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Dominican Republic Itinerary

How long was your stay?

8 days

How did you travel?

With friends

Tell us why you traveled to this destination.

Sometimes you just need to get away to the beach. A nice beach. Lots of them, in fact. Given the Dominican Republic’s relative proximity to the US, combined with affordable accommodations and a wealth of the aforementioned beaches, our travel group chose the Samana’ Peninsula as a base of operations for a relaxing beach vacation.

Give us all the details! Tell us where you went and what you did on your trip.

Day 1 – After spending a night in overly-touristy Punta Cana, we rented a vehicle and began the long (6 hours total) trek to Las Galeras, at the tip of the Samana’ Peninsula. Along the way we took a refreshing break at Salta Socoa – a gushing waterfall nestled in the lush mountainous interior of the country. That evening we checked in to our Airbnb – Villa Rincon, mere steps away from lovely Playa Colorado.

Day 2 – This day we got right down to the objective of our trip – relaxing on the beach. Playa Colorado is separated by a headland of rock, offering two lovely vistas with equal parts privacy. Due to the very rough road to get here, we barely saw anyone else the entire day, which was just what we were hoping for.

Day 3 – Even though Playa Colorado was just mere steps from our villa, we decided to take the 25 minute drive (due to the roads, not distance) to the reasonably touristy town of Las Galeras, and the wonderful beach called Playita. Here the water is shallow, which makes it great for wading or just lying in a rented chaise-lounge and watching the palms sway. There are a few restaurants tucked back from the sand, perfect for a drink or a snack. Just make sure you agree on a firm price ahead of time, otherwise the resulting “misunderstanding” might leave you paying more than expected.

Day 4 – As if Playa Colorado and Playita weren’t world-class beaches in their own right, the DR upped the ante when we took a half hour drive over to world-famous Playa Rincon – a perennial contender for a spot on those glossy & World’s Best Beaches" calendars that are printed each year. We opted to settle down on the far east end of the several-mile long strip, mostly because this section wasn’t awash in piles of seaweed (a frequent plague at all island beaches in the DR). Not only did we enjoy the stunning, practically undeveloped natural setting, but we were also steps away from Playa Bremen, located on the east side of a narrow peninsula that forms the boundary of Playa Rincon, which was completely undeveloped. After trekking over to the west end of Playa Rincon on foot, several of us enjoyed the refreshingly cool waters of Cano Frio – an inland waterway that flows into the beach, marking its western boundary.

Day 5 – All this “relaxing” was taking a toll on us, so we just hung around our villa and Playa Colorado to rest up. This was also an excellent opportunity for me to take my drone for a spin and capture some stunning sunset shots.

Day 6 – This day marked the only time we engaged in an organized activity, and it certainly was worth it. After a 45 minute drive to the actual town of Samana’, located on the southern coast of the peninsula, we embarked in a small boat to several offshore islands in the bay of the same name. At a snorkeling stop at uninhabited Cayo Farola, I trekked over to a raised platform overlooking the water that was built for visitors to watch the migration of humpback whales (which usually runs from January to June). Since my visit was in August, I didn’t see any whales, but did get some more great drone footage. Our next stop was the main attraction – Cayo Levantado. Sharing an island with a luxury hotel, this broad swathe of blinding-white sand was once a feature in Bacardi Rum commercials back in the 70’s. It’s beauty however has not faded with time. Though this was by far the most crowded spot we visited on the trip, the incredible beach and turquoise waters made it oh so worth it.

Day 7 – Once again it was time to “rest” which consisted of alternating between our villa’s pool and the various portions of Playa Colorado.

Day 8 – For our last day in Samana’ we made a return trip to Playita to enjoy the tranquil water and sip rum drinks straight from a pineapple. It was a great finale to a rewarding beach vacation.

Would you recommend this trip to a friend?

Yes

What was the highlight of your trip?

Playa Rincon was truly better than I had been hoping. Same with Cayo Levantado, which truly took my breath away.

If you were to take this trip again, is there anything you would add or do differently?

If I were to return to the Samana’ Peninsula, I would leave two days for Playa Rincon. I would also be sure to arrange a tour to Cayo Levantado earlier in the morning, so as to beat the crowds of tourists that fill it up in the late morning and afternoon.

Ben Pastore
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