Samaná 101 – Everything you need to know
Samaná is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
The landscape is simply stunning, with mountains, beaches, and jungle all within close proximity to each other.
This travel and tourism spot is home to some of the best whale watching , where every year, thousands of humpback whales come to the Bay of Samaná in their mating season.
If you’re looking for a truly unique and unforgettable vacation spot, then look no further.
In this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know this popular attraction, including its landmark sites, things to do, how to get here, and much more.
Where is Samaná located?
Samaná is a province located on the northeast region of the Dominican Republic, up into the Atlantic coast. It is one of the most visited tourist destination in the country and holds to some of the best beaches in the region and the world.
The capital (Santa Bárbara de Samaná ) is on the Samaná Peninsula, also called the Samaná Bay, an important tourism destination and the main center for whale-watching tours in the Caribbean region.
Samaná, which refers to the entire peninsula–is well connected by land and air, yet it remains as a secluded, paradisiacal Caribbean escape in the country.
The province has three municipal districts: El Limón, Las Galeras, and Arroyo Barril and is bordered white sand beaches, turquoise waters, hotels, resorts, and mountains full of coconut palms and a splendid forest.
Europeans landed and colonized the bay on January 12th, 1493, by the explorer Christopher Columbus during his first trip to the Americas. He described it as “the fairest land on the face of the earth” after landing in the white sands of Bay of Rincón.
- Is Samaná worth visiting?
Absolutely! Samaná is one of the most beautiful places in the Dominican Republic and definitely worth a visit.
There are so many things to see and do, from stunning beaches and mountains to the natural spectacle of whale watching (best time is between January to March).
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an action-packed adventure, you’ll find it all here.
- Which is better Punta Cana or Samaná?
There is no clear winner when it comes to Samaná vs Punta Cana. It really depends on what you’re looking for in a vacation spot.
Punta Cana is definitely more developed as a tourist city, with plenty of all-inclusive resorts lining the beaches and many entertainment offers.
Related – Punta Cana 101 – Everything you need to know
Samaná, on the other hand, has a more laid-back, nature exploring, and adventure vibe.
- How do I get to Samaná?
The best way to get to Samaná is by plane through the Catey International Airport (AZS), which has direct flights from several US and Canadian cities, including Miami, Toronto, and Quebec.
You can also fly into Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo and then take a quick 20 -minute flight to arrive at Arroyo Barril Domestic Airport, or take a 3 hour car drive.
- Where is the Catey International Airport (located?
The airport is located about 10 kilometers (6 miles) outside of the town of Santa Bárbara de Samaná.
To get to your resort or hotel, you can either take a taxi or shuttle bus. Most resorts offer an airport transfer service that you can arrange in advance.
The venue offers daily flights to and from many American and Canadian cities and Europe.
- Do I need a passport to go to Samaná?
Yes, a valid passport is required for all visitors to the Dominican Republic.
- Do I need a visa to visit Samaná?
Citizens of the United States, Canada, and most European countries do not need a visa to enter this city in the located on the northern coast of Samaná Bay.
Other visitors need to check the Dominican Republic Ministry of Foreign Affairs for further information.
Which airlines fly to Samaná?
In total there are 5 airlines flying from and to Samaná. These carriers are:
- Air Transat (TS)
- Plus Ultra (PU)
- Air Canada (AC)
- WestJet (WS)
- American Airlines (AA)
Which cities fly to Samana?
- Montreal (YUL)
- Miami (MIA)
- Madrid (MAD)
- Quebec City (YQB)
- Toronto (YYZ)
Is there a marina in Samaná?
Yes, there is a marina located at Santa Barbara de Samaná.
The Marina Puerto Bahía is a full-service facility that can accommodate boats up to 150 feet long.
There is also another Marina at the town, from which boats ship for whale watching and tours around the bay like a trip to Cayo Levantado.
- How do you get to Samaná from Florida?
There are a few ways to get from Florida to Samaná.
The most popular way is to take a direct flight from Miami International Airport (MIA) to El Catey Airport (AZS).
You can also fly into Santo Domingo Las Americas International Airport (SDQ), and then take a domestic flight or drive to Samaná.
