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Activities to do in Samana?


Russ Lomas

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We plan on doing Samana on our own too, later in November, and are wondering if there is a local beach to visit, without doing the ship tour. Any info would be great!

 

Casa Dorado will most likely pick you up in their truck, which seats 5, but people can sit in back if they feel comfortable doing that. Captain Roberto is a very nice and Knowledgeable guy and he will show you all the beauty of the DR that cruise ships or other tour operators will. Casa Dorado cares a ton about satisfaction of their client rather than others who just heard you places like cattle.

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Yes, and it is Roberto that I have been emailing with. He said his "taxi" fits 5 in the front and another 4 in the back of the pick-up truck... not sure if we want to do that. We did that in Costa Rica and it was so much fun! But that was before kids and we didn't have a care in the world! haha He said that his wife could meet as at the ship and help us get a regular cab (for $50) if we prefer. I replied asking about construction and how long the trip is. I will update you as I hear.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Roberto is wonderful! And we had a great time! The beach is beautiful. The fish (we think it was snapper) was amazing! But the fish and lobster were very expensive (considering it is caught there). But I highly recommend this excursion. Our day was VERY rough in the seas, so the boat ride was a little wild, but wonderful! The kids got a little scared in the boat, but they told us that it was very unusual for it to be that wild. Tell Roberto that Linda says hi!

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Roberto is wonderful! And we had a great time! The beach is beautiful. The fish (we think it was snapper) was amazing! But the fish and lobster were very expensive (considering it is caught there). But I highly recommend this excursion. Our day was VERY rough in the seas, so the boat ride was a little wild, but wonderful! The kids got a little scared in the boat, but they told us that it was very unusual for it to be that wild. Tell Roberto that Linda says hi!

 

So happy to hear you had a great time!! Thank you for the info. I will pass on Linda's message!

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Just got back from our cruise where we visited Samana in the Dominican Republic. If I ever went back, I wouldn't even bother to get off the ship. We nicknamed it "appreciation island". Told my husband that I'd like to take my children there so they can realize how much they should appreciate our country and what they have here.

 

We figured since we were there, we might as well get off the ship. As we strolled along the shoreline after we got off the ship, we were bombarded by children that was trying to sell us seashells for $1.00 each. It was 12:30pm in the afternoon and it made me wonder why these children weren't in school in the middle of the week. It was impossible to sit down on a bench to rest our feet without children, that appeared to be between the ages of 7 - 10, coming over to us to sell us shells for $1.00. "One dollar" seemed to be the only English word they understood. My heart went out to this one particular child and I handed him a dollar and tried to explain to him that I didn't want the shell.

 

We were later told after getting back on the ship, that we should be glad that we didn't take the tour for horseback riding, because it's like putting your life in your hands. Everyone we spoke to said that the horses were slipping and sliding on the edge of the trail near a drop off and they were all thankful that they got through the tour without a fatality. Some people were so scared that they chose to get off the horses and walk. This might be a tour that one would decide to avoid until they get the kinks out.

 

Also note that if you plan to shop, have plenty of one dollar bills because it's difficult to get change for a five dollar bill and higher. We bought 2 bottled waters for $1.00 each, and it took about 15 minutes for $3.00 in change to be located on the island to give us back out change. Prices of items are rather expensive here compared to the Virgin Islands that we went to. We found a necklace that we wanted to get my daughter and there was no price on it. I asked how much and was told $20.00. As we started to walk away the seller offered it to us for $15.00 and then even lowered it to $10.00, in which we did it up buying it for $10.00. So the first price they tell you, is not necessarily the price they'll take.

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That is the reason we took the boat over to Cayo Levantando and had the best day of the cruise swimming in the pristine water and away from the hawkers.

 

Samana is not a place to be wandering around, it is hot and dirty with no decent shops. It was great to get away from it all for a few hours.

 

Jennie

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When we were there last year, there was no mention of Playa Rincon on this board. Has it just been opened up or is it a fair distance from Samana?

 

Last year there was very little on this Board regarding the Dominican Republic especially Samana as I think that cruise ships had just started to visit this port. We were a year too late though we loved Cayo Levantando and have happy memories of that island.

 

Jennie

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I think it was approx. a 40 minute drive, then a 10 minute boat ride. I found some posts from years ago on a Dominican site, for people who go to the resorts around there, so it was always been a possibility. And the Conde Nast rating was from 2004 or 2005 I believe. There are now a few large resorts in the area, however we never saw them.

 

I think people are nervous to go on excursions to places they are unsure of. But hopefully people will now see that there is another option, rather than spending $35 through the cruise line (we paid less than $20 each) for an uncrowed beach. You must check it out next time you go.

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I totally agree with Nedleycan. We were on the same excursion with her family and had a great time. I'm soooo glad we chose the unspoiled beach rather than paying $35 per person to be on a crowded island. Hopefully, the rough seas were a rare occurance.

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We certainly didn't pay $35 for a ship's excursion. We only paid $20 and went on our own. We also were on a very uncrowded island. The only other people there were some of the staff from the ship.

 

We will not be returning that way again for two reasons. The first that it is on the other side of the world to us and we have seen enough of the Caribbean and secondly we have much better islands and beaches down here. We found the Caribbean to be over-rated, too touristy and over crowded.

