Las Terrenas Samana


Normally this is where I would give a review of a Hotel after staying in it. But with the Residence Corte del Mar in Las Terrenas that is going to be a little difficult. Even though we had reservations we didn’t end up staying there that night.

We had planned an overnight stay with a small group of friends and family and thought this would be a good time to try out one of the larger apartment style accommodations you often find in the Dominican Republic. This time we chose a 3 room apartment with a kitchen where we would heat up several of our meals that we had pre-made. There were several different Hotels to choose from but the Corte del Mar (Sea Court in English) was close to the section of beach we liked, had nice grounds and a pool, and had a good price.

Reservations at Residence Corte del Mar

The reservation counter didn’t have a person that speaks English (not uncommon) so it was necessary to speak Spanish (no problem, my wife is fluent) but this is something to consider when making reservations here. On that note though, Las Terrenas seems to have a very large Italian population, many of the business owners seem to be Italian and most menus include English, Italian, Spanish and sometimes other languages, so if you speak Italian you might have that as an option too.

So, reservations were made. The person we talked to at Residence Corte del Mar said they have no way to take credit cards over the internet or by phone for the deposit, but they said they would send us some instructions on how we could send a deposit if we wanted and took our email address to send the instructions to. The email never arrived but we were not too concerned, the deposit was optional and most of the Hotels we have stayed at here don’t take credit cards, so except for sending by mail (which we have found can take up to 6 months to arrive at it’s destination), there is no way to send a deposit.
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Las Terrenas  Beach

Las Terrenas Beach

Likely you are flying in from Santo Domingo, Santiago or Puerto Plato, from any of those it will probably be easiest to take Caribe Tours to get you to Samana. None of these go directly to Las Terrenas, so from there you will need to catch a public car or Taxi.

This is where the fun comes in! Depending on how busy they are, there is a lot of room for negotiation. On our first trip to Las Terrenas we planned on taking a public car from Samana to Las Terrenas. It turns out that the majority of the public cars are pickups and you sit in the back. This is about a 20-25 minute drive and it rains frequently. Unless you are really into budget traveling this may not be the best option. However, because that is what we told the taxi drivers that asked us if we wanted a ride, they kept lowering the price to talk us out of it.

In the end we went with Taxi Luna ((809) 667-0344 or (809)355-8752), the driver didn’t speak English, but we speak enough Spanish so that it didn’t matter. Likewise, as long as you have the name and address of the Hotel you want to reach in Las Terrenas, you don’t really need to be able to speak to them much, they will find your hotel. We got the price down to 1200 pesos or about $33 USD. This price was pretty good, because when we got to Las Terrenas we found a taxi location that stated the price to get back to Samana and the price was about twice that or 2200 pesos. (more…)

Churrascaria Norcineria Steak House Restaurant Entrance

Churrascaria Norcineria Steak House Restaurant Entrance

The Churrascaria Norcineria Steak House is the restaurant located on the property of the Los Pinos Hotel (or Residence Los Pinos) in Las Terrenas which in in Samana located in the North East portion of the Dominican Republic. Churrascaria Norcineria is an open air restaurant (pretty typical in th DR) with a pleasant atmosphere and a friendly staff. You can also sit out in the garden area to have your meal or to have a drink. Prices range from about $9.50 USD per plate to about $20.00 USD with the majority being around $14.00 USD.

Menu
The menu was huge, including specialty pages with Italian food (I believe the owner is from Italy), imported steaks (Dominican beef has a tendency to be leaner, tougher, and a less flavorful than imported beef), Sea Food and a wide variety of other choices. Prices very with prices ranging from about 350 pesos to about 750 pesos. We chose the Shrimp and Fried Squid (yes, that would be calamari) for 500 pesos (about $15 USD). My wife was impressed enough to order that again the second night.
I picked the Camarones a la Plancha (450 pesos) the second night. These are large whole shrimp sautéed in the shell. Perhaps I just don’t get out much; this was a little different for me. The heads, legs, and everything else are still attached. I tackled the meal by breaking the head off, cracking the shell with my fingers and pulling the meat out. I would consider this to be a little more adventurous meal.

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Los Pinos Street Entrance

Los Pinos Street Entrance

The Los Pinos Hotel (or Residence Los Pinos) is one of the many hotels located right across the street from the Las Terrenas beach located about 45 minutes from the city of Samana and on the North East coast of the Dominican Republic. This is a small 2 story hotel with an adjoining restaurant and bar (Churrascaria Norcineria Steak House). Also during peak season they open up a lounge area right on the edge of the beach across from the Hotel / Restaurant. The hotel is about a 5 minute easy walk to the center of town where you will find an outdoor plaza with shops and other places to eat like the Boulangeris Francaise (our favorite breakfast place in Las Terrenas).

The Hotel was clean, and had a friendly staff. There was hot water in the morning and evening, but it was mostly cool during the day when they were doing laundry any hot water at all seems to be a bonus in the DR. There is a nice garden sitting area in front of the Hotel providing a nice area to relax when you are not on the beach. If you are coming with a vehicle, they have a secured parking area, which is also a good place to stow your Quad (4 wheeled motorcycle) should you choose to rent one to get around with while you are here.

Beach View
While it was right across the street from the beach, the view is mostly blocked by trees, especially if you are on the lower floor. Our room was on the lower floor directly behind the kitchen of the restaurant. There were no windows other than the door area looking out at the back of the kitchen (about 6 feet from our porch). As you can guess I will not be able to recommend this hotel if you are looking for a romantic vista from your room, although I would imagine the upper rooms have a little more view.

Hotel Prices (more…)

Boulangerie Francaise Bakery

Boulangerie Francaise Bakery

What would a great vacation be without great food? We found that the city of La Terrenas has no shortage of great places to eat. Most of the restaurants don’t open for breakfast but one little pastry shop, Boulangerie Francaise in the middle of La Terrenas opens at about 7:00 in the morning. It’s the corner store of the Plaza Taine which is within easy walking distance of most of the Las Terrenas Hotels.

As you walk in the first thing you notice is the aroma of fresh warm bread. There is an array of fresh bread of several different types, Danishes, and donuts to choose from. They also have a number of different sandwiches on fresh bread and then my favorite dish there. The quiche! Normally I’m not a big quiche fan, but this was great, enough so that we chose to come back the next morning to have it again.
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Las Terrenas Beach

Las Terrenas Beach

Las Terrenas is a smaller beach side town on the Samana peninsula, North East of the City of Samana. Las Terranas is to date the nicest of the beach towns we have visited. We found the beach to be clean, not highly packed with people and with far less vendors hassling you while you are trying to enjoy the beach. I’ll go into greater detail in my article on the Las Terrenas Beach. Another thing you will probably need to know is how to get there our Las Terrenas Taxi page should help.

One of the major benefits of this town is the way that the beach is situated in relation to the town itself. As you drive into town you find the road for the most part winding down the side of the beach, with the motels on one side and the beach on the other. This goes for a long stretch of beach probably about 2 miles or so. What makes this nice is that each Motel has its own “private” section across the street where they have tables and chairs and during the peak seasons private bars at the beach. This spreads the people out over the beach instead of having just a few accesses to the beach. It also means for the majority of the Hotels going to the beach is just a matter of exiting your room and heading across the street. (more…)

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