing on this par 72 course, perched atop towering cliffs with the beach and sea stretching out below, you're not just playing a game; you're part of golfing history.

The Ultimate Golfing Experience

So, whether you're a pro with a knack for nailing that perfect shot or just a hobbyist looking to soak in some spectacular views, Playa Grande is your go-to golf destination. It's where professional design meets natural beauty, creating a golfing experience you can't miss. Pack your clubs and your camera – you're going to need both!

Best Resorts & Restaurants Near Playa Grande

Poolside Time to introduce you to some of the best resorts and restaurants near Playa Grande, where you can relax, indulge, and explore this amazing country.

Resorts

If you are looking for a luxurious and exclusive stay near Playa Grande, you can’t go wrong with Amanera1, a stunning resort that overlooks the beach from a clifftop perch. Amanera offers modern and spacious casitas, some with private pools, that feature floor-to-ceiling glass windows and panoramic ocean views. The resort also has a spa, a fitness center, a golf course, and three dining venues that serve local and international dishes with fresh ingredients. Amanera also organizes various activities and excursions for guests, such as water sports, hiking, horseback riding, and cultural tours.

Another option for a high-end stay near Playa Grande is Playa Grande Beach Club, a boutique resort that combines colonial and tropical style. Playa Grande Beach Club has nine bungalows, each with a unique design and decoration, that can accommodate up to six guests. The resort also has a pool, a restaurant, a bar, and a library. Playa Grande Beach Club is ideal for those who want to experience a cozy and intimate atmosphere, surrounded by lush gardens and palm trees.

For a more affordable and eco-friendly stay near Playa Grande, you can check out Las Puertas del Paraíso, a property that offers comfortable and colorful rooms, apartments, and villas. Las Puertas del Paraíso is located only 7 minutes’ drive from Playa Grande, and has a pool, a garden, a terrace, and a barbecue area. The property also provides free Wi-Fi, free parking, and free breakfast. Las Puertas del Paraíso is a great choice for those who want to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing stay, close to nature and local culture.

Restaurants

Entre Amigos: This is a cozy and friendly restaurant that serves Italian and European dishes, such as pasta, pizza, salads, and desserts. The owner, Remy, is a French chef who prepares everything with fresh and quality ingredients. The restaurant also has a nice garden and a terrace, where you can enjoy the breeze and the view. Entre Amigos is open for lunch and dinner, and you can make a reservation by calling +1 809-589-7065.

El Babonuco: This is a Caribbean and seafood restaurant that offers a stunning view of the ocean and the hills. The restaurant specializes in grilled fish, lobster, shrimp, and conch, served with rice, beans, salad, and plantains. The restaurant also has a bar, where you can enjoy a cold beer, a cocktail, or a smoothie. El Babonuco is open for lunch and dinner, and you can make a reservation by calling +1 809-589-7040.

Cappuccino & Vivero Flor Cafe: This is a cafe and a nursery that offers a relaxing and natural setting. The cafe serves healthy and organic food, such as sandwiches, salads, soups, and juices. The nursery has a variety of plants and flowers, such as orchids, bromeliads, and cacti. You can also buy souvenirs, such as pottery, paintings, and jewelry. Cappuccino & Vivero Flor Cafe is open for breakfast and lunch, and you can contact them by emailing cappuccinoyviveroflorcafe@gmail.com.

Restaurante Mi Jardin: This is an Italian and American restaurant that has a charming and rustic atmosphere. The restaurant serves pizza, burgers, steaks, ribs, and chicken, as well as salads, soups, and desserts. The restaurant also has a pool, a playground, and a mini golf course, where you can have fun with your family or friends. Restaurante Mi Jardin is open for lunch and dinner, and you can make a reservation by calling +1 809-589-7050.

Staying Safe In and Around Playa Grande

Haning out on the beach. So, you're off to Playa Grande – the sun, the sand, the endless adventures. But let's talk about keeping it safe and sound because a little caution means a lot more fun.

