Dominican Tree House Village & Samana Zipline

Tree house - square

I can’t imagine visiting the Samana peninsula and not spending time at the Dominican Tree House Village & Samana Zipline. I once had a calendar with a different tree house around the world pictured for each month, so I came to the DTHV with a healthy set of fantasies about what living in a tree house would be like. Yes, they are truly individual bedrooms on stilts in the tops of the trees. The place is so imaginative that it feels a bit magical.

Tree house roofs

Tree house roofs

But I can also imagine how you could make it miserable for yourself. If physical challenges prevent you from climbing stairs, it would be impossible. If you have to have a big roller suitcase or two, it would be more than awkward. And, if you want a 5-star luxury experience, you’ll be disappointed.

What you’ll get is an amazing view of jungle treetops, an open-air room with a comfortable bed, and floor to ceiling draperies for privacy. You’ll share a bathroom, but there’s a chamber pot under the bed to minimize nighttime adventures.

In the dining room it’s possible to meet guests of all ages, from all walks of life, and from many countries. You’re connected because of your mutual passion for hiking, the out-of-doors, and tropical adventure. If you want a unique experience that will linger in your memory, that’s what you’ll find at the Dominican Tree House Village.

To get there from the malecon just east of Samana, turn left (north) at the sign for the Dominican Tree House Village in El Valle, Samana. Phone 829.542.3005. When the road becomes primitive, you’ll know you’re on the right road. Take your time and drive about 5 mph. Truly. Ease your tires over those rocks.

No lunch is served at Dominican Tree House Village and not much is available on the way. Picnic lunch in the car is your best bet. If you’re lucky, a local might sell you some warm coconut bread as you slowly traverse the awful road.

Samana Zipline

You can’t possibly miss the Samana Zipline parking lot, what with an effigy hanging across the road. The staging area is located just before you reach the tree houses. It runs at various times during the day depending on the season and weather conditions. Best to call first. Reservations would be important for a group. (1.800.820.1357)

The Samana Zipline has 12 stations that take you through the tops of the jungle. The guides do the braking for you, so it’s a fairly easy ride. The height makes it a thrill.

Mamajuana

When the truck drives you back to the original launching area, be sure to stay for the very interesting Cultural Presentation. You’ll hear all about mamajuana and various other Dominican customs and foods. Mamajuana is a local Dominican brew that begins with a bottle stuffed with various kinds of tree bark and herbs. You’ll find these bottles for sale in nearly every colmado and gift store on the island. A huge bottle was conveniently stashed in the cupboard back at our condo. We didn’t know what to make of it. Was it some kind of rustic table decoration?

Definitely not. Here’s the recipe: Fill the bottle with 2 fingers of rum, 1 finger of honey, and fill to the top with a red wine or some other sweet fruit wine. It has to age for a time, of course. The zipline treats its patrons to a little sample that tasted a whole lot like a really potent old-time cough medicine.

We bought a bag of dried cocoa beans, a very bitter snack. But somehow, every once in a while I love to crunch down on one.

Dominican Tree House Village

The parking lot for the Dominican Tree House Village is a little further down the road from the zipline parking lot. I strongly recommend leaving as much luggage as you can in the trunk. Only take with you a small bag or backpack with toiletries and any change of clothing you might need. A roller bag or any large suitcase would be a real disadvantage as you hike in and climb to your room. There are young porters to help you, so be sure to tip them generously.

Best to arrive in time to explore the river while it’s still light. There’s a fire pit with swinging chairs, and some rickety bikes that are free for borrowing. You can ride one or walk down a dirt road through a small village to a beautiful, very unpopulated beach where you can use lounge chairs or borrow their inflatable boats to romp in the surf.

Dinner begins at 7 PM. Everyone is served the same meal, but the menu changes daily. The night we were there, they served La Bandera (the flag), which refers to the Dominican perennial favorite combination of rice, beans, and chicken, plus a really nice salad and dessert.

Afterwards, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to play Dominican-style dominos with Leo, the cook. Don’t place any bets—the man is amazing! Plus, there are rules to the game that change everything, with strategy a key ingredient for success. In no way does it resemble the children’s version of matching dots.

Next morning, be sure to return to the dining room for a complimentary hot breakfast and more visiting.

More JMBryceTravel blogs about visiting the northeast Dominican Republic area:

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