Samana is a peninsula off the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic and can be seen clearly on any world map or globe. It has the most beautiful beaches in the country, and possibly the world.
The peninsula is breathtakingly beautiful, with sky-to-sky coconut trees; its northern coast is lined with picturesque mountains and hills from the beginning of the peninsula to its end, some 50 kilometers.
The people are extremely poor because there is very little work, except for harvesting coconuts, coffee, cacao (chocolate), bananas, mangos, and avocados. Throughout the countryside, the “Campesinos” can be seen washing their clothes in the rivers, and cooking their beans and rice on charcoal in the little open kitchens with thatched roofs.
Around the middle of the peninsula on its southern coast, bordering The Great Bay is the little “pueblo” of Samana where Tropical Island Bed & Breakfast is located – five to twenty-five minutes from the beautiful beaches. The little town of Samana, itself, is on the water since it borders The “Gran Bahia” or Great Bay.
This is the famous “Bacardi Island” where the Bacardi Rum TV commercial was made. It is a breathtakingly beautiful island of about one square mile. Tropical Island Bed & Breakfast is just a few blocks from the waterfront where you can catch the boat for a gorgeous 20-minute boat ride to “Cayo” or “Bacardi Island” where, along the way, you see the entire peninsula from afar – out in the sea. It is a beauty you won’t soon forget!
The sand on Bacardi Island is as white and fine as four. The water is clear and blue, purple, green, and aqua; coconut trees line the beaches for those who would prefer the shade. The island has several very quiet and secluded beaches as well as a hotel that serves a luncheon buffet on the beach. There is snorkeling, water skiing, surfing, and various other sports available.
One of the most beautiful beaches in the world, framed by picturesque mountains. Snorkeling and swimming, freshly caught fish by native fishermen, cooked for you on the beach with french fries or rice and beans.
We can arrange for transportation to this beach right after breakfast from your accommodations. It is a long ride to the other side of the peninsula through the countryside where you can see the little Dominican “rancheros” (Dominican Houses), and how the “Campesinos” (peasants/poor people) live; they cook on charcoal outside in their little open palmetto thatched kitchens, grinding coffee beans by hand or squeezing oil from coconuts, carrying water jugs on their heads, or washing clothes in the rivers.
When you arrive on the other side of the peninsula at Playa Rincon, there are two isolated breathtakingly beautiful beaches. About 100 feet over to the right of this bay, over a little hill, is another beautiful beach with big waves. Both beaches are framed by mountains in the background as the peninsula curves around.
This is a whole day trip (approximately 1 hour each way). The driver will pick you up just after breakfast (7:45 AM), take you there, and return for you around 4 PM.
SAILING ON THE CATAMARAN – LA ESMERALDA – IN THE GREAT BAY
All day trip sailing around the Great Bay and to Bacardi Island to swim, and for the buffet of typical Dominican cuisine on the beach. Return to Samana on the Catamaran late afternoon. Lobster is available for slightly more. Drinks are served on the Catamaran.
SEASIDE POOL and PRIVATE BEACH
An entire day at a seaside pool and private beach, enjoying ping pong, tennis, golf, use of gym, unlimited tropical drinks & cocktails until 5PM. Fantastic tropical luncheon buffet included.
Horseback riding from the end of the peninsula (Las Galeras) 12 kilometers to the beautiful Rincon Beach, swimming all day, return to Las Galeras. Tour Guide included.
LOS HAITISES NATIONAL PARK:
A 2-hour boat ride across The Great Bay of Samana to visit caves and view ancient Indian carvings and drawings and learn of their culture. Buffet “comida typica” included.
A beautiful natural fresh water pool for diving & swimming
Clean, cool refreshing waters come from under the mountains to form a natural fresh water pool for swimming and diving. Around this natural pool, nestled below the mountains, a witness family has built a three-level terrace with tables, chairs, and umbrellas, along with a little restaurant where one can sit, relax, and enjoy a seafood dinner of lobster, shrimp, conch, crab, and red snapper or “platos tipicos” or “comida criolla” (Dominican cuisine), or just a good sirloin steak. You can swim, dive, relax, and make cocktails (small liquor store is located by the pool). Meals are optional.
EL LIMON – AN ALL DAY ADVENTURE
El Limon is an all day adventure: hiking, horseback riding, swimming at a beautiful waterfall. We can arrange transportation to El Limon right after breakfast from your accommodations for the entire day (minimum 4 persons). From Limon one hikes or rides horses to a waterfall (approximately one hour). Horses to and from waterfall.
A quaint little town along the sea with souvenir shops and more beautiful beaches. It is located on the other side of the Samana Peninsula, and is a beautiful 1½ hour trip by motorbike, over a mountain range, where the sea can be viewed on both coasts of the peninsula at the same time. A small French cafe, “Casa Papon,” is excellent for its seafood, Italian, French, and Criolla menu. Superb piña coladas (motorbikes can be rented in Samana).
BEAUTIFUL ONE-HOUR BOAT RIDE ACROSS SAMANA’S GREAT BAY
TO THE COAST OF THE MAINLAND:
Beautiful view of the entire peninsula and mountains on the main coast. Boat departs at 9AM and 3PM, and returns at 12 noon and 6PM. One hour stopover; time to eat and sightsee.
Las Galeras is a beautiful 26 kilometer ride from the town of Samana to the end of the Samana Peninsula. There are many beautiful beaches here with sand as fine as flour, and water that is every imagineable shade of blue, green, and purple!
Freshly caught fish are cooked and served with rice and beans right on the beach. In this area arrangements can be made for an all-day horseback riding trip to Rincon Beach with a guide and an optional barbecue afterwards.
