Dominica for $1,000 for two: day 6. Samana’s Wild Beaches

Beaches in Samana

Beaches in Samaná are scattered along its coastline – on the south, which overlooks the Gulf of Samaná, and the north and east, washed by the Atlantic Ocean. So the answer to the question of which beach to choose in Samaná depends on whether you want to swim in the waters of the bay or if you prefer the ocean waves.

Playa Bonita is located on the outskirts of the city of Las Terrenas. Its length reaches 13 kilometers. This is one of the most popular beaches in Samaná, and its proximity to the hotels and villas of Las Terrenas makes it the most convenient for tourists staying in this part of the peninsula.

This white sand beach, separated from the shore by thickets of palm trees, is divided into two parts. In the western part the water is extremely calm, there are no high waves, and you can swim with complete comfort. The eastern part of Bonita Beach has frequent high waves and is therefore appreciated by fans of surfing and other water sports. The official address of Bonita Beach is José Francisco Peña Gómez, Las Terrenas 32000.

Caribbean Beach Playa Bonita in Las Terrenas

Playa Cayo Levantado is located on the island of the same name in the Bay of Samaná. It is especially convenient for the guests of the local hotel Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado. All other tourists wishing to visit this beach can reach it by boat or boat from the Santa Barbara de Samaná waterfront. Cayo Levantado beach is especially popular during the mating season of humpback whales, which are very convenient to observe from there. The official address of Cayo Levantado Beach is Cayo Levantado, Samana, 32000.

Playa Colorado is located in the eastern part of the coast of Samana and is one of the wild beaches of the peninsula. Part of it is occupied by the private sector, the rest of the space is open to tourists. You will not find any infrastructure here, but you can watch the turtles that live on the beach in abundance. The official address of the Colorado Beach is Carretera a Playa Colorado, 32000.

Cayo Levantado beach

Playa Rincón is located next door to Colorado Beach. This 1.2 km long beach was named one of the most beautiful beaches in the world by Conde Nast Travel magazine. It overlooks a picturesque cove on one side and a freshwater creek on the other, beyond which begins one of Samana’s national parks. There are several restaurants and cafes along this amazingly beautiful beach, surrounded by coconut palms and mountain slopes. Here you can sample local seafood right after your swim. The official address of Rincón beach is Playa Rincón, Samana.

Cosón Playa is named among the best beaches in Samana around Las Terrenas. Here you will find not only white sand and calm azure waves, but also a good infrastructure, because nearby there are hotels and restaurants of Las Terrenas. You can also watch the mating games of humpback whales from here.

The official address of Cawson Beach is Boulevard Turístico del Atlántico, Las Terrenas 32000.

Rincon Beach

Playa Las Terrenas combines all the other beaches in the vicinity of the town of the same name. It can be called the center of tourist life in this part of Samana. The official address of Las Terrenas Beach is 27 de Febrero, Las Terrenas 32000.

Playa Las Galeras and other beaches in the vicinity of the village of the same name are ideal for lovers of quiet and secluded holidays. Here you can not only be in peace and solitude, but also swim in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. The official address of Las Galeras Beach is Calle de la Playa, Las Galeras 32000.

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Las Terrenas Beach, Samana Peninsula

Playa Madama, which is also located on the outskirts of Las Galeras, is even more secluded. The reason for this is its location in the national park of Cabo Samana. You can only get there by horse or donkey. The official address of Playa Madama is Playa Madama, 32000.

Playa El Valle, located in a picturesque cove in the north of Samana, is ideal not only for swimming but also for fishing. If you do not want to go fishing yourself, you can always enjoy it in the coastal restaurants and cafes of El Valle. The official address of El Valle beach is El Valle-Rincon Trail, 32000.

Beach

Playa El Portillo is also close to Las Terrenas, near the small local airline airport. Fans of all kinds of water sports, from sailing to surfing, will find themselves at this beach. You can rent a quad bike on the beach or sign up for an eco expedition to explore the nature of the peninsula. The official address of the beach of El Portillo is 27 de Febrero, Las Terrenas 32000.