If you’re looking for a more adventurous option, you can take a ferry from Puerto Rico to the Dominican Republic, and then take another ferry or drive from there to Samaná.
- Is there an entrance fee to enter Samaná?
No, there is no entrance fee to enter Samaná. However, if you drive over there, you need to pay several tolls that will account to about 25 dollars in total.
- Is there Uber in Samaná?
No, there is no Uber in Punta Cana. However, there are plenty of taxis available, and most hotels can also arrange airport transfers.
- Customs regulations in Samaná?
Travelers are allowed to bring up to $10,000 USD in cash into the country duty-free.
You also need to fill out an electronic ticket to arrive and departure the country.
Related – How to fill out the arrivel E-Ticket for the Dominican Republic
- What should I pack for Samaná?
Beach essentials like sunscreen, swimwear, and a beach towel are a must.
If you’re planning on doing any hiking or adventuring in the mountains or jungle, then make sure to pack proper shoes and clothing.
Also, don’t forget to bring repellent, a small first-aid kit, and your allergy medication.
- What is the time zone in Samaná?
The time zone in Samaná is GMT-4 (Atlantic Standard Time).
Related – What time is it in the Dominican Republic right now?
- What is the currency in Samaná?
The currency in Samaná is the Dominican Peso (DOP).
US dollars are also widely accepted, although you will usually get a better rate if you pay in pesos.
Related – What currency is used in the Dominican Republic?
ATMs can be found at the airport, shopping malls, at your resort, in the local community, at hotels, and banks.
- What language is spoken in Samaná?
The official language in Samaná is Spanish, however English and French is also spoken at hotels.
Other languages spoken by hotel staff are French and German.
What is the weather like in Samaná?
The weather in Samaná is tropical, with an average temperature of 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit).
Related – What is the temperature in the Dominican Republic?
The rainy season is from May to November, so if you’re planning on visiting during this time, be sure to pack your raincoat, just in case.
- What is the hottest and coldest month in Samaná?
The hottest month is August, with an average temperature of 32 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit).
The coldest month is January, with an average temperature of 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit).
- What are the average temperatures in Samaná?
The data average temperatures in Samaná during the year are:
– January: 25°C (77°F)
– February: 26°C (79°F)
– March: 27°C (81°F)
– April: 28°C (82°F)
– May: 29°C (84°F)
– June: 30°C (86°F)
– July: 31°C (88°F)
– August: 32°C (90°F)
– September: 31°C (88°F)
– October: 30°C (86°F)
– November: 29°C (84°F)
– December: 27°C (81°F)
For additional information about the Dominican Republic’s weather, check this article.
What type of electrical sockets are used in Samaná?
The type of electrical sockets used in Samaná are the standard North American 120 volt, 60 hertz with two flat parallel prongs and one ground (grounded) prong.
What are the business hours in Samaná?
Most businesses are open from 8am-5pm, Monday to Friday.
However, many shops and restaurants stay open until 10pm or later, especially on weekends.
- How much should I tip in Samaná?
Tipping is common in Samaná for good service. A 10-15% tip is customary in restaurants and bars.
For taxi drivers and tour guides, a 5-10% tip is appreciated.
Do I need travel insurance for Samaná?
Yes, we recommend that you purchase travel insurance before your trip to Samaná.
This will help to protect you in case of any unforeseen circumstances, such as lost luggage, cancellations, or medical emergencies.
- Are there mosquitoes in Samaná?
Yes, there are mosquitoes in Samana.
Be sure to pack insect repellent and wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts if you’re going to be outdoors during peak mosquito hours (dusk to dawn).
- When is the rainy season in Samaná?
The rainy season in Samaná is from May to November. If you’re planning on visiting during this time, be sure to pack your raincoat or umbrella. During this time, the average rainfall is 14 inches.
- What should I do if I get sick while in Samana?
If you get sick while in Samaná, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
There are a number of hospitals and clinics located around the spot and some of all inclusive resorts have first-aid clinics inside.
Is it safe to visit Samaná?
Yes, it is safe to visit Samaná. As with any travel destination, we recommend that you take precautions to protect yourself from pickpockets and scammers. When in doubt, always trust your gut instinct. If something feels off, it probably is.
