Getting Oriented

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Getting Oriented

From the mainland, Highway 5 runs along the southern coast of the peninsula, passing the westernmost town of any size, Sánchez, along to the biggest town on the peninsula, Santa Bárbara de Samaná (called simply Samaná) in about an hour. From this main artery a couple of winding, poorly maintained roads traverse the mountains to the north shore, where you will find nearly all the public beaches. Off the southeastern corner of the peninsula lies the small island of Cayo Levantado, accessible only by boat. Highway 5 continues beyond Samaná to the northeastern beach outpost of Las Galeras. From here you'll want to rent a boat to reach the peninsula's best, and most secluded, beaches.

Las Terrenas. The only busy tourist spot on the peninsula can be delightful or a noisy mess, depending where you look. We highlight the wonderful beaches and eateries that can make a stay here a real joy: investigate, because there's bliss hereabouts.

Santa Bárbara de Samaná. There's little reason to linger in Samaná town. The port serves as a launching point for Cayo Levantado; whale-watching trips in the bay (Jan. to Mar.); and year-round expeditions to Los Haitises, a national park that's the peninsula's number one must-do.

Las Galeras. If you're an independent traveler, spend a happy day or two sleuthing out the pristine beaches that dot the coast here at the northeast tip of the peninsula. Las Galeras is a sleepy corner of the country, but one rich in quiet rewards for the adventurous.

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