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Tour Samana with Terry?

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Help. We are in Samana in January 2010 and are looking for advice/recommendations what to do. There are 4 of us and do not fancy any horse rides. We would like to see waterfalls, beaches but don't want to spend hours on a bus/coach. Any suggestions would be gratefully received. Thanks

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I've read about horseback tours to the Devil's mouth, etc. I'd like to know more............

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I was in Samana this past January and can tell you that just about anything you may want to do is going to require some time on the road. The port is very small with little shopping. I booked a private tour while in Samana to Playa Rincon and was glad for the experience but will stay on board if I ever go back.

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Help. We are in Samana in January 2010 and are looking for advice/recommendations what to do. There are 4 of us and do not fancy any horse rides. We would like to see waterfalls, beaches but don't want to spend hours on a bus/coach. Any suggestions would be gratefully received. Thanks

If you are open to doing an independedent tour I suggest Terry Lee Bandini, he is listed on thiss thread and on www.tripadvisor.com

We went with him in April and are still talking about it, GREAT DAY!!!!!!

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If you are open to doing an independedent tour I suggest Terry Lee Bandini, he is listed on thiss thread and on www.tripadvisor.com

We went with him in April and are still talking about it, GREAT DAY!!!!!!

 

Good luck. I couldn't get this guy to respond to an email. After booking countless off the cruise line excursions on previous cruises I have never had this much trouble with an independent tour operator.

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I just e-mailed Terry about possibilities for our upcoming cruise in November and he e-mailed me within MINUTES! If we decide to book with him, I'll definitely return and post a review. He seems to offer lots of different options that sound fun. I certainly hate to see him take a bad rap for not returning e-mails, when the exact opposite was true with my experience.

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I just e-mailed Terry about possibilities for our upcoming cruise in November and he e-mailed me within MINUTES! If we decide to book with him, I'll definitely return and post a review. He seems to offer lots of different options that sound fun. I certainly hate to see him take a bad rap for not returning e-mails, when the exact opposite was true with my experience.

 

Thanks for posting...I don't know why he didn't return my email but it really put me off. All I said in the email was what we wanted to do in Samana which was basically to see some sights and shop because we are from Miami and we didn't want the beach; I also asked for prices. We are a group of four (4) people. No response at all. I know I had his email right because I emailed him when we first booked the cruise last year and he did respond then but we felt it was too early to book because we were still researching...I am not sure why he didn't respond this time because we were ready to book. Maybe he just missed my email somehow or he is already full. Enjoy your cruise and do post a review. We ended up booking an NCL excursion for Samana.

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Can someone give an estimated price on the tours they took with Terry? Does he tour with just 2 people, or will we have to get another couple?

Thanks in advance.

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I am torn between spending a quiet day when the boat is tendering in Samana or doing the NCL Caya Levantado beach break. Do you recommend seing Caya Levantado? Alot of what I am reading is that people do not recommend getting off the boat at this port but then I would hate to miss something. Has anyone done the beach break?

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We did the beach trip with RCCL 2 years ago very nice beach. Buffet was questionable. They have really raised the prices here. When we did it the fee was $15 for the beach and extra for the buffet. It is not worth what they are asking now, so we booked with Terry.

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I was on the Grandeur of the Seas last week, and I did the caves and Mangrove tour, with the beach stop afterwards.

 

It takes about 45 minutes to get from Samana to the National park (by large speed boat) The ride can get a bit wet from spray but the scenery of the mangroves, and the caves (with pre-columbian drawings) was worth it.

 

The beach at Cayo Laventado is nice, but the food cost a little more

than I expected ($4 for a hot dog, $5 for a hamburger, $2 for chips, etc.)

 

Prices at the bar were about average I guess (a 20 oz soda was $2.)

 

Aloha,

 

John

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Can someone give an estimated price on the tours they took with Terry? Does he tour with just 2 people, or will we have to get another couple?

Thanks in advance.

 

Terry is VERY accomodating, we had a GREAT tour at a REASONABLE price last spring. I think it was about $42.00 pp.

