Dive Into Samaná
Almost all of the economy revolves around the beaches, so that’s exactly where you should head. The beaches here are unique, with palm tree-covered hills lining undeveloped sands. Although the beaches themselves are beautiful, Samaná’s ecological beauty extends far outside of sand and waves. The Haitises National Park, Salto El Limon Waterfall and the world’s largest coconut plantation are worthy explorations, and activities like horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking make exploring even better. However, there are more than just natural sites here. New developments including upscale hotels, fine dining and shops are popping up, so Samaná is rapidly becoming a complete destination vacation.
Mapping Out the Dominican Republic
La Romana is home to resort delights, like Casa de Campo’s world-renowned Teeth of the Dog golf course. In Puerto Plata, surf’s up where you can find all types of water sports on its Amber Coast. People flock to Punta Cana’s luxurious resorts on pristine beaches for snorkeling and fun in the clear-aqua water. But visit Samaná to see majestic humpback whales up close, migrating through the bay. Finally, UNESCO World Heritage site in Santo Domingo is the oldest city in the Americas and is the cultural and political capital of the Dominican Republic. Whatever you want to do, the Dominican Republic’s got you covered.
Los Haitises National Park
Nature lovers and eco-tourists especially will appreciate the beauty of the Haitises National Park. As a protected forest reserve with hills, mangroves, limestone caverns and wildlife, the park has plenty to offer. It's known as having one of the most important rainforests and mangrove reserves in the entire Caribbean. While the amount of wildlife here is impressive enough, the pictographs inside the cave system add culture and history to the park’s appeal. If you visit the northeast, you should take advantage of the massive ecological haven near your vacation spot and definitely stop by. You can get there easily by a short boat ride across the bay and excursions from Samaná resorts are readily available. The photo ops are seemingly endless in a place so beautiful.
One of the more popular tourist attractions for its beauty and the fun activities it offers, Cayo Levantado is a small island in the Samaná Bay. Its lovely white sand beaches are lined by tall coconut trees to create a picturesque vision of paradise. Imagine yourself lounging on the warm sand with a good book and a refreshing drink in hand. With its coral reefs and clear-turquoise water, you’ll easily be able to explore under the sea. The calm and shallow warm water is comfortable for the whole family to enjoy and if you work up an appetite, there are restaurants and vendors to choose from to enjoy lunch on the beach. People arrive by the boatloads every day to share in the beauty, so hop on in and don't miss out.
The coral reefs and shipwrecks in the water of the Samaná area make diving an especially exciting adventure here. Perfect for history buffs, the scuba diving excursions in Samaná add a little culture to an already amazing experience. If you head to Las Terrenas, you’ll see the beautiful coral nicknamed “the three whales.” Further east, Las Galeras has sunken shipwrecks and rock formations in the sea. More advanced divers should check out “Cabo Cabron,” which has a 120-foot descent into the ocean.
Picture-Perfect Playa Rincon
To see an untouched, picture-perfect beach vision in person, you have to visit Playa Rincon. Three miles of soft, white sand lined with lush palm trees team up with cerulean water and majestic mountaintops to create a stunning view of flawlessness. The beach is secluded, unspoiled and gorgeous, so if you’re the type of person who loves catching nature in its original state, this is the place for you. You can catch a boat from Las Galeras to set sail toward this slice of heaven. Because it's untouched, you'll have to remember to bring your necessities. Conveniences like food, drinks and lounge chairs are available for a price but are well worth it for the view and experience.
The biggest attraction in the area comes to Samaná each January to March. During this time, thousands of humpback whales migrate through the Samaná Bay to mate and give birth to their young. The journey to these waters is a ritual and is an exciting event for the people who are lucky enough to see it. Visiting this area during this time of year to share with these amazing mammals up close is an experience of a lifetime. Excursions depart to catch the frolicking giant creatures in action. Grab the best seat on the boat to watch them splash and spout water and don't forget your camera! You'll want a keepsake of your time with these majestic sea mammals.
Samaná Quick Facts
Currency: Peso (RD$)
Electricity: Same voltage as North America, but the sockets are two-pronged.
Passport/Immigration: All U.S. citizens must have a valid passport when traveling to and from the Dominican Republic.
Drinking Water: Drink only bottled water. Avoid tap water and drinking beverages with ice cubes.
Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time (UTC/GMT -4 hours)
Peak Season: December to February, July to August and Semana Santa (the week before Easter)
Things to Do in Samaná
Haitises & Cayo
Be whisked away in comfortable, fast, and secure boats to start your tour in Cayo Los Pajaros (Bird Cay) where you get to admire the exotic birds and perhaps even see newborns being fed by their parents. Continue to Boca de Tiburon (Mouth of the Shark) to see the breathtaking stalactite formations before heading through mangroves and lush green flora and fauna. After that, you'll be taken to the Bosque Humedo (Humid Forest ), where you will end the day listening to the quiet chirping of native birds.
