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Destination: Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

Destination: Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic
Time of travel: December 2013
Duration: 7 days
Travel plan: 7 days in Las Terrenas, two full days in capital Santo Domingo, 6 days in New York during the New Years celebrations.

Las Terranas is currently still one of the less-touristic tourist destinations of the Dominican Republic. The village is small and you only have a handful of hotels. Further away there are large holiday resorts for pretty much every taste but in the village itself only a few smaller hotels. The situation is gradually changing and new hotels and resorts are being built as we speak.

Why Las Terrenas?

If you are looking for a tranquil beach holiday with long beaches, clean waters and a glimpse of the local lifestyle, Las Terrenas is the place to visit. The nature is stunning and you'll surely see some wildlife including whales if you're there in the right season. It's relatively quiet although you do have some night life there in the restaurants and bars by the sea. We also found the village quite safe and didn't feel threatened at any point even though you do have armed guards with rifles at hotels during the night. 

How to reach?

You can reach Las Terrenas in a couple of different ways. We chose the most local-friendly way which was the bus. It took us a couple of hours to drive from Santo Domingo to a town nearby called Sanchez and from there we took a Taxi across the peninsula to Las Terrenas. Many hotels offer a private shuttle that will pick you up from the airport and drive you all the way to the hotel for only about 150-200e (one way, per car) but for a more authentic experience, take the Caribe bus.

Bus to Las Terrenas

I won't type in very specific directions as they tend to change and recommend to google "caribe bus from santo domingo to samana". This is quite a popular topic on travel sites and you'll find lots of up-to-date information. You can (and should) also visit the website of Caribe bus, . It's in Spanish but we managed to reserve tickets without problems. Take a taxi from the airport to the bus station. Make sure you use a legal taxi! The address of the bus station is Caribe Tours, Esq. Leopoldo Navarro, Av. 27 de Febrero, Santo Domingo. There is another bus stop by the highway which is closer to the airport that many travellers mention on travel forums. It's not really a station or even a proper bus stop, more like a road side hut that looks a little creepy. It might work if you don't have a lot of luggage but for an easier and safer journey, just go to the station. You need tickets from Santo Domingo to Sanchez. Please note that reserving the bus ticket in advance is highly recommended and the last bus departs at 16.30. Ask the driver to help you get off at Sanchez as they don't have announcements on the bus. They do, however, have aircon and toilets. From Sanchez you need to arrange yourself a taxi either yourself or via your hotel. There are lots of men with cars offering taxi services as soon as the bus arrives to Sanchez, the prices are relatively high but you should be able to haggle it to around 7-15 euro's.


A word of caution is in place. Santo Domingo is not a safe place to stroll around as a tourist so be careful and find yourself a safe taxi, don't walk around with your luggage and don't spend time at the bus station in the dark. On our way back from Las Terrenas the locals actually arranged a taxi for us on their own suggestion to take us from where the bus left us to the hotel and repeatedly forbid us from taking a taxi from one of the guys luring for tourists. Use your hotel, fellow travellers or TripAdvisor (or equivalent) for arrangements.

Finally at Las Terrenas

People at Las Terrenas are very warm and kind, helping you as much as they can. Most of the businesses are family owned which shows in the service level and their smiles. Many people speak English.

No need to worry about your weight on this trip. You don't need to starve but it's not like you want to sit in the restaurant for hours. Cuisine is not what makes the village popular. However, the rum cocktails are so you can expect a boozy holiday if that's what you're into. We had the most incredible cocktails here!

We definitely recommend traveling around the area. You can choose from renting a car, a buggy, a bike or a motorcycle. For us it was a buggy that took us around the village, the nearby towns and the beaches. The general condition of roads is ok but you do have lots of road lids that are either partly or completely detached so keep your eyes on the road!

During our stay the weather was nice but being in the Caribbean, you do get showers every day so be prepared for an afternoon rain (that sometimes resembles a monsoon..).

We stayed at Albachiara hotel which served our needs perfectly. We had a great large apartment with complimentary water and a huge terrace, a fantastic place to spend afternoons reading and sipping rum after a dip in the sea or the hotel pool. Breakfast served at the hotel was absolutely great and the hotel location is perfect, right across the beach yet in the very center of the town.
You'll need cash for food and travel, be aware that you don't have ATM's on every corner and need to go to a bank to exchange money (don't forget your passport!).

Bunny at the Albachiara hotel

All in all, Las Terrenas was a great holiday destination and definitely worth the trip. You've got sea, sun, peace and quiet - and some delicious cocktails! We'd go back there anytime, maybe in January - March as that's the season when the whales migrate through the area. 

Where to Stay:
Albachiara Hotel
Calle 27 de Febrero | Camino Playa de PopyLas Terrenas

Where to Eat:
Boulangerie Francaise - for pastries, coffee and bread
Calle Principe | Plaza Taina, Las Terrenas

Casa Azul - for pizza
Calle Libertad | Frente a la Policia, Las Terrenas

Porto - for lounging by the sea with food and drinks
Balcones del Atlantico, Las Terrenas

There's some other places also, which we unfortunately forgot to write down. However, for drinks you should be safe just about anywhere by the sea along the Pueblo de Los Pescadores.

Don't make your departure schedule too tight as buses don't run very often or they get cancelled frequently. 

Merry X-Mas from Las Terrenas!

This post first appeared on Destinazione: Avanti!, please read the originial post: here

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Destination: Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic


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