When exploring the town or beaches, it is best to stick to well-lit and populated areas. It is also advisable to carry cash and valuables in a hidden pouch.
- What should I do if I lose my passport while in Samaná?
If you lose your passport while in Samaná, you should go to the nearest police station and file a report.
To replace a lost, stolen, or damaged passport, please follow the instructions in the Passport Navigator even if you need to travel urgently and need an emergency passport.
You must schedule the first available passport appointment using our online system and then email the United States Embassy at S[email protected] to move the appointment.
- Can I drink the tap water in Samaná?
The tap water in Samaná is NOT safe to drink. Travelers prefer to stick to bottled water, which is widely available.
- Is it safe to rent a car in Samaná?
Yes, it is safe to rent a car in Samaná. However, it is important to be aware of the local traffic laws, drive defensively, and get insurance. Don’t expose your valuables inside the car, as most of them have clear windows.
- What is the best time to visit Samaná?
The best time to visit Samaná is from December to April. This is the dry season, when there is less rainfall and lower humidity levels.
- How to get around Samaná?
There are a few different ways to get around. You can take a bus, taxi, or rent a car. The easiest way to get around is by car. Buses in Samaná are relatively inexpensive and run frequently. This is not recommended for unexperienced travelers unless they side with a local guide.
Finally, if you’re staying at a resort, most of them offer shuttle service to and from the airport and around Puerto Plata.
- What is Samaná known for?
Samaná is known for its beautiful beaches, lush landscapes, and friendly people. It is also a popular destination for whale watching and for its outstanding cuisine.
What are some of the most popular things to do in Samaná?
Some of the most popular things to do in Samana include:
- Take a whale watching tour
- Go horseback riding on the beach
- Explore the El Salto del Limón waterfall
- Visit Cueva de las Maravillas (Cave of Wonders)
- Whale watching
- Go on a safari ride through El Choco National Park
- Take a ATV tour through the jungle
- Go ziplining
- Visit the town of Las Terrenas
Other things to do include booking a scuba diving and snorkeling lesson at El Frontón, which is at just 17 meters (56 feet) deep, where you can benefit from a paradise, unspoiled beach.
Also, take a tour through the Los Haitises National Park; a beautiful, natural area that is perfect for bird watching, hiking, and exploring caves. There are many tour operator services that offer boat tours of Los Haitises. You can also rent a kayak or canoe and explore on your own?
- What are Samaná’s main beaches?
The main beaches in Samaná are:
- Playa Rincón
- Playa Cosón
- Playa Las Terrenas
- Playa Rincón
- Playa Bonita
- Playa El Valle
- Playa Las Ballenas
- Playa Portillo
- Playa Limón
- Playa Morón
- Playa Isla Cayo Levantado
Is there an all-inclusive resort in Samaná?
Yes, there are several all-inclusive resorts in Samaná where you can stay:
- Viva Wyndham V Samana Tangerine
- Bahia Principe Grand Cayacoa
- Bahia Principe Luxury Cayo Levantado
- Bahia Principe Grand El Portillo.
- Grand Paradise Samana
- Select at Grand Paradise Samana
What is the best way to see the humpback whales?
One of the best ways to see the humpback whales is on a whale watching tour. These tours typically last 3-4 hours and take you out into the ocean to see these majestic creatures up close. You can also sometimes see them from the shore, but it’s not guaranteed.
- When is whale watching season in Samaná?
The whale watching season in Samaná runs from January to March.
This is when the whales come to mate and give birth in the warm waters off the coast of the Dominican Republic.
You can not miss this beautiful Caribbean spectacle if you come to the Samaná Peninsula.
What power voltage is used in Samaná?
The power voltage in Samaná is 120 volts. This is the standard voltage used in North America. If you are coming from a country with a different voltage, you will need to bring a converter.
Is Samaná a weddings destination?
Yes, Samaná is a popular destination for weddings. This is because of its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and perfect weather. If you are planning on getting married in Samaná, be sure to check out some of the beautiful resorts that offer wedding packages.
How is the Samaná nightlife like?
This Caribbean tourists spot offers a wide variety of bars, clubs, and casinos to keep you entertained throughout your stay in this tourism location.