- Park entrance fee
Don't Forget to Bring:
- Comfortable shoes
Hours: Wednesday- Saturday 7:45AM. The tour lasts about 8 hours.
Where to Go: Pick-up and drop-off from your hotel lobby.
Age Restrictions: Children must be able to complete all activities.
Additional Information: This tour is not recommended for people who suffer from claustrophobia. People under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be allowed to take the tour.
Amstar DMC SA - Dominican Republic Phone Number: (01) 809 221 6626
Tips & Transportation
Savor the Dominican Flag
For a taste of true Dominican culture on your trip to the Dominican Republic, make sure to order the Bandera Dominicana. The name means Dominican Flag in English, and it's a must-try while in Samaná. It's a traditional staple on the menu in the Dominican Republic consisting of yummy rice and beans, meat, salad and fried plantains.
Best Spot to Shop: Las Terrenas
If you visit Las Terrenas, make sure to make a stop at the fisherman's village called the Pueblo de Pescadores. It's a newer area made of shops and restaurants run by locals. Here you'll find gems like hand-crafted jewelry and accessories. Don't miss out on buying some genuine Dominican cigars or rum!
Best Place to Visit with Local Vendors: Las Galeras
Venture east of Samaná for great local shopping in the quaint beach town of Las Galeras. The sleepy little town will make you feel special for discovering such a natural state of beauty where you can experience tranquil beach life away from the masses, stroll along the shops and get authentic treasures from the beautiful DR.
Best Cliff Diving Spot: Dudu Caves
Venture just outside Samaná to the town of Cabrera, where you’ll find the Dudu Caves. Locals hang out there to swim, jump off cliffs into the deep lagoon, and hop from rope swings over the water. You'll even see expert divers show up to explore the undergrounds of the caves. The best part is after you've done discovering cliff diving, you can munch on something yummy at the snack bar.
Best Place to Dance & Eat: Cafe del Mar
Spend the evening in the beautiful and swanky Café del Mar Puerto Bahia where you can enjoy cocktails and delicious meals with live music and the gorgeous Samaná sunset in the background. The restaurant is inside the Bannister Hotel in Puerto Bahia, right off the coast of Samaná, and the Latin kitchen cooks up treats ranging from Spanish recipes, Mexican salsa and even vegetarian specialties.
Samaná has two airports that service via CheapCaribbean.com. Las Américas International Airport (SDQ) is a major regional airport for the Dominican Republic. It’s located 20 minutes from Santo Domingo in Punta Caucedo. Samaná is a 1-2 hour drive north from Santo Domingo. El Catey Samaná International (AZS) is a smaller airport with seasonal flights from certain US cities. However, it’s located on the Samaná peninsula and is a much shorter drive. Each visitor entering the Dominican Republic will be required to purchase a Tourist Card upon arriving. It is recommended for guests to purchase their card prior to arrival to skip the lines at the airport. Tourist Cards may now be purchased online through the following link: https://www.dgii.gov.do/Tturistaweb/Order-en.
Immigration & Customs
At the immigration desk, you will have to purchase a 30-day tourist card instead of a visa. The DR requires a departure tax that’s usually included in your airfare. Your flight attendant will typically give you customs paperwork to fill out on the plane. After you’ve been through the immigration desk at the airport and you’ve picked up your luggage from baggage claim, you’ll go to customs, where officers will possibly check your bags.
Getting to Your Hotel
CheapCaribbean.com has partnered with Amstar as our premier transportation company in Samaná. They’ll provide you with safe, comfortable and professional transportation from the airport to your hotel and back. They’ll also provide transportation to any excursions booked through our site that you’d like to take while you’re in your destination.
It’s easy to find your Amstar team when you arrive at the airport. They’ll be standing in the ground transportation waiting area, holding a CheapCaribbean welcome sign. They wear floral shirts. All drivers are fluent in English, friendly and knowledgeable about the culture, history and things to do while you’re there. By the end of your ride, you’ll have made a new friend. Vehicles are all clean, modern and reliable.
Amstar is also the official transportation rep for CheapCaribbean.com excursions when you book vacations to Samaná on our site. The majority of our partner hotels have an Amstar desk in or near the lobby so they’re easy to find, should you need them. For this reason, we suggest that our guests do not rent cars while in the Caribbean or Mexico as traffic laws and road quality and street signs are not the same as they are in the US.
Getting Around Samana
You can get around your resort area most conveniently on foot, but if you plan on taking trips outside of the resort area, we recommend you use Amstar Tours. Excursions to fun activities include transportation to and from the hotel, so you can count on a convenient and dependable ride.