Las Terrenas is located on the peninsula of Samaná- the greenest part with the most beautiful beaches in the entire Dominican Republic! It’s the perfect place to enjoy calm nature and picture perfect beaches, to learn surf and to explore the surroundings of the peninsula. We spent 1 month in this small paradise and I’m finally sharing all the must do’s and other useful tips in this post! Enjoy reading xx
- Top Things to Do in Las Terrenas
- Trip to Las Galeras
- Best places to eat
- Where to stay
- How to get around
- How to get there
Top Things to do in Las Terrenas, Samaná
The main attractions that Las Terrenas and Samaná are kown for, are the dreamy and absolutely stunning beaches! Besides being a place for surfers coming together, those who crave relaxation or can’t wait to explore lush jungles can also find their perfect spot in this part of the Dominican Republic.
Let me share the most beautiful beaches around Las Terrenas & all the magic they have to offer!
Playa Punta Popy
Playa Punta Popy is the main beach of the city center. You might think that a beach right next to the center might not be very beautiful – well, this one can change your mind! The water is so calm and it’s a great beach to spend the day as you’ll also find many cafes & restaurants nearby.
Not only great for day walks but also incredibly beautiful at sunset time!
This beach is a great place for having walks and there are several restaurants perfect for comfy evenings and great food. All with ocean views!
➳ Tip: You will find great Airbnb options in this area that are not located right in the busy center but nearby the beach!
Playa Bonita is my favourite and in my opinion the most beautiful beach in Las Terrenas, Samaná! A great spot to relax but also offering many things to do which is why you can easily spend a whole day here.
It’s a little out of the center and best to reach by Mototaxi or with your own scooter (10 minute drive).
This beach has the best waves for surfing and is a beautiful place to relax at the same time. The walkway along the beach lets you roam around with paradisiacal views. Surrounded by surf schools there’s plenty of opportuity to rent a board and head into the waves!
➳ Good to know: The waves really are for everyone! Beginners, advanced and professional surfers.
Some locals picking the freshest coconuts in the world for us!
After golden sunsets, Playa Bonita turns into a romantic place covered by fairylights under palm trees and a sky full of stars. It truly feels like paradise! There are restaurants and bars where you can have food and drinks and just enjoy the tropical warm nights.
➳ Tip: If you keep walking until the end of beach you will find the perfect spot to watch the sunsets!
Magical sunsets at Playa Bonita
➳ Don’t miss: Mosquito Bar is the best place for cozy evenings, music and delicious Pina Coladas! It’s a popular place for friends and travellers to reunite and spend the evening together.
Mosquito Bar in its night glow!
Surf at Playa Bonita
There are two surf schools at Playa Bonita. ‘Carolina Surf School‘ is probably the most popular one but I would highly recommend to check out ‘Pirata Surf School‘ just a little further down the beach! The owner is german (a really nice dude!) and he is working together with Brian who is a Dominican Surf Champion! They give you great inspiration and motivation to explore the ocean with a board!
‘Pirata Surf School’ at Playa Bonita
The waves are also perfect for beginners!
Playa Cosón is a wild, long stretch of beautiful beach right next to Playa Bonita. It’s also a great beach for surfers but the waves are wilder and the current is stronger, so I would recommend this beach only for advanced surfers.
However, it’s a beautiful place for spending the day on the beach reading a book or having long walks along the coast.
Playa Coson – a place to unwind
➳ Tip: ‘Restaurant Luis‘ is an amazing place if you like seafood! You can eat freshly grilled fish served with rice and banana cheaps while overlooking the ocean.
Playa el Morón
Visiting Playa El Morón is a great day trip! Located more in the north of Samaná, this beach seems more remote and less crowded making it a great place to relax in the shadows of the palm trees, surrounded by green.
In love with Playa Morón!
From Playa Morón you have other great beaches nearby that you can explore which are truly stunning!
➳ Tip: From here you can head to the next beach called Playa El Limón which is only a 20 minute drive from Playa Morón.
Salto el Limón Waterfall
Salto el Limón waterfall is STUNNING and I highly encourage you to go visit! This unique waterfall is located about 30 minutes drive from the city and one of the highlights in Las Terrenas and Samaná!
