Go List 201325 PLACES TO GO IN 2013
Why Go Now If you think the Dominican Republic has nothing but giant all-inclusive resorts, then Samaná will be a breath of fresh air. Secluded beaches, small hotels, friendly locals, and plenty of natural wonders, including great whale-watching from January through March, await in an area that has not (yet) experienced massive development. The tourist center is Las Terrenas, and that's where you'll find the most travelers. JetBlue's new direct flights (launched in November) mean this paradise has recently been found, so go now before the megaresorts follow. –by Doug Stallings
Where to StaySamaná has a few all-inclusives but isn't known for them. Instead, choose from one of the most luxurious small inns in the Caribbean, Peninsula House in Las Terrenas, or the stylish, upscale Bannister Hotel in the town of Santa Bárbara de Samaná. If you absolutely must stay at the beach, then look at Villa Serena in Las Galeras, which has both its own private beachfront and rock-bottom rates.
Insider TipDon't miss a kayaking excursion in Los Haitises National Park, for its remarkable limestone formations, caves, and pictograph-filled grottoes.
Word of Mouth "The whales in Samaná Bay are beautiful, enjoy them while they are here (January 15 to March 15 every year)," notes Fodorite jon_velas.
When to Go Spring and fall are usually the best months weather-wise and tend to bring discounted shoulder-season prices.
Plan Your Trip Start planning using Fodor's Dominican Republic Travel Guide.