  • Mind the Waters: Those waves at Playa Grande are no joke, especially during winter. Keep your swims to the designated areas and close to the shore. It's all about enjoying the ocean safely.
  • Surfing? Do it Right: If you're hitting the waves, remember the reef break and hidden rocks. And hey, if you're new to surfing, local surf schools are your best bet for staying safe and shredding those waves like a pro.
  • The Dominican Sun Requires Respect: You're going to want to load up on sunscreen, wear a hat, and keep hydrated. Overdoing it under the sun can quickly turn your holiday sour.

When in Playa Grande... Embrace the local culture with open arms. Dressing modestly in public, respecting traditions, and asking before taking photos isn't just polite – it's part of the experience.

  • Local Cuisine: A Delight with Caution: Yes, dive into those delicious Dominican dishes, but remember to drink bottled water, ensure your food is properly cooked, and be cautious with street food. Enjoy the flavors without the fuss.
  • Outdoor Adventures Come with Responsibility: Got a hike or a water sport on the agenda? Cool, but team up with a guide, stick with trusted tour operators and suit up properly. Safety is the key to making these adventures truly memorable.
  • Choosing Your Stay Wisely: Your accommodation should be more than just comfy. Look for places with positive reviews and good security measures. It's peace of mind that enhances your vacation.
  • Emergency Savvy is a Must: Keep the local emergency numbers handy and know where the nearest medical facility is. Also, a basic first-aid kit is a smart addition to your travel pack.
  • Respect the Natural Beauty: Playa Grande is stunning, and we must keep it that way. Respect the wildlife, leave no trace, and follow local guidelines to help preserve this slice of paradise.

Remember, a safe trip is a trip filled with amazing memories. Remember these tips, and you're all set for a fantastic, worry-free time in Playa Grande!

Playa Grande Weather

a pool in dominican republic First off, Playa Grande is all about that tropical climate. Think warm, think sunny – it's summer vibes every day. Whether you plan to lounge on the beach or explore the town, the weather has your back.

The temperature here is like your favorite playlist – always hitting the right notes. Expect the mercury to hover in the upper 80s, perfect for sunbathing, swimming, or just chilling with a cold drink. Even in January, which they call 'cold' (spoiler: it's not), you're looking at a comfy lower 70s.

Dreaming of sunny blue skies and that perfect beach day? Aim for December to April. This is when Playa Grande is at its absolute best – warm days, cool nights, and skies so clear you'll forget what a cloud looks like.

Oh, and the water? It's like stepping into a warm bath. We're talking temps peaking at a glorious 82 to 86 degrees in September. Even in March, when it's 'coolest', the sea is still a welcoming 77 to 79 degrees. Snorkelers, swimmers, and water babies – this is your paradise.

May to October cranks up the heat and humidity, and yes, there's a bit more rain. But hey, those tropical showers are usually short and sweet. From December to March, it cools down a notch, making it perfect for exploring without breaking too much of a sweat.

Whether you're fleeing a chilly climate or just need a dose of Vitamin Sea, Playa Grande's weather is a year-round invitation to paradise. Its consistently warm temperatures and inviting waters make it the perfect getaway, especially from December to April. So pack your bags, grab your sunglasses, and get ready to step into a world where the weather is always part of the fun!

Getting to Playa Grande

fishing boats in Dominican republic Playa Grande is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches in the Dominican Republic, located on the north coast of the island, near the town of Rio San Juan. It offers a stunning scenery of golden sand, turquoise water, and lush green hills. It is also a great place to enjoy various activities, such as swimming, surfing, snorkeling, fishing, and golfing. But how can you get to this amazing beach from different parts of the country?

Here are some of the ways to getting to Playa Grande in the Dominican Republic, and the approximate costs and durations of each option.

From Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo is the capital and the largest city of the Dominican Republic, located on the south coast of the island. If you are in Santo Domingo, you have three options to get to Playa Grande: by bus, by car, or by plane and taxi.

By Bus

This is the cheapest and most convenient option, as there are frequent buses that run from Santo Domingo to Sosúa or Puerto Plata, which are the closest towns to Playa Grande. You can take a bus from Caribe Tours, which operates hourly from 6 am to 6 pm. The ticket costs $5 - $9 USD, and the journey takes about 3 hours. You can book your ticket online or at the bus station. Once you arrive in Sosúa or Puerto Plata, you can take a taxi or a local bus to Playa Grande, which is about 40 km away. The taxi fare is about $40 - $50 USD, and the local bus fare is about $2 - $3 USD. The taxi ride takes about 45 minutes, and the local bus ride takes about an hour. You can find more information about the bus service from Caribe Tours.

