The Samaná peninsula in the Dominican Republic is the perfect region for individual travelers. An amazing scenery, lush vegetation, gentle hills, endless coconut palm trees, only a few all-inclusive hotels and usually deserted beaches are just some of the features that are characterizing Samaná. Still, most visitors are just exploring the area right in Las Terrenas and Las Galeras, but Samaná has many other paradisiacal beaches to offer, which most people do not know. Since I have visited the Samaná peninsula more than a dozen times and always explored different areas, I would like to give you a comprehensive overview of the most important and most beautiful beaches in geographical order. Most of them are absolutely pristine and you can have beaches as long as 2 miles all on your own – something which is hardly possible in Punta Cana. Interestingly, almost all the beaches worth mentioning can be found along the north coast of Samaná, so the list of the best beaches in Samaná will be sorted from west to east.
In case you are interested in the best beaches in Punta Cana, please check out the following article.
- 1) Playa Jackson
- 2) Playa Cosón
- 3) Playa Bonita
- 4) Playa Las Ballenas
- 5) Playa Punta Popy
- 6) Playa El Portillo
- 7) Playa La Esperanza
- 8) Playa Estillero
- 9) Playa Morón
- 10) Playa Lanza del Norte
- 11) Playa Las Cañas
- 12) Playa Onda Samaná
- 13) Playa Ermitaño I
- 14) Playa Ermitaño II
- 15) Playa El Valle
- 16) Playa Rincón
- 17) Playa Colorada
- 18) Playa La Playita
- 19) Playa Las Galeras
- 20) Playa Madame
- 21) Playa Frontón
- 22) Cayo Levantado
LAST UPDATED: October 2020
Are you interested in exploring some of these beaches within an amazing 3-day itinerary? Then check out this Samaná itinerary from Punta Cana.
1) Playa Jackson
Playa Jackson is the westernmost beach of the Samaná peninsula (except for Playa Las Majaguas east of Samaná El Catey Airport) and a little hidden gem. It is covered and protected by lush mountains and abundant vegetation and is only accessible via a short, but very steep path which starts half-way on the Boulevard de Atlántico. There are two beaches to explore which are just divided by a salient rock formation that can be passed on a little path over the hill. Furthermore, there is a crystal clear river at the western end of Playa Jackson, which just comes out of a cave behind the beach – you can’t find fresher spring water in Samaná.
Where to stay at Playa Jackson: there are no accommodations at Playa Jackson. Check out some recommendable options in Las Terrenas*.
How to get to Playa Jackson: park your car (check out recommendable rental car options and prices here*) on the side of Boulevard de Atlántico approximately half-way and walk down the very steep trail. Bring mosquito repellent! You can check out the location and the trail here (change to satellite view so that you can see it): https://goo.gl/maps/mWoB3TQ9XAKa4Tsd7
2) Playa Cosón
After Playa Jackson, Playa Cosón is the first beach that can be reached by car on the way to Las Terrenas. It can already be seen (better to say: admired, as it is gorgeous) from the viewpoint of the Boulevard de Atlántico, but when being right at the beach, it is even more impressive as Playa Cosón is super wide, nearly endless long and dotted with picture-perfect palm trees. If you prefer beach walks you can do so for hours at Playa Cosón and – thanks to the almost non-existent infrastructure (apart from a few luxury villas and two medium-sized hotels) – you will hardly meet any other people there.
Where to stay at Playa Cosón: There are three options I can recommend you depending on what kind of traveler you are. If you prefer an all-inclusive resort, Viva Wyndham V Samaná* is your only (and recommendable) option. If you are looking for a quiet luxury hotel on a bed & breakfast basis, Sublime Samaná*, a member of the ”Small Luxury Hotels of the World”, is your choice to go. And if you travel with your family or friends, I highly recommend renting one of the several luxury villas at the beach. You can check them out here*.
How to get to Playa Cosón: The access to Playa Cosón is via Boulevard del Atlántico. If you are coming from Punta Cana or Santo Domingo, it is the first beach you can access by car when arriving via Boulevard de Atlántico, you don’t have to enter Las Terrenas. When coming from Las Terrenas, leave the town westward and turn right at the junction after the hotels and villas of Playa Cosón are signposted (for public access).
3) Playa Bonita
Located behind Playa Cosón, Playa Bonita is not my favorite beach, but it is popular among many travelers as it is quite calm and scenic. There are public access points and a couple of apart-hotels and villas along the beach. If you decide to stay at Playa Bonita, I recommend renting a car as the town center of Las Terrenas is a 10-15-minute drive away.
