Boca ChicaWhy choose Boca Chica?
Because this resort town is conveniently-located close to the airport and the capital city of Santo Domingo. Boca Chica is also an excellent choice for sports delegations that will be attending events at the Mirador del Este Sports Park facilities that were built for the 2003 Pan American Sports Games, or others such as the Las Americas Speed Race Track. No other destination places you as close to all the attractions of the bustling 3-million people that live in the capital city and Province of Santo Domingo.
Fly in to Las Americas airport and in 15 minutes you can go wading into a natural giant swimming pool. This has traditionally made it a good choice for families with small children.
But Boca Chica today is changing. Hundreds of students commute daily from Santo Domingo or live in the area to attend the Las Americas Institute of Technology (ITLA) where they prepare for high tech careers in partnership with Stevens Institute of Technology (New Jersey). Hundreds are also employed at the country's largest port at Caucedo. The San Isidro and Las Americas Free Zones in the area also bring hundreds of business to the area. Boca Chica to this day is the same free-spirited town where at any time 70% of the people out partying on any given night will be single.
Boca Chica beach is a reef-protected lagoon of tranquil blue waters and powder-white sand. One can wade out 100 yards from shore into glassy waters and still be only waist deep with nothing but soft clean sand underfoot. It's the perfect beach for small children because there are no waves and no deep waters. Boca Chica is crowded on Sundays when capital city dwellers make the half hour commute to the beach, returning home at dusk. The rest of the week, the sand and sun is for the tourists.
One can find just about everything in Boca Chica, making it one of the most complete of the ungated beach towns in the country. There are hotels and dining for every budget, night life, proximity to the airport and capital, yet it's still small enough to build relationships.
Boca Chica is a "shopping beach" because vendors wander the beach or sell from their shops on the main street that runs parallel to the beach. While tanning, you can haggle over silver jewelry and paintings, or get your hair braided in corn rows. No heavy pressure. Just people trying to get a few of your tourist dollars.
What else is nearby?
If you like to explore and are getting tired of the bathwater ocean, you'll find slightly wilder water at Playa Caribe (Embassy Beach). About a 10 minute drive further east of Boca Chica, it's a small horseshoe bay that offers great boogie boarding (mornings are quiet) and a nice, if small, beach that on Saturday and Sunday afternoon is crowded with young adults attracted by the ambiance of the Caribbean Sun parador.
Further east are the towns of Guayacanes and Juan Dolio. Guayacanes has a beautiful palm-studded beach that's quiet every day but Sunday. This is a great beach for early morning or pre-sunset strolls along the coast.
World class shopping, dining and night life is available 30 minutes away, going west to Santo Domingo. Buses that travel up and down the highway will take you directly into the old colonial zone of the city where you can marvel at Spanish colonial architecture. Or just go shopping.
How to get there
Most visitors arriving in Boca Chica will land at Las Americas International Airport, the airport with the most varied scheduled flights in the country. It receives direct scheduled flights from:
United States: American Airlines (New York, Miami, Boston), Delta (New York), Continental (Newark), Spirit (Fort Lauderdale), US Airways (Fort Lauderdale, Philadelphia).
Caribbean: American Eagle and Iberia (San Juan, Puerto Rico), American Eagle and Liat (Antigua), American Eagle (Saint Martin), Aserca (Caracas), Bahamas Air (Nassau), Dutch Bird, Aeropostal (Curacao), Aeropostal (Aruba), Air Antillas (Pont-a-Pitre), Air Caraibes (Pont-a-Pitre, Fort de France, Port-au-Prince), Air Jamaica (Kingston), BWIA Airlines (Curacao, Trinidad), Cubana de Aviacion (Havana).
Latin America: Copa (Panama City).
Europe: Martinair (Amsterdam), Air France (Paris), Iberia, Air Europa, Air Plus Comet (Madrid), LTU (Frankfurt).
There are charter flights to Toronto, Canada.
The town of Boca Chica is a 15 minute taxi ride from the airport. As well, Boca Chica's all inclusive hotels are popular with the cruise-and-stay clients who arrive at the seaport after a week cruising the Caribbean and stay an extra week in a local hotel.
Boca Chica's main area of interest to tourists is quite small and easily walkable. However, there is a taxi stand at each of the three large resorts and desk clerks at the smaller hotels can call one for you. They can also advise you on what the fares are.
You will see many motoconchos, or motorcycle taxis, in Boca Chica. For 10 pesos, they will take you anywhere in the town.
If you want to travel to neighboring towns on the Las Americas highway, go to the Shell gas station (la bomba) and wait at the corner for a gua-gua (public bus) heading east or west.
The biggest attraction in Boca Chica is the beach. That's why each hotel offers an array of water sports and beach activities to keep you occupied. You won't find much high culture here – there are no theaters, galleries or movie houses. Fortunately, the big hotels have their own evening shows and discos and there are many public discos throughout the town. Plus the Coral by Hilton Hamaca Hotel has a casino open to the public. Most visitors to Boca Chica spend their days either on the beach or going on excursions to see the rest of the country.