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I emailed Terry earlier this week and received several messages from him later in the day. He has told me that he will be traveling in October when we visit Samana on the Pearl but is willing to arrange something for us with his associates. I haven't gotten any specifics pertaining to his associates, i.e. are they guides, operators of other tours, prices etc. so I haven't commited yet. It seems the reviews for everything I have read about Terry are very good but it does make me wonder if the experience would be the same since we aren't getting him as the guide. Alternatively, we are on a wait list for Catherine and the trip to Playa Rincon. I had thought about doing Caye Levancando but maybe we should stay on the ship. Really torn as what to do for this port. Advice?

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Thanks everyone for replying.:) Have been in touch with Terry and he has been very helpfull but we are still not sure what to do, we might wait for the ship's tours to see what it offers before we decide . Cheers

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We were in Samana the first part of August. When I first emailed Terry he sent be a copy of his newsletter that describes the different places to visit and told me he is going to be in the states until October. Several emails later he arranged a great tour for us with a cousin of his wife. He doesn't have set prices, he gives a price based on what you want to see and do. The price was a little higher than I was looking to pay for my family of 4 (75.00 a person), but he had a family of 3 from our ship looking to go also and brought the price down to 65 a person. After the tour, I would have paid the 75, it was well worth it! :D We saw 2 different waterfalls, a beach, a stop at the mountaintop property Terry's family owns to see the coffee and fruit trees and of course the view :), the coral church, a cigar factory where my 2 sons were able to hand roll their own cigars, lunch at Terry's restaurant and all the bottled water, beer and sodas we wanted while we were sightseeing (from a cooler in the van). It was a full day of touring with some shopping at the tables by the dock at the end. We chose not to go swimming, but would have been able to swim at either of the waterfalls and of course the beach. Being able to spend as much time as we wanted at each stop as well as not being in a large crowd is why we like doing private tours and this one rates right up there with the most enjoyable!

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Thanks for all the information 487. It was really helpful. I guess we just need to decide what to do with the day.

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We booked with Terry for 9/1/09 he will not be there, but has set us up with Elisio. Will post when we get back and let you know about the tour.

Expecting a great time.

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I emailed Terry a few days back and here is what he sent me regarding his business. I apologize in advance for it being so long.

 

Thank you very much for your interest in my excursions!

I have a small recycled letter that I use to give people an idea of what there is to do in Samana. Then you can email me again afterward to ask any further questions or set up a tour date and likewise ask about pricing. The tour would be as long as you want to make it according to your boats schedule (for cruise ship customers). I generally only schedule one tour a day with me but I have associates with similar circumstances that I can schedule you for. So we are exclusive to your tour group and generally our only time restraint is getting back to town before dark (in the case of our hotel bound customers). Thank you for your interest.

Soon I will have website up and running to help you with the information in a quicker form. I also hope to have a first come first serve tour group each cruise ship day. The excursion will be to the El Valle area. The tour guide will not always be myself but Eliseo and the other guys will take great care of you. The truck will hold 20 and you will have the option of going on horses, four wheelers, or just going to the beach. Prices will vary depending on the activity but start out at $45 and include lunch and drinks as well as a 5 min hike into a beautiful and fun waterfall in the area. We are working out the details and the starting date. Further info will be released on my new website once we have it up and running.

 

 

Exceptions are:

Sundays: we only work until 3 pm on any given Sunday.

Thursday: we only work until 5 pm on any given Thursday.

_____________________________________________

 

About me:

I am an American who has been living in Samana for 7 years. I have a small Dominican restaurant and I give small personal tours of the Samana peninsula in my 4x4 SUV.

If you have a bigger group and all can confirm and agree on an activity I can make arrangements for groups up to 20 or more. In fact if your group is bigger let me know and I can put something together.

 

 

Notice:

Please confirm your exact date in Samana. I'm not sure of the dates for the cruises personally so each cruiser should be aware of the date and location. For example making sure that your cruise does not come to Cayo Levantado (private island) only. If you are going to the island you will not be eligible for an excursion with me. You must confirm that you will be going to Samana the town which is on the mainland.

 

 

 

 

Waterfalls:

There are principally two that you can see but there are others as well.

The biggest one is called El Limon:

It is about a 30 min ride but you generally have to get there on horses and then walk down a steep hill the last little bit. It is worth it though. If you go you should swim into the falls and see the cave underneath. I take my customers personally under the falls and into the cave if they are game. You should be a good swimmer though. Also don't be too afraid of the horses, they are experts at traversing the crazy looking path you take to get in. There also is a local person who will walk alongside each horse in the group. Note, the price when you get it for your group does not include a tip for the person who walks alongside your horse. They do a good job controlling the horses at all times and only receive tips which each rider would have to take care of.

