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Bavaro Beach is THE main beach in Punta Cana! If you are wondering how to visit it, where to stay and what to do at Bavaro Beach, this is your article not to miss. Bavaro Beach is an amazing stretch of beach in Punta Cana, with beach bars, restaurants, all-inclusive resorts, stunning beachfront apartments and exciting activities. However, even the beach, which is also called Playa Bavaro, is public, public access points are limited, so it’s good to know how to get to Bavaro Beach. This comprehensive guide (from someone who has visited the beach more than 100 times) will show you everything you need to know for your vacation in Punta Cana when visiting Bavaro Beach, incl. differences and similarities to other beaches in the area, such as Corales, Cortecito, Jellyfish and Bibijagua.
This article is about Bavaro Beach. If you are interested about further beaches in Punta Cana, check out this article about the best beaches in Punta Cana. It is also part of the Dominican Republics’ best beaches.
There is also a separate article about Macao Beach in case you are interested in this beach further north.
COMPLETELY UPDATED: December 2023
What is Bavaro Beach?
Bavaro Beach, Dominican Republic, is Punta Cana’s main beach, stretching from Cabeza de Toro until Macao. Even there is no official definition and the borders to its neighboring beaches are seamless, it can easily be said that Bavaro Beach – or Playa Bavaro as it is called in Spanish – is the longest beach in the entire Punta Cana area. It is also where most of the beach action in Punta Cana is happening. If you are looking for beach clubs, local vendors, public access points and spontaneous activities, this is your beach to go to in Punta Cana.
However, don’t imagine it to be a crowded beach. There is always something going on, people are enjoying their beach walks and locals are sitting in the sand, but as the beach is extremely long and wide, you always have more than enough space, it NEVER feels crowded.
Depending on the exact definition of Bavaro Beach, it is between 5 and 12 miles long, with the finest sand featuring a white to golden color. The watercolors are ranging from oceanic blue to light turquoise. If you are looking for beaches with other colors, for example, the whitest beaches in Punta Cana, check out this article about the best beaches in Punta Cana.
Furthermore, Bavaro Beach is one of the widest sections of all Punta Cana beaches. Depending on the area, it is easily more than 300 feet wide, especially between Corales and Bibijagua, lined with the all-inclusive resorts of Melía, Paradisus, Dreams Royal Beach and Secrets Royal Beach.
Where is Bavaro Beach?
Bavaro Beach is located in Punta Cana in the east of the Dominican Republic. It is located north of Punta Cana International Airport, alongside the commercial center of Punta Cana which is called Bavaro. Bavaro Beach borders the Atlantic Ocean.
Map of Bavaro Beach
Definition of Bavaro Beach
As you can see, Bavaro Beach hasn’t any clear limits and the definition of Playa Bavaro varies.
If you enter Playa Bavaro in Google Maps, it marks you the entire area in Bavaro which is lined by Bavaro Beach all-inclusive resorts and a few beach clubs, restaurants and beachfront apartments. It doesn’t include the long stretch of pristine beach after passing Hard Rock Punta Cana up to Macao, so the total length according to this definition is 8.5 miles.
If you trust Wikipedia, Bavaro Beach runs all the way from Cabeza de Toro to Macao Beach, which would set it to 12 miles approximately.
According to the Dominican Republic Tourist Board, Bavaro Beach is “extending 48 kilometers (30 miles) and surrounded with coral reefs, being the most developed section of this Punta Cana resort area”. While it is completely correct that Punta Canas beaches have a length of 30 miles and more, it would be exaggerated to count them all towards Bavaro Beach. Therefore, this definition is not entirely wrong, but it uses a lot of marketing creativity.
Finally, asking the locals from Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic, there is also no clear definition of Playa Bavaro. People from Punta Cana usually only refer to the subparts of Bavaro Beach, such as Cortecito, Corales or Jellyfish. And Dominicans visiting the Punta Cana area have different imaginations of what Bavaro Beach actually is. However, a crucial definition for them is which parts are publicly accessible.
