Comments Off on Castillo Beach in La Isabela, Dominican Republic
If you are having your Dominican Republic vacation planned out by a travel agent you will likely be hitting the larger beaches and resorts like Punta Cana, Boca Chica, La Romana, Las Terrenas or Puerto Plata. These are all larger beaches and towns and like most tourist locations are probably going to be packed with people. Sometimes though, it is nice to hit one of the “off the beaten path” locations. One of my favorites is Castillo Beach in La Isabela in the northern part of the Dominican Republic.
Like most of Dominican beaches Castillo Beach is pretty crowded on the weekends, to us, when is really shines in during the week. On most weekdays the beach is pretty close to empty and doesn’t start picking up until the late afternoon. That makes it a nice quite beach to relax on, but is still has the advantage of having services right on the beach (unlike most of the other quite beaches we go to). One thing to point out though is that I am not talking about “resort quality” services. You should be expecting a laid back atmosphere with beach huts for the services. However you can find most of the necessities there are “flush” bathrooms (fairly clean), changing rooms, a few small restaurant / bar combinations and lots of sand and water!
Snorkeling and Shell hunting
One of the reasons my family likes to head to different beaches is the variety of shells and fish. Each beach we go to has something different. One item that is unique at this beach are the unusual sand dollars. You can walk (with water shoes, there are urchins) out onto shelves and pick up sand dollars. As you can see from the pictures these sand dollars are a little different. They are much thicker than most sand dollars I have seen and they have a cool star pattern that is raised up from the shell. You also find a lot of different colored urchin shells on this beach. Most of the fish I have seen are pretty small, although I haven’t went very far out. There are areas of deeper water, but you would have to get out past the shelf to see larger fish.
Castillo beach is a good beach for children. So far I haven’t seen much in the way of waves (very poor surfing beach) and the water gets deeper very slowly in most areas. This beach also has plenty of trees fairly near the water so you can get out of the sun if you like.
Castillo Beach Restaurants and Bars
Well, they are not exactly restaurants, although the Piez de Colon does have a covered sitting area with tables. Two of these restaurant / bars are more like beach huts. However they do have drinks, both alcoholic and sodas, various snacks, and sell fried fish and fried chicken plates served with tostonies or French fries. If you have a group of people they will usually work with the price a little. The fish or chicken plates are usually around 200 pesos with tostonies or fries and a large plate of French fries alone is about 150 pesos. Especially if you have a group it is a good idea to let them know as soon as you get to the beach what you want so that they can be sure they have enough fish etc on hand. You can tell them when you want to eat and they will try to have it ready around the time you specify. There are three beach bar / store / restaurants.
- Cafeteria Piez de Colon – This is the largest and is located at the entrance. This is where you will find the bathrooms and changing areas (to change into your swim suits). They also have a fairly large eating area with tables and chairs.
- D’Tania is in the middle of the beach
- La Carabela is likewise in the middle of the beach area.
Pictures of Castillo Beach
Directions to Castillo Beach
Getting to the beach can be a little tough. You will likely either hire a taxi or rent a car to get there. So this trip is likely to be for the more adventuresome of our readers. Castillo Beach is located in a small town called La Isabela. One ways to get there is to head up the freeway between Santiago and Puerto Plata. About in the middle of those two cities you will find a town called Imbert. Turn west in the middle of town (highway 29) and then follow the signs (or ask directions) to La Isabela. Once you get into town you will need to ask directions to the beach because it is not marked with a sign. If you accidently end up in Luperon don’t worry, you are not too far off track. Highway 29 goes through Luperon and then turns west to get to La Isabela. Even though it is quicker to turn off of highway 29 several miles out of Imbert and take highway 30 the rest of the way to La Isabela, many of the locals only know the highway 30 route.