Las Terrenas Samana


Those of you who like to frequent Las Terrenas in the Dominican Republic probably remember the fire that took out at least 15 beachside businesses in Pueblo de los Pescadores. I’ve got some videos that were taken right after the fire on my “Fire at Pueblo de los Pescadores” page.I spent the last weekend in Las Terrenas with my family and it looks like the businesses are about ready to reopen.

Pueblo de los Pescadores

Pueblo de los Pescadores, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

Beach Side Restaurants

While Las Terrenas has quite a few great restaurants Pueblo de los Pescadores was the only area where you could eat, dance and buy a drink to kick back on the beach with. Unlike some of the other Beaches like Boca Chica where you are catered to by businesses right on the beach, most of the businesses in Las Terrenas are located on the other side of the road from the beach. This means you cross the street and head into the bar or restaurant if you want to get something.

Before the fire we would kick back at one of the beachside lounges and have a drink while listening to the waves (or music depending on which lounge we were are) and watching the sun go down. There was also (more…)

If you have read many of my blog posts you have probably realize that one of my favorite areas to visit in the DR is Las Terrenas. This morning (May 8, 2012) at about 5 am a fire was started that burned 16 of the restaurants and businesses in the area.

The fire was located in the area of Pueblo de los Pescadores which is off from the street Fransisco Alberto Caamano Deno which follows the coastline as you head north. So far there hasn’t been any reports of which businesses were affected. although the report mentioned discos, bars, restaurants, art galleries and other businesses.

Apparently the call to the Samana fire department went out a 5 in the morning (more…)

Las Terrenas is holding it’s third Marathon this year on Sunday, March 4, 2012, starting at 8:00 AM. The route will take runners from Playa Punta Popy to the El Limon road.

The 10k route is a 5k run from Playa Punta Popy to El Limon road and then the return to Playa Punto Popy. This takes the runners past the El Portillo airport. The 5k runners reach the 2.5k marker after departing from Playa Punta Popy and then return.
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Hurricane Katia has been upgraded to a major hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph. At this point Katia is traveling between the Dominican Republic / Bahamas and Burmuda. So for now there is no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

That doesn’t mean that it is having no affect on the DR though. I’ve had reports of the surf being heavy enough that it is best to avoid the beach in Las Terrenas. (more…)

Should I cancel my plans to visit the DR?

Many people have spent a lot of money planning for their dream vacation in the DR and are now wondering if they should cancel their plans because of hurricane Irene. While it doesn’t hurt to call the resort or hotel that you plan on staying at it is unlikely that there is a need to change your plans.

Buildings in the tourist areas, especially the resorts are constructed to withstand high winds and rain. The cute little thatch huts, umbrellas and other shelters near the beach are quickly rebuilt after a storm. During the storms businesses are shut down and locked up to protect the stores and restaurants. Islands like the DR get a lot of rain and wind at times and the business owners know how to keep things safe.

I’ve been talking with Philippe, the owner of La Residencia Del Paseo in Las Terrenas so see how things are going there. (more…)

Predicted path of Hurricane IreneThe national hurricane center announced in its 7am update that Irene is moving away from Puerto Rico. Over night tropical storm Irene increased in strength and was upgraded from storm to Hurricane. Maximum sustained winds were clocked at near 80 mph making it a category 1 hurricane as per Hurricane Irene Intermediate advisory # 7B at 9 am this morning.

Hurricane Irene is moving away from the North coast of Puerto Rico and is expected to reach the Northern Coast of the Dominican Republic later this afternoon to the evening. Hurrican fource winds are expected to extend out from the eye of the hurricane for 15 miles and tropical storm force winds extending about 150 miles from the eye mostly to the northwest and northeast of the center. As of 9 am Hurricane Irene is 75 miles ENE of Punta Cana moving at 14 miles per hour.

Haiti now has a hurricane watch for the north coast from Le Mole St. Nicholas east to the DR boarder. (more…)

El Limon Falls Excursion

El Limon Falls Excursion

Whether you are visiting the DR on a vacation or you are on an extended Staycation it’s nice to head out on excursions! You can find almost anything in the DR to entertain the family. Some of the most popular are Whale Watching Excursions, Jeep Safari Excursions, City Tours, big game fishing, catamarans, Horseback riding into the mountains or on a beach, even Zip lining.

We recently took a horseback riding excursion to the La Limon Waterfalls. We had our own transportation to get us to the starting point for the excursion, but if you are staying in Las Terrenas most of the tours include travel from Las Terrenas to the trail head.

Your Horse and Tour Guide

Once at the trail head you are given a helmet if you like and then helped on to your horse. The saddles are well padded, which is nice for those of us that aren’t too used to riding. Also, in most cases you will be given your own personal guide that will steady and guide your horse as needed or will just act as your personal tour guide if you like. If you go during mango season they will generally hunt down some mangos for you.

