Samana is also a very romantic destination and is popular for honeymooners. No honeymoon would be complete without a romantic horseback ride along one of the numerous lovely white sand beaches flanked by tall coconut trees.
Its history is very different to that of other parts of the island. Whereas many of the first post Taino settlers on the island date back to the days of Columbus, the modern day settlers to Samana were via two shiploads of liberated African slaves in around 1824. Samana residents now consist of mainly Dominicans and Europeans, predominantly French, followed by Italians and Spanish. This mix of Dominican and European flair has given Samana a distinct flavor unlike any other on the island. Some of the best cuisine can be found in this area with a fusion of rustic French, Italian and Spanish recipes with local ingredients and influences.
Things to do:
El Limon Waterfall: Take the El Portillo road going east and stay on it until you get to the town of El Limon. The waterfall is about 300 meters above sea level and has a 40 meter drop that ends in a very deep but swimmable pool of crystal clear waters.
Whale-watching: Samana has some of the best whale-watching in the world. This area is part of a marine mammal sanctuary that encompasses the northern and eastern coasts of the Dominican Republic, is one of the best places in the world to go whale-watching. Each winter, from around mid-January to the end of March, some 3,000 to 5,000 humpbacks migrate from the North Atlantic Ocean south to the waters surrounding the DR to mate and give birth.
Los Haitises National Park: Easily reached by a short boat ride across the Bay is Los Haitises National Park. This area is known as having one of the most important rainforests and mangrove reserves in the entire Caribbean, complete with keys and caves. You can only enter the park with a certified guide. Day excursions can be booked from most hotels.
Mountain biking, hiking, horse riding: There are few destinations as great as Samana for these ecotourism sports. Note that there is no better way to really see the area than by mountain bike, hiking or horse riding. End the day with a plunge in a deserted beach. Horse riding excursions will take you through jungles and paradise beaches.
Caving: Samana has many caves for exploring. Check out the availability of excursions offering sightings of petroglyphs and pictograms from the days of the Indian settlers. Samana is known as the site of the first battle between the Indian settlers and the European conquerors – the Battle of the Arrows.
Rock climbing: Rock climbing enthusiasts should look into the Playa Fronton excursions. Playa Fronton is located at the end tip of Las Galeras. It is a spectacular beach, even if you are not into climbing.
Scuba diving: Samana features the best adventure diving of the north coast of the Dominican Republic. This rocky coastline with high cliffs leads to an exciting underwater world of sheer drop-offs and pinnacles that rise from 165 feet to within 15 feet of the surface. Underwater visibility in this region can range from 100 to 150 feet. During the winter season (January 15-March 15), visiting humpback whales can be seen and heard underwater as they migrate toward Silver Shoals. Dive shops take their divers to Punta Tibisi, (Cabo Cabron) for snorkeling and swimming. For advanced divers, there is the site known as The Tower. This underwater pinnacle rises from 165 feet. Down below at 40 feet, views are serene and majestic.
The sea floor of the Samana peninsula varies broadly from shallow, reef sites featuring multitudes of deep undercuts, to systems honeycombed with large caves, tunnels and swim-throughs such as those surrounding the small rock islands of Las Ballenas (The Whales). Beneath the moderate depths of 30 and 50 feet, their vast collection of dive and tunnel formations, are difficult to count in the course of one dive. The El Portillo-Las Terrenas area also offers attractive dives to a mixture of shallow and deeper coral reefs and caverns, as well as coral gardens for snorkeling.
Samana is perfect the high adrenaline thrill seekers and also those looking for a slow paced romantic getaway.