10Best Warms Up at the Dominican Republic

  • Palm studded beaches abound on the Samaná Peninsula.

    Beautiful Beaches

    Samaná’s beaches are the stuff of travel postcards: you’ll find strands of soft sand with turquoise waters lapping against the shore and coconut palm groves providing shade. Two of our favorite beaches are Playa Ricón, an undeveloped white sand stretch where you can snorkel, and Playa Moron, a secluded beach near Limon that offers good body surfing.

    Photo courtesy of Copyright Jess Moss

  • Take a boat ride past more than 50 islands in this coastal national park.

    Los Haitises National Park

    You can only reach this wilderness area across the bay from the Samaná Peninsula by boat. The park is full of islets, caves and mangrove forests to explore, while birders flock here to try spot the 100-plus species, which range from pelicans to frigate birds. If you’re lucky you may see the bulging red throat of a male frigate bird as he tries to attract a mate.

    Photo courtesy of Copyright Jess Moss

  • Los Haitises is home to a number of caves that are open to exploration.

    Caves and Petroglyphs

    Stalactite or stalagmite? You can see both on a journey through one of the caves in Los Haitises National Park. Some of the caves are home to ancient petroglyphs that feature images of animals, faces and symbols. Be sure to bring a flashlight and wear stable shoes.

    Photo courtesy of Copyright Jess Moss

  • The waters around Samaná become a playground for humpback whales from January through March.

    Whale Watching

    Every winter, from January through March, Samaná’s most famous visitors arrive. You can see these humpback whales, who migrate down to the warm Dominican Republic waters to breed and birth calves, from a whale-watching boat or sometimes even from your hotel.

    Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism

  • From fish to shrimp, fresh seafood is the star of many menus in Samaná.


    It doesn’t get much fresher than this. Samaná menus take advantage of the ocean’s natural bounty and feature uncomplicated yet mouthwatering seafood dishes, such as blue crab or shrimp. If you really want to take in local flavors, try the locrio de camarones–shrimp and rice cooked in coconut sauce.

    Photo courtesy of Copyright Jess Moss

  • Shop for locally made goods like faceless dolls, which are said to represent every ethnic group in the Dominican Republic.

    Shopping for Local Crafts

    From craft stands at paradors to the art galleries in Las Terrenas to the colorful shops of Samaná town, there are plenty of towns and villages to buy local products. Top souvenir picks range from coconut oil to faceless dolls to mamajuana, a mixture of tree bark, herbs and alcohol.

    Photo courtesy of Courtesy of the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism

  • Horses can carry you over the uneven uphill terrain to El Limon.

    Horseback Riding

    A good way to see the landscape and interact with locals is to sign up for a guided horseback ride to Salto el Limon. Local communities run paradors, which provide horses, guides and even lunch. The ride is bumpy and slippery and involves crossing a few rivers, so hold on tight.

    Photo courtesy of Copyright Jess Moss

  • The roughly 130-foot waterfall has a plunge pool at its base that's the perfect spot for a swim.

    Salto el Limon

    The approximately 130-foot cascade in the mountains of Samaná isn’t just impressive to look at–the pool at the bottom makes a cool place to take a dip after the journey through the jungle. If you’re traveling with a camera, it’s a good idea to bring a plastic bag or dry case, as the mist from the falls can be as strong as a rainstorm.

    Photo courtesy of Copyright Jess Moss

  • Many Samaná resorts, like Sublime Samana, have a quieter and more peaceful vibe than their counterparts elsewhere in the country.

    Tranquil, Affordable Resorts

    Long popular among European travelers, the resorts in Samaná eschew the stereotypical all-inclusive party vibe familiar to travelers in other Dominican locales. Instead the lodgings here are quieter, tranquil and offer great values, while still touting inclusive packages and beachfront properties. Some of our favorite options include Puerto Bahia and Bahia Principe Cayo Leventado, which sits on its own island.

    Photo courtesy of Copyright Jess Moss

  • A new direct JetBlue air service now connects the Samaná Peninsula to New York City.

    Easier Access

    It’s now easier than ever to reach the Samaná Peninsula. In November 2012, JetBlue launched a new direct service that connects New York’s JFK airport to Samaná– the only non-stop flight from New York to this region. Other routes connect the hub to Canada and Europe. Once you land, a new highway makes the trek to Samaná shorter and easier to navigate.

    Photo courtesy of Copyright Jess Moss

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