These are all done on a volunteer basis and are not paid by the tour operator. They make all their money off the tips they are given. Some people tip as high as 1000 pesos but the majority tips between 200 and 500 pesos. Your guide will be with you for the whole trip and pretty much takes out his whole day in the hope to make a little money so it is nice to be generous here.

The horses are gentle and easy to ride. If the guide feels you are not secure with the horse he will keep it slow and steady, if you seem a little more secure he’s likely to put the horse into a trot or run a couple times to give you a little more of a ride.

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Residencia Del Paseo Entrance

Residencia Del Paseo Entrance

For our most recent visit to Las Terrenas my wife and I decided to check out La Residencia Del Paseo, this is a three story hotel in the heart of Las Terrenas. There are studios for 1-2 people and duplexes for 2-4 people. The rooms have hot water, 24 hour power and free WiFi internet.

Location

For us La Residencia Del Paseo was in the ideal location. In the morning I liked to walk over to the Boulangerie Francaise to pick up breakfast, there is also a nice colmado in Plaza Taina to pick up ice, orange juice and other items for breakfast. This colmodo is pretty well stocked and will have most of the small items you’ll need including beer, rum, vodka, fruit and snacks as well as larger cooking supplies .

Right next door to the Hotel is a small outdoor mall (a Centro Comercial) called El Paseo de la Constanera. I will be writing quite a bit more on this mall in a future post, but for the sake of this article it’s good to know you will find clothes, gift stores, a store with things like sun screen and health items etc. Pretty much anything you might need will is within a hundred yards of La Residencia Del Paseo. There are also two ATM where you can withdrawal money, the money will be dispensed in Pesos. For this reason I don’t recommend bringing a lot of cash or travelers checks with you. It is easier to take your money out as you need it instead of carrying a lot with you.
While the hotel is not directly on the beach (very few are in Las Terrenas) it is a very short walk away. You pretty much just cross this mall and then a street and you are at the beach. This is also one of the closest hotels to many of the restaurants and beach bars (nice areas next to the beach to have a drink). (more…)

Las Terrenas Beach

Las Terrenas Beach

One of my family’s favorite activities in the DR is snorkeling. We make sure to take our snorkel gear to every new beach we try. So far of the over a dozen beaches we have visited in the Dominican Republic we like the beach in Las Terrenas best for snorkeling, but there are a few tricks you need to learn to be able to have the best experience.

  1. Go in the morning. Most mornings the water is calm keeping you from being beat around as much by the waves. There is also less wind so the water isn’t choppy and you are able to see by the color of the water what is under the surface. This helps you to find the best snorkeling locations.
  2. Sunny, Cloudy or light rain doesn’t really matter. We do a lot of snorkeling in the rain, you don’t really even notice.
  3. Look for the right terrain. There are four different types of underwater terrain you will find in Las Terrenas. You look for the right color in the water, you can tell from a distance the best areas to snorkel.
    • Dark Green: These are grassy mats. These are good areas to walk out to other locations on. While you may find some very small fish in the grass, this is usually not the best area to go snorkeling in.
    • Blue, Light Blue: Usually these are the sandy areas and pools. You won’t find too many fish in the middle of these pools but as you go around the edges you will find more. These can however, be good areas to look for shells. Especially after a storm there can be quite a few shell laying around in these pools. Typically you will find conch shell, clam and other muscle shells (varied colors like white, purple, and dark rose to red), urchins (ball like shells) and a few other varieties, you can also find quite a bit of choral pieces.
    • Dark Blue and Turquoise: Deep water areas. If you are a bit afraid of the ocean you will likely want to avoid these areas. I’ve found the best snorkeling to be in less than 10 foot deep of water anyway. You are more likely to find larger fish in these areas, but most beginner snorkelers choose the more shallow areas.
    • Rust colored areas: These are areas with a lot of rock. These are the ideal snorkeling areas. The fish like to be able to hide easily. Large sections of this porous rock (rocks with holes for the fish to hide in) and coral beds make for the best snorkeling. Find a shallow enough area where you can touch a rock with your foot or hand to keep you steady and wait. Within a few seconds to a minute the fish will start coming out. Soon you will be treated to a wide variety of blues, greens and yellows from the schools of fish that will start surrounding you.

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There’s Chicago style pizza, New York style pizza, California style pizza and then there is Dominican style pizza…….. There are many things that Dominicans do great, but sorry guys pizza isn’t one of them…

Casa Asup Pizzeria

Casa Asul Pizzeria - Our New Pizza Favorite

Casa Azul

Then we come across Casa Azul in Las Terrenas. Well, it was made by Dominicans and very friendly ones but the result? Well, let’s say I’ve found a new favorite place to get a pizza! This pizza was made in an actual stone oven giving it a slight smoky flavor and as to be expected with stone oven pizzas you get the small close to burnt spots on the crust (something that many feel marks a truly great pizza) which actually adds to the flavor.

The sauce was flavorful pizza sauce not the ketchup sauce that is frequently found in many pizzerias in this country. It was layered on a relatively thin, crisp crust that took in some of the smoke flavor from the oven.

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