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Secret beaches of the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world. Boasting pristine white sands, and backed by mangrove forests and palm trees blowing in the wind, it's hardly surprising they're so highly praised.

It's a country that's very popular with tourists so there are certainly some busier areas, such as the lively Punta Cana. However if you're after a touch of paradise far from the madding crowds, there are a range of quieter coastal hideaways to explore.

A river runs into the sea at Cano Frio

Les Galeras is situated on the east coast of the Samana Peninsula, an area that's seen little development.

One of its most secluded beaches is the three-kilometre long Playa Rincon, and hidden away at one end sits Cano Frio beach. To get there you have to drive past banana and pineapple plantations and over a dirt road, but that's all part of the adventure.

This is a stunning spot where the river meets the sea. Take your sandals off and explore the water, shimmering more green than blue. You can even take a dip in the gorgeous mouth of the river, surrounded by beautiful mangrove forests.

There's a man with a boat who offers his service for trips along the meandering river and you're bound to be at the beginning of the queue, as there won't be one.

Along the beach there are two very basic huts selling freshly caught fish, as well as lobster and shrimps. Try the local drinks including rum-based mama juana, or enjoy some mouth-watering pineapple in a Pina Colada.

The jewel of the Dominican Republic – Canto de la Playa

Where the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean meet lays Punta Cana, complete with white sands. It's heaving with visitors who want to experience its beauty and good facilities, but Punta Cana also has areas that are quieter and more secluded.

One of the best beaches is on Saona Island, located off the southeast tip of this part of the coast and making up part of the Del Este National Park. This island is stunning and, with no hotels, it's the closest you're likely to get to a desert island in the area.

The main shore of Canto de la Playa is a deserted beach brimming with coconut trees and shallow water that appears a bright topaz in the sun.

Book a catamaran from Bayahibe that will take you to this palm-studded island, with the opportunity to go snorkelling or diving in Canto de la Playa. Trips also include a visit to the small nearby village of Mano Juan, boasting colourful houses and a small pier.

Surfers love to navigate the rolling waves at Playa Preciosa

In the region of Cabrera lies the popular Playa Grande beach, yet just 25 metres from this beach is a hidden gem largely undiscovered by tourists. If you're keen to find it for yourself, follow the surfers or walk east from Playa Grande and look for the car park.

Once you reach this narrow stretch of unmarked beach, you'll appreciate why they named it Preciosa, or precious. Walk along the golden sands, find a spot under a palm tree blowing in the wind and enjoy the tranquillity of the area.

This is more of a sunbathing haven than somewhere to swim, as the beach is pounded by rolling waves. Or you could join the surfers in the water.

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