Excursions offered by area hotels
Jeep Safaris, Santo Domingo (Full day and Half day tours), Santo Domingo Night tour (half an hour away), Saona Island and Catalina Islands (two hours away), horse ranch tours, white water rafting in Jarabacoa (two and a half hours away)
As for exploring off hotel grounds, the Hamaca for example has single-speed bikes with chain brakes. There are bike tours every morning, with a guide who takes you to local places of interest.
Some tips: Get to the bike rack a little early to ensure getting a bike with fully inflated tires and meaningful tire tread. Also, when riding, be alert to the mopeds and motorcycles that zip by at breakneck speeds on the narrow streets of Boca Chica. The roads, though adequately paved, are interrupted by killer speed bumps and deep storm channels for rain run-off. You don't want to ride into them.
And if in the unlikely case you should run out of things to do, consider choosing something from this list:
Ride a horse, borrow a bike and explore the ‘real' town, go snorkeling, ride a banana boat, take an excursion to a nearby island, take out a sailboat, paddle-boat, kayak, windsurf, go scuba diving, walk out to the reef, go fishing, dance Merengue, learn to salsa dance, eat all kinds of local and international foods, rent a jet ski, do some water skiing, gamble in the casino, travel an hour and see everything that Santo Domingo has to offer, visit a disco, and sip espresso while people watching at a sidewalk cafe, dine on fresh seafood in a romantic candlelit setting on a deck over the water, meet people and make friends, rent a motorcycle and hit the dirt trails, go swimming, soak up the sun, drink from a pineapple or coconut, buy a new swimsuit or colorful pareo, get your shoes shined by an enthusiastic boy and buy him a coke, take a tour of the countryside, sample the local beer, play some golf, bargain for a good price on a T-shirt, smoke a local cigar, get a massage on the beach or get your hair braided, buy some of the local music to take home, buy some fresh mangos at the local fruit market or get a whole plate of fresh fruit cut up right in front of you right on the beach, remember how little you paid for this trip, forget how soon you are leaving.
Scattered about Boca Chica are numerous smaller hotels and guest houses. Regardless of your taste in accommodation, you will find something to suit you.
For more information on where to stay, see our Hotel Directory
Dining outside the hotels
Most of Boca Chica's restaurants are located near the beach.
There are several discos in Boca Chica that play a combination of dance pop, house music, and of course, salsa and merengue. Couples and families usually stay at the large all inclusive hotels that have their own discos and nightly shows.
Given the large numbers of singles that flock to Boca Chica's many non all-inclusive hotels, areas in Boca Chica's downtown take on an "adults only" atmosphere at night.
Albeit, most of the single men will be foreigners and the women local. The singles usually stay at the many small hotels that dot the beach town and party at the town's bars. But days in Boca Chica are quiet compared to Nassau, Bahamas or Cancun. After all, this is a small town and the main strip is just a few blocks long.
If you are only an occasional golfer and would like to play during your Boca Chica vacation, there's the San Andres Caribe Golf Club in the area. This is a nine hole course located five minutes from Boca Chica off Las Americas Highway. But Boca Chica is but 20 minutes away from the prime Gary Player-designed Guavaberry Golf Course, or the Metro Country Club Los Marlins Golf Course. For more information, see our Golf Page
The diving and snorkeling is good in the Boca Chica area, with the all-inclusive hotels offering swimming pool lessons for beginners and open water dives in the crystalline waters of the south coast. PADI certification courses are also available.
Wreck dives (Hickory and El Limon) are available in La Caleta National Underwater Park, not far from Boca Chica. Many divers prefer to take excursions out to Saona or Catalina Island for superior diving with unbelievable visibility among coral reefs and tropical fish.
Deep Sea Fishing
Deep sea fishing tours can be arranged at the excursion desks of hotels in Boca Chica.
In Boca Chica, the main shopping strip is one block up from and parallel to the beach. It's only about 5 or 6 blocks long, but it has everything you need to take back home: rum, cigars, artwork, crafts etc. And if you need items like sunscreen, bug spray or sandals, you'll find the prices better on Duarte Street than in the hotel shops. Some designer boutiques have begun to crop up, as well.
Most stores will accept pesos, US dollars, travelers checks or credit cards. Banco Popular at the far end of the shopping area has an ATM machine. There's another bank machine directly in front of the Hamaca hotel and another in Hotetur Dominican Bay.
On the beach, shopping is an adventure. The goods come to you, usually in briefcases carried by friendly vendors. (The Coral by Hilton Hamaca does not permit vendors on its beach). Prices are usually inflated to take haggling into account. You can buy everything on the beach, from amber, larimar and silver jewelry to paintings to wood carvings to a manicure/pedicure, a massage or a head full of braids.
For a much wider selection, you can also make the short trip into Santo Domingo.