A top beach in the Caribbean. Located in coastal town called “El Macao” on the fringe of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Unlike its neighboring villages of Bavaro and Uvero Alto (10 to 15 km’s in either direction), it has none of the resorts and tourism vibe. A small town with one main road that leads from the highway to the beach. Macao Beach is one of the only public beaches in an area littered with all inclusive resorts. Here you can mingle with locals, enjoy life the way the Dominicans do and get in touch with a simpler living.
Photo by: Mayela Garza
Macao Beach is a very unique place within the region.
10 minutes walk from the town, Macao Beach lies on the eastern shore of the Dominican Republic. The early hours of the morning create a scene of brilliant sunrise off the cliffs, sand and blue water. Fisherman returning from their nights on the ocean with their catch as fresh as you can get it to source the local restaurants for the day. The hustle bustle of local traders setting up their stalls for the groups of tourists the resorts will bring. With no buildings around except for the beachside restaurants and surf schools you couldn’t find a sharper contrast to the standard “Punta Cana” as advertised.
the Dominican Republic is five eigths of the island Hispaniola in the Carribean. The country is 48,000 square kilometres and shares its western border with Haiti. Macao sits on the eastern shore and coasts the Atlantic ocean in the state of La Altagracia.
A Typical Dominican village by the sea.
Macao is a small village with pastures and small Dominican houses. Livestock keep to their paddocks as much as the locals keep to their working hours. There is an internet café, hair dresser, 4 restaurants, an empanada stall (THE empanada stall), 3 banca (to put credit and play lotto), 2 clothing stores and 7 Colmados. Colmados are grocery stores where you can get all the basics you might need from alcohol and cigarettes to fresh fruit and veggies and laundry powder or a cooked breakfast. In addition to that they serve as hang outs in the afternoon to the equivalent of pubs and nightclubs during the nights. You can have your sandwich, drink your coffee or have your beer on the terrace. Furthermore, the constant musical backdrop of Bachata, Dembow, Reaggeton, Trap and Merengue will give you the full Dominican cultural experience.
Dominican Food in Punta Cana area.
You can find many different types of vegetable in Macao from the famous Plantain. Green bananas that you boil, fry or mash into Mangú. Also Yuca and avocadoes as big as a babys head to all the tropical fruit you can enjoy. Along the street there are the smells of barbeque chicken and pork. Finally coffee is also very popular with locals and comes pre mixed with a lot of sugar, a lot of sugar. So be aware.
Life is lived a little slower in Macao.
It’s easy to lose track of time and even people hard at work seem to be relaxing. Kids in uniform wander towards school every morning and during the afternoons they are playing baseball and basketball in the streets and fields. The restaurants are reminiscent of homecooked meals by grandma and are always served with smiles. Also sprawled in the shade under the tree by the bus stop you will see Motoconchos (Moto taxi). They are sitting and waiting for customers wanting to go to the beach or out of Macao. Finally farmers ride horses throughout the town to manage their cattle.
Macao Beach is famous for its surf.
At the end of the towns main road there is a picturesque tropical beach with several surf schools. You can have a private lesson, group lesson or can simply rent a board. The beach break in front of Macao Surf Camp offers both left and right hand waves. Further down the beach is more often smaller waves with white wash, perfect for beginners. This attracts surfers of all ages and abilities to come and enjoy. To check the weather and waves forecast click here.
Macao has also some hidden treasures.
Towards the beach, after the last Colmado there is a small path. Take a left turn and a 30 minute walk through the enchanting coastal jungle. Then you’ll find the mouth of the river Maimon. An isolated beach that no car can get to, with bone white sun bleached logs above the sand line and plenty of wildlife around. Perfect for Crab fisherman, the spot is a good source for the local restaurants. Also there is a tidal lagoon for swimming and sandstone caves are perforated on the far bank. Come here and you will probably find a real sense of quite and stillness beside the ocean waves.
In addition, and closer to town is a small beach hidden by cliffs on the far right side of Macao Beach. This beach is often quite as the path is hidden and only those who adventure to find it, will.
For some people the spirit of Macao takes time to settle in, and can only have the true experience with familiarity.
For accommodation in Macao there are two paths you can choose from. A room with A/C and privacy or the transient community of the local hostel. Which has rooms and the choice of tents among the papayas. Most of all thoses options give the opportunity for people to stay in an authentic, rustic town of the Dominican Republic with Caribbean tropical vibes. Also the lack of city noise and lights create a starry atmosphere. For others it is simply convenient as it cheap, charming and a 40 minute to the Punta Cana international airport.
In conclusion, if you come to the Dominican Republic and are looking for a place to relax, enjoy natural beauty and genuine local interactions. You are looking for Macao Beach. (Read more about other travelers experiences in this link).
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