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For this Bavaro Beach Guide, I am referring to the area between Bibijagua Beach and the beginning of Arena Blanca Beach. All recommendations here – activities, Airbnbs, beachfront apartments, hotels, beach clubs or restaurants – are located in this area which is the main stretch of Bavaro Beach in the Dominican Republic and which has several public access points (see map above and below).
Which beaches are part of Bavaro Beach (Corales, Cortecito, Jellyfish, Bibijagua)
Depending on your point of view, Bavaro Beach is a 5-12 miles long and uninterrupted stretch of finest sand or a combination of different smaller beaches connected with each other.
If you are looking at my post about Punta Canas’ best beaches, you see that there are different beaches such as Jellyfish Beach, Cortecito Beach or Corales Beach, which are all part of Bavaro Beach. Those are also the areas which provide all the Bavaro Beach public access points.
Bibijagua Beach, the most southeastern stretch of Playa Bavaro, can be counted towards Bavaro Beach as well.
Which beaches are not part of Bavaro Beach (Arena Blanca, Arena Gorda, Macao)
Once leaving Cortecito Beach northward, you’ll reach the Arena Blanca beach section. There is no defined border if or where Bavaro Beach ends, but as there are no further public access points and no beach clubs (except Kukua Beach Club further north) or local restaurants, the scenery changes a bit as it is exclusively dominated by Punta Canas’ all-inclusive resorts.
Therefore, the Arena Blanca and the following Arena Gorda Beach should not be considered to the immediate core of Bavaro Beach, even it is completely walkable and the beach doesn’t have any interruption, as it features 12 miles of unlimited sand from Playa Bibijagua until Playa Arena Gorda.
Macao Beach, located even further north, is not part of Bavaro Beach either.
Bavaro Beach Facts
Are you looking for a few numbers and facts about Bavaro Beach? Here we go:
- length: 5 miles (extended length with adjoining beaches: 12 miles)
- width: up to 250 feet
- color: white-golden
- temperatures are varying between 66°F (coldest night in December/January) and 94°F (hottest day in July/August) (read more about the weather in Punta Cana here)
- Punta Cana International Airport is a 25-minute ride away from Bavaro Beach
- sometimes Bavaro Beach is also referred to as the Coco Coast because of its many palm trees
- Playa Bavaro is public and free, you don’t need a ticket for Bavaro Beach
- 4 public access points at Bavaro Beach
- Bavaro Beach resorts count approx. 20 all-inclusive hotels
Interested in more Bavaro Beach facts? Just drop me a comment and I am happy to answer.
Bavaro Beach resorts
Bavaro Beach has its fair share of all-inclusive resorts, even there are a couple of local restaurants, beach clubs or beachfront villas every now and then. This makes this Punta Cana beach particularly attractive, as there is more than just resorts.
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When strolling along this beach from the southeast to the northwest, you can find the following Bavaro Beach resorts:
- Barceló Resort (Barceló Bávaro Palace und Barceló Bávaro Beach)
- Lopesan Costa Bávaro Resort
- Melía Resorts (Meliá Caribe Beach Resort, Meliá Punta Cana Beach, Garden Suites by Melia and Falcon’s Resort by Melia)
- Paradisus Palma Real
- Dreams Royal Beach
- Secrets Royal Beach
- Impressive Resort (Impressive Resort and Impressive Premium Resort)
- Vista Sol Punta Cana
- Palladium Resort (Grand Palladium Bávaro Suites, Grand Palladium Punta Cana, Grand Palladium Palace and TRS Turquesa)
If you are wondering what is the best all-inclusive resort at Bavaro Beach for your vacation in Punta Cana, I have a couple of recommendations for you. All resorts are different, so it pays out to know which one is suitable for each type of traveler. If you want to know more on how to pick the best all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, continue reading here.
Bavaro Beach guesthouses & Airbnbs
Even there are several Bavaro Beach public access points, there aren’t a lot of guesthouses in this area. Most of the accommodation besides all-inclusive resorts are either stunning luxury villas, amazing beachfront apartments or small Airbnb double rooms. There are a few small bed and breakfast hotels as well – we are happy to list our favorites at Bavaro Beach here.
