Rincon Beach, Samana Peninsula – "Wow!" "Breathtaking!" "Best in the Carib!" These are typical comments from visitors at this four-kilometer-long beach that remains free of major development. Because it's not simple to access -- ferry trip from Las Galeras or 45 minutes or so on a bumpy road -- it often retains a secluded feel.
Samana Bay – In addition to gorgeous beaches, Samana Bay is famed for its hundreds of humpback whales. Visitors can view them in a concentrated area of the bay during their mating rituals and in winter calving season.
Juanillo Beach, Punta Cana – On the eastern end of the country, Punta Cana is one of the Dominican Republic's most popular tourist destinations. Juanillo Beach is a little more secluded and little bit harder to find than some of the area's more well known spots. That keeps it relatively quiet.
Punta Cana – Diving, snorkeling, para-sailing -- if you can do it on, in or above the water, you can do it with one of Punta Cana's many tour operators. The fishing's hot too, apparently.
Saona Island – One of the DR's most popular attractions (and a day trip from Punta Cana), Saona Island is renowned for turquoise waters, pristine beaches, groves of coconut palms and one of its earliest visitors: Christopher Columbus, who supposedly named it after a friend from Savona, Italy.
Catalina Island – Though the coral-formed Catalina Island is small -- less than 10 square kilometers -- it supports a diverse array of marine, bird and plant life. Coral formations close to shore mean great snorkeling and diving.
Barahona – In the southwest corner of the country, removed from major tourist zones, Barahona sees few tourists. But the landscape is stunning, with three national parks in the area and a wild, beautiful coastline. This one's for the off-the-trodden-trail types.
Bayahibe – A fishing village with colorful houses, increasingly popular Bayahibe offers a number of activities -- kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, paddle-boarding -- but some say it has the best scuba diving in the country.
Playa Caribe – Because it's usually just a 45-minute drive from Santo Domingo, Playa Caribe and nearby Juan Dolio are popular day trips for residents of the capital. Playa Caribe is a small beach with usually calm waters. There are no bars or restaurants, only an area for umbrella and chair rentals.