This year’s Long Weekend Winter Getaway takes us to the quirky, little-known beach town of Las Terrenas! Located on the remote northeast corner of the Dominican Republic on the Samaná Peninsula, Las Terrenas is the country’s best-kept secret. It will surprise you with its unique character and impressive natural beauty. Visiting this area is like a personal, one-on-one encounter with Mother Nature herself.
The Samaná Peninsula juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and is lined with miles and miles of powdery white sand beaches, green-blue waters, and millions of coconut and palm trees (the most coconut trees per square kilometer in the world!), all surrounded by the grand Cordillera Samaná mountain range.
At times, you’ll find yourself speechless with a slight smile as you gaze out and take in the full sensory experience of all the dramatic, incredible scenery around you. With its spectacular coastline and relative lack of tourists & resorts, the peninsula almost seems like its own little island haven.
While many travelers may have visited the touristy, all-inclusive resorts in other parts of the Dominican Republic, few make their way to the amazing Samaná Peninsula and the main beach town of Las Terrenas.
The big draw of Las Terrenas is that while you are off-the-beaten track and surrounded by expansive sandy beaches (walk in either direction along seemingly endless stretches of beach), you strangely still have lots of amenities in the form of a wide variety of cool, eclectic, locally-owned restaurants, shops and businesses.
Las Terrenas started out as a sleepy fishing village and now has become a kind of hopping, funky international outpost. You can enjoy its 15 miles of white sand, palm tree lined beaches and stunning scenery, yet never get bored in this offbeat Caribbean beach spot. Unlike typical beach towns in isolated, little visited areas, Las Terrenas offers more than just postcard-perfect beaches – which, by itself, is enough reason to come.
You’ll likely find that there are more outdoor adventures you want to experience than vacation time available. Besides checking out the highly-rated beaches of Las Terrenas and the Samaná Peninsula (including the tropical paradise of Playa Rincón, consistently named by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the 10 top beaches in the Caribbean) and enjoying the numerous cafes and shops of Las Terrenas, the assortment of other notable options include: snorkeling; diving; boat excursions; kayaking; kiteboarding; whale watching (world’s best whale-watching from mid-January to late March); fishing; Cayo Levantado (“Bacardi Island” made famous in the commercials); hiking; horseback riding; ATV exploring; and, Los Haitises National Park (accessible only by boat with a mandatory licensed guide) – a protected coastal and marine park famous for its sprawling rainforest, multitude of untouched Caribbean mangrove trees, limestone formations, caves, and grottoes filled with pictographs and petroglyphs left by the indigenous Taíno.
After spending the day exploring all the beautiful natural attractions or just relaxing on the beach, make sure you catch the exceptional beachside sunsets in this far-flung beach town. Then, interestingly, you’ll find yourself in the strange predicament of trying to decide among the unusual, wide-ranging collection of fabulous local restaurants, cafes & bars serving up cocktails, wines and drinks of all kinds, in addition to a myriad of cuisine choices like French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, American, Canadian, Mediterranean, as well as local Caribbean seafood. Well, it’s a good problem to have!
Interested in a distinctive, non-touristy beach vacation this winter to take a break from the cold weather for a bit? Want to do so at a cool, unique beach destination that not only offers some of Mother Nature’s finest scenery, but also curiously, plenty of options and amenities for the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure for your winter escape pleasure? If that’s a yes, then make sure you join us in Las Terrenas this February!
We’ll be staying at Hotel La Tortuga, an intimate, independently-owned hotel with ten guest rooms, which are actually two-level bungalows surrounded by the gardens. There is one double bed on the ground floor and two beds on the upper floor. So when you share a room/double occupancy, you are actually sharing a bungalow with one person per floor – much more personal space than the usual hotel set-up. Each bungalow has a private bathroom, A/C, ceiling fans, refrigerator including complimentary bottled water, and private terrace.
The property has an onsite restaurant, pool, poolside bar, and free wi-fi. Breakfast is included. La Tortuga is centrally located with the beach across the street and many restaurants within short walking distance.
La Tortuga is a highly-rated hotel with great reviews from past guests: 4.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor & Certificate of Excellence Winner, 4.1 – Excellent on hotels.com, 97% – Very Good on Expedia, and 8.4 out of 10 on booking.com.
The deadline to book the trip is November 3, 2014 but book early for preferred bungalow room assignments!
International Flight lands at Las Américas International Airport in Santo Domingo, followed by a 2-hour scenic drive with arrival in Las Terrenas in the late afternoon. Check into our hotel. Brief orientation drive around town, happy hour, dinner.
Los Haitises National Park
Samana Peninsula Day trip
Free day to do whatever you want – this is your vacation!
Departure day – International flight back home
The price for the Las Terrenas Winter Getaway is $530 per person based on double occupancy. That comes out to only $130 night!
Remember, our accommodations are two-level bungalows so its not two people in one hotel room as is the usual case; this is one person per floor! So more private/personal space.
The deadline to book the trip is November 3, 2014, but book early so you can book your international flights early for the lowest airfare.
Travel requirements for entry into the Dominican Republic is a valid passport and Tourist Card. The Dominican Republic does not require a visa from U.S. visitors. A Tourist Card is a $10 tax on incoming tourists that can be purchased at the airport when you arrive.
The average high temperature in the Dominican Republic in February is the mid 80s and the average low temperature is in the upper 60s.
The Dominican Peso is the currency of Dominican Republic, however the US dollar is widely accepted in Las Terrenas (1 US dollar = 43.65 pesos). Credit cards are accepted at most restaurants and shops.
In February, there will be a one hour time difference between Washington, DC (Eastern Standard Time) and the Dominican Republic – the Dominican Republic will be one hour behind us. (Dominican Republic does not observe Daylight Saving Time.)
Do not drink tap water – it has not been purified & so is not considered safe as drinking water. It is recommended that you always drink bottled water.
In the Dominican Republic, electric plugs are 110 volts, like those in the United States and Canada.
We always recommend trip insurance & suggest ® insurance - a reputable company with competitive pricing and great coverage options. Here are a few reasons to get trip insurance: Reimbursement for cancellation penalties (which can be 100% of your investment) in the event of an unforeseeable illness, injury or death of you, your travel companion or a family member. Reimbursement for cancellation penalties if you are called for jury duty, your home is damaged due to fire, windstorm, flood or vandalism or military leave cancelled. Health insurance coverage while traveling outside of the U.S. as many health insurance companies limit or do not provide coverage outside of the U.S. Reimbursement for unused portion of your trip if it is interrupted. Medical evacuation/repatriation expenses to an appropriate medical facility or back home in the event of a serious illness or injury while traveling. 24-hour help line for any travel emergency, such as medical, lost tickets, lost passports, and other travel documents.