Playa Las Ballenas
If you walk for about 10-15 minutes on the village beach of Las Terrenas in a westernly direction, you reach the Las Ballenas beach (there are three tiny islands visible from the beach). This is a great beach close to Las Terrenas if you are not in the mood to drive to a more distant beach. Some great beach bars and not crowded at all!
Many say that Playa Rincon is the most beautiful beach in the Samana Peninsula. It is a little hard to reach though, either by an organized boat trip or otherwise by car to Las Galeras, and from here through a dirt road (4WD only) to the beach. Worth the effort though! They say Playa Rincon has great snorkeling, but I was not so lucky and spotted only a couple of fish.
My favourite beach in the Dominican Republic! I admit the name is not very original, but it is still fitting! Mile-long white sand beaches, palm tree groves, turquoise water, but also just a little more developed than Playa Rincon or Playa Coson, with some great beach restaurants and -bars. About 5 miles/10 minutes drive with a moto-taxi to the west from Las Terrenas.
Roughly 8 miles northwest from Las Terrenas, a ca. 15 minutes drive with a moto-taxi, and you find the great beach Playa Coson. To me, this is the classical caribbean beach: miles of white sands, palm tree groves, turquoise waters and rather good snorkeling. The one beach restaurant was OK, but not great. It is advisable to organize a fixed pick-up time with your moto-taxi when you go here.
Las Terrenas - a former fishing village off the beaten path for some decades, but now sensibly touristically developed, is the ideal base for exploring the Samana Peninsula in the northeastern Dominican Republic. It has plenty of smaller hotels and more restaurants and cocktail bars than you can point a stick at, and is also very close to great solitary beaches (Playa Bonita, Playa Coson..). It even has its own beach, though the village beach was a little dirty - so I rather recommend to drive a little to the more distant beaches. Another "con" point is that Las Terrenas is rather noisy; "pro": it seems quite safe, even at night, as our local hosts confirmed. Las Terrenas is well connected with Santo Domingo - about 3,5 hours by bus.
This peninsula in the northeastern Dominican Republic has some of the best beaches in the country (Playa Coson, Playa Bonita, Playa Rincon, Las Ballenas and many more ..). It is also home to the Saltos de Limon waterfalls and the base for boat excursions to the Los Haitises National Park. It is well-connected with Santo Domingo (frequent bus services, ca. 3,5 hours to Las Terrenas). First impression: The area is not (yet) dominated by big all-inclusive resorts, but well-developed with plenty of smaller hotels and restaurants. All around, a great place to relax and unwind!
The oldtown of Santo Domingo - called "zona colonial" is small - you can see most attractions in a day - but worth the effort of a brisk hike.
Among the main attractions are
- the cathedral - the only gothic-style cathedral in Latin America
- the Plaza Colon (the main square, great for people- and pigeon-watching)
- the Alcazar de Colon, seat of Diego Colon, son of Columbus and governor of Hispaniola
- the Museo de las Casas Reales (history museum)
- Casa Tostado (a wealthy family home from the 19th century)
- the main streets Calle de las Damas and Calle Conde
- the National Pantheon
- the ruins of the San Francisco Monastery.
Saltos de Limon - Waterfall
My superficial impression is that the Dominican Republic is not really a hiking mekka, but this is one hike you should not miss out on. Limon - a 15 minutes drive from Las Terrenas - is the entry point for this hike. At the park office/shack, guides will offer their services (most will want to take you on horseback), but the hike itself is not particular strenuos or difficult. It does involve two river crossings with almost knee high-water though. It takes about 1 1/2 hour to get to the waterfalls, where you can swim in a refreshingly cold pool at the bottom of the falls.
Jardin Botanico - Santo Domingo
The botanical garden of Santo Domingo is not in walking distance from the "zona colonial" area, so a taxi is necessary which will cost ca. 200 Pesos one-way. The garden covers quite an extensive area - they even have a toy train who makes the round-trip if you don`t want to walk all the way. A beautiful place and nice location to unwind.
Aquario Nacional - Santo Domingo
This aquarium is a short drive from Santo Domingo along the Malecon towards the airport. You will certainly have seen more fascinating aquariums (it is quite small and a little dated), but they have sea turtles, iguanas, mooray eels, stingrays, ground-dwelling sharks, and the location with a view of the south coast cliffs is quite spectacular. All in all a good spot to spend 1-2 hours if you have no other plans.
