Boca Chica: the seaside resort of Santo Domingo

Mind you, we're not talking about Elon Musk's Spacex rocket launch site in Texas, which is also called Boca Chica! No, we're talking about the small Dominican seaside resort on the island's Caribbean coast, around thirty kilometres east of Santo Domingo and just 12 kilometres from Las Americas international airport. Boca Chica was the first village in the country to open up to tourism, in the 1950's. The beach is a splendid paradise lagoon protected by a coral reef. As it is largely public, there is no shortage of entertainment and water sports. Boca Chica becomes even more lively at weekends, when the Dominicans from Santo Domingo, who don't really have a beach, gather there. Bathing in the sea then becomes a bit of a crowd! A spot that stands out for its heavenly lagoon protected by a coral reef, its many water sports, its budget hotels, its contact with the Dominican population and its proximity to the colonial zone of Santo Domingo, listed by UNESCO. And all this just 10 minutes from the airport!

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The history of Boca Chica

Boca Chica developed under the impetus of Dominican businessman and politician Juan Bautista Vicini Burgos, who fell in love with the area and established sugar cane plantations here in the early 1900s. A small fishing port frequented by the Dominican bourgeoisie in the 1920s, the town experienced its golden age in the 1950s, when dictator Trujillo ordered the construction of a modern hotel, the Hamaca. It was here that the dictator Batista took refuge after Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba in 1959.

© Solarisys / Shutterstock

Frequented by the elite during the 1950s and 1960s, Boca Chica is now a popular destination. Today, it is home to Santo Domingo's residents as well as tourists attracted by its cheap hotels, boutiques, restaurants and nightclubs, mainly concentrated on one of the main avenues: Calle Duarte.

What to do in Boca Chica

Bask in the sun on the beach at Boca Chica

Protected by the coral reef, the deliciously warm waters of Boca Chica beach border a splendid turquoise lagoon, a veritable natural swimming pool, albeit a shallow one. To swim, you have to walk fifty metres or so before reaching the lagoon, whose gentle slope means you have to walk another fifty metres or so before you have water above your navel! Ideal for children, but less so for keen swimmers, who will have to go a little further to find some depth.

© John89 / Shutterstock

The sand is fine and soft, and a few palm trees complete the picture. Opposite is a small island, Matica, with a mangrove swamp, which can be reached on foot (the water is waist-deep) or by kayak. This idyllic landscape is somewhat spoiled by the view of the mega-industrial port that can be seen in the distance on the right. Street vendors can also be seen. The Dominicans of Santo Domingo, who don't really have a beach, meet here. In short, it's a lively place!

A fun and unusual trip to Isla La matica

Hire a pedalo or sea kayak and paddle to the small island of Isla La matica, to admire its mangrove swamp where several species of birds nest. At low tide, you can even get there on foot!

Where to stay in Boca Chica?

Be Live Experience Hamaca

This is the only real resort in Boca chica, the sultry seaside resort located 34 km east of Santo Domingo. Ideally located on the edge of a splendid paradise lagoon, the Be Live Experience Hamaca is the first hotel in Boca Chica see in the entire Dominican Republic.

Split in two on either side of the road between the beach and the garden, this huge resort with almost 700 rooms boasts a host of facilities, including a casino, discotheque, spa, fitness room, five swimming pools, numerous bars and restaurants and a mini club. In short, an all-inclusive resort for the whole family, with 25 entertainers on hand 24 hours a day.

Practical information

When to go to Boca Chica? On the whole, there's no bad time to go to Boca Chica, as the temperatures are always pleasant. They fluctuate between 27 and 29°C throughout the year. On the other hand, some months are rainier than others, namely September, October and November. To make the most of Boca Chica's outdoor activities, it is best to avoid visiting during these 3 months.

Documents and visa French nationals must have a valid passport to travel to Santiago de los Caballeros, and the Dominican Republic in general.

Language Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic, but in Punta Cana you'll have no trouble finding people who speak English and French.

Currency The currency is the Dominican peso (RDS). ATMs can be found in the reception areas of major hotels. Most of the time, you can pay in US dollars, and sometimes in euros in European hotel chains. Credit and debit cards are generally accepted. Please note that prices in restaurants, bars and hotels do not include VAT, so add 16% tax, plus a 5-10% tip.

Electricity The destination is supplied with 110 volts (American standard), so you will need an adapter and a voltage converter to use French electrical appliances. However, most hotels will be able to lend you one.

Health No vaccinations are required, but a D-T-Polio update is recommended, as is anti-malarial treatment. Always drink bottled water and avoid raw vegetables and milk. Beware of heat shock between the over 30°C outside and the 15°C air-conditioned rooms, bars and restaurants.

by Jude JONES
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