Why is Macao Beach one of the top beaches in the Dominican Republic?
Located in a small rural town named El Macao, Macao Beach sits on the northern end of the Punta Cana region in the Dominican Republic. One of the things that make this island so charming is its impressive mountainsides, waterfalls and world class beaches. From the 27 waterfalls by Puerto Plata and the Botanic Gardens of Santo Domingo, to the pristine sands of Macao Beach. Furthermore many of these sites are privatised which makes the ones still available to the public loved and treasured by the people who frequent them. Macao Beach is the perfect beach for backpackers and peoples who are looking for a unique local experience. Find out more about backpacking in Dominican Republic here.
What makes Macao Beach so special?
As you pass through the rural township of Macao. Past the last Colmado and up over the crest of the hill. A stark crystal blue will leap from the landscape with the spray of white water as waves crash into the cliffs on the headland. As you approach and manage to peel your eyes from the entrancing Atlantic blue you will notice tall palms and some little huts spread along this Dominican beach.
By the waters edge
Thatched palm roofs adorn the small restaurants and a line of motorbikes and small buses from private tours and taxis sit in the shade on the last of the bitumen. A collection of surfboards along the wall of the Macao surf school and people hanging out with coconuts in hand. Also you can sit and watch the clusters of professional and semi professional surfers drifting in the ocean waiting for their waves.
Whats going on?
The road turns to the right and the bitumen replaced with sand as it runs parallel with the beach. Used mostly by the motorcycles of local street vendors and the buggy tours that operate in the area. Along the walking southwest along the beach you will come across tourist vendors selling trinkets and souvenirs. Also young Dominicans offering photo oppurtunities with iguanas, monkeys and parrots. Local musicians approaching groups and playing Dominican batchata and merengue for donations. Occasionally the residents of the Macao Beach Hostel with their slacklines set up between the palm trees to include guests in their practice.
Whats the vibe?
The days at Macao Beach can change dramatically from one to the next. If you come down one imaginary Friday,when the water is still. You will be swept up in the calm and tranquility. Walk out through the glass ocean for over 100 meters of waist deep sparkling water. By the same token, Return the next day to the thundering crash of world competition class waves breaking forcefully onto the shore. Furthermore, Sundays will bring a whole other element to your experience! Being the only public beach in the area (all the rest are owned by resorts and off limits). Sunday being the Dominican day off. Families pour onto the beach with their giant speakers attached to cars and the peaceful Macao Beach becomes a fiesta for a day.
Percieved by many as the perfect picturesque tropical beach, in the early hours you will find brides, grooms and models indulging in the lush landscape.
What are the local trades?
Along the south eastern end of the beach is where the fisherman push their boats out into the surf in the morning and return later in the day to a collection of people from the local restaurants wanting to get the best picks of fish for the day. Further along the beach, past the 2 lifeguard stations. There is the drop off point of tours coming from the resorts in the neighbouring towns. A cluster of restaurants and souvenir sales men approaching the flocks.
What can you eat?
Waiters will try to coax you in by opening their ice boxes. A selection of fresh fish from the days catch. All you need to do is simply point at the fish, shrimp or lobster you want and it will be barbequed before you and severed with fried plantains, salad, beans and rice. A true Dominican quisine and downright delicious. Extremely friendly in plying their trade, “hello my friend, where you from?” will echo along the waters edge during the 40 minute intervals of tour groups. Hang around long enough for the groups to move away and the atmosphere will immediately shift. These people are clearly all friends and want to be friendly with you. If you buy their wares. All the better.
Whats just around the corner?
Continue up the cliff and through the suddenly thick jungle growth along a well trodden path and there is a spot where the stone has been cut down into steps. Descending the cliff down to a sandy cove. Isolated, tranquil and quite. Also the cliffs along the eastern side provide a natural wave break. Perpetually calm waters and schools of fish feeding, occasionally leaping from the water. Just 50 metres from the shore.
Macao beach is a place in the Dominican Republic where you can enjoy hours, days or weeks. For some people, they will enjoy it for years or the rest of their lives. Find out more about the hidden treasure of Punta Cana here