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Samaná

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Samaná

Jutting out of the DR’s northeastern shore and basking in the ocean, the nature haven that is the Samaná Peninsula is as coveted today as it was in the 16th century. Pirates hid in its lush, palm-filled forests, isolated beaches, and hidden caves, while European and Haitian troops competed over its deep water, protected bay. Today, Samaná–often abbreviated to refer to the entire peninsula–is well connected by land and air, yet it remains the DR’s secluded, paradisiacal escape of wild beaches, coconut plantations, and rainforests. Its rolling mountains and valleys form the crystalline rivers that feed into the Atlantic, as they cascade toward brilliant white sand beaches stretching hundreds of kilometers all around the peninsula’s rocky coastline. It’s as if the approximately 2,500 humpback whales that visit Samaná Bay every year appreciate this natural splendor as much as visitors do. The giant mammals return every year to this special corner of the DR to mate, birth, and bask in this glorious tropical scenery. Aside from seasonal whale watching boat excursions in Samaná’s scenic bay, more ecotourism adventures are a stone’s throw away: body-boarding and kitesurfing in Las Terrenas; trekking, birding, and caving in Los Haitises National Park; canyoning or horseback riding to reach El Limón waterfall; and boat-hopping to magnificent white sand beaches at the base of 90-meter (300-feet) cliffs, or to offshore Cayo Levantado island.

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Samaná is also an independent traveler’s dream. Thousands of Europeans arrived as tourists and became residents, setting up businesses that give the area its unique cosmopolitan vibe. In Las Terrenas, French cafés and quaint guesthouses give way to Euro-chic boutiques, bistros, and beachfront lounges. But the peninsula retains its diverse cultural heritage. Croissants aside, you’ll find a cuisine rich in coconut flavors and seafood–an influence of early Canary Islands settlers, and descendants of 18th century African American immigrants who continue to thrive here. In Las Galeras, the fishing village life remains firm despite the large daytime tourist crowds who flock here to reach the renowned Playa Rincón.

Wherever you decide to stay on the peninsula, perched in treehouses in El Valle, tucked away in an eco-cabin in Las Galeras, or nestled in a beachfront suite, on glorious golden sands of Cosón: prepare for days surrounded by one of the Dominican Republic’s most magnificent beaches and rainforest escapes, where the echoes of merengue and bachata are never far away.

El Catey International Airport (AZS) is the gateway to the Samaná Peninsula. Cruises dock in Samaná in the winter season, near Cayo Levantado and the Bay of Samaná. Sailing enthusiasts will find full docking facilities and slips of up to 150 feet LOA at Puerto Bahía Marina, on the north end of Samaná Bay. By land, modern highways connect the peninsula to major points, including the Santo Domingo-Samaná Highway, or Route 7, and the Boulevard Turístico del Atlántico towards Las Terrenas, offering breathtaking, winding coastal views over the Bay of Cosón.

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Attractions in Samaná

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Thousands of visitors flock to Samaná every year for its chief seasonal attraction: the equally large number of humpback whales that return to court, mate, and birth in the Atlantic waters off Samaná Bay–an area officially declared a Marine Mammal Sanctuary in 1986.
Ecotourism, Family-Friendly, National Parks + Protected Areas, Wildlife Spotting
You’ll learn why the Dominican Republic’s northeastern coast is one of the most important humpback whale sanctuaries in the world. Exhibits include the full, 40-foot skeleton of a humpback whale found in 1993 along the rocky coastline between Santa Bárbara de Samaná and Las Galeras.
Family-Friendly, Iconic Sights, Museums
Human-sized exhibits tell the history of the Taíno Indians and their first meeting with the Spanish conquistadors: a walk-through entertaining museum experience. The tour takes about an hour and ends with the last stop at a good souvenir shop on the premises. Los Róbalos, Carretera Sánchez-Samaná.
Family-Friendly
Piedra Bonita is one of the most spectacular and unusual diving spots in the entire northeast region, available to advanced divers. Also known as La Torre, the dive begins at 60 meters (197 feet), after an initial free fall of 30 meters (98 feet).
Scuba Diving + Snorkeling
Located off the shores of Las Terrenas, a series of rocky mounds stretched along a sand floor are home to a great variety of corals and marine life at depths ranging between 12-18 meters (39-59 feet).
Scuba Diving + Snorkeling
The private beach club near Samaná city offers changing rooms, a restaurant, nice bathrooms and rental loungers. Day passes available.
Beaches
Playa Bonita is as pretty as its name suggests–a crescent-shaped, cozy white sand beach lined with a variety of boutique hotels, villas, and restaurants. The western edge of the beach is as still as a swimming pool, while the eastern side offers active waves for the adventurous.
Beaches, Family-Friendly, Surfing + Kitesurfing
Among the top three most stunning beaches on the Samaná Peninsula, this golden, soft-sand stretch is ideal for long walks, popular for kitesurfing–with on-site classes–and body surfing, and there are a handful of boutique hotels flanking its western and eastern sides.
Beaches, Family-Friendly, Surfing + Kitesurfing
Few visitors make it to the pristine, brilliant white shores of Playa El Limón; make the effort to reach Playa El Limón and you’ll enjoy one of the peninsula’s quietest stretches. For more adventure, hop on a hiking excursion that will take you to this beach by wading your way down the Limón River.
Beaches, Family-Friendly
Flanked by towering bluffs, and dotted with fishermen canoes, the undeveloped Playa El Valle is a great spot to get away from the crowds. Enjoy a seafood lunch on the beach, and take long hikes amid this rugged landscape while fishers bring in their catch or head out to sea.
Beaches, Family-Friendly

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Samaná Blog

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