When we close our eyes and imagine ourselves on a tropical beach, do we ever imagine strangers on that beach? Maybe you’re alone, with friends or loved ones, but when do we imagine that perfect beach packed with tourists? We long for beaches we can describe as virgin, far-off, unspoiled, off the beaten path. That beach we imagine exists not far from your resort in Punta Cana Bavaro. If you’re willing to follow your imagination, Playa Esmeralda is waiting.
Located some 10 km east of Miches on the Dominican Republic’s East Coast, Playa Esmeralda’s positioning in one of the country’s far corners, protects it from everyday travelers. Remember to take everything you will need for a day at the beach. At Esmeralda there are zero services; just ocean, sand and palm trees.
From resorts in Punta Cana Bavaro, a three hour drive north will have your car facing Esmeralda’s lapping waters. It’s not so much the distance, about 80 km, that puts Esmeralda some three hours from Bavaro, instead, it’s the condition of the road. Be ready for a road with patches of smooth stretches, broken up by hole ridden stretches the entire drive to Playa Esmeralda. The slow down and speed up can get a bit annoying, but you will be rewarded with some of the most beautiful country views in the Dominican Republic with high green mountains, acres of farmland and typical Dominican homes that paint the countryside with blues, greens and pinks.
The entrance to Esmeralda is marked by a modest Brugal Rum street sign, advising you to turn right. Follow the dirt road and stay left at the fork a couple kilometers into the drive. This road will take you directly to the beach. Playa Esmeralda’s main section is a large cove with beach access wherever you choose, although a good recommendation would be to park at the cove’s far eastern end by the military checkpoint. From here, you’ll have a great vantage point to view Esmeralda’s main cove, stretching some five kilometers to the west or look down Esmeralda’s entire shore which stretches to the east, as far as the eye can see. The calm transparent waters are complemented with mountain peaks to the west and far off views of the Samaná Peninsula to the north. Since you will most likely be the only visitors, clothing becomes optional. If you’re thirsty, look for recently fallen coconut that dot the beach. If you don’t have a knife, grab a pointed rock and tap it into the coconut’s top with a stick or another coconut.
By this point, you may realize just how far you are from the tourist packed shores of Punta Cana Bavaro. Think of Esmeralda as a vacation within a vacation, because if you made it this far; it’s only fair you’re rewarded.
It is recommended to rent an SUV to make the trip to Esmeralda. 4×4 is not completely necessary but could’t hurt. Remember to bring plenty of bug repellent as well. There is no accommodation at Playa Esmeralda but the town of Miches is a 15 minute drive from the Playa Esmeralda entrance on the main road. Make a right and head west to reach Miches. Miches has basic services like a gas station, restaurants, bars and hotels. A recommended hotel would be Coco Loco Beach Club 809.980.7908 along Miches’s public beach. They offer basic, but clean, cabañas with an excellent restaurant in the lobby area.
How to Get There
Take Avenida Alemania north in Bavaro and make a right at the Friusa intersection. Several kilometers down the road you will make a left where the Supercolmado Berto and the CEPM electricity generators are located, heading towards Macao. Follow this stretch of road to its end making a left at the next intersection. Some 14 kilometers down this road, make a right at the next intersection, following signs for Nisibon. It will be about two hours on this road before you reach the Esmeralda entrance.
TJ MurrayBavaro, Dominican Republic
TJ Murray is a writer/photographer and an expert on travel in the Dominican Republic. He has wandered the country's furthest reaches and smallest corners and has a passion for highlighting his favorite destinations through travel articles and photography. When TJ isn't traveling in the Dominican Republic, he is trekking in South America or surfing where he lives in Bavaro, Dominican Republic.