 

The other waterfall is Rio Los Cocos:

This waterfall is much closer to Samana and easier to get to. It is a 15 min ride with a 10 min walk. It is beautiful but not nearly as big and not as easy to swim around. This is not an all day tour, maybe not even a full half day tour so it gives you plenty of time to do other things.

 

El Valle waterfall and beach on horse back:

If you like horses I have a very good friend named Domingo who gives some great adventure horse tours that include a secluded beach, riding down a river, country riding, and finally walking into a waterfall that is great for swimming. Some friends of mine have lived in the DR for 17 years, in which time they also had horses and gave tours, and they told me that Domingo's horse back riding was the best they had ever done in the DR. We can do split groups for this tour. We embark for the El Valle horse ride from the same spot as the four wheeler tour below and eat at the same restaurant at El Valle beach. So if some in your group like 4-wheelers and others like horses this is you answer.

Playa Rincon (Rincon Beach):

This beach is fantastic. It is about 5 kilometers long and has not development whatsoever (yet). There is a great place to eat out there, it is just a thatched roof with a wood grill but I love eating there, the food is great but there is nothing like eating with sand between your toes. I think I like eating here even more than eating in my own Restaurant.

I don't recommend Rincon on your own if you don't speak Spanish because is it so secluded and the road is very bad. It is safe while there but you need to stay near your group. I have never been bothered there but there have been some incidents in the past. Don't let that stop you though, Rincon is a must see and there are generally at least 50 people at the beach each day.

 

Numerous other beaches:

There are many other sandy beaches to visit.

One in particular is: Anadale Beach. Here they offer jet skis as well as small speedboat guided excursions. There is a commercial bar and Rest. at this beach.

The beach at Las Galeras is awesome as well.

Actually the best beach is a little out of town called La Playita. It has fabulous views the same as Rincon and takes half as long to get there. The road is much better as well. There is a nice little beach restaurant as well. I would recommend this beach for cruise ship customers who would like to go to a really nice beach and might not have quite enough time for Rincon.

Playa Morón:

I have just discovered this beach recently. It has been only recently opened up to the public. The day that I went there my footprints were the only ones in the sand. There is green grass right up to the beach. I will soon have some pics on my member profile at tripadvisor.com (see end of letter) They are adding it to their list of locations soon I hope. This beach is a little difficult to get into so it takes about an hour to get there from Samana. It is worth it though. There is nothing at this beach at all as far as buildings, no development yet. I think this will be my new beach of choice when I go out to play with friends.

View of the Bay from Juana Vicenta:

I take people to a small property that my family owns where the views of the bay are just out of this world. It is really a million dollar view. While here you can tour a very neat little Dominican rural home as well as learn of the many fruits and nuts (even coffee) that grow everywhere here. There is also a small cigar shop nearby where you can see hand rolled "puros" (cigars) rolled off the press.

The national park Los Haitises:

Is great if you don't mind boat rides. It is very beautiful, the tour consists of mostly small islands, mangroves, and caves, of which have paintings on the walls from some of the original Taino Indians that were wiped out by the Spanish. (Allegedly, but I would not stake my name that they are actually done that long ago. I know this country a little too well.) But the caves in themselves are worth seeing.

Cayo Levantado (Cayo Island):

The first beach I ever went to here in the Dominican was Cayo Levantado. I was blown away. There is a small beach on the back side of the Island that the locals and not even I are allowed access to. This is in my favorite place to snorkel (mind you it has been 6 years since I was able to get to it, someday I will swim over to it so they can't keep me out). There are some brain coral that are about 4 feet in diameter. I am not sure about the clarity of the water. Sometimes it has a tendency to get a little cloudy. Off of this beach is another smaller island that you must swim around. It is very close to shore. There are some sea urchins and in some places the water is shallow with jagged coral, just watch the waves and concentrate on floating and you should be alright. If you are a cruise ship customer there are certain restrictions that may not allow me to take you to Cayo Levantado island.

