A narrow peninsula in the northeastern corner of the D.R., Samana is the country's least developed and most serene section. Its beaches, many of them remote and secluded, rank with some of the D.R.'s finest, and the area is characterized by lush tropical forests, verdant mountains with dramatic sea views, waterfalls, and a handful of luxury resorts that take full advantage of these natural wonders. The only thing that detracts is the periodic arrival of cruise ships at the peninsula's biggest city (also known as Samana), which floods with souvenir-obsessed day-trippers during these times.
For a real isolated-from-reality experience, consider the Gran Bahia Cayo Levantado, which is located on a small island 15 minutes by boat from Samana. The service at this new resort is a little weak, but the rooms are huge and stunning and the setting truly paradise-like. Back on the mainland, the Gran Bahia Principe Cayacoa has very good food and a gorgeous pool perched atop a cliff overlooking the bay. The Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo, a quiet, comfortable resort with a fantastic beach, is close to the town of Las Terrenas, which holds far more appeal than the town of Samana.
|Airports:||Samana El Catey International Airport (AZS) (45 min., $65 cab ride)|
|Time Zone:||Atlantic Standard|
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|Peak:||June 15-Aug. 15; Dec. 15-April 15|
|Off-Peak:||April 15-June 15; Aug. 15-Dec. 15|
|Hurricanes:||June 1-Nov. 30|
|Whale Watching:||Jan. 14-March 15|
|Visa:||No; $10 tourist card must be purchased at airport on arrival and $20 U.S. Departure Tax applies|
|Electricity:||110 V, 60 Hz (U.S. compatible)|
|Tipping:||10% is customary and usually included in the bill at hotels and restaurants|