Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Russ Lomas

Activities to do in Samana?

Recommended Posts

I am looking forward tomy excursion tuesday and weds with casadorado! http://www.casadoradodr.com

 

Has anyone ever done the fishing through Casa Dorado? We will be in Samana in 2 weeks, and would like to surprise our teenagers with a fishing trip, but would like to have some references before booking-

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone been there recently? This thread has moved down the line, and times are a'changing rapidly. What's the latest scoop?

 

Is it still pretty?

Can you get there on your own, as opposed to a ship excursion?

If you pay for the ship excursion, is it worth it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm following this thread also since we will be in Samana with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines on Mar 6th. Seems to be a lot of bad with the good from this thread and others. We've been to third world countries/islands so we know what to expect on that end. However, we're just trying to get a read on what to do there.

 

Our ship is offering a whale watching tour in Samana Bay (altho they said they would cancel if the whales have moved on). Whale watching season is Mid Jan to Mid March and we're there at the tail end of it. Other than this possibility I haven't found even the ship's offerings to be too attractive after reading some things on this thread.

 

For those of you who will be there before we are (Mar 6), please keep posting to let us know what you did and your impressions. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't understand the bad. The only thing that I can think of is that people went on their cruise without doing research, showed up in Samana and there was nothing to do. I would book either an independent trip to Playa Rincon or do the whale watching. But, if the whale watching is cancelled, then what will you do?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll be in Samana next week, and we've booked the cave/Mangrove exploration with beach. I'll report back when I'm home.

 

IMHO, if the city part of the island is what scares people, the best thing to do is get out there and explore the undamaged beauty of the island. With a planned ship's excursion one has a pretty good chance of seeing soemthing wonderful.

 

I'll let you know how it worked out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, birdnutty! We booked a similar excursion (cave/mangove exploration via kayak and beach) for our 1/20 cruise and look forward to your review!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll be in Samana next week, and we've booked the cave/Mangrove exploration with beach. I'll report back when I'm home.

 

 

We've booked the same excursion and are looking forward to hearing about your trip. Have a great time!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, we don't return until the 20th, but.... maybe I'll be able to write about it from the ship. Then you can get the info before you go. I'll give it a try. The computer systems on the ship are so S....L.....O....W....

 

Have fun on your trip too!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll be in Samana next week, and we've booked the cave/Mangrove exploration with beach. I'll report back when I'm home.

 

I'll let you know how it worked out!

 

Well, we're back, and I have to say that we really enjoyed the excursion. It was run by the national Park. About 30 or so of us were picked up at the ship on a nice fiberglass boat on a high speed half hour trip to land (the ship has to dock quite a way out). We slowly circled "Bird island" - a small, high island with lots of frigate birds and nests, vultures, boobies (the feathered kind), and scissortails. Our guide was Edith, a Dutch transplant who fell in love with this island many years ago and remains today. She spoke English perfectly, and was so very knowledgeable, as well as personable. We learned alot about the mangroves inthe area and the river system in the country. We got out at a small dock and were led thru some really cool caves along the shoreline, where Indians and many other people once lived. We saw Cave drawings that date back hundreds of years. After a potty break and some rum & cokes, we piled back inthe boat for more touring around the water section of the park. with lots of commentary as we went. Water and soda was available throughout the trip.

 

Since we opted for the beach part of the trip, we were dropped off at Cayo Leventado - a beautiful clear water beach where there were beach chairs reserved for NCL guests on a certain part of the beach. There were some vendors and shopping in the area (it's a resort) and palm trees to sit under if you wanted shade. Young men came around occasionally with various animals to take your picture with, for a fee of course. They had a sea lion, 2 gorgeous parrots, a large iguana, a boa constrictor.

 

Food is available, as are drinks, but we were advised on the boat that the sanitary food conditions were not up to NCL's standards, so they advised us to purchase only the pre-packaged snacks. Instead, I made some PB sandwiches at breakfast and brought them with us to tide us over until we returned to the ship.

 

If we had done this trip in February or Mrch, we might have been able to see many whales that return to the bay every year to have their calves and to mate. Missed that one by only a few weeks! It's supposed to be one of the best spots inthe world for whale viewing, as the quantity of whales per sq KM is very high. Something to consider when making plans.

 

We did enjoy the excursion, even without the whales, and would do it again. In fact, I may need to. The only problem I encountered was that my camera did something really wierd and lost every single picture I took of that excursion. I am very upset about it, as it is an unusual place with special features, and I was really looking forward to the pictures, especially those of the birds - most of which I had never seen before. So if anyone goes and gets some good pix, would you share them with me?

 

 

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So sorry to hear that you lost your pictures.Hopefully a fellow cruiser will have some to share. Thanks for your detailed post. We will be going to Samana in May and are really unsure as to what to do there. I certainly dont want to stay on the ship. I noticed that you brought a sandwich with you. Did they freely allow you to bring it off the ship or was it just tucked away somewhere? I have a tendency to have stomach problems so Im am leary of buying food when Im not quite sure about it. A sandwich would do nicely for a tour. Again thanks for the post. Grammy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Birdnutty ... Thanks for the review. I am looking at that excursion too. So you do get out of the boat and are able to walk around the mangroves/caves? From the explanation on NCL it sounds only like a boat ride and you don't get out to walk around. How long did you have to walk around and how much time were you able to spend at the beach? I appreciate your info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always bring along ziploc bags when I travel, and was easily able to get rolls and peanut butter at breakfast to whip up a few sandwiches. I just put them in my backpack as we left the ship. And some cookies that I grabbed the previous day. I never transport fruit off the ship as that's potential for the spread of insects from one country to another. Processed foods are not an issue, and I heard nothing from the ship's people that we were not to take any food ashore. Nor did I ask. :)

 

Yes, most of the tour is by boat, especially since it is such a distance from the ship. But we did get to walk around the caves - not the mangroves. I'd say we were on land for about an hour maybe. This also included the bathroom break. The area you land at is a protected area, guarded by marines. I guess they're real serious about their national parks as being protected.