Bavaro Beach restaurants and beach clubs
Most Bavaro Beach restaurants and beach clubs are located at or next to the 4 public access points marked on the map above: Bibijagua, Jellyfish, Corales and Cortecito. All of them are right at the beach and serve as a beach club and restaurant at the same time. Some of them are more chilled out and focus on drinks with selected food options, others are more similar to a full-service restaurant located right at the beach. Check out the following options at Bavaro Beach for some tropical beach club cocktails and casual beachfront dining in Punta Cana.
- Nova Beach Club (Bibijagua Beach): located right at Bibijagua Beach, this newly renovated restaurant is particularly famous for lunch and a casual beachfront drink. (opening hours Nova Beach Club 2024: every day from 9 am until midnight)
- Jellyfish (Jellyfish Beach): Jellyfish beach club and restaurant offers different levels for drinks and food at the homonymous part of Playa Bavaro. Choose between the terrace, the second floor or the beach with a wide menu. (opening hours Jellyfish Bavaro Beach 2024: every day from 10 am until 11 pm)
- Soles Chill Out Bar (Corales): the name says it all: chill out! Even Soles does have food as well, their main attraction is their chill-out vibe with corresponding drinks. You’ll often have live DJs as well. (opening hours Soles Punta Cana 2024: every day from 9 am until midnight)
- Zoho Beach (Corales): a full-service restaurant and beach club, conveniently located at the end of the access road to the Corales part of Bavaro Beach (opening hours Zoho Bavaro Beach 2024: every day from noon until midnight, on weekends from 9 am)
- Mojitos Beach Club (Cortecito): a new beach club in Punta Cana, located right at Bavaro Beach in the Cortecito area. Good drinks, typical beach club food, nice vibe. (opening hours Mojitos Beach Club 2024: every day from 8.30 am until 8.30 pm, on weekends until 9 pm)
- Onnos (Cortecito): one of the most popular bars in the Dominican Republic, which has locations in Santo Domingo, Cabarete, Casa de Campo and Punta Cana. Here at Bavaro Beach, you’ll enjoy beachfront drinks, good music and the typical Onno’s menu. Best option for a night out at a bar close to the beach. (opening hours Onnos Bavaro 2024: every day (except Mondays) from 3 pm until 2am)
Things to do at Bavaro Beach
Probably the main reason you are visiting Bavaro Beach is … the beach! Swimming, sunbathing, having a stroll, sipping on a cocktail – you name it. However, there are a couple of other things-to-do at Bavaro Beach, especially when you are looking for some activities. How about snorkeling, visiting the natural swimming pool or seeing Bavaro Beach from above?
Especially snorkeling at Bavaro Beach is a much-requested activity, even though some of the best snorkeling activities in Punta Cana start outside of Playa Bavaro. Therefore, you can either choose these amazingly-rated snorkeling excursions, for example, this one for adults* or this one for families* or you snorkel right from Bavaro Beach and check what you can explore underwater. Especially when heading towards the southeastern end or continuing to Cabeza de Toro, you might find some fish when snorkeling from the beach.
Need further ideas on what to do? Check out the best activities and excursions in Bavaro and Punta Cana!
Bavaro Beach public access points: how to get there?
From most all-inclusive resorts, especially in the Bavaro area, you can access Bavaro Beach walking. Alternatively, you might already stay right at Bavaro Beach, especially when you have booked hotels like Barceló, Melía, Lopesan, Impressive, Vista Sol or Palladium.
If you stay outside of this area, you have 4 Bavaro Beach public access areas: Bibijagua, Jellyfish, Corales and Cortecito.
If you have a rental car in Punta Cana, Bibijagua and Jellyfish are your best options as they have the biggest parking lots. Parking in Corales and Cortecito is more limited, even though you usually find a space.
If you are arriving by public transport, Corales and Cortecito are the easiest access points. Just tell the driver you’d like to get out at either of both points and walk the remaining 2-5 minutes.