Where to stay at Playa Bonita: Mosquito Boutique Hotel* is a good option when it comes to quality and attractive price-value ratio.
How to get to Playa Bonita: The turnoff is located a few 100 yards after the main junction of Las Terrenas, heading westward. The best is to arrive by (rental) car (check out recommendable rental car options and prices here*).
4) Playa Las Ballenas
Playa Las Ballenas is located at the western end of the town center and is therefore one of the easiest accessible beaches in the area. You have plenty of accommodations and restaurants nearby, as well as shops, bars and cafés. The water might be not as clear and blue as you are used to from your typical Caribbean beach, but Playa Las Ballenas scores all points with its location.
Where to stay at Playa Las Ballenas: Playa Colibri* is one of my favorites along Playa Las Ballenas as it features tropical apartments right at the beach, combined with good management.
How to get to Playa Las Ballenas: when coming from the town center of Las Terrenas you can easily walk to and along Playa Las Ballenas, either along the beach or along the dead-end road beside the beach.
5) Playa Punta Popy
Playa Punta Popy is the eastern neighbor of Playa Las Ballenas and also completely walkable from town. It is dotted with low-key accommodation, beachfront restaurants and cocktail bars and therefore provides a very laid-back beach vibe, despite the busy road running beside it. The beach quality of Playa Punta Popy varies widely depending on the weather conditions and the subsequent erosion – sometimes it is wide as the most perfect beach you can imagine and sometimes all the sand of Playa Punta Popy is nearly gone.
Where to stay at Playa Punta Popy: Aligio Apart-Hotel* or Albachiara Hotel* are the most popular hotels along this beach. If you are on a very small budget or are backpacking, you can try Afreeka Beach Hostel* (even though there is a way better backpacking option in Las Terrenas, Dan & Manty’s Guesthouse*)
How to get to Playa Punta Popy: the beach starts right at the town center, so you can walk here from nearly everywhere
6) Playa El Portillo
Continuing from Playa Punta Popy westward, you can pass some more bays and beaches, which are all deserted and pristine, which is quite spectacular considering the proximity to the beach town of Las Terrenas. The next remarkable beach in this direction is Playa El Portillo, which is also eponymous for the all-inclusive resort Grand Bahía Principe El Portillo. As all beaches in the Dominican Republic are public, you can also walk along Playa El Portillo as a non-guest, as it is connected to the neighboring beaches anyway. If you would like to have a dip in the ocean you can do so as the water here is very clear and shallow, which adds up to picturesque scenery.
Where to stay at Playa El Portillo: the all-inclusive resort Grand Bahía El Portillo* is the best choice on this beach.
How to get to Playa El Portillo: you can get here either by car or public transport, just stop at the beginning of El Portillo. As it is only 2 miles away from the town center of Las Terrenas and Playa Punta Popy, this is also a perfect opportunity for a long and relaxed beach walk.
7) Playa La Esperanza
You can continue your extended beach walk – again, all beaches from Playa Las Ballenas to Playa La Esperanza are connected without any obstacles and are therefore perfectly walkable – for another two or three bays until you reach Playa La Esperanza – one of my hidden favorite beaches in the area of Las Terrenas. It suits perfectly for nature lovers, as there are no bars, no visitors and no cars with loud music. If you just want to relax on a picture-perfect beach and enjoy the idyllic setting, you’ve come to the right spot. In addition, Playa La Esperanza offers one of the best photo conditions, as the scenery is amazing. However, the general impression also depends a bit on the weather conditions as there have been occasions when Playa La Esperanza was not as beautiful as on the photo.
Playa Esperanza is the last beach that you can reach on an uninterrupted beach walk from Las Terrenas. The beach is followed by an inaccessible mangrove area, so you have to go back to the road to reach the following beaches.
Where to stay at Playa La Esperanza: the only accommodations are some (pretty amazing!) private beachfront villas – you can check here if there are some available for your travel dates*.
How to get to Playa La Esperanza: After passing El Portillo, park your rental car (check out recommendable rental car options and prices here*) at Playa Carolina (the beach before Playa La Esperanza) (or continue the dirt road if you have a four-wheel) and walk along a beach path for less than half a mile.
8) Playa Estillero
The next beach after Playa La Esperanza and the mangrove area is Playa Estillero, which is – in some way – similar to Playa Cosón. It is quiet, can count with quite a long stretch of beach and is just dotted with a few private vacation villas. However, in terms of scenery and quality, Playa Estillero can’t compete with Playa Cosón as the sand has a greyer color and is not as soft as on its counterpart further west. Therefore, Playa Estillero is not a must-visit, same as the beach Playa Limón (which is next continuing eastward).
