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Sleepy Las Galeras, a dot on the map between two protected and undeveloped green mountain capes, is the endearingly unkempt North Coast sister of Las Terrenas. Despite its tucked-away location in the eastern end of the Samaná Peninsula, the village maintains a pulse—thanks, mostly, to the hubbub created at the epicenter of the town, which abuts the shoreline. El Kiosko, a bare-bones
grouping of local cooks beneath a roof thatched with palm fronds, serves up Presidentes for a crowd of equal parts locals, expats, and tourists. The beach itself is rocky and uneven, but you can bring your own towel and rent a white plastic chaise for RD$100 (about $3), accept the syncopated merengue blaring out of a parked car, and stare out toward the cays dotting the horizon.
The real joy of Las Galeras is its lineup of pristine beaches around the bend. To reach them you'll need to be an intrepid and resourceful navigator by car, or, better yet, hire a boat from the beach. Some tourists trust the fellow manning the pushcart stacked with glossy conch shells to make arrangements for a local fisherman to guide you in his yola (small wooden fishing boat) out to some of the most pristine beaches the peninsula has to offer, Rincón, Frontón, Colorado, La Playita, and Madama. However, we recommend that you make arrangements through your hotel or inn. It may cost a little more but it's safer, because they know who are the reliable boatmen. You should be able to get a boat to Playa Rincón for about $30 per couple. You can spend the day there or go beach-hopping and snorkel off the shore.
Las Terrenas is the main tourist base on the Samaná Peninsula. It, rather than Santa Bárbara de Samaná, the peninsula's biggest town, is the...