If you would like to arrive by taxi or Uber Punta Cana, all sections at Playa Bavaro are accessible without a problem.
As you can see on the map, you have public access to all Bavaro Beach sections from the main road (Avenida Alemania / Francia / España) running through Bavaro.
The access for Bibijagua is between Barceló Resort and IFA Villas Bavaro / Lopesan.
The access for Jellyfish is between Lopesan and Melía Resort.
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Corales is located between Secrets Royal Beach and Impressive Punta Cana.
Cortecito is located between Presidential Suites by Lifestyle Vacations Club and Palladium Resort Punta Cana.
If in doubt, just leave a comment and I am happy to help.
Bavaro Beach Seaweed
In recent years, seaweed in Punta Cana has become an issue, even though it is not a Punta Cana-specific problem, it occurs in the entire Caribbean, the US, Central America and Mexico. Also, Bavaro Beach gets its fair share of seaweed, but if you know a bit about what to expect and where to go, you still can enjoy the amazing beaches of Punta Cana.
Punta Cana’s and Bavaro Beach’ seaweed season runs from around February/March until autumn. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t see any seaweed outside of these months and this doesn’t mean that you will have seaweed every day during the seaweed season in Punta Cana.
Basically, all resorts in Punta Cana clean their beaches daily, including all of the Bavaro Beach resorts mentioned above. Furthermore, seaweed usually arrives in batches, hence you sometimes have weeks without any new seaweed. There are also beaches in the surrounding where you can go which are usually free of seaweed, such as Macao Beach, Bayahibe or Miches.
For further information on this topic, I’d highly recommend reading the extensive Punta Cana Seaweed Guide here on Punta Cana Travel Blog, where we have explained the whole subject thoroughly and shared all our experiences with the sargassum at Bavaro Beach and Punta Cana from the recent years.
And always remember, the sargassum is a mostly new phenomena and nobody knows how the seaweed will be at Bavaro Beach 2024. Weather conditions always can change
Comparison of Punta Canas beaches
Punta Cana has a lot of different beaches and sometimes it is hard to know which one is the right one for you.
In general, Bavaro Beach ticks a lot of boxes, it is not without a reason one of the best beaches in Punta Cana. However, you might look at some accommodation or an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana which is on another beach and would like to know how it does compare to Playa Bavaro. Check out the following sections to see which one of the beaches in Punta Cana is the right one for you.
Juanillo Beach vs. Bavaro Beach
Juanillo Beach is located in Cap Cana in the south of Punta Cana. It is a picture-perfect white-sand beach with very shallow and turquoise water, which makes it one of the most photogenic beaches in Punta Cana. However, the beach is not as perfect for swimming as Bavaro Beach and there is just one small beach club (which is also pretty expensive). When comparing Juanillo Beach vs. Bavaro Beach, Juanillo is also considerably shorter, after 3 minutes of walking you have explored it all.
Recently, a couple of new hotels were opened at Juanillo Beach, such as Margaritaville Island Reserve* and Hyatt Ziva*. Further resorts and properties are under construction.
Arena Gorda Beach vs. Bavaro Beach
Arena Gorda Beach officially is not a part of Bavaro Beach but can be definitely considered as its prolongation. You can walk from Bavaro Beach to Arena Gorda Beach, hence the natural character is similar. The beach is perfect for swimming, walking and counting the endless palm trees, even though Arena Gorda Beach usually is not as wide as Bavaro Beach.
Another difference when comparing Arena Gorda Beach vs. Bavaro Beach is the public access. Arena Gorda Beach doesn’t have any public access and only one beach club-style restaurant, hence it can’t compete with Bavaro Beach when it comes to bars, social vibe and locals at the beach. On the other side, if you are just looking for a Punta Cana beach as a location for your all-inclusive resort, Arena Gorda is a perfect option.
One of the best places to stay at Arena Gorda Beach is Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana.
Cap Cana vs. Bavaro Beach
If you are choosing accommodation options between Cap Cana and Bavaro Beach, you are basically deciding between staying in a gated community that was built out of nowhere and staying close to the center of Punta Cana, Bavaro. While the beaches in Cap Cana are beautiful without any doubt, there is absolutely nothing around, hence you can only leave your resort by rental car, taxi or when heading on one of the excursions in Punta Cana.
