Can a Bungalow Be Built Over Water In The Dominican Republic? (Is it allowed?)


The Dominican Republic is an island surrounded by large bodies of water and a great ecosystem, due to efforts to protect the environment there are laws that prohibit construction within 60 meters of high tide.

This type of overwater constructions, especially bungalow-type villas, are very common in the Maldives, but also in some Latin American countries. The closest to overwater constructions in the Dominican Republic are docks and platforms.

As well as some villas or houses are built very close to the seashore, but this is very different from overwater constructions. Another legal and permitted way in which you can build a bungalow in the Dominican Republic is on a lake.

In fact, I once participated in the design of some bungalows to be built on a large lake in a town relatively close to Santo Domingo.

About the Law prohibiting construction on beaches in the Dominican Republic

Law 305 in the Dominican Republic prohibits construction at less than 60 meters from the high tide in order to maintain the ecological integrity, the functioning of marine ecosystems, allow the free circulation of those who want to enjoy the water’s edge, in addition to not destroying the existing landscape on all coasts.

In addition to this, Law 64-00 establishes that the goods of the maritime-terrestrial public domain or coasts belong to the Dominican State, and therefore are not subject to be altered, degradation, impairment, disturbance, contamination, inadequate modification, diminution, or drainage.

Law 305 establishes that the strip of land called maritime zone, that is, the one parallel to the sea, 60 meters wide, measured from the line at which the ordinary high tide rises towards the land and which includes, except for the property rights that currently exist, all the things and beaches of the Dominican territory.

Said zone includes rivers and streams, lagoons and lakes navigable and floatable under the action of the tides.

This law was enacted to modify article 49 of the 1938 Law on Roads and Highways, which fixed the width of the maritime zone at only 20 meters, which allowed construction on the beaches themselves.

Are there overwater bungalows in Punta Cana?

Due to the environmental law in the Dominican Republic that limits overwater construction, there are no overwater bungalow projects in Punta Cana.

There are several all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana with spectacular ocean views, there are bungalows that are practically on the seashore, some of them even have a swimming pool integrated into the bedrooms.

Why is it forbidden to build on the beaches in the Dominican Republic?

The prohibition to build within 60 meters is also to prevent the waves from colliding with the buildings because if they collide with the tidepools or various buildings, they expand backward and this change in marine dynamics causes everything around them to hit and deepen the beach until it erodes.

When a beach erodes the sea gains ground and the firm zone loses it, which causes that the citizenship cannot enjoy the same one.

In addition to this, these constructions eliminate the dunes that protect the coastal wetlands, making it easier for the sea to enter the wetlands and coastal vegetation and gradually destroy the entire firm zone.

Increase Contamination

This law also seeks to protect the beaches from the human ecological footprint by reducing the levels of pollution and waste caused. Pollution also directly harms the species that thrive in the environment, as well as the fauna associated with seaweed.

Overwater bungalows are very scarce

Although they exist in various parts of the world, especially in the Maldives, overwater bungalows are very rare and scarce to see.

The reason for this is that most of the overwater bungalows built are not very profitable, their construction system is very expensive because of the type of foundations.

In addition, they are not family structures, they are usually dedicated to being inhabited by couples or people who like solitude, so from the point of view of hotels and resorts, it is not very profitable.

Personally, I think that a similar effect can be achieved with a construction overlooking the sea, and a swimming pool integrated into the villa or bungalow.


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