PENINSULA SAMANA

The Samaná Peninsula in the Dominican Republic today, one of the wildest and most untouched places by man and at the same time, the most actively developing resort in the country. In my personal ranking, it is Samana that is on the number 1 list. It has:

  • The most beautiful beaches in the entire Caribbean
  • Huge tracts of forest (though it is not a forest, but a jungle).
  • secluded villas on the tops of the mountains overlooking the ocean
  • Relatively few tourists (yet).
  • humpback whales
  • one of the highest waterfalls in the country.

From this article you will get a general idea of the place. And already full information about hotels, types of holidays in Saman, read the articles on the links, which will be here.

Resources to help the traveler

  • The most adequate car rental – DiscoveryCar
  • Tours to the Dominican Republic, cheaper only to steal – Level Travel
  • Villas, apartments, hotels – Hotellook
  • Excursions with Russian guides – Tripster
  • Transfer from the airport to the hotel – Intui

View of the Samaná Peninsula from the villa

View from our eco-villa on the Atlantic Ocean and the jungle. Information about it will be below.

Table of Contents:

  • A brief history about the Samaná Peninsula
  • General facts about the place
  • How to get there
  • Cities of Samaná: brief information on what to choose for your vacation
  • Peninsula Attractions
  • The most popular tours in Samaná
  • Best hotels on the peninsula

Useful to know:

The most popular time for tourists to visit Samana: January-March.

Beaches of the Samaná Peninsula

Because of these beaches, the Samaná Peninsula and its beaches are considered the most beautiful in all of the Caribbean.

The Samaná Peninsula: a brief history

At times like this, I really don’t like to retype long Wikipedia texts. So briefly and abstractly about the history to give you a general impression of the place.

  • Christopher Columbus on his first voyage in 1492-93 when he discovered America. On the same voyage he discovered the island of Haiti. And this is modern-day Dominica and the Samaná Peninsula. Here is where the Dominican Republic is on the world map.
  • Columbus’s first expedition took the Bahamas, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. And if the Bahamas he discovered on October 12, 1492. This date is considered the day of the discovery of America. Then he reached the Dominican Republic only in January 1493.
  • The two remaining ships (the third was sunk) docked at the shores of Samana on January 14 or 15 approximately. And after that they sailed back to Spain.
  • The next 300 years – Samana was considered an almost uninhabited land. And the population of the peninsula tended to zero.
  • The island of Haiti, discovered by Columbus, was ruled by the Spanish. But for the first 300 years, the French attempted to seize parts of the territory. And with some periodicity they succeeded. Particularly: they were able to conquer the western part of the island, the present-day Republic of Haiti.
  • Hence: the Dominicans speak Spanish and the Haitians French.
  • To make it easier to defend the Samaná Peninsula, the rulers of the time came up with a great solution: to repopulate it. After all, when there is someone to defend, there are fewer people willing to attack.
  • The first settlement appeared on the peninsula in 1756 and was named Santa Barbara de Zamana, and today it is the largest city and capital of the Samaná Peninsula.
  • Over the next 250 years, there have been several attempts to sell the peninsula to the United States, as someone once sold Alaska, or to give it on long-term lease for a military base. But, perhaps fortunately, each time the parties could not reach a consensus.
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And today, Samana is the crown jewel not only of the Dominican Republic, but of the entire Caribbean.

Views of the Samaná Peninsula

We are in a village on the Samaná Peninsula driving to the ocean with these palm groves.

General facts about the Samaná Peninsula

The capital city of the peninsula is Santa Barbara de Zamana, with a population of about 100,000 people. The peninsula is washed by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and by the Bay of Samaná to the south.

