Castillo Beach

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.

Shade on the Beach

Shade on the Beach

Swimming Conditions

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.  (more…)