One of the most beautiful bays in the Dominican Republic, this spectacular body of water–fed by the Yuna River, the second largest in the DR–hugs the town of Santa Bárbara de Samaná on its southern end, and is the primary jump off point for daily boat excursions into Los Haitises National Park, Cayo Levantado, and Samaná’s renowned whale watching expeditions that run from mid-January through March every year. Indeed, at least 1,500 humpback whales return to Samaná Bay to court, mate, birth, and flipper in its warm waters. Serving as a marine sanctuary, with a well-protected location and deep waters, the bay includes small mangrove cayes, seagrass beds, and corals, all of which provide nutrients to the visiting humpback whales, turtles, and manatees. It’s no wonder many fought to take over this area, including the British, French, and Spanish. Aside from boat excursions, a great vantage point to admire the bay, is the walk along the waterfront Avenida Marina in Samaná, or a hike across the Bridges to Nowhere, connecting several of its mangrove cayes.