On the territory of the peninsula, it is summer all year round. The temperature ranges from 25 to 32 degrees. And the water on both coasts does not drop below 26 degrees. Also, I would like to note that during the summer months on the territory of the peninsula, quite abundant rainfall and the rainy season.

Due to its climate: a comfortable temperature and high humidity – this is one of the greenest regions of the country. Also played a role in this slow development of the territory by man. On the peninsula there are actually three roads. And all the settlements are located along them.

Gable beach Samana

My wife and I are at Fronton Beach. The beach is long and in different parts there are different views. More photos from this place will follow.

The Samaná Peninsula: how to get there?

Today, the Samaná Peninsula is connected to all major provinces of the Dominican Republic by good roads. Relatively recently, six years ago a toll road was opened, which has halved the travel time from Santo Domingo.

You can get to the peninsula by the following means:

  • Auto. Here is all about renting a car. This is the most convenient and comfortable option.
  • Cab: The most expensive option. From the capital of the Dominican Republic will cost about 200 USD.
  • Bus. There are several bus companies. The most popular, which has five to six flights a day: Carriben Tour. A standard ticket from Santo Domingo to Santa Barbara de Zamana, costs 450 pesos or about $8.

Travel time.

Below will be, travel time by car and bus from different resorts and cities in the country.

Important to know:

The travel time will be as far as the town of Sanchez. And this is the first town, right at the entrance to the peninsula. If you plan to drive to Las Galeras, add another 60-90 minutes. And to Las Terenes, it’s only a half hour and $10 for the toll road.

  • Punta Cana – Sanchez: 6 hours by bus / 3.5 hours by car. Transfer to Santo Domingo.
  • Santo Domingo – Sanchez: 4 hours by bus / 2 hours by car.
  • Puerto Plata – Sanchez: 4.5 hours by bus / 3 hours by car

Another important point:

The toll road between Santo Domingo and Sanchez for a car will cost about $10. Another $10 from Sanchez to Las Terenes.

Cities of the Samaná Peninsula: how to choose a resort

There are not many cities on the peninsula. The entire population of Samana is only 180,000 people. And the population of the entire Dominican Republic is 10.5 million.

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Samana

  • Samana is the capital of the Samaná Peninsula. Its full name is Santa Barbara de Samana.
    • The population is 100 thousand people. More than 50% of the peninsula’s residents live here.
    • Located on the southern coast in the bay of Samaná.
    • There are no beaches or beach activities.
    • This town is popular only with tourists who go on excursions in search of humpback whales. But about that below.

    Bottom line: The town of Samaná is not meant for your beach vacation. It makes sense to come here for half a day to walk along the promenade and the longest pedestrian bridge of the peninsula.

    Samana bridge

    This bridge in Samana leads to a small island where today there is a park with an observation deck. Admission is free.

    Las Terenes.

    • Las Terenes is the second largest city on the peninsula.
      • The population is about 32 thousand people.
      • Is one of two tourist resorts on the peninsula.
      • Located on the north coast on the Atlantic.
      • The advantages of this town are:
        • Proximity to El Limon Falls.
        • Endless beaches in every direction from the town
        • Cawson beach is one of the best beaches in the Antilles.
        • Availability of necessary infrastructure: large stores, good road, bus station, kite surfing schools and endless beaches with palm trees.

        Bottom line: Las Terenes is a great location for those who want a never-ending beach but want all the necessary infrastructure.

        beaches of las terenes

        This is one of the central beaches of Las Terenes. There aren’t many people at all during the pandemic. But that only makes the beaches better.

        Sanchez

        • Sanchez. Not a tourist town. But it is the third largest, with only 18,000 people.
          • It is often mentioned because almost all tourists on the peninsula pass through there.
          • Sanchez is at the very beginning of the peninsula.
          • There are no hotels and no beaches and it does not make sense for a tourist to spend time in this town.

          There are probably no other towns in the area. However, there is another small town that is popular with travelers, especially independent ones. Especially those who like secluded vacations and hiking.

