Sosua Beach

Article by: J.Meecham

We've come accross many different reviews of Sosua beach. I guess some of the reviewers have either got confused as to which beach they went to, drank too many Cuba Libres or haven't actually been there. So for a review of the beach by someone who actually goes there every week and is trying to be as unbiased as possible...

sosua beach

Sosua beach separates the two sides of Sosua town, El Batey and Los Charamicos. Ok, lets forget the geography lesson. This means there are two main entrances to the beach, at either side, and one off the main highway in the middle. Th El Batey part of town is more touristy, and the Los Charamicos side is more Dominican. The beach is probably less than a kilometer long or maybe half a mile long - feel free to correct me as I've never measured it. All along the beach are small shacks which either sell gifts or sell food and drinks. Also, the beach is lined with recliners (deck chairs) which cost around 60 pesos each for the day. All of the recliners are manned by locals who will encourage (nay insist) that you use theirs. If you do, they will be on hand to bring you drinks and/or food, acting as waiters/watresses. They don't charge you extra for this, but they obviously make a small commission from the vendors.

Many tourists are worried about the locals hassling them. Obviously, depending on where you've been previously will have a big impact on how you perceive the situation. As soon as you step on the beach from the El Batey side, and pass shops , recliners and bars, Dominicans will aproach you and ask you to look in their shop, use their recliners or whatever. In fact, the small road leading to the beach is lined with shops where they will be keen to 'get you' before you get to the beach. How you act is up to you. Unlike other countries you may have been to, Dominicans are not generally aggressive. Sure,

sosua beach
they see you as a supposedly rich tourist and their job is to get you to buy something. But generally you'll find them to be friendly. It's easy to engage them with a smile, and if you are not interested then a simple 'No Gracias' (Spanish for 'No, thank you) will suffice. It reminds me of a time recently when a local vendor, after I said "No Gracias", surprised me by asking in perfect English, where had I learnt that from. After my initial surprise, I explained that I did know some 'basic' Spanish. Some tourists will try and ignore all eye contact with the local vendors. This is unneccessary. They are people like you and me and they are more than happy to have a chat with you, either in Spanish or perhaps English. If you do go into a shop there are lots of interesting items to buy and take back home. As you'd expect, the vendors are prepared to negotiate on price. Aim to pay less than half of what they initially quote. Same goes for the vendors who come to your recliner carryiing baskets of food. The bars and restaurants generally have a fixed menu price, but if you like haggling, then anything is possible. Prices for drinks do vary from place to place, so if you are budget concious, feel free to ask the price before you order.

On Sundays, it's noticeable that the beach has a big influx (as you would expect) of Dominican's from around the area. Hey, what would you do if you if you lived and worked within driving distance of such a great beach? Dominican's

sosua beach
mainly park up on the Los Charamicos side of the beach - so parking is tough if you don't get there early. But the beach doesn't get crowded, certainly compared to other beaches.

And now to the actual beach. The sand is golden coloured, not white. I personally prefer this as the grains are slightly larger and don't stick to you in quite the same way as the fine white powdery sand does.

There is a surprisingly good coral reef roughly just after half way (from the El Batey side) along the beach. You don't need a boat , but can swim out there. and there are quite a variety of interesting fish. I've previously dived off Australias's barrier reef, so I wasn't expecting much here. But that said it's great for snorkelling.

Other options are glass bottomed boats so you can see the reef while sitting in a boat. Good if you can't swim out there yourself or you have young kids. There are also several speed boats pulling the banana boat type rides. These can be a lot of fun, but are annoying if you want to swim. They tend to come into shore a little too fast and inconsiderate of swimmers (as they do in other countries), so if you are swimming, wear a bright swim cap and spash a lot!

Other things on offer along the beach are hair-brading and manicure/pedicures.

I've never tried having a manicure or a pedicure (in any country) but if I get any vainer I may just try it! Sitting on a beach recliner drinking an ice-cold beer beats sitting in a clinical room back home!

Hair-brading is definately not for me, but if you have daughters between 5

sosua beach
and (insert any age you like here!) then they may well love the idea!

Ninety-nine per-cent of tourists hit the beach from the El Batey side. Some don't make it past the first few shops before they buy something or give up and go back. Don't miss out on the real Sosua beach. Once you are safely ensconced on a recliner, you are sipping your drink and are gazing out on the view, you will realize why Sosua beach will remain a favourite. You can see the mountain behind Puerto Plata from the beach and the sky is always interesting.

If you have young kids, Sosua beach is one of the best (in my opinion) in the world. Generally, its not rough and there is not much in the way of a current or rip. We felt happy with our 3yr old and 5yr old (with parental supervision) playing in the shallow waves. Now they are a bit older, they love rolling in the gentle surf. It's also easy for them to mix in with other local kids and enjoy natural stuff without worrying too much. At odd points there are some rocks, but they are clearly visable and easy to stay well away from.