Las Terrenas, Samana, Dominican Republic
Las Terrenas is a town on the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic, located in the province of Samaná. It is known for its scenic landscapes coupled with white sand beaches and clear waters. Among the best known beaches are “Punta Poppy” and “Las Ballenas”. Tourism in this region is constantly growing due to investments in tourist infrastructure such as hotels, clubs, restaurants and shopping centers such as “Puerto Plaza las Terrenas”. At night entertainment centers are crowded by hundreds of visitors.
Despite its incredible beauty, this wild and wonderful beach-lined spit jutting from the country’s northeastern coast catches only a fleeting spotlight from January through March, when humpback whales return to their breeding grounds in the warm waters offshore and boats loaded with would-be eco-tourists follow. But there’s year-round value in venturing off the beaten path to this gorgeous, uncrowded gem, especially the up-and-coming beach town of Las Terrenas. With a bohemian attitude born of its multicultural melange of influences — you’re as likely to hear French or Italian spoken here as Spanish — this once-sleepy fishermen’s town enchants visitors looking for an alternative to the DR’s ubiquitous megaresorts and all-inclusives. So hop in your rental SUV, brave the region’s adrenaline-pumping hairpin turns and discover the Caribbean secret everyone will soon want to know about.
Las Terrenas’ beaches — clad in towering coconut palms and tangles of sea grapes — are considered by some to be the pride of the Dominican Republic, thanks in part to the road that hugs the shore, which keeps the hotels from blocking the mesmerizing panorama of the sea. Playa Coson’s 12 miles of golden sand, just a quick 15-minute drive from town, offer a welcome respite from the chaos of Las Terrenas, along with something for every beach lover. There are calm waters ideal for families with small children, sections of rolling waves where surfers are in their glory and spots punctuated by strong winds to delight kiters. There’s so much real estate that some stretches are virtually deserted, though if you’re looking for some action, you’ll find it at CasaCoson, a charming boutique hotel whose poolside restaurant and bar is a popular hangout.
Four miles down the road lies Playa Bonita, which lives up to its name with wind-swept coconut palms that nearly dip into the placid waves and a carpet of grass edging the sand. Beginning surfers often get their toes wet here. For scenesters, there’s no shortage of restaurants and bars just across the dirt road at which to grab a cold libation, along with lunch and killer water views, but the hot spot is Acaya hotel’s restaurant, where the Mediterranean meets the Caribbean under a thatch roof.