CaribbeanDominican Republic

The Dominican Republic Is More Than Just Luperon, part 2

By June 16, 2022 No Comments

{I wrote an article about cruising the Dominican Republic that I am going to submit to several magazines to see if they are interested in publishing it. Before I do that I thought I would share it with all of you and see what you think. Please feel free to leave a comment below giving me your thoughts. Thank you. – Shane}


Even with the ripped jib, we were able to sail into the 30 mile long by 10 mile wide bay on the east coast of the DR. As we entered Samana Bay we saw two different whales and this is not uncommon, because they like to bred and calf here between January and March. You are not allowed to take your boat out looking for them (they want you to use the local tour boats for that), but a week later when we sailed deeper into the bay, on a flat clam day, we had a mom and calf swim with a hundred feet of the boat for an hour after we turned off the engines and floated.

Besides whales you will also see Cayo Levantado as you enter Samana Bay. This island has a great beach and is a favorite for day trippers to visit. In order for us to take Guiding Light to the island we had to first sail to the town of Santa Barbara in order to turn in our despacho. By the time we were anchored Louis had come by to introduce himself “as the guy for anything we needed” and the first thing was bringing the armada out to take care of business. Of course we were a bit suspicious of him at first, but I can assure you that he really is the man to help with absolutely anything you need. Once cleared into the bay you have to get another despacho to take the boat anywhere else in Samana Bay, but if you want to sail back over to Cayo Levantado and spend the day simply tell Louis you “need to make water” and he will tell the armada you are heading over there for the cleaner water than near town ;).

As cool as seeing whales, playing on the beach at Cayo Levantado, and walking around Santa Barbara are, they are a distant second fiddle for the reason we sailed to Samana Bay. Simply put, spending time in Los Haitises National Park is like visiting the set of Jurassic Park. The hills and small islands jut straight up and has this wild feel to it. You can also compare it to Thailand.

The park is on the southern shore more than halfway into Samana Bay and has some protection from a narrow peninsula that sticks out. The end of the peninsula is Punta Arena, which has a pretty little beach on it…..until you get closer and realize a lot of trash has washed up. On the protected side, the shore drops off quickly so we were able to anchor stern to right next to a big, wooden, tour boat that was wrecked years and years ago. From the beach we sailed to the southeast part of the bay and found a mangrove river we explored before heading to the ranger station to walk through the La Arena cave.

This whole area is inundated with caves and each one seems unique. La Arena cave has a boardwalk that takes you through with part of the cave right at the waters edge. About a mile away we anchored behind a causeway and pier that were never completed, but provide excellent protection in order to visit the Line Cave. This cave was really cool because you first have to dinghy down a mangrove creek until you come to a dock. You then walk into the long cave and if you look in the right spots you will find pictographs (rock paintings) from the Pre-Columbian era. The third cave we found was by accident. We anchored in the big bay on the east end of the Cayos de Los Pajaros and saw a dock that we figured was there for a reason. Turns out this cave was HUGE. You could easily put my entire boat, including the mast, inside this cave. Plus there are two different spots you can swim into it. At the other end we climbed up a rock pile and came out in this round, jungle, sinkhole like area that made you feel like you just enter the Lost World.

As much as we loved the caves and landscape, out favorite anchorage was Ensenada del Naranjo. Here we tucked deep into a bay and were surrounded by little islands so much that it felt landlocked. As soon as we arrived some fishermen gave us a pound of shrimp. We enjoyed them that night as we swam with the best bioluminescence I have seen. Besides the glow in the dark glitter you see sometimes, this bay had big, thick sea walnuts that glowed like green light bulbs. So cool!!!!

As much as we hated to do it, we had to leave Samana Bay because we had friends coming in a week and 120 miles to get where we are meeting them. We had a nice calm morning, so we left at 4am, with despacho in hand, in order to motor the 15 miles out of the bay and around the end of the peninsula before the morning winds picked up.

More To Come…..

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