driving from Punta Cana to Samana...

Shony

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Nov 5, 2003
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My beloved wife and myself will be spending 10 days in DR (3 days SD area, 2 days LA ROMANA, one day in PUNTA CANA and... another couple days in SAMANA).

How do we get (by car) from PUNTA CANA to SAMANA?
Is there a way w/o going thru SD?

Thx!
 

ricktoronto

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Jan 9, 2002
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Quick answers

1. Through Sando Domingo then north via Santiago way.

2. Not really.
 

Shony

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Nov 5, 2003
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Re: Quick answers

ricktoronto said:
1. Through Sando Domingo then north via Santiago way.

2. Not really.
Honestly, I was hoping there's a way shorting the path thru Higuey->Hato Mayor->Sabana de la Mar...
...or Hato Mayor->Monte Plata->Sabana Grande de Boyo->Villa Riva

I know these are side roads (maybe in poor condition) but if they cut my trip by a couple hours it'd be worth to try.

How long is the drive thru SD? (8-9 hrs?) - considering I am a pretty good driver, used to similar (Eastern European) driving

Thx!
 

PJT

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Jan 8, 2002
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Right now there is no shorter way. The short way you envisage does not show the true picture. The side roads will not save you any time, they will cost you time or more, even for a "pretty good driver". Side roads in the D.R. are in some cases paper roads or nothing more than glorified cow paths, poorly marked if marked at all and hazardous, especially at night. The tried and true overland route from P.C. to Samana is Santo Domingo-Santiago-Puerto Plata-Samana. Of course there are other routes from S.D. that may be capable of use through Cotui or S.F. de Macoris. However, because of the recent flood disasters they may not be servicable. Best to stick to the main well traveled roads. Travel time will be 8 hours from S.D. I reckon someone who has traveled recently in the area can update road conditions. An advance welcome to the D.R. and happy motoring. Regards, PJT
 

Shony

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Nov 5, 2003
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Thanks for the info PJT!

It looks like I'll have to do the trip in two days... stoping along the way and visiting.

How risky would be to make no arrangements regarding the HOTELS/lodging for two-three consecutive days in different cities/resorts?
 

andres

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Sep 1, 2003
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SD to SAMANA

Just got back from DR . I did drive from SD to Samana last Friday.
Noproblems as far as the roads. You do have to go SD-San Francisco-Nagua-Sanchez-Samana. Itwas okay driving,it took 4 1/2 hours. You gotta stop for a few Cervezas on the way. We got stopped by the local Mafioso police and paid 300 pesos for who knows what.We picked up a couple hitchhikers who were friendly.
We cotinued on to LasGaleras (1/2 hour ) past Samana. It was well worth it.Stayed at El Martinque Hotel-$30-40-Nice and comfortable,Excellent Food. Theydo have other hotels,but I thought this one was perfect for the surroundings.Go to Playa Rincon.The beach is unbelievable. There are a handful of natives on the beach at one end, smile and be friendly to them Then walk up that hill to the house they own and see one the most beautiful sights in all of the DR.
 

Shony

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Nov 5, 2003
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That's very usefull info Andres! Thanks!

I don't have a very good map here, but I can only assume that you have left SANTIAGO WAY (1) steering East at Santiago!
The map shows a shorter possibility by getting off at La Vega...
(I'm gonna go get a better map today!)

I heard/read beautifull things about Playa Rincon so we'll be there...

Do you think we'll be ok w/ finding hotels w/o previous arrangements? Can we just drive in and ask arround the locals for a place to stay?
 

samiam

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Mar 5, 2003
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Shony

There is no need to go thru Santiago in order to reach Samana!!!

I work part time in the Punta Cana area and I also have some land in Samana, so I have made this trip several times.

What I recommend is to leave Punta Cana-Bavaro and head west towards Santo Domingo. In Santo Domingo stay on JFK avenue and this will take you straight to Autopista Duarte. This should take you between 3-3.5 hours if you leave early in the morning.

Take Autopista Duarte straight and a couple of Km before La Vega (there is a Texaco gas station) you'll see the entrance to San Francisco de Macoris. Cross SFM and head east towards Pimentel and then Nagua. From Nagua its a straight road to Samana. This part should take you another3.5 hours. Count on it to be a 7-8 hour trip at the least.

Good Luck!!
 

Shony

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Nov 5, 2003
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Re: Shony

samiam said:
There is no need to go thru Santiago in order to reach Samana!!!
...
Take Autopista Duarte straight and a couple of Km before La Vega (there is a Texaco gas station) you'll see the entrance to San Francisco de Macoris. Cross SFM and head east towards Pimentel and then Nagua. From Nagua its a straight road to Samana. This part should take you another3.5 hours. Count on it to be a 7-8 hour trip at the least.

Good Luck!!
GREAT!

I'm looking at the map... so, after SFdeM going towards Pimentel (but not thru) then Castillo - El Factor - NAGUA, right?

Looks pretty smooth... ;)

THANKS A LOT FOR THE INFO!

Any input on finding lodging/hotel w/o prearrangements?
 

samiam

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Mar 5, 2003
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Right. Once you leave SFM, on that road you'll pass the entrance/exit of Pimentel with out having to go thru it. Keep on trucking 'till you get to Nagua then the sea should be on your left. When you get to Sanchez, the bay of Samana will be shortly on your right hand side.

There is another route thru Piedra Blanca where you save some 20-30 min., but its a bit more complicated and I dont think its worth the risk of getting lost. So forget I even mentioned it.