Where to stay at Playa Estillero: Chaykovski Boutique Hotel* is an interesting option for individual travelers – though not comparable with any of the amazing options right in Las Terrenas or at Playa Cosón
How to get to Playa Estillero: when driving along the road from Las Terrenas to the village of El Limón, there is a turn-off which leads you on a 1-mile dirt road towards the beach
9) Playa Morón
Playa Morón is a moderate beginning of the amazing, pristine and hard-to-reach beaches of Samaná following in this area. If you like to have service on the beach in a resort-style atmosphere, Playa Morón is the right choice for you but if you prefer untouched nature, better head on to the next beaches which will blow your mind away.
Where to stay at Playa Morón: If you have some money to spare, check out Cap El Limon Luxury Villas*. Alternatively, have a look at some recommendable options in Las Terrenas* and come to Playa Morón by rental car (check out recommendable rental car options and prices here*) or taxi.
How to get to Playa Morón: From Las Terrenas, head towards the village of El Limón (home of the famous waterfall “Salto El Limón”) and continue straight. After 0.3 miles follow the main road to the left and after another 0.6 miles turn left. The road will turn into a pretty pothole-infested unpaved road, but it is worth it as this road also leads you to Playa Lanza del Norte and Playa Las Cañas.
10) Playa Lanza del Norte
Once passing Playa Morón, you can start the show for the most impressive beaches of Samaná which are as beautiful and pristine that it’s hard to believe you are still in the most popular tourist destination of the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic. For me, Playa Lanza del Norte is one of those undiscovered, unknown, deserted and photogenic beaches, which makes Samaná unique. Even the beach is not suitable for swimming due to its currents and waves, you can enjoy this fantastic scenery and can take wonderful photos – usually without any people as Playa Lanza del Norte is absolutely off-the-beaten-track. You can’t get a better Caribbean feeling.
How to get to Playa Lanza del Norte: From Las Terrenas, head towards the village of El Limón (home of the famous waterfall “Salto El Limón”) and continue straight. After 0.3 miles follow the main road to the left and after another 0.6 miles turn left. The road will turn into a pretty pothole-infested unpaved road, but it is worth it as this road also leads you to Playa Morón and Playa Las Cañas. When reaching Playa Morón, instead of turning left, head straight until the end of the road (with even more potholes).
11) Playa Las Cañas
If you follow a small path from the eastern end of Playa Lanza del Norte to the next beach, you will reach Playa Las Cañas. Even it is difficult to compare superlatives, Playa Las Cañas is even more virgin, more deserted and more paradisiacal and one of the most beautiful beaches in Samaná and the entire Dominican Republic. Anyone who has ever wanted to leave the first footprints of the day in the sand can do so at Playa Las Cañas, as it rarely gets visited at all.
How to get to Playa Las Cañas:
Option A – follow the instructions to Playa Lanza del Norte and just walk over to Playa Las Cañas.
Option B – for access from the west end of the beach, head towards the village of El Limón (from Las Terrenas) and continue straight. After 0.3 miles follow the main road to the left until the end. Be careful with the last hill, only go down if you have a powerful engine, good tires and a 4×4 – if not you might be stuck on your way back.
12) Playa Onda Samaná
From Playa Las Cañas, a hiking trail is leading to another remote and secluded troika of beaches. The first one of them is Playa Onda Samaná which is a little oasis and small natural beach, but not suitable for swimming due to the current and the waves. Since only a dozen of visitors come here every week (!), there is nearly a guarantee that you will have this beach on your own.
Where to stay at Playa Onda Samaná: there are no accommodations at Playa Onda Samaná. Check out our recommendable options in Las Terrenas* and come here for an adventurous hiking excursion as described.
How to get to Playa Onda Samaná: head towards the village of El Limón (from Las Terrenas) and continue straight. After 0.3 miles follow the main road to the left until the end. Be careful with the last hill, only go down if you have a powerful engine, good tires and a 4×4 – if not you might be stuck on your way back. Park your car and start the hike towards Playa Onda Samaná, Playa Ermitaño I and Playa Ermitaño II. Only go with a guide and/or with a recorded GPS trail. Open terrain experience is necessary when intending on your own.
13) Playa Ermitaño I
The second of those three beaches – all of them can be reached by foot only – is an approximately 2 miles hike from the end of the road with leads to Playa Las Cañas. Playa Ermitaño I once got famous as the main film location for a Greek and Turkish reality TV show, today it is the destination for adventurers and nature lovers looking for the hardest to reach and remotest beach in Samaná.
