Las Terrenas must be one of the most cosmopolitan beach towns in the Dominican Republic. Europeans who made Las Terrenas their home during the 1970’s run many of the fabulous restaurants, little delicacy shops and bars in town.
The mix of cultures and lifestyles that exists in Las Terrenas generates a vibrant social scene you won’t find elsewhere on the Samana Peninsula. On weekend nights, I always visit the market on the waterfront for its real authentic, laidback Dominican atmosphere. Locals sell food and drinks from their little stalls and create a fantastic beach party that includes life music by improvised bands and often lasts until the early morning. more...
I cannot easily describe the spectacular drive from Sánchez to Las Terrenas over the steep, winding passage through the Cordillera Samaná mountain range, taking in the views of Samaná Bay, Parque Los Haitises and the Atlantic coast. The seemingly endless variety of palm trees, the bright colors of the houses and the warm smiles of the people I pass along the way make me feel very much alive and happy to be in the Dominican Republic once again. Upon arriving in Las Terrenas it does not take long before I stumble upon a French bakery where I buy some fresh croissants and a baguette.
This time I stay in the lovely small and independent hotel La Tortuga that also features a small restaurant which I will not try because I love to go “restaurant shopping” and check out some different restaurant menus before deciding where to eat. With so many (European owned) restaurants in town I have to think of Santo Domingo for a brief moment. I decide on Spanish Tapas!
Colorful wooden fishing boats rest peacefully on the white sand beaches hereby adding a touch of romance to the already lovely beach. During low tide I walk all the way to the coral reefs off shore with my snorkeling gear to blow some bubbles and say “hello” to the abundant sea life. Next I find myself sitting down on a terrace, overlooking the sea and the evolving colors of the sky above. I raise my glass of Chardonnay and make a toast. My new friend, an adorable dog that has been keeping me company for the last couple of hours and I agree that life does not get much better than this!
How to get there
Reaching Las Terrenas and the Samana Peninsula involves a bit more travelling compared to arriving at other coastal regions of the Dominican Republic. Only a limited number of airlines are flying directly to Samana International Airport at El Catey, just an hour away from most local destinations. It is more likely that you will arrive at Santo Domingo, Santiago or Puerto Plata airports. From here there are various domestic commuter flights available that serve the International Airport El Portillo.
- Dominican Republic International and Domestic Flights
Whenever possible I rent a car to move around in the Dominican Republic. There are frequent and cheap bus services Sánchez. From Sanchez you can take a bus to Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata and Samaná. Taxi’s take up to six persons wherever they want to go.
Tours and Excursions
Las Terrenas is located on the Samana Peninsula, which offers a wide variety of excursions and activities within less than 2 hours by car. The waterfall of El Limón is one of the most popular and nearest attractions to visit from Las Terrenas. The waterfall with a height of over 50 meters (165 feet) is set in a rough décor made up by lush tropical vegetation. It is possible to swim in the often very cold water of the swimming hole at the bottom. Most people reach the waterfall on horseback (I always make sure the horses are being well cared for) but you could walk as well (5.6 kilometers from the main intersection in El Limón). Other activities that are waiting for you in Las Terrenas include snorkeling, diving, horseback riding and 4-wheel driving trips. The nearby beaches Playa Bonita and Playa Las Balleras are also worth a visit.