Our recent trip to Samaná in the Dominican Republic was mostly for us to unplug and digitally detox from the modern world, not totally though, as I’m sure you know what I mean. We still have our phones but there was no wifi (which was GREAT!), no TV in the bedrooms or in the common areas, however, my husband still managed to kill some time by playing Plants vs Zombies (que horror!) on his phone. I forgave him for that. For it is not without great difficulty on his part to survive without TV or any type of gadget and for him to last four days in the jungle without complaining is quite a feat. To make it fair, I was also using my phone too – for pictures!
So what else was there to do?
The Dominican Tree House Village where we stayed at had its own zip line (Walk the Plank) inside the property. It had 12 zips total, starting from the very top of a mountain crossing to the other side and zig zagging its way down the valley. The first zip line is the longest one and the “scariest” because you have to literally “walk off the plank” of a pirate ship perched on a mountain peak.
The views are amazing and flying through the Samaná jungle either solo, tandem or upside down (as seen in photo with my crazy hubby) gives you such an adrenaline rush! Bonus points for this one having an excellent braking system where they do the braking for you while freeing your arms to take photos/videos or do crazy poses.
Chill out beach sessions
A quick 15 – 20 minute bike ride from the Tree House, Playa El Valle beckons to you like a long lost friend. It’s turquoise blue waters and Atlantic Ocean waves are but a part of the entire package. The beach has that peaceful rural vibe and is not crowded at all. It has three local eateries that serve the freshest fish. And if you are lucky, you may just have the lady cook for you sancocho, a favorite Dominican stew-like dish, which is soooo full of homemade goodness!
This is just my kind of destination. Not a lot of tourists, no pushy vendors. Almost deserted. Mountains flank both sides of the bay while coconut trees are swaying gently to the breeze. There are two streams that cross the beach to the open waters that make for an interesting exploratory walk. One can easily spend an entire lazy afternoon here.
And of course, biking is another simple but enjoyable activity to do. To get to Playa El Valle (that deserted beach above), you pass by a local village and see people going about their daily lives. Men fixing their fishing nets, women tending to their children and young kids at play out by the road. Their lives are a whole lot less complicated. Dogs, horses, chickens and pigs are a common sight.
Cascada El Limon
Located about thirty or so minutes away from Samaná town, this waterfall is one of the major attractions in this area. It is not a big gushing waterfall but rather unassuming with tall wispy layers of water streaming down a yellowish moss covered rock surface into an emerald green pool.
To get to the falls, you can either walk or ride a horse from the beginning of the trail. Walking takes you about an hour depending on the trail you take while on horseback, it takes you about 15 minutes down steep, rocky and sometimes muddy paths. But you are not alone. Each horse has a guide who walks alongside you and the horse, who helps egg the horse to a fast trot or to guide the horse who appears to be unruly or lost. At the end of the trail, you get off the horse and go down approximately 200 steps to see the waterfalls.
Since we were Tree House guests, we decided to join this excursion because it was a smaller size group and besides, we knew everybody already. Hiking to the falls was our first option but we didn’t have a rental car to get us to the jump off point and I didn’t really feel like walking on mud.
To be honest, I wasn’t prepared for the amount of people I saw visiting the falls that day. I’ve read that it can be quite crowded but never did I expect it to be that way. Even with the downpour that morning, making it an extra adventurous horse ride for us, lots of people were coming and going still. I never got a good picture of the falls in the end.
More beach time
After El Limon, we were brought to Playa Coson where we had lunch. Fresh fish and the best Piña Colada! This was a bigger beach this time with more people. Not that I minded when you have views like this.
There are so many more activities to do, from the relaxing to the most adventurous ones. Samaná alone covers such a huge area that you cannot possibly explore everything in a couple of days. A little sampling here and there was all that we can do.
On our last day, we headed back to Playa El Valle for more beach time and relaxation. Soaking up as much local air and that distinct Dominican vibe before we head back home to the real world.
Yes, this was truly a magical jungle adventure!