          Las Galeras

          • Las Galeras. A very small town in the very east of the Samaná Peninsula.
            • The population is about 5000 people.
            • Located on the north coast and washed by the waters of the Atlantic.
            • There are only two small stores and a dozen restaurants. There is a bank and a hairdresser.
            • But there’s also Madame beach, Fronton beach, Rincon beach, and a cool eco-lounge with a crazy ocean view and hummingbirds in the garden. All three beaches are among the top ten most beautiful in the Dominican Republic.

            Bottom line: those who want secluded vacations, palm trees, deserted beaches, lots of hiking – need to go to Las Galeras. Read all about this little town in the article on the link.

            road to las galeras

            Las Galeras is even more of a village. Here is a road to the beach.

            Samaná Peninsula: points of interest.

            Below I list the top 5 coolest places or excursions of Samana. Try to visit them all – you won’t regret it.

            Important to know:

            This is where the article should have started. SamanA – emphasis on the last A. That’s the correct way to pronounce it. For us Slavs, it is not usual, but as it is.

            El Limon Falls

            • El Limón Falls. One of the coolest places in the country. A 55-meter waterfall in the jungle. On the plus side:
              • You can swim.
              • The views are fabulous.
              • Easy to get to and walk to for anyone.
              • Read more about visiting El Limon on your own in the article at the link.
              • Author’s Recommendation: 5 out of 5. Just for the sake of the waterfall, going to Samana, for example, from Punta Cana, 5-6 hours one way, I understand that it is not a hunt. But if you drive through Samana or even live here, El Limón is a must-see.

              Madama and Fronton Wild Beaches

              • Madama and Fronton Beach.
                • Very cool beaches from the top 10 most beautiful beaches.
                • Can be accessed either on foot or by boat. There are questions about the hiking, but everything is real.
                • The photos speak for themselves.
                • Details on how to get to these two beaches at the link.
                • The author’s recommendation is 5 out of 5. A boat ride for the money is also a bit of a sea voyage. On foot through the jungle, a hiking trek of medium difficulty. And there and there, not only the beach, but also the road to the beach and the pioneer process itself.

                Humpback Whales: Samana Peninsula

                • Whales in Samana.
                  • Only a couple of months a year.
                  • On the downside, it’s very seasick, especially for those who are predisposed.
                  • On the plus side: you can see real humpback whales in their natural habitat about 10 meters away.
                  • Details about our personal experience, and step-by-step instructions on how to repeat this on the link: the humpback whales in Saman.
                  • Author’s rating: 5 out of 5. Just a must-see if you find yourself in the Dominican Republic between January and March.

                  Interesting to know:

                  About Bacardi Island you just read the link about the whale watching tour. This paradise island can be visited with this particular excursion.

                  Bacardi Island Samana Dominica

                  Bacardi Island and its beach you can get to if you buy a whale watching tour.

                  Rincon Beach: Samana Peninsula

                  • Rincon Beach. Near Las Galeras.
                    • All guidebooks list it as one of the most beautiful in the Dominican Republic.
                    • Personally, I am not thrilled.
                    • Yes it is beautiful and beautiful, but like all the beaches of Las Galeras, of which there are a dozen more.
                    • Fronton Beach, for example, is 5 times better and more picturesque.
                    • On the plus side of Rincon, it’s easy to get to, which means there are people here. And to some, that’s a minus.
                    • Rating of the author 3 out of 5: Yes it’s cool, but it’s like this everywhere. The beach doesn’t stand out in that regard.

                    Koson Beach.

                    • The long beach of Cawson is located 5 km away from Las Terenesas.
                      • The beach is located a little away from the town of Las Terenesas.
                      • The beach is almost undeveloped and deserted.
                      • The sand is brown instead of white like everywhere else.
                      • Washed by the Atlantic Ocean.
                      • Coson is beautiful for its desolation, lots of palm trees.
                      • Author rating of 5 out of 5: You have to come here to walk on the beach along the ocean. Walking and not lying. But this is how you like it.

