Dominican Republic is the dreamiest tropical destination and for many travellers this is a true paradise. Once you step on this island you immerse yourself into a natural world that will leave you speechless. But this country is much more than white sand and turquoise waters. Here you can explore lush jungles, drink a piña colada while you enjoy some of the most stunning views of the Caribbean Sea, hike surrounded by the most beautiful scenery in the world, refresh yourself in magical waterfalls, play with cute dogs by the beach and snorkel with hundreds of colourful tropical fish. Sounds like a dream no? It is real and you can enjoy this paradise if you visit Dominican Republic.
We stayed 3 weeks here and in all that time we visited the best of the best on the island. We explored some of the most fascinating areas of Dominican Republic and those are: Samana, Punta Cana and Saona island. I will share many tips to help you get it right the first time. Our first stop was Samaná Peninsula and because there is so much to do and see I split the blog post in two, so this one is dedicated to Las Galeras.
Samana is not very popular, but I think that’s the magic of this place. This place is a natural wonder, full of tropical forests, dreamy beaches lined with coconut palms, drinking piña colada, getting massage from some of the best masseuses, but don’t think at the typical massage, in a small room without windows, here you’ll enjoy the massage of your life.. at the beach, under a palm tree, with the sound of the waves and the smell of the sea.. how cool is that.
Welcome to a tropical paradise! Welcome to Dominican Republic island!
This is the place where all your tropical dreams are coming true. Las Galeras is a small town with many dazzling places to explore, located at the end of Samana. Life here is slow, is about enjoying the moment and small things, something you don’t do too much when you live in a big city and if you are a nature lover you kinda miss this type of things. This small town used to be an unusual fishing village, but as more and more people started to find out about it, things have started to change. With all that you can still enjoy your piece of natural Heaven.
To get to this beach, it takes about 30 minutes drive from Las Galeras. This beach is a must visit when travelling to Samana. It’s the perfect gateway for another iconic virgin jungle lined up all around a gorgeous 5 kilometre curve of white sand located right at the corner of the Bay of Playa Rincon. No wonder it’s always in top of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Luckily it’s not crowded at all. We stayed here a whole day and it was only us and a family, so we had the beach practically to ourselves. If you prefer to be away from the crowds and all modern convenience, this beach is perfect and you can have your own private slice of paradise. The crystal clear water invites you to start exploring the pristine beach and it’s surrounding reef full of colourful fish. This is the perfect place for those wanting that luxury of having a huge beach only for you, tropical surroundings and to have lunch at a cute bar with palm trees and stunning views of the sunset over the sea.
w h e r e t o e a t
After we snorkelled and we took pics all day long, we had to eat. There is a good place to eat and be at the beach at the same time and it is one of the beach bars that are located in Playa Rincón. Here you can try some of the most typical dishes, drink a piña colada and enjoy the views of the turquoise sea while you have lunch.
I couldn’t believe how natural this beach is. We decided to stop at this beach after a short drive from Playa Rincon. We were in hurry to come back to our hotel. It is not recommended to drive at night in DR because of the low illumination on the main streets. You don’t know when a goat, or any other animal may cross your way and you may get easily involved in a car accident. It is not dangerous for other reasons. But with all that we took the risk and stopped here, because this beach is a dream. This beach is relatively untouched with only one resort. The beach is huge and perfect for barefoot walks and swimming. The water is so calm, the atmosphere is peaceful, the smell of the sea, the tall palms. It’s a dream come true!
We took a walk in the forest of palms that is close to the beach. Most of the people prefer to stay at the beach, they don’t get too curious about the area, but they lose so much by not exploring the surroundings. This small forest is a hidden gem. So many palms.. I am in awe! I pinch myself to make sure it is not a dream. This was such a memorable place for us! We arrived almost at sunset time, with only a few hours of day time, so I immediately started to take drone shots of this spectacular place.
t h e s u n s e t
You are not in Dominican Republic if there are no doggies at the beach. We have been followed by a few cuties. We took so many photos and played with the doggies for so long that we didn’t even realised when the time passed by. It was almost sunset and I imediatly started to explore which would be the perfect spot to watch it. And I found it right away.. among the palms, facing the Caribbean sea.. this was one of the most breathtaking sunset I have ever witnessed. What a great feeling when the sunset hits, the stunning colours reflecting on the sea, while the palms are becoming a shadow, making it a visual masterpiece which resembles an oil painting. What a vibe!
m o r e t h i n g s t o d o :
Of course here you can do so many fun stuff if you want to spend more time. We didn’t have the time but we found out what else you can do here beside just laying down at the beach or having barefoot walks. Because the water is so calm, the beach is perfect for a kayak experience in the clear turquoise water. I think this is a great way to discover more awesome spots of this place, as it has so many.
- enjoy a wonderful sunset
- snorkel and enjoy the stunning world that hides under the water
- have a romantic diner
I have to mention that snorkelling here is such a vibe, there is an abundance of marine life in the water. You can spot colorful corals hosting many tropical fish. The water is clear with perfect visibility and you don’t even need to dive too much, everything is close to the shore.
