Las Galeras

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Las Galeras is in the North East of the Dominican Republic in the Samana Province. It is a peaceful town with a beautiful landscape right on the end of the peninsula.

I spent five days there with my family over the Christmas period and have some recommendations for anyone interested in travelling there.

When to go?

January, February, March. At the start of every year thousands of humpback whales migrate to the Dominican Waters to mate and give birth.

The whale season runs from around January 14th to March 15th.

Where to stay?

There are endless choices of accommodation in Las Galeras, some in the village and some scattered a little further out. I would suggest staying closer to the village as renting a car for the further away places can be tricky. We are still travelling in a developing country and not everything always goes to plan.

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Luxury Accommodation

Villa Serena

This honeymoon villa looks out onto beach and clear blue waters. It is a 5 minute walk from the town centre. The rooms are elegant and spacious with a very peaceful environment.  The restaurant serves Caribbean cuisine centred around local seafood and is open to all, I would recommend calling beforehand.

£100 per night

Family Accommodation

El Pelicano Apart-Hotel

This is where I stayed with my family. We were given an upstairs and downstairs apartment which accommodated five of us. There was of plenty space and Hans, the host, was incredibly helpful with sorting out the sleeping arrangements. Each apartment came with a kitchen-sitting area combined, bedroom, bathroom and balcony. We were also offered free wifi.

The apartments are located a 5/10 minute walk from the town centre and a 5 minute walk through the woods to the beach.

from £80 per night

Backpackers Accommodation

Gri Gri

809 705 2894

The accommodation is designed for backpacks so is basic and cheap. The rooms are clean and have hot water and a fan. The restaurant onsite also serves tasty Dominican food, open daily from 8am-10pm except Sundays.

RD$1500 per night

AirBnb also offers a large range of accommodations for varying prices.

Transport

Guaguas run every 20 minutes from Samana and takes about 45 minutes. As long as you are standing on the main street they will pick you up. The locals are also very helpful if you ask them for directions. Guaguas generally run when it is light outside, so after around 5/6pm they are less frequent.

There are taxi services from Samana but these will be more costly, you can negotiate the prices if you speak a little Spanish though.

You are able to rent a car, the roads are in good conditions, but I personally would not recommend it as the companies can be unreliable and the rules of the road a little… loco! Car rental will cost from £40 a day.

 

Where to eat?

The main street in Las Galeras has a mix of restaurants and comedores. My personal favourite was La Bodeguita, an affordable tapas restaurant close to the beach. It was always full of life and the cumin carrots were delicious!

If you are a pizza fan then II Pirata is for you. They serve thin-crust pizzas every evening except Tuesdays, they also serve lunches and a selection of Dominican foods.

For breakfast or a coffee break La Marseillaise French Patisserie serves a selection of bakery and stickies.

 

What to do?

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Las Galeras is situated within the Los Haities National Park so there are heaps of tours offered, including whale watching, all departing from Samana. I have written a separate post about this, so click here for more information regarding tours.

There are a couple of beaches in Las Galeras with clear waters and palms. Playa Fronton is the most secluded beach and is only accessible by foot or boat. Playa Rincon is a slightly busier 4km stretch of white sand and swaying palms with several beach restaurants and sun loungers.

The town is littered with small trinket shops filled with seashells, colourful shirts, and hammocks. I would recommend visiting the Tribal Art Gallery on the main stretch to see some Taino style sculptures and gifts.

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Getting by

Some handy tips and necessary information for travelling in the Dominican Republic.

Language ~ Spanish

Currency ~ RD$ (pesos)

Electricity ~ The standard two pin (US) plug is used

Always hide your money, the local women carry money in their bras and only take what they need. That said, ATMs are hugely unreliable so it is best to bring what you need with you. The locals deal 90% of the time in cash so it is highly unlikely they will accept a card.

US Dollars are accepted in touristy places but the prices will be much lower if you pay in pesos. I was once asked for US$50 for a shirt, but I asked to pay in pesos and was charged 500 pesos (less than US$10).

If you can, SPEAK SPANISH! This will open doors for you and reduce prices significantly.

In the touristy areas you can wear shorts and strap tops, but if you are travelling further off the beaten track it is respectful to cover up more.

Malaria is not commonly found and not recommended to people travelling to touristy areas. If you are travelling to a mosquito area (the South West) malarials are not essential but to be on the safe side chloroquine is the tablet to take.

Local Terms

guineo ~ banana

comedor ~ small Dominican Restaurant with local food

guagua ~ the public minibuses

chin ~ a very little bit

cuba libre ~ coke and rum

tostones ~ fried plantains (similar to chips)

concho ~ some form of makeshift public transport

colmado ~ small food hut which sells the very basics

tigre ~ basically a street gangster

mani ~ peanut (this is rarely used in cooking)

 

I hope this helps!

Sacha xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Los Haitises

img_4993Los Haitises National Park was established in 1976 on the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic. The biggest attractions to this area are the Forests of Mangroves, the Caves, and of course the Whales in January.

Tours

There are countless tours of the Islands: Bird Tours; Whale Watching; Cave Tours; Boat Trips and Canoe Tours. The park is only accessible by boat.

The going rate is usually around US$60 per person for a full day including lunch. It is always best to pay in Dominican Pesos (DOP) and you will often get a better deal this way.

All the tours depart from the dock in Samaná but most tours will offer transport from your area.

There are tour guides who speak English, French, German and Spanish (maybe other languages too… just ask!)

What to pack?

  • Swimwear
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Water

The caves can also be quite slippery so sturdy shoes are better, but definitely not essential.

Tours can be pre-booked online, or there are always places in the towns nearby to book. Here are some of the tour companies:

Moto Marina Tours

Tauro Tours

I hope you enjoy!

xx