                      This is not a complete list of all the places Samana, but certainly the coolest. There is also Bacardi Island, which I have not written much about, but wrote where to read more. Boca el Diablo (Devil’s Mouth), the pedestrian long bridge in the town of Santa Barbara da Samana, endless beaches and palm trees. The Samaná Peninsula is a true paradise in the Dominican Republic.

                      beach cocon samana samana dominica

                      Personally, I love Cawson Beach and I love walking around here. For me it is a cool place.

                      The Samaná Peninsula: the most popular excursions

                      This list is partly the same as the top 5 attractions, as it’s no surprise that the coolest places can be visited on their own and as part of a tour. Therefore, I will be brief on some points. Most importantly, you need to know where to just buy a tour, and which place is better to plan on your own.

                      Links to good resources with tours of the Dominican Republic are at the very end of the article.

                      Whales + Bacardi + Lemon and it’s not about alcohol and snacks

                      • The most popular excursion is: Whales + Bacardi Island + El Limón Falls, all in 1 full day.
                        • This excursion will be useful for those who have very limited time and no car.
                        • If time on the peninsula allows, I recommend a separate tour of the Whales and Bacardi Island in one day. And an excursion only to Lemon Falls in the other.
                        • The cost of such an excursion is about 100-150USD depending on your distance from Samana. Those who travel from Punta Cana, the price is logically higher. – The best tour program to date from Punta Cana and Bavaro, and even with a Russian-speaking guide. Cooler service and conditions you will not find on this route.
                        • By boat to Madama and Fronton Beach. Excursion for 4-5 hours.
                          • The boats leave from the beaches of Las Galeras.
                          • Price as you agree and depends on many factors
                            • Weather
                            • Number of people on the boat
                            • Greed of the boat owner
                            • The whiter you are, the higher the price
                            • On average, the entire boat tour will cost between 20 and 40 USD per person.
                            • On foot, of course, it is free.

                            Important to know:

                            There are no excursions to Rincon and Coson beaches. Plan your visit to these places on your own. It is a long walk to Koson beach, a cab is a great option.

                            • Another of the most popular excursions: flying a single-engine plane over the peninsula.
                              • The beauty of the air is just cosmos.
                              • The flight itself takes 20-30 minutes.
                              • Price, about 200-250 USD per person

                              The best hotels in the Samaná Peninsula

                              Today Samana lags behind, for example, from Punta Cana by 20-25 years. Perhaps this is why the peninsula is considered quiet, secluded and without the crowds of tourists. Options for villas and apartments are enough here. How and where to find them, see the links at the end of the article.

                              You may be interested:

                              Note the cool eco-villa where we lived, overlooking the ocean and jungle. And we had hummingbirds flying on our terrace. A huge plus of this house is that it is right at the start of the trail to Fronton and Madama Beach.

                              Eco Villa with a view of the ocean Dominica

                              The photo was taken from the terrace of this villa. It seems far to the ocean, but only a 9 minute walk. Tested personally.

                              Below is an excellent rating of hotels on the Samaná Peninsula. You can see reviews and current prices. The list is dynamic, you can click on it and it will take you to the hotel website.

                              Las Galeras Hotels

                              Las Terenes: Best Hotels and Villas

                              Hotels in Santa Bárbara de Samaná

                              In conclusion: it does not matter where you fly to vacation in the Dominican Republic and for how many days. But 1 day on the Samaná Peninsula is a must. Or better yet, rent a hotel or villa for 5 days and drive the entire peninsula. Whales, Fronton, El Limon, Cawson – after visiting these places, you will never forget it.

                              Have an unforgettable vacation on the Samaná Peninsula!

                              If you find a mistake, write in the comments.

                              IMPORTANT: Below are links without which you can not organize a dream trip to the Dominican Republic.

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