Another thing to consider when comparing Cap Cana vs. Bavaro Beach is that Cap Canas’ beaches are more on the shorter side, hence you can’t go on long beach walks like at Playa Bavaro. On the other side, Cap Cana offers more options when you are looking for private villas* or top-notch resorts without all-inclusive, such as Eden Roc* or Four Points by Sheraton*.
Macao Beach vs. Bavaro Beach
Macao Beach is renowned because of two things and therefore differs significantly from Bavaro Beach: it is the local favorite when they head to one of Punta Canas’ beaches during the weekend and it is the number 1 spot in Punta Cana for surfing.
Usually, the weekends are pretty busy at Playa Macao. Even though people also love to hang out at the beach clubs along Bavaro Beach, this is nothing compared to the crowds enjoying their cold beer and freshly fried fish at the several “Comedores” at Macao Beach.
Another important thing when comparing Macao Beach vs. Bavaro Beach are the water conditions. Usually, you can easily access the ocean in Macao, but you have to take care of the waves and the currents. While this always depends on the day, you are safer to stay in the shallow area or at the eastern end of the beach.
Another difference between Macao Beach and Bavaro Beach is the amount of accommodation. Dreams Macao Beach is the only all-inclusive resort in Macao and also the best and only option to stay right at the beach.
Uvero Alto Beach vs. Bavaro Beach
Uvero Alto and Bavaro Beach are already 15 miles apart, but both are still part of Punta Cana. Uvero Alto is particularly famous for its upscale Punta Cana resorts but offers a gorgeous beach as well. It is more golden than Bavaro Beach, but still offers beautiful views and particular more pristine stretches, hence you are much closer to nature than at Playa Bavaro. With around 5 miles, Uvero Alto is also one of the longer beaches in Punta Cana, even though it can’t compare with Bavaro Beach’s 12 miles.
Another important thing to note when comparing Uvero Alto Beach vs. Bavaro Beach is that the water is a bit rougher in Uvero Alto, hence you might have a red flag the one or another day, but in usual circumstances, you still can enjoy the ocean on the most days.
The best place to stay at Uvero Alto Beach is Zoetry Agua Punta Cana* or Excellence Punta Cana*. If you want to stay in Uvero Alto and are looking for a Punta Cana family resort, Grand Sirenis Punta Cana in the budget segment and The Finest Punta Cana in the upscale segment are your best choices.
Cabeza de Toro Beach vs. Bavaro Beach
Cabeza de Toro Beach is located south of Bavaro Beach and is a small agglomeration of all-inclusive resorts and a few shops. The beach here differs widely depending on where you stay. If you stay at Serenade Punta Cana or Catalonia Bavaro Beach, you can expect a beautiful beach, perfect for photos and having a beach walk. As the ocean is pretty shallow here, this area of Cabeza de Toro Beach is not as perfect for swimming as Bavaro Beach, but great for hanging out in the water with a drink.
On the other hand, if you’re staying at Sunscape Coco, Dreams Flora Punta Cana or Jewel Palm Beach, you have a wider beach with a more swimmable ocean.
Another thing important to know when checking Cabeza de Toro Beach vs. Bavaro Beach is that Cabeza de Toro hardly has any life outside of the resorts. It is a small resort town with nothing around, hence if you want to explore the local area walking during your Punta Cana vacation, the Bavaro Beach area is a better choice for you.
What do you think of Bavaro Beach? Have you been here or are you planning to visit? Feel free to comment with your thoughts.
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Author, Travel Coach & Punta Cana based digital nomad
Hey, I am Chris, a born and raised German, travel-addictive and Caribbean Soul. Since 2011 I have been living in the Caribbean, among them 5 years in the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana is my home-base here in the country and I’d love to tell you more about how to experience Punta Cana off-the-beaten-track and give you all the advice you want to know for your vacation in Punta Cana.