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Today, Samaná is a paradise escape of wild beaches, coconut plantations, and rainforests. Its rolling mountains and valleys form the crystalline rivers that feed into the Atlantic, as they cascade toward brilliant white sand beaches stretching hundreds of kilometers all around the peninsula’s rocky coastline. It’s as if the approximately 2,500 humpback whales that visit Samaná Bay every year appreciate this natural splendor as much as visitors do. The giant mammals return every year to this special corner of the DR to mate, give birth, and bask in this glorious tropical scenery. Aside from seasonal whale watching boat excursions in Samaná’s scenic bay, more ecotourism adventures are a stone’s throw away: body-boarding and kitesurfing in Las Terrenas; trekking, birding, and caving in Los Haitises National Park; canyoning or horseback riding to reach El Limón waterfall; and boat-hopping to magnificent white sand beaches at the base of 90-meter (300-feet) cliffs, or to offshore Cayo Levantado island.
La Romana is one of the country’s top destinations. Cave-riddled forests inside Cotubanamá National Park are home to fresh water springs and Taino rock art. Home to the Casa de Campo Resort, a celebrity favorite and renowned destination for its award-winning Pete Dye golf courses. The adjacent 16th century Altos de Chavón is a stunning replica of a Mediterranean village towering over the Chavón River. Nearby, the Bayahibe area offers picturesque beaches, and splendid opportunities for ecotourism.
Puerto Plata’s spectacular, sprawling landscape combines sea, mountains, lush valleys, rivers, and fabulous beaches. Christopher Columbus knew there was much to discover on this northern Atlantic coastline — eventually finding gold deposits. Drawn by the sight of clouds shimmering over Mount Isabel de Torres and illuminating Puerto Plata’s vast blue shoreline, he named the area the “Silver Port” and settled at La Isabela. The Spaniards built the first church and his first home in the Americas. You can follow Columbus’ trail and tour these archeological ruins, now part of a national park.
Punta Cana has one of the Caribbean region’s longest white sand coastlines, 30 miles, punctuated with coconut palms. Punta Cana is the land of rest and relaxation by the sea. Here, where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean, from the northern tip at Uvero Alto to the southern at Cap Cana, all-inclusive resorts and boutique hideaways offer all the comforts of modern beachfront living. Families enjoy miniature entertainment centers and water parks for children, while couples-only enclaves boast dream wedding locations, with secluded beachside lodging for an ultra-romantic stay. But it’s not only about fun in the sun, and crystal clear water to swim in, go fishing, or dive for underwater life and shipwrecks. Punta Cana is also a golfer’s destination, with 10 courses located all along the strip.