If you rented a car in Puerto Plata , this is a great drive to take, a truly wonderful opportunity to see some unspoiled countryside before it gets swallowed up by the encroachment of mass tourism. Enjoy it while it lasts.
First, take Highway 105 to El Macao and meet up with Highway 104. Don’t expect perfect road conditions (the whole time); having a sturdy car would be ideal. Playa Limón is about 20 kilometers east of Miches . The beach is a spectacular beauty lined with coconut groves. Turtles lay their eggs here in the springtime. Taking a walk here along the three-kilometer-long golden and unspoiled beach will be quite peaceful—that is, until the tours arrive on horseback in the early afternoon.
Bird watchers will enjoy Laguna Redonda and Laguna Limón, although the former is especially difficult to reach. Mostly, at Laguna Redondo, there are fishing boats whose captains you can convince to take you out onto the water for about RD$120, but there are no real outposts for tourists or nature enthusiasts.
Laguna Limón is the more accessible of the two freshwater lagoons and is surrounded by a wetland and coastal mangrove. The national park station is on the highway. Entrance fee is RD$100. For the full effect, you should hire a boat and a guide to take you onto the water for about RD$250 per person. Tours are also arranged by Hotel La Cueva (tel. 809/470-0870, www.lacuevalimon.com ).
Northwest of Laguna Redonda and just east of Miches  is Punta El Rey. Tour groups stop near here to enjoy the splendor of this gorgeous spot on horseback. But if you’re not with a tour, you might have a difficult time finding it. From El Cedro, on Carretera 104, traveling west toward Miches, take the turnoff at La Mina de Miches marked “La Costa Esmeralda.” At the next fork in the road veer left, and at the next intersection (three kilometers farther) take a right. This is where the road gets rough, making your spirits wither, but do not despair—just four kilometers down the road you will find your beach nirvana.