A small town with the beautiful name of Santa Barbara de Samana is located in the south of the peninsula of the same name in the Dominican Republic and has direct access to the bay.
Adobe does not have a rich history, because it appeared only in the 18th century, when the Canarian settlers arrived here, and the name comes from the name of the Spanish Queen Barbara of Bragan.
The peninsula began to be inhabited by people of different cultures and denominations, traditions multiplied, and even black Protestants began to be called “English” for the language in which they spoke. Samana is an original and very interesting region of the Dominican Republic: the rhythm of life and cultural features distinguish it from others.
From this part of the peninsula it is convenient to go on excursions to the sea: from January to March, the season for observing rare humpback whales in the mating season is open. Tourist boats go to sea and stop where the sea giants are most often seen.
The Dominican Republic and Samana is a year-round resort, it is visited by guests from all over the world: in the quiet atmosphere of the town, they have a great time, walk and visit unique natural attractions.
Bridge to Nowhere
In Samana, there is a place that must be visited: it is a “bridge to nowhere”, as both locals and guests of the resort call it. The phrase “You didn’t see the bridge – you didn’t feel the uniqueness of Samana” is not just a good advertisement.
The dream of many of us is to be in the middle of the ocean, and at the same time to be able to return to “earth” on foot becomes possible in Samana.
Local agencies organize excursions that include a visit to the bridge, as well as bacardi villas, waterfalls and an ocean villa.
The bridge of interesting design connects the mainland with the miniature islets of Cayo Vigia and Cayo Linares.
You walk along the bridge and see beautiful yachts nearby, the city of Samana itself, a picturesque bay. Fish and starfish swim in the azure water. Imagine how beautiful photos from the bridge you can make!
Miniature Santa Barbara de Samana received a bright and diverse architecture from the inhabiting inhabitants: each nation during the period of colonization brought its own features.
The visiting card of the resort is a quarter on the waterfront with colored houses, in which there are cafes, souvenir shops, post office, hotels and tourist offices. There are always a lot of tourists voraciously photographing the busy bright street. Thanks to the colored facades, the house seems toy and fabulous. They occupy a whole block of the long Malecon promenade, and it is pleasant to walk along it both in the afternoon and in the evening. Adobe is very clean and well-groomed, on the streets there are benches and flower beds, and if a tourist gets tired of walking, then you can get to the next attraction by taxi and even a motor-rickshaw, which is not very typical for the Dominican Republic, but is done for the comfort of resort guests.
The Dominican Republic and the ocean waters in the Gulf for several months a year become a unique place: humpback whales – one of the largest mammals in the world – swim here during the mating season. This happens annually from January to March, and at this time tourists specially book tours to observe the animals.
The city has a small whale museum, and it presents all the information about unique animals, even a well-preserved skeleton is exhibited. If guests plan to go to sea to see whales, then interesting facts from the museum will come in handy. Only being a few meters from diving animals, you can understand their real size.
The entrance to the museum is paid, and all the collected funds are directed to the fund for monitoring and supporting humpback whales, it has been operating for more than 20 years.
After the tour there is an opportunity to visit the craft and souvenir shop.
Cayo Levantado Island (Bacardi)
The island of Cayo Levantado can rightly be called the most famous landmark of Samana, and everyone briefly calls it Bacardi. It began with the moment when an advertisement for a drink – rum “Bacardi” was filmed in a paradise place. The area of the island is only 1 sq. km, there is no local population, but the luxurious hotel “Bahia Principe Luxury Cayo Levantado” was built, so there are still “fickle” residents.
Bacardi Island is known throughout the world for its paradisiacal white sand beach and azure water of the bay, tourists appreciate the water and measured coastal rest. The territory is small, but for the guests a special atmosphere of unity with almost wild nature has been created. Staying on Bacardi in the hotel “Bahia Principe Luxury Cayo Levantado”, everyone will feel like a pioneer. From the hotel room or the beach offers a beautiful view of the palm trees, rocks and high mountains. The restaurant serves traditional Dominican cuisine and fresh seafood.
Bacardi is also the right place for snorkeling and kayaking. In the water near the shore you can see mollusks and starfish, white herons and pelicans.
The island of Bacardi has always been a tidbit for invaders, and at the end of the 18th century napoleon Bonaparte was going to conquer it. For this purpose, he sent a lot of ships and an army here, but the locals heroically defended their lands.
Cascada Lulu – Waterfall
In the Dominican Republic, waterfalls are the most famous of all natural attractions, and all tourists are advised not just to sunbathe on the beach, but also to spend the day walking and visiting Lulu Falls. This is a wonderful place for both a quiet exploration of the area and adrenaline-filled skiing on the Zip Line (the ropes are laid just above the waterfall).
Recently, lulu waterfall has dried up, and in the dry season there is very little water in it, but when there is enough of it, tourists are happy to swim in it. Transparent, clean and warm natural pool, outwardly it seems shallow, but it is deceptive.
Rest in Samana is always memorable and sunny, and at the Lulu waterfall tourists make wonderful photos. Within walking distance there is a small hotel with tree houses, and if tourists come to the waterfall by car, it is better to leave it in the parking lot of the eco-hotel. Also very close is El Valle Beach, a picturesque forest path and a suspension bridge.
Be sure to note that if in the last days before your visit there was no rain, and at the foot of the waterfall there is not enough water for immersion, then it is better to refrain from this: standing water can cause skin reactions.
El Limon Waterfall
The beautiful waterfall of El Limon in Samana has a second name “millionaires’ waterfall”, and perhaps it was called for its beauty “for a million”. Its height is only 50 m, and it is far from the largest in the Dominican Republic, but very attractive and surrounded by juicy colors of wildlife. The most daring tourists jump down from the cliff, and for this they overcome a difficult path to it.
El Limón Falls is fed by the waters of the Arroyo Chico River, and in the Dominican Republic the rainy season runs from January to March. The waterfall is beautiful, full-flowing and powerful, but it becomes impossible to pass to it. In addition, this is the territory of a reserved park zone, it is forbidden to move by car or other transport.
The path to El Limon is a very interesting walk or horse ride. More than 2 km you have to walk through a dense forest and at the same time see rare representatives of flora and fauna. Everything grows in the canyon: from pineapple to palm trees, tropical birds live on the crowns of trees, and it is possible to meet them only in the Dominican Republic.
While vacationing in Samana, be sure to admire the bubbling El Limon and the exotic landscape around it.
Los Haitises National Park
The Dominican National Park is located on the shores of the bay in Samana and occupies a huge area where you can see uninhabited islands, mangrove forests and caves, Indian temples and unique natural inhabitants. The name of the park Los Aitises translates as “high mountains”. Tourism in the Dominican Republic is actively developing, but the local authorities were able to preserve the untouched beauty in the park, because the flow of guests here is strictly regulated. It is forbidden to place hotels and restaurants here, an exception is made only for rare tourists in tents and one-day walkers.
All those who are lucky enough to visit Los Aitises say that they experienced the sensations of an adventure movie: the path lies through a mangrove forest with all its sounds, the park is cut by small rivers, and mountains rise on the horizon. Los Aitises is also called the “land of a thousand islands”. All beauty was created by nature for millions of years, and we need to protect it.
Today, the reserve is home to more than 110 birds, and 13 of them are found worldwide only in the Dominican Republic (for example, the Haitian buzzard, and the country is trying to restore its population). Mangrove forest is forbidden to cut down and destroy a unique ecosystem: the life of many marine life is associated with it.
Boca del Diablo
In the National Park of Los Aitises there is a unique natural attraction – a rock crevice, and it is located on a sea cliff. Locals and tourists nicknamed it the Mouth of the Devil, and this is no coincidence. When there is a storm on the sea, and it is raging, then a stream of sea water breaks out of the crevice, forms foam, and its pressure is so powerful that it even makes a sound in the form of a roar. Tourists say that at such a moment they are both frightened and delighted at the same time.
In order to test the strength of the water, throw a large coconut inside the crevice, knowing in advance when the splash will follow. It is not difficult to imagine that very quickly the nut quickly flies out a few meters upwards, and the stream can knock down observers if you get very close.
Locals and tourist experts advise to go to the Devil’s Mouth in the afternoon, when the sun is not so scorching. The eastern part of Samana is often in storms, albeit small, but for safety it is more correct to visit it with local guides.
Pirate Park on the Samana Peninsula
The pirate park in Saman is a great place for extreme tourists, and its visiting card is a cable car with 12 platforms (the first launch is made in the form of a pirate ship), and the entire structure is 120 m above the ground. This is the height from which there is an excellent view of the rainforest and mountains.
We get to the adventure park by jeeps, to the river dam.
A visit to the pirate park is most safely held on a sightseeing tour: in addition to extreme entertainment, guests will find a local village house with treats in the form of hot chocolate, coffee and traditional herbal drinks.
To travel along the cable car, special equipment is issued, and here is what adds adrenaline to the blood:
- the cable car is built at an altitude of 120 m, and there are 12 slopes along the entire length;
- the longest cable car in the Caribbean;
- the final station is the way to the waterfall, and many tourists jump into its pool from the cliff.
Moving around by truck alternates with walking, observing wildlife and the lives of local people.
Zipline is a modern adventure that occupies a special place in the program of the Pirate Park in Samana. Moving on the Zipline implies a high speed high above the crowns of trees.
Tourists can choose one of 2 routes, they differ in the length and number of platforms. The first El Valle ends near the Lulu Waterfall and the second follows to the terminus 20 platform to El Limon.
Zipline cables are laid at an altitude of 120 meters, and participants “fly” at a speed of more than 60 km / h.
Zipline is a technically well-established mechanism, but still the safety of the participants will have to be of great importance. The whole process is controlled by professional guides-instructors, equipment is issued. Real climbing technique will give confidence even on the longest section of Zipline at 450 m. A total of 10 lines work, and each offers an excellent view of the ocean and jungle, just breathtaking!
The Dominican Republic amazes with its untouched nature, and sometimes it seems that a human foot has never set foot here. Samana is a unique place for a family holiday, bright and exotic.