On the north side of the peninsula is Las Terrenas, perhaps the Dominican Republic’s most pleasant resort village. Its idyllic palm-fringed beaches are lined with some of the most pleasing boutique-hotels in the country (many, along with cosmopolitan but laid-back restaurants, run by European entrepreneurs), and the mood remains relaxed, despite the proliferation of noisy motorbikes, burgeoning development and the arrival of the first all-inclusive hotels (thankfully outside town on nearby Playa Coson). The drive over the mountains to reach Las Terrenas is one of the most breathtaking in the country. Be sure to stop at the Salto de Limon waterfalls when driving between Las Terrenas and Samana—horseback treks are offered from the village of Limon.
An even more laid-back spot on the Samana Peninsula is the seaside town of Las Galeras, 16 mi/25 km northeast of Samana. Las Galeras has several small hotels and an all-inclusive resort. Also nearby is Playa Rincon, a lovely secluded beach that can best be reached by four-wheel-drive vehicle or hired boat from Las Galeras.
Los Haitises National Park, on the south side of Samana Bay, is known for its mangrove and swamp areas, and caves with pre-Columbian Native American rock paintings. The park has varied plant life and fabulous birdlife (including frigatebird and boobie rookeries), but is best known for its spectacular karst formations rising sheer from the bay. Guided tours of the park leave from Samana, Sanchez and Sabana de la Mar.