The jungly Península de Samaná has a new airport and highway, making the relatively undiscovered area on the Dominican Republic’s northern coast more accessible than ever. This 25-mile finger of land is home to some of the Caribbean’s most celebrated beaches, a humpback whale sanctuary, and the gorgeous 130-foot Salto el Limón waterfall. Better yet, there are still ample chances to grab a beer with locals at the nearest corner store.
A trio of castaway-worthy beaches sits at the peninsula’s far western end:
1. On Playa Rincón’s two pristine crescents of sand, a handful of vendors sell empanadas and piña coladas.
2. Tiny Playa Madama fronts a protected cove with gentle surf that’s great for swimming.
3. Playa Frontón has a coral reef that makes for excellent snorkeling. Recharge at the beach shack with grilled grouper, plantains, and beans. —Meeghan Truelove
This appeared in the January/February 2012 issue.