Have you heard of Las Terrenas? Many people have, and for good reason! Las Terrenas is known to many as a romantic beach town on the north-east coastline of the Dominican Republic. It is most known for its stunning beaches, clear blue water, and for being featured on the Huffington Post! It is a popular location for Beachfront Weddings and Weddings at Private Villas. This diverse city has a heavy European influence that can be both seen and felt through it’s authentic cuisine. The mix of colorful Caribbean houses and the French style merges in this fisherman’s town to create a unique ambience.
Many couples enjoy visiting Las Terrenas and Samana bay because of the scenic environment it contains. The warm weather (averaging at 77° Fahrenheit / 25° Celsius all year-round), the amount of activities to choose from, and exquisite beach front cuisine combine to create a romantic tourist destination.
It’s easy to see why so many people love it here, it is a great getaway for families and couples alike. What you may not know is how to get here and where to stay upon arrival, and that is where we come in!
How to Get to Las Terrenas
Some websites recommend that you fly from one of the major U.S. airports (New York City’s JFK or Atlanta, Georgia). We recommend something different, though. Yes, you could fly into the Aeropuerto Internacional El Catey… but most people don’t and it isn’t something that we recommend for our lovely brides. We think the best way to get to Las Terrenas is to drive from Santo Domingo (about two hours), or if you feel adventurous you can drive from Punta Cana to Sabana de la Mar (about three hours one way) and take a ferry across the bay! It’s a gorgeous ride!
We know that some of you are uncomfortable with driving in a foreign country. Don’t worry though! If driving isn’t your thing, you can always take the shuttle and have someone else drive you to Las Terrenas. That’s what most of our brides do. It’s affordable, and you will still be able to enjoy the scenery.
Where to Stay
Some people like to take a day trip to Las Terrenas, which can be fun and all… but why not make it a two or three-day trip and really get to see what this place has to offer? There is just so much to do here! You can walk along its gorgeous beach, learn to surf, and try out the surprisingly diverse local cuisine! With all the opportunities for fun and adventure, you are sure to enjoy your time here; and we don’t think you can truly experience Las Terrenas in a day trip.
If you do decide stay but are unsure of which hotel to stay at, there are a few options in and out of town. A quick search on TripAdvisor will provide you with a long list of locations available; but here, we will tell you about our favorites and why you will love them.
Sublime Samana near Playa El Coson
Do you like the idea of a hotel that offers privacy? How about one that is in an ideal location just outside of Las Terrenas, and has a relatively peaceful and quiet atmosphere? Many people enjoy the Sublime Samana in playa El Coson for this reason. It received a 4.5/5 rating on TripAdvisor, and is the go-to hotel in the area! In fact, the vast majority enjoyed their stay and have said they would stay there again if they were given the chance.
This hotel offers comfort in an exotic paradise fashion. Have you seen photos of their private rooms? Those can be found on TripAdvisor too, and wow they are stunning. They also have a nice array of amenities that include Wifi (to share your vacation photos on social media) and a pristine pool (for those who shy away from swimming in the ocean or sea). It is also ideally located near the beach!
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo
Another fantastic place to stay is the Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo. We love it because it is located right on the beach! You can literally leave the building and walk right outside to shore. Imagine that! Who doesn’t dream of waking up to the soothing sound of waves on the beach or going out for an exhilarating morning run? I know I do.
If those reasons aren’t enough, they also offer babysitting, children activities, and airport transportation.
Activities in Las Terrenas & Samana
Many of the restaurants serve deliciously authentic German, French and Italian cuisine! In fact, the food is one of the most recommended reasons to visit! You can eat beef carpaccio, pasta, or coconut rice (though perhaps not in the same restaurant) while facing the ocean in one of the many beach-front restaurants. Most restaurants also have an excellent wine list to complement your meal of choice. If you prefer mojitos or any other drinks, head to the bars between 4-7pm to enjoy the happy hour.
Italians opened many restaurants in the area offering traditional Pizza all over Las Terrenas. If you are looking for breakfast instead, we can recommend you the amazing mouth-watering Boulangerie Francaise located at the city center.
Despite the European influence, the food you must try during your visit in the Dominican Republic is deep-fried fish, baked or fried chicken, and what every Dominican eats on a daily basis: rice and beans.
If surfing is something you have always wanted to try, but never had the opportunity, you can try any of the local surf schools. There’s a well-known place here in Las Terrenas, the Carolina Surf School. Their classes run about $60 an hour and are both informative and fun. Forbes praised the owner Carolina Gutiérrez for her excellent water sport skills, as well as her ability to train would-be-surfers. If you have an unplanned morning, we recommend you make a stop here.
If you are a Surfer already and don’t need lessons, visit the windy side of Playa Bonita and you won’t be disappointed. We only have photos of the non-windy side!
The area is well known for Kite Surfing as well. You can head to Punta Popy, a windy yet gorgeous beach to find the best conditions for this sport. If you don’t have your own gear you can rent it at KiteWorld Las Terrenas over there.
LT Kite is one of the most popular kite surfing companies in the area. They have four different lessons that cover a variety of things from basic beginner to “first jump, free style”. Their lessons begin at two hours long and cost $80 for an individual person. It is a little cheaper if two or more people take lessons together. They also offer stand up paddles for rent if you are interested.
If you are looking for something different than a surfing lesson, then maybe kite surfing is for you. It sounds like it’s for me!
If you like art or are interested in taking a little bit of Las Terrenas home with you, then stop over at Haitian Caraibes Art Gallery. They sell local art and jewellery.
There are also a lot of street vendors offering local paintings on every street around the city center. Feel free to walk around the area to find the best prices, and don’t forget to bargain hard once you find what you are looking for. Some shops have fixed prices and you’ll have to accept them or walk away. It’s always worth a try to reduce the price even a little bit.
Dominican Cigars in Las Terrenas
If you like cigars (or even if you don’t) it could be a lot of fun to stop over at Mundo Puro to see how they are made! Even if you aren’t a smoker, it would still be a great learning experience; and how many people can say they know how to make Dominican Cigars by hand? You should know that they will try to sell you anything because that’s the way it works in this little island, so be upfront if you don’t feel like buying.
Dominican cigars are known worldwide because of their exceptional quality and they make a great gift for a friend or family member back home. Whether you want to buy a whole box or just spend a few dollars, there’s something you have to know. There are a lot of fake cigar sellers on the beach, and you might spot one of them with some amazing deals for you. Be aware of this if you are trying to buy a quality product.
Walking along the beach is one of the best reasons to visit any tropical paradise. The sand, blue water, soft breeze, and sunshine create an environment that will uplift and relax you.
It should also be noted that many people use the beach to stroll from one location in town to another, rather than walk along the road or a sidewalk. Sunsets are especially beautiful and calm to walk on the sea shore. Spending some time with your beloved one is always a great activity here in Las Terrenas.
Las Terrenas is one of the best places to visit on your Dominican Republic Vacation. People from around the world visit this charming town, and some of them even choose to stay permanently. If you come and visit, you too will see all it has to offer, and you may even feel compelled to remain here, as others have before you! If you are strapped for time and are unsure which places to see, we highly recommend this one. Getting here isn’t too difficult, especially now that we have shared with you our travel tips!
To our more seasoned travelers: Have you ever traveled to Las Terrenas? How did you travel to this romantic city? What do you wish you had known before you left? What are your must see/must do activities in the area? Please let us know in the comment section (we love hearing from you). We hope you enjoy your time here, we know we have!