The first time we were in Samana, the guide took us around the peninsula and we ended up at the Whale Museum and Nature Center ( Centro de la Naturaleza ) Most of the signs are in Spanish, but he gave us the tour in English. Information in English is available at the entrance. The C.E.B.S.E. (Center for Conservation and Ecodevelopment of Samaná Bay and Its Environment) manages this facility, which features a 40-foot female humpback skeleton.
Hours: Mid-Jan.--mid-Mar., daily 8--5; mid-Mar.--mid-Jan., weekdays 8--3
I have been to many areas in the Dominican Republic but I personally think that Samana is the most beautiful part of the country. The reason for this is because it is not a very popular vacation area as Punta Cana or Puerto Plata. Even if Samana has been advertised as a vacation destination for a very long time, people seem afraid to go there since it is not advertised as much as the above two areas. Samana offers so much with its many untouched lands, beautiful mountains, white sand beaches and very friendly locals. Tell me where can you swim in a beautiful salt water beach, a crystal clear river and swim in an spectacular water fall all in one day and not have to travel for hours. I did it in SAMANA! You MUST visit the El Limon water falls if you go to the Samana peninsula. I think the best way to go about this activity (if you are physically fit) is by foot. I went with a personal guide, where we began at the street level where there is a sign that says Casacadas del Limon and we walked up and up and up steep mountains, this way you can stop when you want and take pictures. Within 20mins we arrived near some horses that were tied up to some trees and a few meters away was a little cafeteria with some benches where there were some locals handing out rubber boots to the tourists and explaining how they will have to go down the hill to the falls by foot and will be making it back up the same way to reach their horses after their dip in the falls. Me and my guide followed the group but at our own pace, stopping to take pictures near the clear fresh water that leads to the drop of the falls. When we finally arrived to the bottom on the hill, there it was the magnificent falls, its alot larger in person than on pictures! The tourists had arrived before up and there were many that have been there already so it was very busy. That was the only thing that I did not like but it is the main attraction in Samana.... I then realized that my guide was right about leaving for the falls early. Because by noon, it is packed! If you can swim well, you can pass under the falls and end up in a little dark cave which is cool too be in and see the falls from the inside! If you are brave enough, you can actually climb the falls, like the locals do and jump from the top! Its also fun to watch them do this stunt. After our cooling off in the falls, we did not head back the way we came from as the others in groups were doing but headed the opposite way. We made our down slowly but up more hills. We finally reached another stopping point were you can buy drinks and have an exceptional view of the falls and the beautiful landscape from far, like the photos you see in post cards. After that point, its all downhill. This is where I told my guide that it would have been ideal to be on a horse because it was very steep and muddy. But we managed to get to "El Cafe" which is on the street level within 45mins. Here you can rest, have a Presidente beer and buy some local goods such as coconut oil, vanilla and Mamajuana, the Dominican "Viagra". In all, if you do go to the falls, dont forget your camera, a water camera for when you swim in the falls. Water shoes are also helpful because the rocks near and to the entrance of the falls are very slippery. And some pocket money if you want to buy something to drink and to tip. I was told that the guides that escort you with the horse have no salary, they live on tips. But by foot is the best way to see the whole area and not having to pass back on the same way twice to go collect your horse! I went with a local who offered to be my guide and I payed him whatever I thought was enough. Even if he never told me a price. Honestly, this is the BEST excursion. I have physically left but my spirit remains in El Limon!
Samana area is a great recreation area. It is ideal for whale watching as they use to come to breed to these areas in January. You can drive to the beach and take a local guide with a fast boat - they drive really fast to get to the open sea so hold on.
Some parts of Samana were very beautiful and even romantic with lots of palm trees, white powder sand and clear sea water.
In some parts of Samana there are All Inclusive hotels for those preferring them. I stayed in Sosua far away in a local village in a three star hotel and drove a rental car to Samana.
One of our best and most romantic experiences. My husband's Dominican friends took us to this beach in Samana where we camped for 2 nights. We had the beach and lovely view to ourselves and took trips to several places on Samana. For those 3 days we only saw a couple of locals passing by (possibly plantations workers) and a homeless dog who appointed himself as a guard :) When we went out of the tent in the morning all we saw was the ocean and no tourists around. We were right next to a coconut plantation and we found a lot of coconuts under the palm-trees so we had tasty and healthy snacks and self-made cocktails. For the first time I saw how coconuts looked like before removing the outer husk. And this proved to be a hard job, a good thing our 'guide' had his machete with him. And I have to say the fresh cocnut milk tastes much better (some like it better with rum added to it).
In the plantation some cows too, I found that kind of funny: typical European animals in a typical Tropical forest so I took some pics (Cows &Palms travelogue).
El Limon is a beautiful place in the mountain. There is a small restraurant at the road from where you can rent mules to take you to the waterfall. You can walk too but I think riding is nicer.
The mules were led by 6-8 year-old kids who either walked by or rode with us. The mules were a bit wild and the kids liked to race them so we got to El Limonl pretty fast. It was so nice to ride in the cool forest and then take a swim in the pool under the waterfall. You can even swim behind it where there are some small caves, so you can touch the water and look through it. You can also climb up to a place from where you can jump into the pool. You just have to be careful as there are some rocks on the bottom. So don't foget to bring you swim-wear (there are no changing rooms though). After that very nice trip we had a great dinner prepared by the same people who kept the mules: Chinese-style chicken, batatas, rice and salad. That was one of my best expeciences in the Dominican.
Go horseback riding in the mountains and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the Dominican Republic.
There are different excursions, some are short, and other last the whole afternoon. I took the long one, and I didn't regret!
El limon is a really nice waterfall... don't miss it!
Isla de Cayo Levantado, Bahia de Samana, Caribbean
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