Boca Chica



Considered a slightly sleazy beach resort for its sex tourism, Boca Chica, Dominican Republic, has a shallow lagoon that is full of clear water cordoned off by reefs and man-made barriers, and edged by gleaming white sand. When the tides are low, you can walk out to La Matica, a small, uninhabited, mangrove-fringed island.

Boca Chica, 15 mi/25 km east of Santo Domingo, is hugely popular with Dominicans and, in our opinion, it's been overdeveloped: The beach is often packed, especially on weekends, with vendors hawking their wares and merengue music blaring from portable radios. (Be aware that the streets are frequented by prostitutes at night.) The large crowds result, in part, because Boca Chica is one of the best beaches near Santo Domingo, which is only a 30-minute drive to the west, traffic permitting.

Those who don't mind the bustle will find plenty of watersports going on in the shallow, protected waters. Sailboats and paddleboats are available for rent, and waterskiing, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing excursions can be arranged.

The town is filled with bars and shops—and more blaring merengue. (The merchants use the music as a form of advertising and apparently believe that the louder the music is, the more business they'll attract.)

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