Playa Grande beach is on the northern coast of the Island of Hispaniola in the Dominican Republic. While this is a good beach for relaxing on and a fair beach for swimming (at least in the summer), it’s best known as a surfing beach in the winter.
I’m not much of a surfer so I was talking with one of the Foreigners that live in the area. He explained why this was one of his favorite beaches in the area for surfing. First the people, you get a nice mix of Dominicans and Foreigners on the beach, most are relaxed and the competition for the waves is pretty lax.
During the winter waves can reach 10-12 feet. Usually the best time to go is between December and March but the surf season can start as early as November. While I was there (Nov 8th) the surf was reaching 6-10 feet (counting from the front of the wave). The water can get a little rough; my surfing guide told me that this was rather unusual for this beach. I’m not up in this area much so I’ll have to stick with the pictures I took that day, the water was rough enough that there was a red flag on the beach indication that it would not be a good day for swimming or surfing.
Playa Grande Beach
The beach is a pretty coral colored beach. There is plenty of shade close to the water, just out of the high tide line there are many trees you can lay under. This is a pretty long stretch of beach so if you take a bit of a walk you can reach some secluded areas away from the main areas where people use the beach.
There are several guys that work the area near the parking area serving food. Your choices are fried fish or Fried chicken with a side of rice and tostonis, or French fries and salad or avocado. The chicken and the fish are fried in the same grease so you get a distinct fish flavor to the chicken. The fries seem to have been fried in their own grease or no fish flavor. I’m not a big fish fan but this is one of the best fish meals I’ve had. The fish was locally caught, the portions were good and they were very well spiced before fried.
This actually isn’t a bad place to just hang out a couple hours and have dinner on the beach. They set up plastic tables and chairs for people that are eating and you can have yours set a little ways away from others if you would like a little more privacy. Nothing fancy, but the food is good and you get to sit on the beach and watch the waves while you eat.
The price was 280 pesos for either meal with whatever side you choose. They of course also have beer, usually Presediente and that goes for 70 pesos for the small bottle and 100 for the large bottle. You can also order a few different drinks Pina Coloda being the most popular. It comes in a cut pineapple. The drink portion is rather small and the price is 150 pesos. I didn’t ask but you might be able to get it in a glass so that you are not paying for the pineapple as well as the drink.
One thing many people don’t like about Dominican Beaches are the venders. Near the parking area you will find several venders trying to get you to buy locally made jewelry and other handmade items. Although they are a little better about not overwhelming you then some of the other beaches like Boca Chica beach but they can be a bit annoying. If you head down the beach away from the parking the number of venders decreases greatly. For the most part they like to stay near the food and parking area.
Well, I seen a sign saying there were bathrooms for 10 pesos, I didn’t find them. We did find a couple porta-poties a little ways down the beach; these were unmanned and didn’t cost anything.
Directions to Playa Grande
Playa Grande is on the east side of Rio San Juan on Highway 5. If you find Puerto Plato and the Samana peninsula on a map, you will find Rio San Juan pretty much halfway in between these two. If you are coming from Puerto Plato you will pass up the Playa Grande Club and Reserve which is one of the nicer golf courses in the DR.