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Santo Domingo is the DR's capital and also the oldest European city in the New World. It has enough attractions for 3-4 days of exploration. Sadly, most of the tourists including me, only get here on a day trip from the beach resorts.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Walk Like a Centurion
Some people may think that staged photos with costumed actors are too touristy. Personally, I think paying an exhorbitant amount of money to listen to a concert where the noise level breaks the decibel record is ridiculous, so to each their own. So when we entered the Altos de Chavon Ampitheater and the two "centurions" asked us if we wanted our picture taken, we agreed knowing we weren't committed to buying the pictures.
I think this picture of my daughter, husband and I turned out pretty good. Although it cost $10 I thought it made a pretty good souvenir of a wonderful night watching and listening to the talented singers & dancers performing "Kandela" at the Ampitheater. Since I didn't get any day time photos of the place, and NO POSTCARDS, I was really happy with this picture particularly because I thought my daughter looked so beautiful.
Other souvenirs of the show such as t-shirts, mugs, fanny packs and the like were available for sale at reasonable prices, but no picture programs were for sale.
NOTE: looks like some additional pictures here have been dropped system and ended up in cyberspace!
swim with dolpfins
This can be done at ocean world in puerto plata you can either do a swim or an encounter
the differents is with a swim you slip into the warm Caribbean waters of Dolphin Cove to meet these amazing sea creatures face to face and hand to fin. You'll stroke their glistening, rubbery skins, watch them leap and dive and finish up your amazing encounter being carried through the water between two dolphins in a 'dorsal fin' tow.
the Dolphin Encounter offers an up-close-and-personal opportunity for guests of all ages to meet these incredible mammals in the safety and comfort of waist deep water. Guests will stroke, hug and even dance a quick meringue with our people-loving dolphins while posing for some once-in-a-lifetime photos!
You can also do other encounters like stingrays,sharks and sea lions.
Tiger grotto Swim in the same pool with enormous tigers -- with nothing more than a glass wall to separate you! Ask about the only tiger-feeding program in the world, where Ocean World guests can actually feed tigers through a hole in a shimmering glass wall.
The Tiger Grotto is lush and green, filled with waterfalls and abundant vegetation, creating a true jungle experience.
You can also snorkel at the reef Aquarium.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Diving and Snorkeling
Outback Jungle Safari Tour
Wonderful tour. Went to see home of true Dominican Republican.Visited local school.Went boogie boarding in ocean, ate lunch while music played and 2 local girls in customary garb danced tastefully.
Went in rapids. They gave drinks of soda or rum and coke as often as you would like.
They had plenty of coke, 7-up or those also mixed with rum. (but remember bathroom stops slim and not real modern when you drink).
Tour guide explained towns and buildings.Showed us local trees and wildlife. Gave insight to life in Dominican Republic.
Never bugged by peddlers on trip. The driver stayed on truck and valuables were safe. Driver drove safe, felt safe in ocean and river.
Had best time on tour.Fun for singles, couples, kids, anyone over age 6.Wear swimsuit, ladies pull hair back(windy),bring small money if want to buy cheap rum/coffee,wear watershoes,bring camera,towel.Related to:
The Rum Runners trip is widely available throughout the Dominican Republic.
We were picked up at 8am prompt in a open top jeep, seating about 10 people. Rum was freely flowing, but for those who couldn't stomach rum for breakfast (Me!) there were a variety of other drinks and snacks at hand.
From what I remember, we set off to the unseen parts of the Dominican Republic, stopping every so often on the road for the guide to show us some edible plants or to show us plants which served as make-up for the natives!
We were then taken to a typical Dominican house, or shack as it was and shown their toilet - which consisted of a hut with a twelve foot hole. The way they lived was amazing, a TV powered by a car engine, a natural stone oven - which the cat slept in and treasures they've picked up along the years.
Just down the road was a clear river were the Dominicans would bathe daily and take their children to swim.
Next stop was a nature reserve, truely amazing with plenty of great animals and birds. The reserve was on a river which we were taken down in a boat, seeing alligators and also witnessing were the fresh river met the sea.
Highly reccomended.Related to:
- National/State Park
- Historical Travel
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