Playa Escondida (“Hidden Beach”) is a 15 minute walk or a 5 minute “concha” ride from Tropical Island Bed & Breakfast. It is a beautiful beach but not as beautiful as the above mentioned beaches
HUMPBACK WHALES: These whales visit Samana from January through March every year. All day excursion; morning is spent cruising the Great Bay of Samana and viewing the humpbacks. Then a trip to Bacardi Island for buffet luncheon, drinks, and swimming. A thrilling experience. Return 4:30PM or 6:00PM.
WHAT IS NEEDED TO ENTER THE COUNTRY? VISA?
You need a passport to enter the country. At the airport in Dominican Republic they issue a temporary visitor’s visa for $20.
IS THERE ANYTHING I SHOULD KNOW TO
AVOID GETTING SICK WITH “TRAVELER’S DIARRHEA?”
It is a NOT a good idea to drink tea, coffee, or juice ANYWHERE – in restaurants or in traveling along the way – not even in the best hotels, as you can get sick because most of the time the Dominicans work in the kitchens, and tap water is used to make these beverages rather than purified water. However, at Tropical Island Bed & Breakfast safe spring water is provided and used in all drinks, and supreme effort is made to protect our guests from bacteria, amoebas, and parasites, which are found in bad water and food not appropriately washed or properly cooked.
Don’t eat raw salads anywhere. Always asked for COOKED salads. It is not a good idea to eat RAW salads because vegetables, such as lettuce, cabbage, and celery, though washed, are not soaked in anything to destroy any bacteria; therefore, salmonella can be a real threat
Always carry good bottled water with you wherever you go. A five-gallon jug of spring water can be purchased for around $1 U.S. Many guests bring a water bottle with a straw in the cover with a shoulder strap for carrying with them.
WHAT ABOUT MEDICAL TREATMENT IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC?
There are clinics and hospitals in the Dominican Republic in most towns for emergency care, and for treatment of simple things (such as bacterial infections, parasites, and the flu). Blood analysis and x-rays are available.
For treating severe diseases or medical problems, most people go to Santo Domingo or Santiago. There are some good doctors, dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, and clinics there and in other places. It is not difficult to find out about these when the need arises. There are brothers that are medical doctors, dentists, optometrists, etc. The Branch Office is always very helpful.
MEDICATIONS: If you have medications, it would be a good idea to bring enough with you for your stay.
WHAT KIND OF CLOTHING SHOULD I BRING?
If you visit the mountains in Jarabacoa, you will need a sweater or a jacket, warm pajamas, etc. (December through March). In warmer areas such as Samana, bring lightweight, cool clothing. Perma-press clothing is perfect as ironing is often a problem due to low voltage or power outages.
RAINWEAR: Lightweight rain coats/capes that you can fold and put in your bag are practical for the sudden unexpected showers that may come. Small fold-up umbrellas are practical.
SHOES: Territories in many places, such as Samana, are rocky and hilly. Often one has to cross over streams and rivers to get to a house. Good walking shoes are best. Comfort rather than fashion is the key! PLAIN white/black walking shoes, Sprints, Keds, etc. or plain leather tennis shoes are acceptable and perfect for the rocky, and often muddy, field service terrain.
WHAT ABOUT PAYING DUTY ON THINGS?
Very seldom would a visitor be charged duty on something, but they often make up the rules as they go along. If you are discreet and carry things of value wrapped well in your carry-on luggage (i.e., carrying your laptop), most of the time you won’t have to pay duty.
DO I NEED TO RENT A CAR OR MOTORBIKE TO VISIT DR?
Motor bikes and scooters are fine for country places and small towns, but are not recommended for other larger towns and cities. Most places in the Dominican Republic have excellent transportation using “conchos” (4 passenger 4-wheel covered wagon pulled by a motorcycle) and gua-guas (trucks and minivans).
If you rent a little motor bike, Honda 70 or Honda 90, gas costs $2/gallon U.S., but you can go forever on a gallon. Most pioneers with a Honda 70 or Honda 90 only spend about $2 to $5 U.S. a week on gasoline.
Many friends prefer to rent a car for safety reasons. In most towns there are pretty good local bus systems (gua-guas, mini-buses, etc.) for transportation. So having a car is not always a necessity.
WHAT ABOUT MY DRIVERS LICENSE?
Drivers licenses from other countries are accepted in the Dominican Republic. International licenses are accepted as well. If staying a length of time, it might be well to obtain one of these.
ARE THERE ATM MACHINES? CAN I USE VISA/MASTERCARD?
These are not found in all towns. Puerto Plata, San Francisco, Macoris, Nagua Jarabacoa, Samana, and Santo Domingo have them. It’s best, however, to always make sure that you have enough pesos with you because these machines are out of order or not working due to problems with electricity.
Debit or credit cards can be used at many banks to withdraw money from your savings or checking account. Not every pueblo has a bank with this service so it is best to travel with enough cash wherever you go.
The country has WESTERN UNION OFFICES in many places where money can be wired.
WHAT ABOUT MAIL SERVICE/UPS/FEDERAL EXPRESS?
Mail service in the Dominican Republic is not the best. It can take anywhere from two weeks to six months for a letter or package to arrive. It would be better to send your postcards the first few days you are here.
Federal Express services do not exist here. There are different kinds of companies. Many pueblos have one. They are quite expensive, but excellent in an emergency.
IS THERE HOT WATER IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC?
In most places, NO, due to low voltage in the country. However, a cool shower can be quite refreshing after a hot day on the beach.
WHAT ABOUT HAIR DRYERS AND IRONS?
In some places these cannot be used in the late afternoon or at night because of low voltage at these times. If you stay somewhere where there is an inverter, these cannot be used at all unless the person has a special electrical setup for this. However, in a bed and breakfast, occasional ironing by a housekeeper is a provided service.