Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Large resort for couples and families willing to burn some calories on a steep hill.
A relaxing, family resort set high on a cliff overlooking the town of Samana and the Samana Bay, the Cayacoa attracts European, Dominican, and Canadian couples and families seeking the pristine, less-developed Samana Peninsula. The resort itself is fairly small, but because it's built on a steep hill, walking around the resort (and to the beach) takes a great deal of time and energy.
The Cayoca is located in Samana, a 45-minute cab ride from the Samana El Catey International Airport.
A narrow peninsula on the east end of the Dominican Republic, Samana is less developed and more serene than heavily congested tourist areas like Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata, or Punta Cana. Some of the country’s best beaches are on the Samana Peninsula. As such, the main town of Samana is popular among cruise ship passengers, who come hunting souvenirs and local fare. However, safety outside the resorts is less reliable here than in some of the gated complexes on the north coast, like Playa Dorada. Unlike elsewhere in the D.R., it’s common to see armed guards at the hotels. Visitors are advised to travel in groups and use common sense, especially at night.
Average beach, with some complaints of sewage.
The beach at the Gran Bahia Princie Cayacoa is pretty average. To get to it, guests take an elevator down about four stories, and it opens directly on the sand. The beach is pretty small and lacks an exotic feel, but does offer plenty of lounge chairs and a restaurant. There are also close-up views of the Bridge to Nowhere.
There have been some reports of sewage on the beach, but Oyster did not see any signs of discharge in the water during our 2010 stay. It is certainly a possibility, however. A still developing city, Samana doesn’t have a modern sewage system.
All rooms come with a mini-fridge stocked with a few sodas, two beers, and a bottle of water.
The balcony is a winner. Standard rooms are down the hill, near the villas. They have an amazing view of the ocean, but they lack the grand, cliff-top view that many guests flock to the Cayacoa to see. To get this view, guests should request ocean-view rooms in the main hotel complex on top of the hill. These rooms are in the busier part of the hotel but are closer to the restaurants and main pool.
Nice pools, even if they're on the skimpy side.
The pool at Cayacoa is definitely a bigger draw than the beach, even though it's not that big. There's both a bar and a Ping-Pong table right next to it. The pool sits above a large cliff and has great views of Samana Bay. There's also a massage pool, two smaller pools, and another beach by the villas on the resort's west end.
Spotless to begin with, and improvements are continuing.
One of the D.R.’s best buffets, especially for non-carnivores.
The Cayacoa’s buffet was excellent, maybe the best buffet food I encountered in the Dominican Republic. It also happens to be one of the few places with numerous vegetarian options. For dinner, they serve baked ham and an assortment of cheeses and breads. There is always a soup option as well as various entrees and salads.
An international restaurant called La Orquidea sits on the cliff overlooking Samana Bay. Reservations are required, and amazing views are guaranteed. Dolce Vita and El Pescador are down the hill, closer to the water; both also have sea views.
A clean cliffside resort in the D.R.’s up-and-coming (and less developed) Samana Peninsula, the laid-back Gran Bahia Cayacoa attracts international families with its solid service, its beautiful rooms, and some of the best all-inclusive food in the Caribbean. The beach, however, is less remarkable. Most guests hang out near the pool.