 

We were only there because it was part of a wonderful cruise that went from Vancouver via the Panama Canal, up the Amazon river and back to Tampa. The islands were really just a small part of a fantastic trip.

 

Jennie

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Jennie, it sounds like you made it to Cayo Levantado just in time. Now that more ships are going there and everyone is scared to go into town, it looks like CL is getting pretty crowded. They are trying to make it difficult for people to do it on their own now too, so that they can get their $35/pp.

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How are they "making it harder to do on your own". So are you saying that you can't get a boat ride to Cayo Levantado if you are tendered into Samana. Because I was planning on just going to Samana and catching a boat over cheaper than the cruise excursion. So I wonder if the general agreement would be it would be better to go to Playa Rincon then instead of the 35 for Cayo Levantado. I am just concerned with the length of time it will take to go to Playa Rincon. We actually booked this cruise very late, didn't have time to get passports, which is fine for going on the ship. But if we would ever miss the ship, we were told we couldn't fly home without passports, so I am ultra conservative with the times. We arrive at 10 and leave at 6:00. Thanks for the help!!

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I wouldn't worry about the time. We left the ship on one of the first tenders, and were on the beach just after 11:00 (I think). We had him come get us at 3:00, just in case we ran into issues. If there were issues, there would have been alternative ways to get back (you can drive there, without using a boat, but the road is terrible... but it is a good back-up).

Go to Playa Rincon before it gets developed... soon to happen.

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^^ agreed! What I meant by "making it harder to do on your own" (Cayo Levantado) is that there have been reports of security in boats and on the island turning private water taxis around and not letting them drop cruise passangers on the island; therefore, insuring that everyone gets to pay cruise excurion prices.

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I am looking for information from recent Samana travelers. Can anyone verify that transportation to and from Cayo Levantado can easily be obtained at the tender pier? If so, where do you go when you get off of the tender?? How about cost?? Was the transportation reliable?? Does anyone have a personal bad experience with a non cruise excursion trip to Cayo Levantado??

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We were in Samana last January and found it IMPOSSIBLE to get to Cayo Levantado on our own. We asked everyone, including the dock "authorities". There was one guy that said he could get us the four of us there, but when we returned with our beach stuff, he was nowhere to be found.

If there is a ship excursion- take it! There is nothing to do or see in the town.

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Sailed NCL Dawn 11-18-07. My group (7 adults) did not get bombarded by locals in Samana. A few taxi drivers did briefly solicit us until they saw we had a driver.

 

We set up a private tour (a friend of a friend) for $55 pp for the whole day (this included the horseback excursion and all transportation). We used the La Manzana parada, http://www.samana.net/manzana.html, to take our horseback ride to Salto El Limon Waterfall. We also ate a delicious Dominican lunch at La Manzana. (I don't know which parada(s) NCL uses for their excursions). We were supposed to go to a beach in Las Terrenas, however at our choosing, we spent so much time at the gorgeous waterfall that time did not allow the beach.

 

This was my DH's first time on a horse! and we were both a bit nervous. The hike is up and down-hill and muddy. The horses's hooves slipped quite a bit in the mud, which was pretty scary next to steep sides. But we made it to the waterfall and back safely. We each had a personal horse guide (they did not speak English) and gave each a tip ($4-6 USD was recommended by a local). They take you so far and then you have to walk down steep, uneven steps to the waterfall, (and then back up after). The climb is somewhat strenuous, and if you are not in shape you may need to stop a couple of times, like me and my sister.

 

The waterfall is amazing. It is very high. We got into the water at the bottom of the falls, which was pretty cold at first. It is very rocky (you cannot see where the boulders are in the water) and we got a few bruises and scratches while swimming. Getting redressed was tricky too since the area was muddy. My pants and gym shoes sustained mud for the duration of the cruise as I did not do laundry so am glad I didnt need them again!

 

This was definitely a highlight for us. But I would not take small children there, or anyone who cannot climb a lot of steps, or swim (if going in the water), or anyone who doesn't like a little adventure!

 

We also stopped at a market (called a carnivel) not far from the dock. Got a few inexpensive items including Laramar stone earrings for $15. Laramar is specially mined in DR. In the market, the vendors did heavily solicit us, but nothing more than you get in any street market, and it was a market after all, so it did not really bother us.

 

Some helpful sites on Samana and the waterfall, (although they are not updated): http://www.saltolimon.de/index.html and http://www.samana.org.do/samana.htm Also a helpful review on tripadvisor http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g147294-d665205-r8181237-El_Salto_del_Limon-Samana_Peninsula_Dominican_Republic.html

 

Sorry this post is so long! Hope it is helpful.

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I am looking for information from recent Samana travelers. Can anyone verify that transportation to and from Cayo Levantado can easily be obtained at the tender pier? If so, where do you go when you get off of the tender?? How about cost?? Was the transportation reliable?? Does anyone have a personal bad experience with a non cruise excursion trip to Cayo Levantado??

 

We only spent a few minutes around the pier in Samana but I did not see anyone offering transportation to Cayo Levantado. There was a booth selling a bunch of other tours though.

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