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Where to stay at Playa Ermitaño I: there are no accommodations at Playa Ermitaño I. Check out our recommendable options in Las Terrenas* and come here for an adventurous hiking excursion as described.
How to get to Playa Ermitaño I: head towards the village of El Limón (from Las Terrenas) and continue straight. After 0.3 miles follow the main road to the left until the end. Be careful with the last hill, only go down if you have a powerful engine, good tires and a 4×4 – if not you might be stuck on your way back. Park your car and start the hike towards Playa Onda Samaná, Playa Ermitaño I and Playa Ermitaño II. Only go with a guide and/or with a recorded GPS trail. Open terrain experience is necessary when intending on your own.
14) Playa Ermitaño II
Once you have reached Playa Ermitaño I it is only a stone’s throw away to Playa Ermitaño II, so don’t miss out on this opportunity once you made it that far. The beach is even prettier and features a spectacular view on the further Samaná coastline. You feel like you are in the middle of paradise. Thanks to its shallow water it is also very suitable for swimming. If you look carefully, you might see remnants of the props for the TV shows which took place here a few years ago. Same as Playa Ermitaño I this beach is only for full-spirit adventurers.
Where to stay at Playa Ermitaño II: there are no accommodations at Playa Ermitaño II. Check out our recommendable options in Las Terrenas* and come here for an adventurous hiking excursion as described.
How to get to Playa Ermitaño II: head towards the village of El Limón (from Las Terrenas) and continue straight. After 0.3 miles follow the main road to the left until the end. Be careful with the last hill, only go down if you have a powerful engine, good tires and a 4×4 – if not you might be stuck on your way back. Park your car and start the hike towards Playa Onda Samaná, Playa Ermitaño I and Playa Ermitaño II. Only go with a guide and/or with a recorded GPS trail. Open terrain experience is necessary when intending on your own.
15) Playa El Valle
After all those adventurous and hidden beaches, we are getting back to some “regular” beaches – although Playa El Valle is not less secluded, thanks to its remote location in an impressive valley, surrounded by lush mountains. Compared to the beaches presented before, Playa El Valle features at least a road connection and 1 or 2 hotels, so you are not completely off-the-grid, even you are still absolutely off-the-beaten-track from where most travelers go. Thanks to its spectacular setting, Playa El Valle is still a piece of rough land, the few ramshackle beach bars are emphasizing the image you can expect here. If you have the time, take 1 or 2 nights to spend in one of the amazing eco-lodges.
Where to stay at Playa El Valle: Unique Eco-Hotel* lives its name – it’s a unique eco-hotel, highly recommendable. 😉 Alternatively, try the not less unique Dominican Tree House Village*. The name is self-explaining as well.
How to get to Playa El Valle: Head until the biggest city of Samaná, Santa Barbara de Samaná, which is also the departure point for many of the famous whale watching excursions. When leaving the town towards Las Galeras, turn left and follow the road for around 6 miles until you reach El Valle. If arriving with public transport, there is a pick-up plying the route to El Valle a couple of times a day. Alternatively, you can take a motoconcho.
16) Playa Rincón
Playa Rincón was awarded multiple times with titles being the best beach in the Dominican Republic or even in the entire Caribbean. If that’s deserved or not doesn’t matter at the end, but Playa Rincón features more than 1.5 miles of finest sand, a lightly half-moon shaped bay with thousands of coconut palm trees and shining turquoise water, which all add up to a wonderful and picture-perfect beach. In addition, a crystal-clear river flows into the west bank of the beach. The river carries the freshest spring water you can imagine and can be swum or canoed up. At Playa Rincón there are also two small beach restaurants offering fresh fish and cold drinks. In case you would like to eat here, you should bring some time, as it usually takes a long time to prepare the (fresh) food.
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How to get to Playa Rincón: From Santa Barbara de Samaná, head towards Las Galeras until the Texaco gas station a few kilometers before Las Galeras. Turn left and follow the road until you reach a four-way intersection after Hotel Rincón Rubi and turn right to the beach.
17) Playa Colorada
This beach, along with its nameless neighbors, is mostly overlooked in the collection of beaches in Samaná and the Las Galeras area. Due to its occasional high waves, Playa Colorada might not always be suitable for a relaxing swim, but it is a beautiful, remote and pristine stretch of beach that is only surrounded by 4 villas and abundant tropical vegetation. The surrounding beaches can also be explored via small paths.
Where to stay at Playa Colorada: Villa Barkel* is a fantastic villa right at the beach and absolutely affordable.
How to get to Playa Colorada: From Santa Barbara de Samaná, head towards Las Galeras until the Texaco gas station a few kilometers before Las Galeras. Turn left until you reach the little community of Los Tocones, approximately half-way from Playa Rincón. Take the turnoff to Playa Colorada, an unpaved and rough road, but worth the extra effort.
