Tours are available all over the place; we got one at our hotel desk. Warning: be careful to ask about the tour. We ended up with a tour operator who did not follow ecological rules, and got us much too close to the whales. For that reason I'm not publishing their name in this review. It was fascinating, and we caused no harm, but we could have, and I did not like that.
The bus trip to Samana was about 3 hours, punctuated by a breakfast about an hour out, which was buffet with eggs, potatoes, bread, some fried mush that I was unsure about, and some fruit. It was fairly good, and the restauarant was neat. The coffee was quite good but strong.
The bus had about 50 folks from all over the world and our guide, Raphael. We passed through a couple of towns that he pointed out. Gaspar Hernandez, Nagua and Sanchez among them. It was fascinating to look at all the different plants, the various kinds of palm trees, the rice paddies, and banana trees. It was just as interesting to look at al the different buildings in the towns along the road.
Once in Samana we got in two smallish power boats, and we started out by heading to Bacardi Island, a kind of private Iland/restaurant place.
The boats were small, and went fast, so they scared the children quite a bit. Indeed I was a little worried about the safety aspects of the trip since they did not hand out life preservers, or ensure that even the children wore them (we did, though). We went four or five different places and saw close to a dozen whales. It was very cool to watch them blow, then to see them arch out of the water (we did not see any breach, however). We got awfully close to them (maybe too close).
We returned to the island around 12:15pm for lunch: a buffet of salad, fried chicken, fried fish, rice and red beans, spaghetti, and bread. They had tropical fruit (including guava) for dessert. We also enjoyed pina coladas and coco locos served inside whole pineapples and coconuts, made with Brugal rum, which cost extra.
After lunch, we spent some time on the beach with the girls in the water.
This was a great experience. I highly recomend doing it--just be careful who you book with.
June 24, 2005
From journal Paradise on the North Coast of the DR