In my previous post about our trip to Samana in the Dominican Republic, I touched on the fact that the big reason we chose this destination was to get in some snorkeling time. The best thing about Samana, and specifically, the Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo resort we stayed at, is the fact that you have excellent snorkeling right off the beach. Having a 5 year old daughter, we prefer beaches with calm waters. Many of the Mexican beaches in the Mayan Riviera, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo have pretty big waves.
The Samana beaches on the other hand, are super calm and shallow. In some areas, you can walk out in 20 centimetres of water for 30-40 metres or more. And that’s one of the best parts about visiting Samana. It is such an under developed area right now. There was maybe one other resort on each side of our resort. You can literally walk the beach for several kilometers and may not run into a soul. You almost feel like you are on a deserted island. Very cool. This is one point they should highlight in their marketing (both the Gran Bahia resort and Samana in general). You can find this information on the Internet, but it should be more heavily publicized on travel sites. But maybe that’s why the area seems so untouched. And maybe it should stay that way for us people in the know!
Now, to the snorkeling. As mentioned, there is a huge coral reef right off the beach from the El Portillo. There are several access areas from sandy entry points – and once you cross into the coral area, its like entering another world. There are numerous varieties of fish including clown fish, angel fish, needle fish, grouper and a variety of colourful crabs. Most are pretty small, but they are abundant. There are also numerous varieties of interesting urchin and anemone to keep you entertained. You can literally spend hours exploring the reef.
In certain areas, the ocean floor drops right off and you can see clearly to depths of 15-20 metres. There are some really cool rock and coral “monuments” protruding up from the ocean floor. Passing over them while snorkeling is a pretty exhilarating experience. It really gets your adrenaline pumping as you enter into more open water – you never know when that barracuda or little shark may come cruising along! Overall, we had an excellent time in Samana, and a lot of credit has to be given to the beautiful secluded beach and wonderful snorkeling of shore. Highly recommended! This is one selling point that should be promoted more on the Gran Bahia El Portillo website and on marketing collateral for Samana in general. For now, back to the cage.