18) Playa La Playita
La Playita means “The little beach” and if you compare La Playita with its big and famous neighbors Playa Rincón, Playa Frontón and the other beaches in Samaná, this translation is the perfect allegory. Playita is a calm and low-key beach with a few bars and grills and is suitable for a relaxed day at the beach, especially for families, as there are hardly any waves.
Where to stay at Playa La Playita: La Playita is walkable from most Las Galeras accommodation so you can choose from this list of recommendable options*.
How to get to Playa La Playita: From Santa Barbara de Samaná, head towards the village of Las Galeras. Once reaching the town center and the Banreservas ATM turn left towards La Playita. As it is located within the limits of Las Galeras, you can also arrive by public transport and walk from the town center.
19) Playa Las Galeras
Just like in Las Terrenas, the village beach of Las Galeras is not less attractive. Dotted with palm trees, easily accessible and endowed with a few ramshackle beach bars, it is welcoming you and other visitors who made it that far until the end of the road of Samaná. Although the beach quality here can vary due to erosion, Playa Las Galeras is a nice start or end of a day full of adventures on the Samaná peninsula.
Where to stay at Playa Las Galeras: Playa Las Galeras is walkable from most Las Galeras accommodation so you can choose from this list of recommendable options* whichever you like.
How to get to Playa Las Galeras: From Santa Barbara de Samaná, head towards the village of Las Galeras until the road finishes – you end up right at the beach.
20) Playa Madame
Like some of the previously described beaches, Playa Madame can only be reached on foot or by boat, even it is not as adventurous as Playa Ermitaño for example. It takes about 45 minutes to walk from Las Galeras to this idyllic stretch of beach, which you will have – with a 99% guarantee – all to yourself.
Where to stay at Playa Madame: there are no accommodations at Playa Madame. Check out our recommendable options in Las Galeras* and come here for a hiking excursion as described.
How to get to Playa Madame: From Las Galeras, walk towards Playa Madame. The best is to go with a guide or a proper GPS. Alternatively, take the boat excursion to Playa Frontón and negotiate with the captains to include a stop by boat at Playa Madame.
21) Playa Frontón
If you are looking for a Robinson Crusoe style beach in Samaná, this is your place to go. Accessible only by boat or on foot, Playa Frontón is a pristine and palm-covered beach, which is secluded behind a steep and impressive rock wall and thus offers a spectacular and unique setting when it comes to beaches in the Dominican Republic. In addition, a reef is nestled in front of the beach, which not only is home to some decent snorkeling opportunities, it is also the crucial factor for the shallow water and the shimmering color which results in great photos of Playa Frontón.
Where to stay at Playa Frontón: there are no accommodations at Playa Frontón. Check out our recommendable options in Las Galeras* and come here for a day trip by boat or on foot.
How to get to Playa Frontón: Playa Frontón can only be reached walking or by boat. For the boat ride, go to Playa Las Galeras in the town center and ask one of the fishermen waiting for visitors to bring you to Playa Frontón. The ongoing rate starts at 3000-3500 DOP per boat. If you’d like to walk, go with a guide or a proper GPS track either from Las Galeras (2 hours one-way approximately) or Boca del Diablo (1 hour one-way approximately).
22) Cayo Levantado
On the south coast of Samanás peninsula, there are hardly any interesting beaches – most of them are quite gray and pebbly. An exception is Cayo Levantado, which is an island off the south coast of Samaná and offers a paradisiacal beach section in the public area. Turquoise blue water, palm trees, a bar with tropical drinks, fine sand and a true Caribbean atmosphere are worth a day trip.
Where to stay at Cayo Levantado: There is just one accommodation at all at the whole island of Cayo Levantado, the fantastic all-inclusive resort Luxury Bahía Principe Cayo Levantado*.
How to get to Cayo Levantado: Take a boat from the harbor of Santa Barbara de Samaná, which runs the route frequently. Alternatively, Cayo Levantado is often included in the excursions from Punta Cana to Salto El Limón or for whale-watching
22 amazing and gorgeous beaches in Samaná – which is your favorite one? Which one would you like to visit?
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CHRISAuthor, Travel Coach & Punta Cana based digital nomad
Hey, I am Chris, a born and raised German, travel-addictive and Caribbean Soul. Since 2011 I have been living in the Caribbean, among them 5 years in the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana is my home-base here in the country and I’d love to tell you more about how to experience Punta Cana off-the-beaten-track and give you all the advice you want to know for your vacation in Punta Cana.