Santa Bárbara De Samaná is a cute harbor town on the Samaná Peninsula, and capital of the Samaná province of Dominican Republic. It doesn't have the same hustle and bustle as nearby Las Terrenas, but then it doesn't have any beautiful golden-sand beaches right in town either. What it does have is whale-watching, access to island resorts, and a pretty harborfront opposite a cool-looking bridge to some small islands. Note that the town name is more often shortened to Samaná than to Santa Bárbara.
- 1 Samaná El Catey International Airport (AZS IATA) (+ 1/2hr drive).
- 2 Arroyo Barril Airport (EPS IATA).
Though it once took six hours to drive here along a small road from Santo Domingo, it's now a 2-3 hour drive along well-paved toll highway.
Rental car, Taxi, Bus, four wheelers and motorbikes. The town itself is walkable, but to get to beaches you might need other transportation.
Humpback whale watching from January until March. At peak season there are usually about a hundred whales in the bay at any given time.
Activities include a large number of secluded beaches to explore, horseback riding, four wheeler and motorbiking, and whale watching.
About halfway between Samana and Playa Rincon on Highway 5 near Punta Chiva is Sparky's Spray. This rocky and orange beach where the waves crash creates a spout/spray of water that travels to the jungle across the road. The spray happens about every 15 seconds and is very unique.
Restaurants range from typical Dominican to Italian and French cuisines.
Roadside bars, restaurants and booming late night bars.
Accommodation choices range from hostel to five star. There are a few new large hotel complexes, a number of medium sized hotels and villas and private home for rent. Unlike more beach-oriented towns in the region, there aren't many accommodations right in town, but wander the streets and you can find a couple local hotels and "guest houses" (small groups of rooms without a reception desk - call the phone number on the sign).
- 1 Don Alfredo Casa de Huespedes (Follow Calle Mella to the top of the hill and turn left on Av. Circunvalacion), ☏ (WhatsApp +1 646-363-3132). Three rooms with doors right out onto the sidewalk, local home style. Comfortable enough for a night or two. Ceiling fan, no AC. In a cute residential neighborhood of the old part of town, a short walk from the waterfront. 1,000 pesos for a double room (might be low-season price).
- Casa de Huespedes Felipe, ☏ . Another local guesthouse a few doors down and across the street from Don Alfredo.
- 2 Lobby Hotel Gran Bahía Príncipe Cayo Levantado, Carretera a Playa Rincon, ☏ . Nice hotel on an offshore island (private ferry from town)
- Las Terrenas - modest but full-service beach tourism town
- Las Galeras - smaller and more remote beach town for low-key tourism