The Devils Mouth blowhole and cave:

The drive out to the blowhole is beautiful and while you are checking it out during the whale season Feb - March you can often times catch glimpses of the whales jumping with their young ones. Also there is a really cool, small marble operation where they are cutting huge blocks right off the side of a mountain. The guys have really loved this and even the women have been very impressed.

 

DIVING!!!:

There is a dive shop available on the mainland that offer various services: I went with them on Feb. 25, 2009 and I had a great time even though the visibility was not fantastic. They had good equipment and treated me very well. The dive master is a German named Manfred but his English is very good and he takes good care of you under the water. The wreck we went on was not an old pirate ship but a construction ferry that sank a few years ago. None the less it was already covered in coral and schools of fish. I'm not well traveled as far as diving goes but if you have the time and want to add a notch to your diving belt we can take care of you here in Samana. This is a good quick dive for cruise ship customers because they are close to town and there are many other activities at the beach there once you finish the dive.

NEW:

We will offer a campfire cookout sometime after October once I have had a chance to make the proper accommodations available.

Fire cooked seafood, fish, lean local beef and local side dishes. For hotel guests we can start in the evening before the sun goes down and you can enjoy the beautiful views of the bay and take in the lush countryside of my families 4 acre property on top of the mountain. See and smell the local fruits and nuts. See coffee trees as well as the more than 20 fruit trees that grow there.

For cruise ship guests enjoy all of the above but come for lunch. We don't want you to miss your boat! But then again we can't force you to leave either!

Four wheeler tours at El Valle:

I now offer a four wheeler trip out to El Valle. It is based on double rider. You get to see the lush countryside, ride through a river, see an awesome waterfall and eat a Dominican buffet on a nearly secluded beach. We can do split groups for this tour. We embark for the El Valle horse ride from the same spot and eat at the same restaurant at El Valle beach. So if some in your group like motor transportation and others like horses this is you answer.

Four wheeler tours from Las Galeras to Playa Rincon:

I offer all day all inclusive four wheeler tours or half day basic excursions. As of now I will only be able to offer these to my customers who are hotel bound.

My restaurant Rinconcito View:

Centrally located in Samana and has great food, cheap prices, and free Wi-Fi. In the evening we have hand tossed pizza.

Pricing:

I also don't really have a set pricing scale. All my tours are pretty much custom and you can decide just what it is you would like to include. It also depends on how many people. For two people the price will maybe seem a little steep but the per person price decreases as you add more people. I can take up to six with me in my vehicle but if someone has a larger group we can make arrangements with a mini bus taxi driver associate of mine.

On my tours you get all the drinks you want en route to your destination and returning. If you choose a water related tour I have an underwater digital camera available to get pics of coral or under waterfall caves. My motto is "always give them a little more than they pay for." "and much more than the others offer."

 

There are also many bigger tour companies that offer varied tours to nearly every spot. I can recommend a few of them if you like. I understand that there are many who feel more comfortable in bigger tour groups. Maybe some are looking for things that I can't offer. For some things it is a little cheaper to go in a big tour group as well. Feel free to ask any questions regardless.

My goal:

It is my goal that you enjoy your trip to or stop in Samana whether you go on a tour with me or with some of my fellow businessmen . I love working and talking with people and I am not happy unless my clients are happy. For this reason most payments for my excursions are after your trip is done. (some exceptions apply)

PS:

Please use the reply button when you are....well replying to a previous email from me. This way I can always have in mind just what it is we have talked about already and what info I have given you. I am receiving around 10 emails per day as well as questions posted on forums so it has gotten a little confusing to keep track of everyone. Very sorry in advance if I don't reply in a timely manner. If you haven't heard from me in more than four or five days then please email me again to remind me.

Also:

For any that are interested in seeing land that is for sale in the Samana area I also have a very reliable contact in the real estate sector. In fact he is one of my tour guides as well. We can arrange property showings for nearly any day.

 

We can arrange massages, hair braiding, lunches for groups, parties or just about anything.

 

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Thank you for all the good information! Does anyone know if Terry welcomes kids (a 4 year old) and if the activities are appropriate/safe for them?

 

Thanks!

Tammy

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Got back yesterday. The tour in Samana was great. Terry set us up with Elisio. had a great time. Went to 2 waterfalls and a beach. Had lunch at Terry's resturant, did some touring of the town and shopping.

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