By Car

This is the fastest and most flexible option, as you can drive at your own pace and stop along the way to enjoy the scenery. You can rent a car from one of the many rental agencies in Santo Domingo, such as Budget, Avis, or Hertz. The rental cost is about $40 - $60 USD per day, depending on the type and size of the car. You will also need to pay for gas, tolls, and parking. The driving distance from Santo Domingo to Playa Grande is about 230 km, and the driving time is about 3 hours. You can follow the route 1 or the route 2, which are both well-paved and well-signed highways. You can find more information about the driving directions from Google Maps.

By Plane and Taxi

This is the most expensive and least convenient option, as there are no direct flights from Santo Domingo to Playa Grande. You will need to fly from Santo Domingo to Santiago, which is the second-largest city of the Dominican Republic, located in the central region of the island. You can take a flight from [Arajet] or [FlexFlight], which operate daily from 6 am to 8 pm. The ticket costs about $200 - $300 USD, and the flight time is about 40 minutes. You can book your ticket online or at the airport. Once you arrive in Santiago, you will need to take a taxi to Playa Grande, which is about 140 km away. The taxi fare is about $100 - $150 USD, and the taxi ride takes about 2 hours. You can find more information about the flight service from Arajet or FlexFlight.

From Punta Cana

Punta Cana is a resort town on the east coast of the Dominican Republic, known for its white sand beaches and turquoise water. If you are in Punta Cana, you have two options to get to Playa Grande: by car or by shuttle and bus.

By Car

This is the fastest and most flexible option, as you can drive at your own pace and stop along the way to enjoy the scenery. You can rent a car from one of the many rental agencies in Punta Cana, such as Budget, Avis, or Hertz. The rental cost is about $40 - $60 USD per day, depending on the type and size of the car. You will also need to pay for gas, tolls, and parking. The driving distance from Punta Cana to Playa Grande is about 380 km, and the driving time is about 4.5 hours. You can follow the route 3, which is a well-paved and well-signed highway. You can find more information about the driving directions from Google Maps.

By Shuttle and Bus

This is the cheapest and most convenient option, as there are frequent shuttles and buses that run from Punta Cana to Samaná, which is a peninsula on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, near Playa Grande. You can take a shuttle bus from [Interbus], which operates daily from 7 am to 5 pm. The ticket costs $20 - $25 USD, and the journey takes about 3 hours. You can book your ticket online or at the airport. Once you arrive in Samaná, you can take a bus from Caribe Tours, which operates hourly from 6 am to 6 pm. The ticket costs $5 - $8 USD, and the journey takes about an hour. You can book your ticket online or at the bus station. Once you arrive in Nagua, which is the closest town to Playa Grande, you can take a taxi or a local bus to Playa Grande, which is about 20 km away. The taxi fare is about $20 - $30 USD, and the local bus fare is about $1 - $2 USD. The taxi ride takes about 20 minutes, and the local bus ride takes about 30 minutes. You can find more information about the shuttle service from Interbus and the bus service from Caribe Tours.

Explore Playa Grande

Playa Grande is a paradise for beach lovers, golfers, and adventurers. It has everything you need for a perfect vacation: a beautiful beach, a spectacular golf course, and a variety of activities and attractions. You will surely have a memorable and enjoyable time at Playa Grande, and experience the beauty and tranquility of nature.

Thank you for reading our expert guide to Playa Grande. We hope you found it helpful and informative. Now, check out our favorite tours and excursions in the Dominican Republic and start planning your next adventure!

avatar
Pablo B
Local Writer
Pablo Belliard is a writer and graphic designer from Dominican Republic. He is currently launching a new publication focused on Dominican Republic culture & tourism. His writing on Dominican cuisine has been featured on ChefsPencil.com, and he has done journalism and communications work for a Dominican Republic-based non-profit, The Bienvenido Project, as well as the creative team at Monarchy Media.

Related Tours