Travelers can enjoy:
- Go on a pub crawl
- Attend a show
- Visit one of the many nightclubs
- Take a walk on the beach
- City tour
Can I go scuba diving while I visit Samaná?
There are a number of dive centers that offer scuba diving courses and day trips to the best dive sites.
Outside of your resort in Punta Cana, some of the most popular dive sites include the Catalina Island, the Saona Island, and at the Samana Bay
- I’m not a certified diver. Can I still go diving in Samaná?
Yes, most dive centers offer intro dives for non-certified divers. These require no previous experience and provide an introduction to scuba diving in a safe and controlled environment.
- Is there snorkeling in Samana?
Yes, there are a number of great snorkeling spots in Samaná. Some of the best include El Frontón Beach and Cayo Levantado
- Can I go deep sea fishing in Samaná?
Yes, you can go deep sea fishing in Samaná. There are a number of companies that offer this service.
How do I get around Samaná?
The best way to get around Samaná is by car.
There are a number of rental companies that offer cars, scooters, and ATVs.
Another option is to take a taxi. These are widely available and relatively cheap.
Finally, if you’re staying at a resort, most of them offer shuttle service to and from the airport and around Puerto Plata.
- How many days do you need in Samaná?
This really depends on what you want to do while you’re here.
If you’re just looking to relax on the beach and eat at several restaurants, then a few days will suffice.
However, if you want to explore the island and go on excursions, then we recommend staying for at least a week.
What is there to do in Samaná for families?
There are a number of activities for visitors and families to enjoy in Samaná.
- Take a boat ride to Cayo Levantado
- Go into a tour for whale watching
- Visit a water Park
What is the average price of a hotel room in Samaná?
The average price of a hotel room in Samaná is 60 USD per night.
On the other hand, the average cost of a resort is 180 USD per night.
However, there are a number of cheaper options available, particularly if you are willing to stay in a less central location.
Can I play golf in Samaná?
Yes, there is a 9-hole golf course locared at Loma de Chivo Country Club
What can you not bring to Samana?
As a tourist that comes by either plane, boat, or car to this Caribbean location, you should avoid bringing the following:
- Illegal drugs (including CBD pens)
- Pornographic materials
Are there any waterparks in Samaná?
Yes, there is one waterpark located at Bahia Principe Grand Aquamarine. This waterpark has a number of slides, a lazy river, and a wave pool. It is suitable for both adults and children.
Facts about the Samaná Bay
- The province is on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in the northeastern part of the Dominican Republic.
- Tourism is becoming the main economic activity in the province due to its white sand beaches and clear waters.
- El Portillo National Airport is permanently closed since 2012.
- Puente de los Cayos is a beautiful pedestrian bridge that joins several small cays. It’s a great spot for taking pictures and enjoying the view.
- The restaurants of Samaná serve the fresh fish of their own region and the seafood of Sanchez are famous for their pleasant flavor.
- Samaná is the center of the country’s tourism during the arrival of whales.
- You can purchase a LTE chip for data access during your vacation in this region.
- The hotel offer in Samana is mostly in small hotels and apartment complexes, there are many modern luxury apartment complexes that offer with all the amenities.
- The peninsula is a 4 hour drive from Santo Domingo.
- in 1807, a small force from the British Royal Navy raided Samaná and turned it back to the Spanish who were fighting against the last French bastion on the island.
- Samaná is the main coconut producer in the country.
- The main economic activities of the municipality are tourism, agriculture and fishing.
- The town of Santa Barbara of Samaná is a town and municipality in northeastern Dominican Republic and is the capital of Samaná Province. It sits on the Samaná Peninsula which came first into written history on 13 January 1493, when Christopher Columbus made here the last stop of his first voyage to the New World.
- Cayo Levantado is also known as Bacardi island.
Why is Samaná so popular?
Samaná is a popular destination in the region for a number of reasons.
First, the weather is almost always perfect for a vacation as the average temperature is around 28 degrees Celsius, with very little variation throughout the year.
Second, the beaches are absolutely amazing to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Third, the water park and the whale watching tours provides a family friendly environment for long lasting memories.
Visit Samana today!