My first itinerary for visiting northeast Dominican Republic, focuses a whale-watching tour of Samana Bay below the Samana Peninsula. If your travel dates range from mid January through March this itinerary may work for you as it stands. To do the area justice you’d need a week or two, but many of my readers have only two or three days for a visit. My solution is to give you several short itineraries that you can combine as needed.
Route from Santo Domingo on the south shore:
Once out of the city, take Hwy #7 N for several hours. When the road Ts take Hwy #5 East along the south side of the Samana peninsula and arrive in the town of Samana about noon.
Route from Punta Cana and La Romana on the east and south:
Drive west on Hwy #3. Just before San Pedro de Macoris get on the #4. It will T with Hwy #7 N which you will drive (as above).
Route from Puerto Plata on the north coast:
Drive east on Hwy #5 all the way to Samana.
Check-in at Whale Samana to confirm tomorrow’s launch (open 8-1 and 3-6). If you miss those hours, phone 809.538.2494 to confirm.
Lunch: El Timon
- Looks like a little open-air shack near the wharf across the street (the the left) of Whale Samana – tasty and cheap.
Cayacoa (Bridge to Nowhere)
- Footbridge from Samana wharf that spans several islands in Samana Bay.
- Takes 45 minutes to an hour to walk the length.
- Has a lot of stairs.
Dinner: El Monte Azul restaurant – Reservations required 849.249.3641 or (3640)
- On a hill overlooking two bays.
- Take a 4WD with high clearance. Road is steep, rocky and nearly impassable with a regular car when wet.
- Can leave your car at the wide place on the road below and make the final ascent on foot.
La Suena Azul – Small B&B beside the El Monte Azul Restaurant on the top of the hill
- Haven’t stayed there, yet, but plan to on my next visit.
- Has a few parking spots (if you can get your car up there)
La Ensenada (The Cove Condominiums)
- South side of Playa Frances, just past a small fishing village
- Look for a stone wall with a metal gate and a sign that says “The Cove” on one side “La Ensenada” on the other
- Friends recommended a unit rented out by firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fresh water pool
Whale Watching — 8:30 AM arrive at Whale Samana office near the main town dock by 8:30 AM.
- Boat departs 9 AM and returns after around 12:30 PM
- Provide anti-seasickness wrist bands
- Guides on the boat have excellent whale information in many languages (ask the passengers which languages are needed).
- Free water and soft drinks always available
- Guides insist on viewing-etiquette (down in front, stand in the back)
- Sterling silver whale-fluke earrings available (but not hyped).
Lunch: We tried some fast food joints that weren’t very good. Another time I’d probably go back to El Timon.
Boca del Diablo: Blow hole in a lava tube; sharp-edged lava flow extends down hill to the beach.
- Drive east from Samana City along the coastal road.
- Watch for a very small sign on a green cement wall that indicates the turn-off.
- Road is unpaved and can be rough. A high clearance vehicle would be best. We did it in a compact car, but had to drive very slowly to ease the tires over rocks.
- No protective railing, so don’t underestimate the mighty gust of wet air/salt water.
- Consult a tidal chart if you want to see the 16-foot plume of water.
Granite Mine: same road as Boca del Diablo
El Salto del Limon: National park by the same name as the waterfall. Sign on east side of road is not prominent, so watch!
- Don’t pay the highway moto-conchos to take you in to their “ranch.”
- Rent horse to take you to the waterfall, 700 to 900 pesos per horse in 2016; must be paid in advance.
- Each person has to have a guide whether you ride a horse or hike on foot; pay him/her at the end of the trip. Minimum is 500 pesos, but better to err on the side of generosity.
- Route is rocky; fords little river twice; takes you up a steep, rugged trail — not groomed at all.
- Leave horses at top of hill; shelter area at top; walk down stairs to the waterfall and splash in the pool; walk up stairs.
- Take horses for return trip back to your car.
- The El Salto del Limon experience will take about 3 hours.
Hwy. #7 south, buffet inside a gas station just before the junction with Hwy. #4
More JMBryceTravel blogs about visiting the northeast Dominican Republic area:
- Second Itinerary for Visiting Northeast Dominican Republic
- Paradise Amidst the Trash at Playa Rincon
- Samana’s Fierce Blowhole and Granite Mine
- Visit Samana on New Year Day
- Dominican Tree House Village & Samana Zipline
- Riding Horses to El Salto del Limon
- Whale Watching Samana Bay January to March