Travel | Day Tripping in Santa Bárbara de Samaná, Dominican Republic

Go full on coconuts in this palm tree paradise!

One of the most memorable parts of my trip to the Dominican Republic was our group’s excursion to Playa Rincón, facilitated by Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts through Coming2. The adventure to our ultimate destination allowed us to see firsthand how the locals live and gave us the opportunity to interact with them as we toured through their homes and property.

This secluded beach is well worth the effort to get there — here’s how to make the most of it!

Our first stop was a community in the rural part of Santa Bárbara de Samaná. As we walked through the lush, green area, we were accompanied by our tour guide, as well as two adorable, younger boys who seemed quite excited to have new company. My little homies!

IMG_0410I was fascinated by how much produce grows naturally in the region — pineapples, avocados, cacao pods, mangos, coconuts, coffee, banana bunches… it was incredible. There were pig pens, chicken coops, a huge iguana pit that served as a tourist attraction, and colorful homes which sprinkled the property. Everyone we met was so kind, generous, and happy.


Our next stop was a visit to the family-owned fruit shop called Parada Pichichen, though it’s also known as Maradona because it’s said that the owner looks like Maradona, the soccer/football player. This fruit shop was phenomenal — literally tons of the freshest fruit I’ll probably ever taste! Basically every type of produce and fruit you can imagine was for sale (except berries). In the back they also freshly ground cacoa and coffee beans, and had bottles liquors and mamajuana wines.fruit

Once we hopped back on our RV tour bus, we continued to make our way to the beach through villages and secluded tropical forests, riding on unpaved, pothole-laden, bumpy roads. It’s an extremely rough ride. That said, as long as you don’t get car sick, you’ll be fine. As soon as you finally get a glance of the gorgeous, turquoise, clear water, you know this is going to be an amazing experience.IMG_9276

Playa Rincón has been named one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world by Conde Nast Traveler. The powdery-white sand stays pristine probably because the only way to get to this remote paradise is by driving on the one rocky road that leads there. No shops, resorts, or bars around. But no one complains — located at the base of Bahía de Rincón, surrounded by coconut palms and mountainous terrain, this beach’s warm water and gentle waves are perfect for splashing around in.IMG_0429shells

Whether looking for sea shells, sand dollars, and tropical fish (which I certainly did), snorkeling, or simply soaking in the sun, Playa Rincón is ideal. The beach also has a small freshwater stream, Cano Frio, which forms a natural border between the beach and the edge of the mountainous Cabo Cabrón National Park. It’s awesome for rinsing the seawater off. The beach is sparse of people —  ideal for wanting to escape everyone and everything. No crowds, noise, or pollution. You can also rent beach chairs, but there’s really no need.lobster

IMG_0437After hours in the sunshine, we were treated to a beautiful, freshly prepared meal just steps away from the beach. The family who prepared this feast is known as Bochela, while the name of the restaurant is Brasa del Mar. Though lobster is considered a luxury in most places, the decadent crustacean is plentiful on this island. Our beachside lunch featured grilled whole lobster, fried plantain chips, sweet mango chunks, coconut bread, and rice and beans. And of course, ice cold Presidente beers to wash it all down.
IMG_9298I decided to take advantage of the guided horseback riding on the beach. Going horseback riding along the insanely beautiful shore of Playa Rincón was like a dream. I actually felt like I was on some type of luxury resort commercial! Despite not being totally comfortable horseback riding, taking a 15-minute ride clomping through the refreshing water and scenery of the Dominican Republic was unbelievable.

IMG_9119Before we jumped back on the boat to Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado, we went on a spur-of-the-moment walking tour through downtown Santa Bárbara de Samaná. The first area we checked out was the Avenida de la Marina, the fun boulevard that faces the Samaná Bay. Bright, candy-colored colonial homes and touristy gift shops line this lively avenue. Across the way is a walking promenade on the water. The crystal clear Marina — filled with sail boats and fishing boats — is picturesque. Lush mountainous hills provide a green, tropical background for this laid back, seaside town.
IMG_9166IMG_0453Walking through the neighborhood was an unique, culturally rich experience. I didn’t necessarily feel unsafe, but I was glad to be in a group of other tourists/ guides. One piece of advice — watch out for the motorcyclists! Bikes zooming through the streets are literally everywhere; I’m not going to lie, I almost got hit at least once…

IMG_9462The streets are lined with bright, pastel colored homes, small eateries, hair salons, clothing shops, and other store fronts. It was interesting to see how the locals live and spend their time off. The opportunity to adventure through the community was certainly worth all the sweat that was dripping off my forehead. It had to have been 100% humidity! IMG_9308IMG_9330Another fun stop, although maybe I was just particularly excited, was to the supermarket! Mimasa Supermercado y Panaderia has isles of different products and groceries from both international brands and Dominican Republic brands. Coconut candies, chocolates, caramels, cookies, and spreads… liquors, rums, and a variety of sodas… it’s basically a food enthusiast’s dream!

For my articles on The Daily Meal, click here

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