Finding accomodations might be complicated depending on the season.
Also, where in Samana are you planning to stay. Las Terrenas, Las Galeras, Samana City?
I might recommend Club Bonito in Las Galeras or the rooms above the only restaurant/deli they have in the plaza Lucitania. Go into the restaurant and ask is what I did.
Costa Las Ballenas or Hotel Atlantis in Las Terrenas are my favorite.
Good Luck
 

Shony

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Nov 5, 2003
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We will be in DR between 18-28 Dec.

Will be lending in SDQ, spend 3 days in SANTO DOMINGO area(visiting around, including Boca Chica of course) then drive to LA ROMANA (couple days there), then go to PUNTA CANA (a day-day and 1/2) ... then go towards the north, main target being SAMANA (spend there 3 days) then come back in SD for departure!

We will be trying to experience as much as possible the local life/atmosphere/rythm... keeping a low budget/expense if possible!

I certainly appreciate your suggestions and any help regarding the lodging along the way is more than welcome!

I'll probably make a list of everything mentioned...

THANKS AGAIN!
 

Andy B

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Jan 1, 2002
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The high season starts about the middle of December and accommodations start filling up, especially for the Christmas holidays. I would suggest that with your vacation planned for Dec 18 to the 28th you might want to make reservations in advance if possible. You might also want to take a look at www.samanaonline.com for lots of info about the Samana peninsula and some of the hotels in each of the three main peninsula towns.

Also, definately take the Autopista north to the San Francisco de Macoris exit rather than the shortcut through Maimon and Cotui. With the detiorating condition of the shortcut road and the amount of local traffic it now carries, it is much better to stay on the Autopista and go through SFM. Also, watch out for bearing to the right towards Samana as you enter Nagua. If you pass a little park on the right, you just missed the turn.
 

andres

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Sep 1, 2003
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That is the only hard part is finding exactly which turn to take. The turnoff in Nagua is not marked.
I think you should have no problem finding a room.It seems a bit slow there now.Samana and Las Galeras.That club bonito is next to the El Marinque I was talking about.The only difference is that the cook at the El Marinque is "the best in the whole goddam peninsula", some guy with a beard told me that!
I was wondering what Boca Chica of course means? That place is the shithole of the DR.If your're looking for sex (and aids),go there.If not 2 days in SD is enough. If youwant the local flair and meet good ,kind, people go up north. My best advice is to find the best disco tipico in the town you're in and party there. Every town has them and they truly are the best way to experience what the average Dominican does for fun. Bring earplugs ,they blast the latin beat.
The turnoff is just before La Vega and is clearly marked San FRancisco de Macoris.
Be careful driving,they have NO RULES,No cops to chase you and no paramedics to come and scrape you off the road.
 

carsey700

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Dec 5, 2003
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Going back to D.R. this February , and dragging few friends along to Juan Dolio, drove the north coast and now the south and east.
I would like to know if the ferry from Samana de la Mar is in operation , approx. cost , and can you drive from Juan Dolio north
or through Punta Cana / Bavaro ?
I am asking in this thread as Samiam and everyone else the last few weeks has always suggested Santigo as the only route .
Having driven in the D.R. before I relalize that roads sometimes just end or are impassable other than on foot . We will be four
from Ontario for two weeks , and would like to do some travelling,
you can not drink Presidente all the time ! oh well maybe !
help please .
 

Andy B

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Jan 1, 2002
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The only ferry in operation from Sabana de la Mar across the bay to Samana is the "people" ferry that crosses several times a day. Although it was announced several years ago that the car ferry would soon begin operation, it never began and this ferry currently lounges in the mud at Sabana de la Mar. Also, although some docking facilities were constructed on the Sabana side, the facilities on the Samana side were never constructed.

Your best (and only) way to get to Samana by car is the route as described earlier in this thread. And with all the heavy rains and flooding we've had recently, I wouldn't trust any back roads.
 

Shony

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Nov 5, 2003
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thanks

Samiam, Andy, Andres... many thanks for the heads-up!

So far, I booked the first 3 nights in SD (Hotel Bella Vista) and decided to stay in Las Galeras (for the SAMANA portion of the trip)!

I keep looking for hotels in La Romana area & Punta Cana (low budget) so any hints/help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks again!

... one more thing, any info on HOTEL BELLA VISTA? Does this "Standard Room, 1 King bed, non-smoking requested, at the rate of USD 46.00 per night including tax." quote seam fair?
 
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samiam

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I don't know which is Hotel Bella Vista. Never heard of it.
While in Galeras try to take a boat from the beach and visit the beaches around the area, there are some isolated and beautiful.
 

Shony

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Nov 5, 2003
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Club Bonito rates

I just received this in an e-mail as a reply to my request for a room between 12/24-12/27:
_________________________________________________
1 double room with 2 large beds, fan and garden view at US$70.00.
1 double room with 2 larges beds, fan, A/C, garden view at US$90.00.
1 double room with 1 large bed, fan and ocean view at US$80.00.
1 double room with 2 larges beds, A/C, private balcony and ocean view at US$120.00.
1 deluxe room with one large bed, A/C, mini-bar, jacuzzi, private balcony and ocean view at US$140.00
_________________________________________________

To be honest... I was expecting something in the $50-100 range.
 

Shony

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Nov 5, 2003
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and the winner is..."el Marinique"

"cottage available with a queen size bed and with extra large
windows - price for the two of you would be $62usd per night including taxes"


I keep reading wonderfull things about SAMANA and start thinking of re-scheduling a couple days from the south(east)-coast towards NORTH!

Hmmm... maybe cuting out Punta Cana (or just visit the area remotely, from Bayahibe)?!

Any thoughts on this?
Punta Cana seems to be more family-tourist (w/ kids) oriented... will there be something unique, we should not leave out?