LOS HAITIES NATIONAL PARK
Los Haitises Park is one of the most remarkable parks in the Dominican Republic. It’s a very large one covering an area of 1,600 km², full of mangroves of various species, over 200 species of birds, this is actually a very important spot for bird-nesting site and sanctuary, various caves and rainforests. If you get lucky you can even see manatees and dolphins, who are frequent visitors of this park. This is a must do when you visit Samana.
The park is pretty impressive. I love the boat ride among the mangrove populations, then we’ve seen the Cayo de los Pajaros. This is easily recognised by the presence of the birds, overflying it at low altitude, the tijeretas and the pelicans. You’ll see that there are horizontal branches used by birds to perch.
SAN GABRIEL LIMESTONE
From the port until the cave, the boat takes one hour ride. Then they leave you in on a bridge that connects the cave with the outside world. After a short hike from the water you have to walk like 5 minutes into the cave and then you’ll arrive to an impressive large opening in the ceiling that is filling the cavern with natural light. The walk is very beautiful with so many walls full of pictographs and you can also admire the fascinating stalactites and stalagmites that are quite impressive for their beauty and uniqueness.
A curious formation among many others, is the one at the entrance, that looks like a man sitting on a rock and that is why the cave is called the cave of San Gabriel. The cave has many other wonderful formations in shape of humans, animal forms, including the figure of a shaman, Boiyanel (the God of rain), a heron, shark and a humpback whale Another thing I loved about this cave in particular is that the entrance is heart shaped. Just wow!
b o a t t o u r
The only way you can get there is by booking a boat tour. We booked an organised excursion for the price of 113€ for an adult and the trip last around 8 hours, including the visit to the park, caves, Cayo Levantado beach and lunch.
Cayo Levantado is a popular beach so get ready for the crowds. You’ll understand why many people love it, when you’ll step foot on this beach. This is a tropical dream come true. With crystal clear waters, white sand and stunning snorkeling. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing day under the palm trees and by the sea.
It was lunch time when we arrived from Los Haitises National Park and we are in awe! Not hard to be conquered by the perfection of this place, a place unlike any other in the world. The mix of perfect tropical beach with the mountains is impressive. We have our lunch making plans of what we should do first. We had only a few hours to spend here so we had to make the best of it. The island is small but there is so much to explore and it might seems that you can see it all in a few hours, but you need more time to explore this remarkable island.
It’s such a privilege to enjoy this iconic island, no wonder it is one of the most visited in Dominican Republic. Every and each spot is awe-inspiring and we couldn´t stop watching the turquoise water, the huge palms and being amazed by how green this place is.
e x p l o r e t h e i s l a n d
We started to explore the place and walking along the beach is a true pleasure, a massage for the feet and therapy for the soul. The sun is strong and the only thing you want is to jump into the water to cool off. We put our stuff under a palm and we started to explore the water and WOW! This was one of the best spots for snorkelling. Only a few meters from the shore we saw a plenty of parrot fish, trumpet fish, colorful starfishes and shells.
BAY OF SAMANA
This is for sure one of the most charming bays in Dominican Republic. This cozy bay, surrounded by green cliffs it’s a must see during your visit in Samana. Here you can enjoy a great time on some dreamy beaches with soft white sands, walk around this scenic town with brightly painted buildings, have lunch at an open air restaurant facing the beach.
w h a l e w a t c h i n g
This is also the starting point for excursions to Los Haitises National Park, Cayo Levantado and whale watching. Whale watching is one of the main activities in Samaná Bay. But when we visited Dominican Republic it wasn’t the season. The best time to spot whales is from January to March. Here are returning the humpback whales to mate or give birth, as the warm waters of the Atlantic are perfect for the calves. Apart from seeing moms swimming with their super cute newborn calves, you might be lucky to hear the males singing. If you visit Samana during the whale season I highly recommend you to book a tour. Seeing these majestic animals free and happy is a magical experience.
w h a l e n u r s e r y
The whales in Samana are very protected, mostly because this is a whale nursery. There are not allowed to any boats to sail in the area and even the ones with tourists are heavily restricted. They control the number of boats getting near the whales making it a safer place for the whales, which I find it amazing. The Samana Bay is the place where the whales become mothers, the place where they are delivering the calves and nursing. That is one of the main reason why this area is so protected and the rules for viewing are pretty strict. I love when people are respectful with wild life and fight so much to keep it safe!
A TRIP TO LAS GALERAS IS A VERY BEAUTIFUL AND SPECIAL EXPERIENCE
I always like to bring conscience about the environment. Be respectful with wild life, throw your garbage in a trash can, keep the beaches clean and use as less plastic as possible.
I hope you enjoyed this post about Las Galeras and I hope I helped you to make the best of your trip! Of course everything shared is based in my personal experience. Even though this place is becoming more and more famous is still worth a visit. I’m always curious about your travel experience and I am more than open to hear it.