You should get up early and be the first one to arrive at the waterfall (around 8am) to feel the true magic of this place. From 9am it gets really busy and after only a few minutes this place turns into a crowded touristic place.
Being early will allow you to see this place without crowds!
How to get to the waterfall
From the city center of Las Terrenas it takes around 30 minutes by scooter (alternatively you can arrange a mototaxi or taxi). There are several parking signs on the way but you need to keep an eye on taking the right entrance (see picture below), so you will get straight to the waterfall without any detours.
On the road to explore Salto El Limón Waterfall. Entrance fee is 100 DOP.
From the parking you will have a 45 minute hike in front of you to arrive at the waterfalls. The hike is not too tiring but goes uphill for a while which means you definitely need to bring sneakers for this trek! At the end there will be some steep stairs – after that you deserve a refreshing dip in the waterfall!
On the way you will be offered some horses by several locals but I highly advise not to accept the offer. Unfortunately, most of the horses are not being treated very well, so you should be very careful with choosing the supplier if you decide to take one.
I don’t think it’s necessary to take a horse though. The hike is beautiful and more than doable by yourself. Isn’t it always a better feeling to know that you achieved the destination with your own efforts?
➳ Tip: On the way back from the waterfall there’s an awesome restaurant called ‘Parada La Manzana‘ where you have a buffet of fresh food varying from rice, vegetables, salads, fruits and more. It’s only 3 minutes driving from the waterfall – the perfect lunch spot.
Cayo Arena/Cayo Levantado
Cayo Levantado is a small island reachable by watertaxi from ‘Avenida La Marina’ in Samaná. It’s also known as the Bacardi Island as Bacardi was filming their advertisment here in 1970. It’s an island with pure white sand beaches, hundreds of palm trees and seems pretty much like out of a movie.
Personally, I didn’t have enough time in the end to visit the island but it’s supposed to be a perfect day trip for snorkeling, kayaking and stand up paddling in the clear waters. You should definitely think about going there if you have enough time!
Los Haitises Nationalpark
Another place I have to catch up on, next time I’ll be back, is Los Haitises Nationalpark. It’s one of Dominican Republic’s few remaining forests that was also a movie location for Jurassic Park. When wandering through the nature you will be able to spot rock formations, mangroves, wildlife and some caves. You can explore the nationalpark by boat or hiking through the rainforest.
Trip to Las Galeras
Las Galeras is the perfect getaway in Samaná if Las Terrenas gets a little too busy and you’re looking for a more remote place for a few days. Some beaches here have been ranked top beaches in the whole world!
You should plan at least a 2-3 days to enjoy this paradise to the most! Getting to Las Galeras is possible with your own scooter or by Guagua and it takes around 3 hours from Las Terrenas. The road is beautiful with so many points to stop by to enjoy the tropical views!
Las Galeras has some of the most beautiful beaches in the whole world!
The landscape surrounding Las Galeras is stunning. As it’s almost on the tip of the peninsula, there’s a lot of green, many mountains and the bluest ocean. The area offers the best diving and snorkeling spots!
➳ Coming soon: A small guide to visiting Las Galeras, Caribbean paradise here.
Best places to eat in Las Terrenas, Samaná
Get the Gringo Burger
This place is amazing for burgers! Grab your burger at ‘Gringo Burger‘ and take a table outside. You can sit right in front of the beach overlooking the ocean while enjoying some Piña Coladas on the side. Such a recommended place!
Cozy evenings and delicious burgers on the beach!
Pizzeria de Diego
Two real Italian pizzas please! ‘Pizzeria de Diego‘ has veeery delicious pizza! The restaurant is owned by a very welcoming Italian guy and the menu has a wide range of special pizzas that you can try. It’s definitely worth to come here more than once to try the different options.
You can never have enough pizza in your life!
Mosquito Bar, Playa Bonita
Mosquito is my favourite place where I spent most of my days and evenings! Located right at Playa Bonita it’s not only the perfect snack/lunch bar after a surf sesh, but also the most beautiful office for digital nomads!
You can order fresh drinks, cocktails, healthy food and food bowls or pizza and sandwiches. There’s pretty much some of everything!
Unbeatable views at Mosquito ,Playa Bonita – a place to spend the whole day!
