- Where to Go
- The Best of the Dominican Republic
- A Nature Lover’s Dominican Trek
- The Sexiest Dominican Beaches
- Historical Dominican Road Trip
- A Dominican Culture Tour
- Carnaval and Its Masks
- Planning Your Dominican Wedding
- Dominican Adventures
- Golfing the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Music and Dance
- La Ruta del Mango
- Day-Tripping in Monte Plata
- The Best Small Resorts
Diving and Snorkeling
Experienced divers will enjoy the sites at Cabo Cabrón, one of the best dive sites on the northern coast; it’s known for its walls. In the reefs, you’ll see many creatures, including turtles, barracudas, tuna, and dolphins.
Special highlights are The Cathedral, a colossal underwater cave, and The Tower, which is a deep 24-meter diameter underwater summit rising from 50 meters to within 5 meters of the water’s surface. This pinnacle is covered in gorgonian fans, sponges, and corals and is home to a wonderful array of marine life. In the fissures of the wall you’ll encounter spider crabs and lobster, while swarms of colorful tropical fish swirl around you in search of food.
The diving along the eastern coast of La Península de Samaná is an exciting adventure, especially at Cabo Cabrón. Water visibility ranges 30–45 meters, and January–March whales migrate to the Bahía de Samaná for the yearly mating season.
Dive Samaná (Playa Las Galeras, tel. 809/538-0210, 7 a.m.–6 p.m. daily) offers dive excursions to some remarkable drop-offs where you’ll see eels, rays, barracudas, and sea turtles. Dive Samaná is at the end of Casa Marina Bay’s stretch of beach. Dives run US$60 for a one-tank dive (includes all equipment), and other packages are also available for up to four tanks. PADI certifications are available. Reservations are recommended.
Grand Paradise Samaná Dive Center (Casa Marina Bay Resort, 7 a.m.–6 p.m. daily) can take you on a two-tank dive for US$114, including the rental of the equipment, or a snorkeling trip for US$12.
A great way to experience the countryside and get to the secluded beaches of the area is to go on horseback. Discover beautiful vistas looking down to the country’s most beautiful beaches or wind you way through coconut groves and the Dominican countryside.
La Rancheta (tel. 809/878-0637, www.larancheta.com, US$35–US$65) offers a variety of horse riding trips ranging from a half-day trip to Playa Madama, where you can swim and explore a cave; a full-day trip to Playa Frontón (if you’re lucky enough to be there in whale season, you will see some just off shore); to an overnight trip to Playa Frontón with all meals and tent provided (US$205). The owners of the establishment, Karin and Ronald, are multilingual and make great efforts to put together personalized trips.
If being bipedal is more your speed, then there are some nature trails that should satisfy your urge to see flora and scenery of the Dominican Republic. You can go to the Tourist Service Office (tel. 809/538-2740) right in the center of town and ask for a guide. But you can also head over to a lookout that is five kilometers outside of town. Walk past the turnoffs for Playas Madama and Frontón and climb up the hillside. It’ll be a long and steep climb. La Rancheta can also arrange for a guided hike.
Tours and Excursions
Aventura Tropical (Calle Principal, tel. 809/538-0249, 8 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 8 a.m.–1 p.m. Sun.) has excursions including hikes to secluded beaches, whale-watching, boat trips through Los Haitises, and even a tour that will take you through a village where you’ll get an in-depth glimpse at rural Dominican life.
At Dario Perez Servic Travel (Plaza Lucitania, tel. 809/924-6081 or 809/538-0110) you can rent quad bikes (US$50), take a horseback riding tour to Playa Rincón (US$60) that will last 5–6 hours and include lunch, and arrange dive excursions (US$50 for one dive including equipment; negotiate for more dives).
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition