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Someone please tell me about Samana


loveandcruises

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I will put in my two cents. Our experience was not positive but I will explain why. The ship tenders you in to a small area that looks like the side of a road. We had the excursion "Discover Samana" so the buses were on the side of the road waiting for us. We picked this excursion because we are not beach people and my husband has health problems so we took the calmer excursion. I wish we would have been there at the time the whales were there but we weren't. We saw the whale museum which was a building with some whale bones. Then we went to a church (but only looked at it from the bus because they did not let us out). Then we drove through the country and stopped at a cigar place with a store. There were many small children begging for money. I knew that it was a poor area so I brought a bunch of singles with me. Several people on the bus and myself gave the children money. Then we stopped at a large town with some stores and a place to eat. We did not eat there but many people did. We looked at a couple of the stores and then we were to meet the bus across the street at the beach. The guide was very good.

The problem that made this day crazy was the fact that it rained most of the day but luckily every time we stopped the rain stopped. So most people would say big deal it happens. On the way back to the ship, an electric pole fell across the road. Our bus along with several others were stuck behind it (and there were no other roads and no way to turn the bus around). It had rained so hard that the ground gave way and the pole fell. After about 30 minutes, one bus decided to push it out of the way and we made it back. The excursion was suppose to be 2 to 3 hours but it turned out to be 5 1/2. A group of CC'ers were on Terry's tours with the ATV's. The road washed away and they had to cross the fast running water in a small boat. It was on youtube. Many people complained on the ship because some of the tenders were not covered. It was not a great day so unless things change we will not get off the ship in the future.

 

The poster from Milwaukee I agree with what you said about it being the midwest of the Carribean. By the way, I grew up in Milwaukee but moved to the East Coast at 35.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another 2 cents, if I might...

 

I read somewhere before our Holiday cruise (that included Samana as the 2nd port of call) the following and it proved to be true:

 

"A visit to Samaná is really about two things: exploring its preserved natural wonders and relaxing at a small beachfront hotel.

 

The latter is most readily accomplished in Las Terrenas, the only true tourist center, where you can find picturesque restaurants, accommodations of all types, and great beaches. At Las Terrenas you can enjoy peaceful playas, take advantage of the vibrant nightlife (including a casino), and make all your plans for expeditions on the peninsula.

 

The other pleasures are solitary — quiet beaches, the massive national park Los Haitises, and water sports and hiking."

 

Since Celebrity canceled the shore excursion to Las Terrenas (on 12/24/2010), decided for a visit to the National Park Los Haitises with a final beach break at Las Cayenas.

 

Afterwards, I took a chance and hopped on the back of a moto-concho (motorcycle taxi) and went up the hill, past the touristic area (and the shops Downton, by the Marina). So I got to see also the REAL Samana.

 

Had a wonderful time and enjoyed the day very much (it was also Christmas Eve)!

 

The proof: http://2010holidaycruisemercury.shutterfly.com/pictures/3039

 

 

Conclusion, like some would say:

 

Samana is the real Caribbean, the Caribbean of 40 years ago, the Caribbean that awakens memories of a bygone era when each tropical shore, each bend in an old dirt road brought new adventure and a wondrous sense of anticipation exploring a developing region that had seemingly shielded itself from the stress and pressures of modern day life.

 

Samana today is still that - a return to a simpler place and time where the magic of discovery still awaits visitors.

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Samana is the real Caribbean, the Caribbean of 40 years ago, the Caribbean that awakens memories of a bygone era when each tropical shore, each bend in an old dirt road brought new adventure and a wondrous sense of anticipation exploring a developing region that had seemingly shielded itself from the stress and pressures of modern day life.

 

Samana today is still that - a return to a simpler place and time where the magic of discovery still awaits visitors.

 

You said it perfectly! This is the exact reason why we loved Samana and fell in love with the people and the land.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Heather - thank you so much for your response - I would love, love, love, to know how your ATV tour goes. Please post on CC or PM me. I e-mailed him yesterday just to check in and throw a quick question at him which you might of help also. DS15 and I have never driven an ATV and I asked if there is a brief update beforehand and how difficult it is to drive if we wanted to go solo. Let me know how you like it! Thanks again! Carol

 

Carol,

We just got off of the ship yesterday. We were fortunate to have Terry guide our ATV tour along with 2 other of his employees...1 was a mechanic along "just in case". We started off with thorough instructions from Terry. It would probably be easier to ride solo...but my husband is an experienced driver and I wanted to take pictures, which I did.

I could not say enough good things about Terry, the tour, or Samana. Please let me know if you have any other specific questions.

-Heather

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Good morning Heather! Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. A couple of questions/concerns. How was the process tendering to the port and were you able to get off early for the tour? Is the place where you meet right off the port dock? And do you get back in plenty of time? How was the lunch? Were the sights beautiful? I don't want to sound strange, but do you think it would be ok to bring sanitizing wipes to wipe the inside of the helmets? I am glad to hear they give you plenty of instructions; after a lot of consideration both myself and DS15 who have never driven ATV's have decided to take the plunge and both ride solo! There's a first time for everything! Thank you again, and have a good Monday. Carol

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Good morning Heather! Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. A couple of questions/concerns. How was the process tendering to the port and were you able to get off early for the tour? Is the place where you meet right off the port dock? And do you get back in plenty of time? How was the lunch? Were the sights beautiful? I don't want to sound strange, but do you think it would be ok to bring sanitizing wipes to wipe the inside of the helmets? I am glad to hear they give you plenty of instructions; after a lot of consideration both myself and DS15 who have never driven ATV's have decided to take the plunge and both ride solo! There's a first time for everything! Thank you again, and have a good Monday. Carol

 

You're welcome.

I was on the Enchantment.

They gave us tickets and were loaded onto the tendered within 15 minutes. They give the people who booked tours directly through Royal Caribbean priority which was only a few minutes difference from when they called our ticket #

The tender boat went really slow...seemed like a 15 minute ride to the dock.

The place for the ATV tour was to the left and down the street about a 5 minute walk. I will warn you that you will be bombarded by local taxi/tour operators along the way. Just say "no thanks" and proceed. You will see the ATVs parked on a corner street in front of a park...on the opposite side of the road from the pier.

We had told Terry that we wanted to be back an hour before the last tender and he made perfect timing.

Lunch was wonderful. I'm very particular and picky and I was satisfied. Chicken,fish,salad,potato salad,rice and a few other local dishes were some of the foods that were served.

Yes, he provided helmets. I'm thinking that the inside was more of a felt material...but I'm sure that you can use the wipe on the straps that go around the chin and face.

There were several others on our tour who hadn't ridden before and he and his staff were very understanding.

We brought school supplies. I wish I had brought more 1 dollar bills and more supplies and things for the locals who were all so grateful.

-Heather

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Yet another ATV question. Riding single...or double? The group from my M&M are mostly riding double. How was your group set up? I know my wife would want her own, but I'm thinking of letting her drive while I do the video/pics. Should we go with 1 or 2? Thanks.

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Yet another ATV question. Riding single...or double? The group from my M&M are mostly riding double. How was your group set up? I know my wife would want her own, but I'm thinking of letting her drive while I do the video/pics. Should we go with 1 or 2? Thanks.

 

I took a ton of pics while my husband drove...

It would be too dangerous was a driver to take pics or video though.

It really depends on your sizes if you should go solo or not...in my opinion.

I just posted pics to Facebook...I'm not sure how to post them here...it's over 200 anyways. Do you have access to FB?

-Heather Preece

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Good morning (again) Heather; thank you for all the info; I have printed this out and put in my Samana folder; I am really looking forward to the excursion and my first time on an ATV; I had heard it would be appreciated if school supplies were brought; can you tell me what all you took? I bought a lot of pencils when they were on the back to school sale; but wasn't sure what else they could use; did they take the supplies there when you met them at the port? Also, we will be there in June, do you think shorts will be okay to wear? Thanks again

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Good morning (again) Heather; thank you for all the info; I have printed this out and put in my Samana folder; I am really looking forward to the excursion and my first time on an ATV; I had heard it would be appreciated if school supplies were brought; can you tell me what all you took? I bought a lot of pencils when they were on the back to school sale; but wasn't sure what else they could use; did they take the supplies there when you met them at the port? Also, we will be there in June, do you think shorts will be okay to wear? Thanks again

You're welcome. Afterall it was people on this board who equipped me w/ info to chose this tour, so I'm just paying it forward.

We brought notebooks w/paper. We figured it would be the easiest thing to carry or pack without being damaged. Terry had someone pick the supplies up and took it to the office because school was closed that day. I think they could use anything. Next back to school season I'm going to stock up and mail or bring it there. I would love to go back and tour more of Dominican Republic.

Shorts will be fine to wear. Wear a swim suit too because there will be an opportunity to wade/swim in the waterfall...we didn't bring our suits and were bummed because it was a once in a lifetime thing to swim in a waterfall.

-Heather

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Heather: Swimming in the waterfall, how cool is that; I forgot someone had mentioned it; thank you! I will be sure to remind everyone in my gang to wear their swimsuits too; I think I will take along my pencils and buy some notebooks for the kids there; I am so excited and even more so now; I will pay it forward too and post when we return to send business along to Terry; wishing you many more wonderful cruises and adventures Heather!

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Our group of 5 really wants to take a whale watching excursion next Wednesday. We cannot get a response with Whale Samana. Since you live there can you recommend another company that runs whale watching trips? We don't want to be on a small boat (prefer 50') for fear of sea sickness. I know Whale Samana is the best but is there a quality alternative? Thanks for your help!

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Some more visual aids from our 2010 Holiday cruise aboard Celebrity's Mercury (with Samana being our 2nd port of call - Christmas Eve):

 

samana-map.jpg

 

Samaná, in full Santa Bárbara de Samaná, is a city and municipality in northeastern Dominican Republic and is the capital of Samaná Province.

It is located on the northern coast of Samaná Bay.

 

 

samana-flyer.jpg

 

Samaná is located in a small plain close to the coast but, now, most of the city is in the hills that enclose the plain.

 

It is the largest municipality of the province. It has a total area of 412.11 km² (almost 49% of the total area of the province), including the three municipal districts that are part of the municipality.

 

P1210836-1.jpg

 

Tendering

 

P1240367.jpg

 

Most of the territory is occupied by the Sierra de Samaná, a short mountain range with steep slopes but no high mountains.

 

The highest mountain is Monte Mesa (605 m).

 

map-cruise-samana.jpg

 

 

The city of Samaná is an important tourism destination and is the main center for whale-watching tours (staring January 15th).

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Other visual aids from our 2010 Holiday cruise aboard Celebrity's Mercury (with Samana being our 2nd port of call, Christmas Eve) -

from the Shore Excursions Presentation by Celebrity cruises:

 

P1210838.jpg

 

ATV Adventure - DS01

 

Travel off-road on special ATV quads en route to a secluded beach accessible only by ATV or boat.

 

The adventure begins at the Samana pier where you will board open-air safari vehicles. From the Pier you will travel to Las Carreras where you will be greeted by your friendly and knowledgeable guides; receive a safety briefing and instructions on the operation of your ATV.

 

Then, you are off, caravan-style to discover the back roads and off-roads of the Samana Peninsula; pass through lush areas and then to Loma de la Pina.

 

Your next stop will be El Valle Beach; then make your way through a dense area with a road exclusively built for the ATV's to the Zumbador Waterfall; relax or have a quick bath in its cold and pristine waters.

 

You'll return by ATV back to the pier.

 

P1210840.jpg

 

ATV Adventure - DS01

 

Discover the back roads of Samana on these specially built ATVs.

 

A stop will be made at a secluded beach only accessible by ATV or boat and then it's off to El Valle Beach and Zumbador Waterfall.

 

Minimum age to participate is 16 years. One (1) person per ATV, driver only. Due to the nature of the tour previous driving experience is recommended.

 

P1210842.jpg

 

Self Drive 4 x 4 Wrangler Expedition - DS05 - Samana, Dominican Republic

 

Your exciting 4 x 4 adventure will show you the tropical diversity of Samana. Learn how many fruits, coffee and chocolate are harvested and prepared for market at a typical Dominican farm.

 

Then, you'll stop at El Valle Falls for a refreshing swim before your drive back to the pier.

 

Minimum age to participate is 12 years. Minimum age to drive a vehicle is 18 years with a valid driver's license.

 

P1210844.jpg

 

Self Drive 4 x 4 Wrangler Expedition - DS05 - Samana, Dominican Republic

 

Take turns in driving these off-road wonders in the tropical diversity of Samana; enjoy passing by crystal-clear rivers and beautiful views of the peninsula's flora and fauna.

 

First stop will be a typical Dominican farm featuring native fruits, coconut, coffee and chocolate. Your guide will explain how these items are grown, harvested and prepared for market. You will even have the opportunity to sample many of the fruits and the fantastic coffee.

 

Next next stop will be a magnificent overlook en route to El Valle Falls where you can relax and take a fresh-water dip; then make the scenic and relaxing return to Samana Pier where you can enjoy shopping in town.

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More visual aids from our 2010 Holiday cruise aboard Celebrity's Mercury (with Samana being our 2nd port of call, Christmas Eve) -

from the Shore Excursions Presentation by Celebrity cruises:

 

P1210852.jpg

 

Salto Del Limon Waterfall - DS12 - Samana, Dominican Republic

(or Terry's similar excursion)

 

Explore the interior of the Samana Peninsula where the mountain range reaches an altitude of 2,100 feet.

 

Upon arrival at the ranch, you will be greeted by your friendly guides who will provide you with a safety briefing and instructions on how to handle your horse.

 

Each rider will be assisted by a skilled horse handler.

 

 

P1210848.jpg

 

Salto Del Limon Waterfall - DS12 - Samana, Dominican Republic

 

Your horseback riding adventure begins at the Parada La Manzana Ranch. Discover the isolated villages full of flora and fauna en route for the hike to the Waterfall.

 

Upon arrival, take a dip at the Salto El Limon natural pool as the water cascades around you.

 

Minimum age to participate is 16 years. Maximum weight limit is 250 pounds.

 

P1210849.jpg

 

Salto Del Limon Waterfall - DS12 - Samana, Dominican Republic

 

You will then depart on horseback, making your way down steep paths which your horse navigates with ease. You will discover isolated villages and a variety of local vegetation, flora and fauna including coffee, cacao and a variety of tropical fruits.

 

You will wind your way through the countryside for approximately 30 minutes before arriving at an area where you will dismount and hike the remaining way to the spectacular falls. Upon arrival at the falls, you will be awestruck by the cascade of cold water rising 120 feet.

 

Relax nearby with the mist cooling you or take a swim in the refreshing natural pool.

 

Afterwards, you will make the hike back up to your horses where you will have a cool drink of water before returning to your starting point by horseback.

 

 

P1210853.jpg

 

Catamaran Sail, Snorkeling & Beach Escape - DS07 - Samana, Dominican Republic

 

This catamaran sailing tour will give you the excitement of snorkeling along with the relaxation of a beach stop. Sun chairs and fresh water showers are available.

 

Drinks, BBQ lunch and water sports are available at an extra charge. Additional activities are available at an extra cost and are not part of the tour package.

 

Minimum age to participate is 5 years.

 

P1210855.jpg

 

Catamaran Sail, Snorkeling & Beach Escape - DS07 - Samana, Dominican Republic

 

 

From the ship, your day will start with a sail through the Samana Bay to Cayo Farola. Here, you'll anchor at this diverse snorkeling spot where you will see colorful tropical fish and the beautiful coral gardens.

 

 

Afterwards, you will sail unto a small island named Cayo Levantado.

 

Enjoy the turquoise waters in one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Relax under the shade of a coconut tree, play some volleyball or buy some local art.

 

 

You may return to the ship via tender at your leisure.

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Other visual aids from our 2010 Holiday cruise aboard Celebrity's Mercury (with Samana being our 2nd port of call, Christmas Eve):

 

You need only squint a bit in the sun to imagine a tropical paradise as SAMANA —

a dramatically beautiful peninsula of coconut trees stretching into the sea like an island unto itself.

 

It's something of a microcosm of the Dominican Republic: here you'll see poverty and fancy resorts, good and bad (and really bad) roads, verdant mountainsides, tropical forests, tiny villages lined with streetside fruit vendors, secluded beaches, and the radiant warmth of the Dominican people.

 

P1240372.jpg

 

Sunrise was for us at 7:08AM and the clocks were adjusted 1 hour ahead the night before we arrived in Samana.

 

The main economic activities of the municipality of SAMANA are tourism, agriculture and fishing.

 

P1240371.jpg

 

Described by Christopher Columbus as “the fairest land on the face of the earth,” the Samana Peninsula is considered by Dominicans and visitors alike as the prettiest part of the island of Hispaniola.

 

It is the jewel in the crown of Republica Dominicana. And with much of the Caribbean now well-developed, the peninsula’s pristine beaches and sparsely-populated, mountainous terrain resplendent with an abundance of tropical vegetation are not only a welcome change, but are all that remain of the true magic of the tropical Caribbean.

 

 

P1240378.jpg

 

The city of Samana was founded in 1756 as Santa Bárbara de Samaná during the colonial period by the Spanish governor Francisco Rubio y Peñaranda. Families from the Canary Islands were brought to live in this city and Sabana de la Mar.

 

It was named Santa Bárbara after the Queen Bárbara de Braganza, wife of King Ferdinand VI of Spain.

 

With the creation of the Samaná Maritime District (an old division similar to a province) in 1865, the city was elevated to the category of municipality.

 

P1240383.jpg

 

Coconut-covered mountains that march down to the sea, majestic capes that plunge to the ocean’s depths where vibrant, coral reefs teem with brightly-colored fish and spiny lobster, crystal-clear streams that wend their way through the Samana peninsula’s lush arroyos, playful waterfalls tumbling down the verdant hills, the shrill chatter of bright green, Dominican parrots, the murmur of the ever-present trade wind caressing the feathered arms of the coconut palms, cicadas singing through the starry night, the melodic strains of bachata, merengue and salsa: the sights and sounds of Samana are never far away.

 

Why choose Samana?

 

Samana is a destination for nature lovers and adventurers. Green, green mountains, long beaches, solitude, lively little towns in between, turquoise waters.

 

Samana is a romantic destination, and several of its small hotels are perfect for honeymooners.

 

 

Samana is also a good choice for experienced scuba divers. And the place to stay if whale-watching is high on your agenda (starting January 15th).

 

Samana is the place to sit on a porch or in the shade of a palm tree, sipping something cool and discover the rare feeling of being happy just being alive.

 

 

P1210845.jpg

 

Cave & Mangrove Exploration - DS08 - Samana, Dominican Republic

 

 

 

Why choose Samana?

 

The exuberance of the area, the variety of natural attractions make it the preferred choice of those seeking an active vacation.

 

Oh, there is action if you want it. Horseback riding, swimming, snorkeling, diving, sailing — all the activities that come with beautiful nature.

 

It is possible to spend your days vegging out at the beach in front of the hotel, but Samana is truly for explorers.

 

Samana has a distinct European flavor for some - The French were first, but now many Italians and Spaniards have opened up businesses to cater to tourists in the area.

 

Important to note, Samana is one tourist area in the DR where credit cards are not as readily accepted. It is best to bring cash, travel checks or use your ATM card at one of the banks in town.

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We were in Samana just a year ago. This is my favorite port as well as my wifes. We were amazed at the amount of Palm Tree's as the cruise ship was pulling in. We booked an excursion with Terry to go to the waterfalls, a local school and walk through a locals home. It was amazing. It is very safe, in the US if you saw homes so humble and people with so little you may feel it was going to be unsafe, but here this is just the way they have always lived. The people are amazing. You will see ladies carrying baskets of fruit on their heads, brothers and sisters walking to school hand in hand, kids out playing "baseball in bare feet with just a stick and a rock." A simpler life. My husband decided to go with his brothers just a week ago again and stayed for 8 days. He said the beaches are just beautiful. He again said that these people were amazing. I hope this helps. I definately would try to find an excursion. I know for a fact that they are getting a zip line built as we speak only a few miles away from the port. The beauty of this island is amazing to me, I think it is well worth checking it out!

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The person who started or created the zip line there had originally taken a tour w/ Terry and saw potential or the need for a zip line. The zip line is up but isn't operating yet because they still have to clear the area of trees, brush, etc. We will being doing it for sure the next time we are there...as well as another tour w/Terry.

-Heather

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Carol,

We just got off of the ship yesterday. We were fortunate to have Terry guide our ATV tour along with 2 other of his employees...1 was a mechanic along "just in case". We started off with thorough instructions from Terry. It would probably be easier to ride solo...but my husband is an experienced driver and I wanted to take pictures, which I did.

I could not say enough good things about Terry, the tour, or Samana. Please let me know if you have any other specific questions.

-Heather

Hi,

 

We are considering the tour with Terry and I would love to do the ATV tour. We have a 4 yo son. Terry didn't say no, but i was wondering your opinion of having a little one on the ATV with you. I am an experience ATV driver..

 

Thanks - Tracey

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Hi,

 

We are considering the tour with Terry and I would love to do the ATV tour. We have a 4 yo son. Terry didn't say no, but i was wondering your opinion of having a little one on the ATV with you. I am an experience ATV driver..

 

Thanks - Tracey

 

I think it would be fine. My daughter (who was not on this cruise/tour with us) always rode on the ATV around that age with my husband.

On our tour there were 2 children...I think the youngest was about 6 and she fell asleep on the way back and her mom wasn't an experienced driver so one of Terry's employees (I think his name was Pierre)put her in front of him (near the tank).

Have fun! :D

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  • 3 weeks later...

By all means GET OFF THE SHIP!!!

We just came back last week and had a wonderful time here. We took a beach tour with Terry as a few others have said and it was amazing!!!! The culture and scenery are unbeliveable. The island is still rather pristine and not commercialized like St. Thomas and the others... WE LOVED IT!!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

We visited Samana in April of 2009 as part of our cruise itinerary with Royal Caribbean, and really enjoyed ourselves. The area was not at all "developed" by the tourist trade, which actually made our visit that much nicer as it seemed real and unspoiled. I did much research on-line before choosing our excursion, but finally settled on Casa Dorado's beach trip to Playa Rincon. The beach was the best I've experienced in a long while; semi-private, absolutely beautiful, with great food and very affordable cold beer. The ladies ordered pina coladas that were hand-made, and served in the pineapple they were made from - the taste was amazing!

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We visited Samana in April of 2009 as part of our cruise itinerary with Royal Caribbean, and really enjoyed ourselves. The area was not at all "developed" by the tourist trade, which actually made our visit that much nicer as it seemed real and unspoiled. I did much research on-line before choosing our excursion, but finally settled on Casa Dorado's beach trip to Playa Rincon. The beach was the best I've experienced in a long while; semi-private, absolutely beautiful, with great food and very affordable cold beer. The ladies ordered pina coladas that were hand-made, and served in the pineapple they were made from - the taste was amazing!

 

That sounds awesome! Now I want a pina colada! I had a soda pop there in Samana, I think it was called "Bed Rock"?? Anyways, it tasted like apple jolly ranchers and it was soooo good.

Are you going to Samana in June?

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