The area’s most spectacular beach is Playa Grande, a gorgeous and gently sloping stretch of golden sand lapped by deceptively tranquil-looking green-blue waters and overlooked by swaying palms and cliffs. It’s become increasingly popular in recent years, forming a stage on many local tour operators’ itineraries, and the parking area is now home to several shack restaurants as well as vendor stalls selling souvenirs and rum drinks from coconuts. The cliffs to the west are topped by the Playa Grande golf course – neatly symbolizing encroaching development along this coast – while those to the east protect the pristine Playa Preciosa, which, should you manage to negotiate the steep climb down, you will probably have to yourself. Be warned, both beaches are renowned for ferocious rip-tides, so take extra special care when swimming. Playa Grande often has a lifeguard (at its western end); Playa Preciosa does not.

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Video: 14 things we love about the Dominican Republic

Video: 14 things we love about the Dominican Republic

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