Welcome to Samana!
Samana is an incredible place. When one refers to Samana, it is worthwhile to clarify the speaker’s intention, as Samana is the name of the peninsula, the province, the city, the bay, and the airport. Locals may refer to the city as Santa Barbara de Samana to clarify. While the majority of the peninsula is a plain on the coast, there also exists a mountainous range called the Sierra de Samana.
The area is a microcosm of the greater country, full of interesting sights, sounds, smells, and paradoxes. While traversing the countryside, you will see the immense divide both between the haves and have-nots, and the jungle and city life. Both provide interesting excursions – take the path that feels best to you!
Overview of the Samana Itinerary:
The Samana itinerary below can be completed in 3 days if you get in early, or if it’s not whale watching season. Most of the daily events get started early – you can spread out the first day’s un-time-bounded activities to the rest of the days. They’ll be busy, but absolutely worthwhile.
There are a number of well reviewed restaurants in town, and everything is extremely walkable, so we won’t provide specific suggestions. Anything that’s not in walking distance a guagua will get you to.
Fly into the Samana Airport or pull into the relatively recently constructed tourist town via Caribe Bus Tours. Hang your hat in any of the tiny hotels along near the main thoroughfare, or, if you be ballin, the new Grand Bahia Principe Cayacoa.
Take a walking tour of El Centro, the downtown area and waterfront to get yourself acquainted, or take a guagua into Las Terrenas for some water-front drinks, snacks and fun. Hang out on the beach and soak in the Dominican Republic. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of your new home away from home.
Return to town via guagua. Take a stroll to the Bridge to Nowhere, hike up the trail under construction and catch a sunset view from the westernmost tip of the deserted island. Explore the deserted structure (a failed restaurant) at twilight. If you’re feeling adventurous (or OCD) walk to the eastern tip of the island and the view of the bay.
Get up early. Catch the view of the sunrise from the dock. If your hotel doesn’t provide breakfast, grab a quick bite at Le Royal Snack, where travelers, local businessmen and families grab grub and strong coffee before embarking on their days.
Sunscreen up and head off to Los Haitises. There are any number of ways to get there via the bay. We recommend Tour Samana with Terry. Not because of any kick back, but because they were incredibly responsive, accommodating, and kind. Traverse the bay (with Dramamine, if you need it) with an eye out for whales. Be ready to get wet! Explore the tiny islands, remote caves, and cenotes. View cave paintings remnant of the indigenous Lino people. If you book a private tour, they will take you to lunch and take a quick dip at the Cano Hondo restaurant and natural pool.
Return to town and take a walk along the promenade. Grab a Presidente and an empanada at any of the waterfront bar/cafes or head out for a more substantial dinner at any of the brick-and-mortar restaurants along the eastern shore.
Head to the Avenida Francisco del Rosario Sánchez and grab some breakfast to go from the supermarket. Across the way, find the guagua station. Friendly locals will point you to the correct guagua to El Limon – really it’s to Las Terrenas, but El Limon is on the way. They are always leaving in ‘5 minutes’. Hop on, and hold tight!
Get off at the Casa Negro – it’s a shanty of a restaurant on the right hand side, past many of the other restaurant looking spots. This is where you’ll start your hike. Hike the 45 minutes to the Cascada El Limon. Look out for horses along the way. Please swim under the falls! Check out the grotto behind and to the right of the falls.
Hike back and wait in the same spot for the guagua headed in the opposite direction. Enjoy the drive and scenery of lesser developed Samana.
Back in town, head out to experience the loud but low-key nightlife along the waterfront, grab dinner in any of the fancier spots, or catch a basketball game in the sports complex if you’re lucky.
After breakfast, season permitting, head back out on to the water in search of whales. The most widely reviewed and discussed provider is Whale Samana (with Kim Beddall). No kickbacks, just great reviews, highly responsive, and well respected in town.
The majority of your day will be spent on the water. After you spot Willy, head out to any of the beautiful beaches in town to soak in the sun or explore some of the churches for the remainder of your time before moving on to your next adventure 🙂
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Who Am I?
Where have I been?
Check out the image below for a visual of all of the amazing places I’ve been fortunate enough to experience and My Bucket List for the places I hope to visit soon.