Once a sleepy fishing village in the northeast corner of the Dominican Republic, Samana is the next hot spot with its untouched beaches, coral reefs, jungle-draped mountainsides and five thousand hotel rooms expected by 2015. A haven for eco-tourists, Samana is also very romantic with mangrove reserves in Los Haitises National Park and the Whale Sanctuary where during the winter thousands of humpback whales return to the crystalline waters to frolic, mate and give birth. When the sun sets, the clubs come alive with the pulsating beats of merengue, bachata and salsa.
On a thin strip of land in the northeast part of the Caribbean country, the Samana Peninsula is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Bahia (Bay) of Samana on the other. Playa Las Ballenas is a fine beach for snorkeling, diving and exploring underwater caves while nearby Playa Bonita is carpeted in golden sand inviting those seeking an afternoon chill-out on a sunny day. Short flights to Samana’s El Portillo airport fly daily from Santo Domingo and Punta Cana.
Home Suite Home
Cozy for couples, Viva Residence Las Terrenas boasts seventy-six suites while the adjoining Viva Bahia Estela offers forty-two seaside suites each with uber-comfy large bedrooms. Oozing luxury at every turn, the beachfront twin properties offer gourmet dining, water sports and generous amenities for newlyweds and honeymooners. Visit www.hotelsviva.com.
Close to the charming town of Las Terrenas with its Spanish restaurants, shops’ selling amber jewelry and spirited corner bars pouring plenty of frosty Presidente beer, Balcones del Atlantico is the latest hotel to join the Rock Resorts portfolio. With an eatery fronting the sea and service to beat the merengue band, the resort caters to savvy lovebirds who want more from a honeymoon than a stay at an all-inclusive resort. “We welcome couples from the United States who will fall more in love in this hotel,” smiles Pedro Sanchez, general manager, “our entire staff is so happy to host honeymooners and other couples who come to Samana to keep their romance alive.” A spa is slated to open later this year. Visit www.balconesdelatlantico.rockresorts.com.
The Great Outdoors
Zip lining gives love a boost with a stroll through floral paths that leads to the first of fourteen platforms measuring nine hundred feet long. Adventures start a few paces from the Samaná Pier and then fly safely over coconut palms and lush green valleys with spectacular vistas of the greener than green mountains and the crystalline Samaná Bay.
The most spectacular of many waterfalls, El Limón cascades into a pool where a refreshing dip awaits. To reach the top of the falls, horseback riding is a popular option for stunning views of the jungle and pool below.
With endless mangroves, coves and bays, Los Haitises National Park is easily reached by a short boat ride across Samaná Bay and celebrated for the magnificent limestone caves that are covered in Taino Indian art. Brave souls can meet and greet with manatees, bats, tortoises and more than a hundred species birds living in this protected region.
Saying I do in the D.R.
Engaged couples must write the American Consulate in Santo Domingo asking permission to marry in a civil ceremony. Once that is done, registration must be filed with the Oficialia del Estado Civil (City Clerk).
Documents needed include valid passports, original birth certificates, single status affidavits, divorce decrees if previously married and a notarized ‘statutory of declaration’ that is available in many hotels.