White-sand beaches, blue waters and a tropical climate – Samaná has all the trademarks of a top Dominican Republic retreat. But this mangrove-forested peninsula trumps the lot with its untouched natural beauty. Here’s why it’s top of our list for a romantic sunshine break in 2013…
1. As nature intended
Word got out a long time ago that the Dominican Republic’s a pitch-perfect holiday destination, but Samaná is one stretch that’s managed to stay off the tourist radar. In fact, Thomson Airways offers the only direct flight to Samaná Airport from the UK. Thanks to its secret status, you’ll find wild coconut groves in place of high-rise hotels, and more palm trees than loungers on most of the beaches.
2. Top-rated Las Terrenas
White sands dotted with pastel-coloured fishing boats, an international waterfront dining scene, and a year-round balmy climate – it’s a hat-trick that bagged Las Terrenas a place in TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Caribbean destinations in 2012. Head to this former Samaná fishing village to eat net-fresh seafood under the stars, shop for original artworks, or take a whale-watching boat trip.
3. Los Haitises National Park
Straight from the pages of National Geographic, this sprawl of virgin rainforest is a dream backdrop for guided walks and treks. It’s only accessible by boat, and its wildlife count ticks off more than 100 species of birds. It’s got a few secrets, too – poke around the caves and you’ll find paintings on the walls by the Taino Indians who inhabited them for thousands of years.
4. Salto del Limón waterfalls
Samaná isn’t short of natural attractions, but at 30-50 metres high, the Salto del Limón waterfalls take some beating. This thundering cascade from the Limón River is often named the most beautiful in the Dominican Republic. Visitors ride horseback through the forest to get there, and are rewarded with a dip in the jade-tinted waters at its base.
5. 5T luxury at Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado
Some luxury hotels have their own private stretch of beach. This one? It’s on its own island. Samaná’s Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado sets the bar for All Inclusive luxury – with outdoor Jacuzzis and drinks brought directly to your hammock. Here, All Inclusive includes à la carte restaurants and room service, and bedrooms come in the form of garden villas and chic suites.
Thomson Airways offers the only direct flight to Samaná Airport from the UK – click here for more details on holidays to Samaná or here for information about Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado.
If the town of Las Terrenas took your fancy, check out the nearby Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo – a beachfront resort from our sister company, First Choice.