Samana Bay looks like the antithesis of the concrete beaches of Punta Cana. Few tourists, almost deserted and unspoiled beaches, no resorts attached to each other, nor colorful deck chairs. On this peninsula, with the air of the end of the world that you deserve after a long road of 4 to 5 hours, you can breathe deeply, finally, the vibrant heart of the Dominican Republic.
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Discovery of Samana Bay
Las Terrenas is the gateway for those who dare to take an adventure far away from the beaches of Punta Cana and taste a more intimate, confidential and secret Dominican Republic. Former fishing village, with a resolutely French soul today, it is a pretty stronghold with tangy sheds rocked by insolent waves. It is also the ideal starting point for exploring the peninsula over several days. The latter is bordered by the Atlantic and drawn by mountains. This makes it an ecotourism destination in the Dominican Republic. One thing that all peoples who went there mention is the kindness of the inhabitants. The communicative smile of children, the welcoming words of the elders will make you feel home or better. One thing you can’t forget is the sound of the waves at Rincon. Some call it Samana, but others prefer to call it the paradise of the Dominican Republic.
Los Haitises – the wild pearl of Samana
Los Hatitises National Park (land of mountains) in Taina is a sumptuous protected marine reserve. It is classified as a UNESCO heritage site. Karst domes then extend before your eyes on almost 208km² and strangely reminds you of another well-known bay; that of Ha Long in Vietnam. Caves and mangroves can only be discovered by sea in an incredible maze of plants. Los Haitises is also one of the most important witnesses of the ancient Tainos ethnic group. Refugees during the arrival of Spanish settlers were forced into exile to survive. The Tainos made these caves their last known habitat. There are petroglyphs, some of which represent the devil holding up a Catholic cross; undeniable proof of the settlers’ presence. The Tainos believed in reincarnation and many of them committed suicide in these caves. According to a study, 15% of the Dominicans are descended from a Taino woman.
Whale Cruise in Samana Bay
Every winter, from mid-January to the end of March, humpback whales come to parade and enjoy the warm waters of the Caribbean to breed and give birth. The small whales will then have time to strengthen their skin before they begin their first and greatest migration to the icy waters of North America. Departures are from the city of Samaná. Excursions usually last half a day and it is advisable to visit Cayo Levantado on the way back.
Cayo Levantado, the paradise island
It is a small island of paradise lost in the immense bay of Samaná. From the sky, one observes this gradient of white throw into the turquoise and the blue color of the ocean. Cayo Levantado, or Bacardi Island, is a step more than appreciated after the beautiful experience during the whale excursion. If one part of the island is reserved for the hotel, the other remains accessible to everybody. In the afternoon, if one can quickly feel cramped, due to the smallness of the island and the boats that dock. But at the end of the day, when the calm returns, it is a real paradise.
The most beautiful beaches of Samana
Coson beach, El Valle beach, Rincon beach & Punta Balandra beach
If you do not come to Samaná to swim, it must be said that the peninsula has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic. First, there is the beach of Coson which seems to extend for miles to infinity. Although it is close to Las Terrenas, that beach is really peaceful. Then there is El Valle beach; a gigantic alley of coconut trees is rocked by the mountains; it is our favorite beach. The light at the end of the day is incredible. By launching the drone, you will even discover a hidden beach inaccessible on foot. Dominicans, themselves, would be surprised to discover it. Finally, the journey to Playa Rincon also looks like the end of the world. You have to go down a rough road and then you have to go through authentic little villages that are not used to seeing European faces go by
Things you should do before visiting Samaná Bay
Rent a car
Although hotels offer excursions and take you from point A to point B, in order to keep total freedom, we recommend renting a car. Be careful, however, to return before nightfall or to be extremely vigilant.
Where to stay in Samana?
Grand Bahia Pincipe Portillo (part of the TUI group), located on the Samana Peninsula, is an all-inclusive family hotel. Its colonial style piques curiosity and its prime location in the heart of the Dominican jungle is exceptional. Several excursions leave from the hotel: whale outing, excursion to Los Haitises National Park, zip-lining in the jungle, boat excursion to access secret beaches ..
Trip to formalities
Language – Spanish. English is not very popular there! Jet lag – 6 hours in summer and 5 hours in winter Currency – The local currency is the Dominican peso. However, many businesses accept the US dollar. Mandatory passports – On the plane you will be asked to show travel authorization.