The Most Complete Part of the Dominican Republic! This is why!
I have been living here since 2020 and had previously visited the island on 4 occasions
From Santo Domingo, if you do not have a car you can get a bus from the city center (ish) with Caribe Tours. Very cheap and comfy, takes about 3 hours to get to Samaná from Santo Domingo. Cayo Levantado is highly recommended. You can even stay on the island, there is a 5-star hotel, Bahia Principe, where you have to stay for at least 3 nights, $500 a night, all-inclusive, and it has its own private beach as well.
When you stay here, they pick you up from their sister hotel on the mainland, take you across, and drop you off to do your check-in. Lovely place, but a little out of my budget.
This island is stunning. As I mentioned half of it belongs to the resort and the beach which can clearly be seen, is public. They have restaurants, seafood, of course, buffets, and drinks for different prices. There are two ways you can get here from the mainland which is Samana itself. They have private hire, when they get enough people, they will take you out, or you can go on a tour, which might include a buffet lunch as well. The food is nothing special.
One thing to take into account is to stick near the beach as there is a very strong current and it can get deep, very quickly. There are no lifeguards, and if there are, I did not see any walking about. The heat can get intense, so sunglasses, suncream, and a hat are a must. You will spend about 2 hours here, chilling, having lunch and swimming. If you come between January to April, which is when the humpback whales come, the whales are about a 10-minute boat ride from here.
Playa El Valle
You need to go by taxi or by car to this place. Put “playa el Valle” in Google Maps or Waze, very easy to get to, there is also a place called The Dominican Tree House where people stay, it includes dinner and breakfast and costs a little over $200USD a night… For the experience, I stayed. We rented a room literally on the beach:
This house is divided into 4 accommodations, two downstairs and two upstairs. They offer tree houses, which are literally in the trees… check out their website above. They also host as a resort (all-inclusive) for longer periods, a minimum of 3 nights stay, and weddings, with attractive prices. If this is outside your budget, there are also hostels nearby.
Back to the beach: For some reason, the beach is almost always empty, hard to understand as it is beautiful, however, there are other beaches nearby such as Playa Rincon, Las Galeras, and las Terrenas, where people tend to go and they are stunning. This place is nice, but you either stay a night in the Tree House or you just visit and walk the beach for an hour, drink a piña colada or a rum and coke.
The nice thing about this place is that you are surrounded by vegetation. It kinda makes me thing what the Spanish would have found when they came to the DR for the first time, stunning waters, beautiful landscapes and well from Samaná it is easy enough to get here by car. Plenty of space to park. We brought a cooler with beers, food, salads and just spent the day there. It was really nice. Sometimes the water can get choppy or wavey, but it is nice to sit under the palm trees in the shade! You can camp here or spend the day. It is about a 20 minute drive from Samana village, a lovely day as you are up overlooking the beach as you drive down to it. Having a drone can seriously improve how gorgeous it really is. However if you do not bring food or drink with you, there are restaurants and stalls to buy food, fruit and drink. But, best to bring your own. There is also. ariver which comes out of the mountain, and it is bloody cold and refreshing, so jumping in after being in the sea, get all that salt off your body.
You will need to have a car to visit this place. You can also enquire about renting a quadbike, which is so cool, but it is not for spending the whole time there, more about going around different parts of the areas in Samaná, but whatever floats your boat. There are options available.
You can literally walk out to that tiny island in the background. The water is clear and shallow, but normally really for swimming in, at least that was my impression. From here you can take a boat to Playa Rincon , which is in the background (top left).
The reason why I mention las Galeras here and why it is important, is because they have hotels, villas, resorts, 5-star hotels and so on. People tend to stay here and visit other parts of Samaná as it is not very big, but there are so many places to visit.
This is what the beach looks like and I can tell you, you can walk for miles which is the great thing about the place. Lovely to walk about 6am for an hour and breath in the fresh sea air. Take fotos and watch the sunrise. In the picture above, you can take a boat to other island, which you can also walk to, but apparently it could take up to an hour, so to enjoy the experience by boat and less stress than walking, you can enjoy beaches which are more virgin, in the sense there is nobody about and you can take stunning pics. One of the beaches are Playa Fronton. I have yet to visit, but I have seen pics and since I have a drone, the views can be spectacular. A place to visit indeed.