Craving a hot chocolate and a crispy croissant? ‘Boulangerie Francaise‘ is probably the best French Café you will find in the whole Dominican Republic! Las Terrenas is a hotspot for French and Italian Expats, so you can enjoy some original French pastries in this delicious cafe owned by a real French lady.
(The chocolate croissant looked too good so it didn’t survive until the picture was taken…)
Sol & Fresh
Feeling more healthy and craving some fresh fruits? Check out Sol & Fresh! They have a lot of different fresh fruits and you can order smoothies, juices and pancakes with fruits. Located in the center is easily reachable!
What a perfect breakfast looks like!
Where to stay in Las Terrenas
Staying in the city center or nearby Playa Punta Popy is the cheapest area to stay in Las Terrenas. Even though it’s not the quietest spot and Playa Bonita is more beautiful, it’s quite convenient and easy to get to the locations around. Supermarkets are nearby and if you have your own scooter or take a mototaxi, it’s easy to reach Playa Bonita or other places around.
Our cozy Airbnb with tropical balcony views in front of Playa Punta Popy.
➳ Tip: A lot of travellers also stay at Playa Bonita. If you are planning to surf every day and have a bigger budget to spend on accommodation (away from the buzzing center) this might be the perfect alternative for you!
How to get around in Las Terrenas & Samaná
Las Terrenas is a walkable place. You could basically reach everything by foot but it does get way more convenient to have a scooter or vehicle when you want to go to a specific beach or place.
Rent a Scooter
The most convenient way to get around is by scooter! It gives you the flexibility and freedom without depending on anybody else. You can rather rent a scooter during your time in Las Terrenas or you can buy one if you stay long term like we did.
*Rental Price: $15USD/day (if you stay long term you can negotiate a better price than this)
Buy a Scooter
If you stay a month or longer you might even want to consider buying a scooter that you can resell at the end of your stay. Most likely it will end up being the cheapest option and you might be able to resell it for the same price that you bought it!
*Price: $550-700 USD – depending on the conditions of the scooter.
➳ Tip: If you decide to buy a scooter, don’t forget to check if the seller gives you the original vehicle papers! Avoid being scammed and make sure you receive all necessary papers in original, no copies!
Our beloved little ‘Jenny’ – brought us safely around the island for 2 months!
If you don’t feel very comfortable driving yourself, you can take advantage of the many mototaxis around. The costs are usually between 50 DOP (day) and 100 DOP (night) but it also depends on the distance.
➳ Tip: You can ask for your mototaxi driver’s number, so you can always contact the same guy if you need a pick up/drop off. Like this you are more flexible and they might be willing to give you better prices.
Last but not least, Guaguas are the best option for longer distances. You can describe them as the public buses in the Dominican Republic. They fit around 20-30 people and the costs vary depending where you want to go.
*Price: From 150 DOP depending on distance.
➳ Good to know: You can just waive them down from the road and they will stop to let you in! You then pay the driver directly in cash.
A Guagua in the Dominican Republic
How to get to Las Terrenas
So now you decided to put Las Terrenas on your bucket list, but how do you get there?
The closest Airport is El CATEY (AZS) this is located just 25 minutes from the center of Las Terrenas. It’s an international airport making it easy to fly here directly. The second closest airport is Santo Domingo from where you can take a bus or Guagua to reach Las Terrenas.
One of the most comfortable, at the same most affordable ways is to take a bus. There are two main bus companies that I can recommend for checking out: Caribe Tours and Asotrapusa.
They offer direct buses from most cities like Cabarete and Santo Domingo. From Punta Cana you’d have to first take a bus (Bavaro Express) to Santo Domingo and from there to Las Terrenas.
*Price: from 450 DOP
Guaguas are cheaper than tour buses – from Cabarete and Santo Domingo you can take a guagua towards Las Terrenas. It’s best for you to speak to your accommodation host as he/she will be able to tell you from where it would be best to take the Guagua.
*Price: From 300 DOP
Excited to explore the Dominican Republic?
➳ Don’t miss the next read: Cabarete, Dominican Republic – a traveller’s & digital nomad’s paradise.
I hope this guide inspired you to visit Las Terrenas & could give you some useful tips! Do you feel like exploring this part of Caribbean? Comment below to let me know what you think, and of course, if you have any questions! 🙂