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a group of people on a beach near a body of water

In this edition of BOP places, we will have you discovering Juan Dolio.  A beach town where you can enjoy good food, nightlife and visit exciting places close by.

Juan Dolio

Juan Dolio is a beach town that belongs to the province of San Pedro de Macoris. Before Columbus, Juan Dolio used to be a settlement for Arawaks and Taino people and it was called El Corral. This could be a referral to the coral reef that protects the natural bay of the beach and the place where they harbored their canoes. An interesting fact is that artifacts of that time are still found in the town at times.

Now this town is a place where tourists and Dominicans spend their time.

To get to Juan Dolio from Punta Cana it will take you around an hour and a half by car, depending on where you are staying. Enjoy the ride. You will pass small towns and the hilly scenery is incredible. During the trip, you will pass Cueva de las Maravillas. Step out and discover this cave of the miracles.

Cueva de las Maravillas

At Cueva de las Maravillas you are able to admire hundreds of petroglyphs, pictographs, and engravings by the Taino Indians. 500 to 800 years ago these Indians used to live in these caves. Diggings have also shown archeological and human remains from 4000 to 5000 years ago.

The cave is 800 meters long and is 25 meters underground. It has an area of 4.5 square kilometers. Not only can you see ancient drawings from Taino Indians, animals live in the cave too. Don’t worry the bats won’t bite, they just hang quietly upside down on the ceilings of the cave.

Streets of Juan Dolio

The pitstop at the cave is over. Now it is time to enter the streets of Juan Dolio. The Calle Principal with small shops, restaurants bars, and guesthouses is the main street in Juan Dolio. Try Pekara Bake & Shop Café, by crossing the street and the Boulevard to the Metro Club. A place where you can lounge outside under big trees while having yogurt with fresh fruit in the morning and ending it with a rib eye steak or pizza with the best cheesecake in the evening. The surrounding of this place is cool but also romantic with the lights at night.

Take a side street on the Calle Principal and enjoy Spanish food at El Meson on the Carretera Nueva across from Casa Hemmingway. This restaurant serves delicious seafood! The lobster is perfect.

Talking about seafood. The best of the best fresh fish can actually be found at Playa Juan Dolio. It is there that you get the traditional Dominican style fish. A la plancha (grilled) or frito (fried) with tostones (green plantain) on the side. How to pick the right place between all those different little restaurants? Always ask to see the catches of the day. And ask for the price per libra (pound). If you like what you see, take a seat and wait till they prepare it for you.

At the beach, you will meet a lot of vendors. If you are not interested in what they are selling, just tell them: ‘No gracias.’

In Juan Dolio, you can easily walk around or even bike. A lot of hotels offer bikes to their guests. All you have to do is stay away from the highway when cycling, and you will be fine. Just enjoy the road on the beach to admire the sea view.

Spend the weekend

One of the neighborhoods in Juan Dolio is Villas del Mar. A lot of restaurants and all-inclusive hotels are located there. Want to spend the weekend in a luxury apartment with a beach view in this area with friends? You can! Check out this luxury beach apartment Condominio Marbella.

Or when you really want to have everything together in one pretty boutique try Casa Hemmingway. With activities like horseback riding and tennis courts.

Go dancing

Well, you are in a new beach town and that means you will have to experience a party or some dancing for that matter. Pass by the Havana Lounge in the Plaza Real resort to experience live concerts during the two last days of the week.

Actually, Juan Dolio is located in a very central place in the Dominican Republic. When you decide to stay there for the weekend, to experience the beach town, walk around, cycle and eat loads of fish or do some golfing at the 18 hole golf course and lots of other activities. But you can also use the other days to visit beautiful sites nearby. Think about doing a tour to Santo Domingo, or visit Altos de Chavon in La Romana or Isla Catalina, Boca Chica, or neighboring town Guayacanes. Options, options, options.

Share your favorite places in Juan Dolio with us and we will feature them on BOP!

Check out other BOP places. A desert in the Dominican Republic, or ride a cable car to Mount Isabel de Torres, or be mesmerized by the nature of Pedernales.

Photo: Skyline Juan Dolio Marbella by Moises Arias Photography