Why choose Juan Dolio?
Juan Dolio and its neighbor beach town Guayacanes are for those who seek a couples or family restful vacation but like being able to take many excursions. If you are staying in Juan Dolio, you are equidistant from the culture, shopping and dining and nightlife of Santo Domingo, great beaches, scuba diving and other attractions in La Romana, and just half an hour away from busy Boca Chica. The small towns of Guayacanes and Juan Dolio are set up along four interrupted stretches of road, following the shoreline. Juan Dolio has a boulevard and a main street where most hotels and restaurants are located. So you can walk, jog or cycle in safety here. This destination is perfect for those looking for a quiet escape with the comforts of home.
What else is nearby
Almost anywhere you could possibly want to go is accessible from the coastal highway which cuts through the town of Juan Dolio and follows the shoreline. Villas Del Mar is an area of Juan Dolio where many restaurants and all-inclusive hotels are located. Going west from Juan Dolio you’ll find the fishing village/beach town of Guayacanes, then the pretty cove-like beach of Playa Caribe, followed by Boca Chica about 20 minutes from Juan Dolio. Santo Domingo is less than a 40 minute drive to the west of Juan Dolio.
Tourists headed for La Romana, that is to the east of Juan Dolio, should stay on the Boulevard that heads straight into the old San Pedro de Macoris highway and not take the expressway (Autovia del Este) that still has stretches under construction. The signage is lacking and confusing. About 15 minutes further east is the baseball city of San Pedro de Macoris, home town of Sammy Sosa. Shopping is good in San Pedro at the Jumbo store. Another 40 minutes beyond that is the La Romana/Bayahibe area.
How to Get There
Most travelers to the Juan Dolio area will arrive at the Las Americas International Airport, a 30 minute drive. However, some flights are now starting to arrive at the new La Romana airport. This airport is just over an hour’s drive from Juan Dolio. For scheduled flight connections to these two airports, check out the Santo Domingo and La Romana travel pages.
Everybody walks in Juan Dolio. The beach road is quiet and has very little traffic. What traffic it does have is slowed down by dozens of very large speed bumps. Good to remember if you ride a bike! Most hotels here have bicycles on loan to guests. Motoconchos (motorcycle taxis) also cruise the beach road but we don’t recommend using them or the hotel bicycles on the busy highway. Your hotel can help you get a taxi. Rates are usually posted near the entrance of the hotel.
If you’re on a budget, the public buses or guaguas travel east and west on the highway, passing every few minutes. Just stand anywhere by the side of the road and they’ll stop for you.
Those seeking action can head for the area's casinos, discos, 18-hole golf course or participate in the water sports programs offered by the many large all-inclusive complexes.
Go Kart Bahn is a racetrack on the highway to San Pedro where go karts can be rented for a fast spin around the track.
The Cueva de las Maravillas should be included in every visit. Down under, browse at the very good collection of pre-Columbian art amidst spectacular stenography created with lighting against stalagmites and stalactites.
Tropical Plantation is on the Hato Mayor-Sabana de la Mar road due north of Juan Dolio. This working flower farm has a fairy-tale botanical garden and a natural green jungle with a labyrinth of paths where the fun is in getting lost and finding your way out again.
Make friends with a local and get him or her to take you to a night baseball game in the San Pedro Tetelo Vargas Stadium. The winter baseball season runs from October through the end of January. Sammy Sosa owns a disco in San Pedro city. Some big leaguers like Jose Lima and Bartolo Colon come home during the off season to play for the ‘folks’ back home. This year's baseball season is especially exciting, with Alfonso Soriano, Vladimir Guerrero and many others making up the Estrellas Dream Team.
Guided tours are an excellent way to experience this region, since there are relatively few attractions within walking or busing distance. Some of the excursions available are: Jeep Safaris, Santo Domingo City Tour and Half Day Tour, Santo Domingo Night Tour, Altos De Chavon artists village/River boat ride, Cueva Fun (and its seven-kilometer long underground river), Los Haitises and the mangroves park, Saona and Catalina Island.
Scattered among the mammoth sized resorts are numerous smaller hotels and guest houses. Regardless of your taste in accommodation, you will find something to suit you. Most of the smaller hotels are accessed from the beach road that runs parallel to the highway. For more information on where to stay, see our Hotel Directory
A reputation for excellent cuisine has taken hold in Juan Dolio and Guayacanes. Sophisticated palates can choose from a variety of fine restaurants ranging from informal to casually elegant, even a few with noteworthy wine cellars. Italian restaurants and steak and seafood abound here. Since most restaurants cater to domestic vacationers coming in from Santo Domingo, prices in Juan Dolio are attractive all year round.
Entertainment outside your hotel
There is nightlife primarily at the hotels but this is not what you would call a “party hearty” destination. Take time out to visit the many restaurants in the area and mingle with the crowd that lives there or commutes in from Santo Domingo, especially on weekends. Drive 20 minutes, and you are at Caribbean Sun restaurant with lively night life, especially on Saturdays. New in the town is upscale bar and restaurant Aura, with its lounges stretching right into the beach for nature and people watching. El Batey disco is popular next to Decameron Hotel. Merengue, salsa and dance beat ‘til all hours. Chocolate Bar, on access road near Decameron and Costa Caribe Coral by Hilton. Pool tables and international beers on offer.
Casino at Coral Costa Caribe – new American style casino with live music. The casino at Barcelo Decameron is older but has all the standard table games and slots. For an overview on casinos in the DR, read the Casino Page
For souvenirs, many small shops line the beach front road for a leisurely shopping trip on foot. Friendly vendors ply the beaches, selling jewelry, t-shirts and crafts priced with haggling in mind. For groceries, rum, cigars and Dominican coffee there’s a supermarket next door to the Decameron hotel. For serious shopping, take the Santo Domingo city tour or if you are an independent sort, take the public bus into the city. San Pedro is closer than Santo Domingo but most people prefer shopping amid the culture and history of Santo Domingo’s colonial zone to the chaos of San Pedro.
The best golf in the Boca Chica-Juan Dolio area is Los Marlins Golf and Country Club, on the coastal highway not far from the Costa Caribe Resort. 18-holes, club house, restaurant, bar, carts and equipment rentals. See our golf page for more details at our Golf Page
Nearly every large hotel here has a dive shop that offers PADI certification courses and open water dives. Juan Dolio is about an hour away from some of the country's best diving off Catalina Island. Or you can just get your feet wet with a free introductory lesson in the pool. If you enjoy snorkeling, you can do so right off the beach in front of your hotel. You may have noticed the long reef breaking the waves just off shore. It creates a home for the fish and keeps strong waves off the beach. Your hotel should be able to loan you snorkel gear. Dives to visit the Tanya V sunken wreck can be booked with the dive shops.
Fishing trips can be arranged at area hotels. Marlin, dorado, barracuda and others.
Jungle/beach rides. Guavaberry Equestrian Center for trail rides, horseback riding lessons for the entire family, or to watch a polo match. Or Rancho Cumayasa on the way to La Romana for a combined horse-riding, river trekking and Catalina island visiting day.