 

We were deposited at the beach somewhere around two PM, and the first tender back to the ship was 3:30. The last one was 5:30, I believe, and you could stay until the last one if you wished.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were in Samana 2 yrs ago and did a bus tour to las Terrenas. Back then the problem with the tour was that the guide did not speak English, but I am sure NCL took care of that, as it was a new port back then and I am sure they were not aware until informed. The guide said he normally does tours with French and German tourists, and that cruise tours were new. Luckily I speak Spanish and was able to translate a lot for our group. We walked around las Terrenas for a while, stopped at a plantation to see the cocoa grow, etc. The country side is beautiful. Las Terrenas wasn't all that much, didn't have much time there but I was able to buy some nice local crafts and a beautiful painting from one of the many stands selling paintings. I finally had it framed this month and it looks beautiful on my wall.

 

The best part of the trip was our lunch once we got back at Cafe the La France on the main boulevard where you dock. We had great food and even a free shot of the local drink from the restaurant owner. I forgot what is was but it was good! We shopped a little at the tourist market (not much choice) but overall it was a nice stop. I definately did not feel unsafe walking around. Yes kids bugged you for a dollar but that happens in many Carribean ports. I'd definately would book a tour to take you away from the town and then walk on the boulevard to get some great lunch!

 

You can see some of the pictures if you click on my 2006 cruise link below. Pictures of Semana start with woman leaning against palm tree. For some reason when I uploaded my pictures the last pic of the cruise is first so they go backwards...icon9.gif

 

Hope this helps. Probably doing Mangroves this year with of course followed by lunch at Cafe de France

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a retired couple me and my wife love traveling. Thanks to my penny-pinching I have been able to apply all the luxeries of life to my retirement.

I have 3 kids all of whom are in college. I recently took a carribean cruise to samana and to my pleasent surprise I had a great time. When I got of the boat I was greated with a fleet of horses and carriages, I believe they were called "los tres amigos" me and the family decided to rent 2 carriages out for a tour of the city, at 10 dollars a per person it was not a bad deal. The tour lasted for about 30 minutes, it takes you through some of the local inside of the iland and tourist attractions. You will surely be taken to one of the oldest active churches in the carribean, they take you to the local market where you can find fresh fruits ranging from mangoes to some that I can even pronounce.It shows part of the "local living". Once I finished the tour I went and ate at the local burger joint, I met a local there that later explained that there really is a lot to do you just have to look for it. I later went to el rincon its about a 30 or more minute ride but it was a very pretty beach. I really enjoyed it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone

This review is long LONG over due, but time flies!

We sailed over Christmas and join Capt Roberto Guzman, his wife Catherine and the Casa Dorado gang for the day trip to La Playita and Playa Rincon. It was BY FAR the best day excursion of our entire trip.

We left the ship to find a driver waiting for us right at the pier. He took us directly to Las Galares where Capt Roberto and crew met us. We boarded their boat and went to La Playita for some great snorkeling. The reef was right off shore with plenty of colorful creatures and corals. His crew is friendly and knowledgeable, not to mention charming! Afterwards we went to the beach to have the most amazing lunch!! Chicken, Shrimp, Fish, Lobster and all the trimmings. Keep in mind that La Playita is a NATURAL beach! So if you are looking for a fancy restaurant with amenities, this isn't the trip for you. If you want a fantastic post card beach, and lunch right on the sand prepared before your very eyes...don't miss this. There were 4 of us, 4 crew, 1 cook and other than two local ladies; we had the entire beach to ourselves.

After lunch we took the boat to Playa Rincon. This beach is a "locals" beach. Lots of very friendly locals and a few adventuresome tourists. There isn't much in the way of snorkeling, but it's a great little beach. There is a small restaurant, but we didn't go in because we were stuffed from our fantastic lunch at La Playita.

The Guzman's are wonderful hospitable people. By now, they may have their B&B ready. We were able to see it, and it's going to be lovely. The driver returned us to the port in PLENTY of time.

Don't let the cruise ship scare you into not taking this trip because you might miss the boat. The Guzman's are VERY much concerned about your enjoyment, your safety and your timely return to your ship!

Don't miss out. Visit the Casa Dorado website at casadoradodr dot com. Or write to the Guzman's at r_guzman2@yahoo.com

At the time we traveled the trip was $220 for up to 10 guests.

Lunch ran $12-$15 per person

Taxi RT from the pier to Las Galares $80 up to 10 guests

The trip would have been worth TWICE the price.

Have a great time, and please tell Roberto and Catherine that the BeadBabe says hello! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So glad to hear that others also enjoyed this trip! It is a gem! I hope others realize that Samana is a beautiful place and not scary, dirty and boring like others have said. We considered going there (for a week) this coming winter because we loved it so much, but have decided to do Roatan, Honduras (which we also visited on a cruise a few years ago). Perhaps next year!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I gather that the Whales are limited in the time you can see them, winter months only correct?

 

We're going in April so I guess it'll be too late :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, GET OFF the SHIP !!!

 

Samana is gorgeous and simply spectacular !

Plenty of things to do, see and discover.

 

You will find a lot of useful information at the local tourism website of the Town and Port of Samana called GO SAMANA.

 

http://gosamana-dominicanrepublic.com

 

P.S.: Whale Season in Samana Bay is from January 15 to March 30th.

 

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...