It would be unwise for anyone to take a trip to the Dominican Republic and not visit Samaná given half a chance. It is very much the kind of place that tourist boards love, because so little needs to be done in order to “sell” the area to potential visitors. Many people could agree that, having read tourist brochures for their local area, the writers of such pamphlets have had to take great dramatic, artistic and poetic licence to portray the city or the area as exciting, thriving and romantic. Minor points of history are extrapolated into huge moments that changed an epoch. Areas of average natural beauty are referred to as picturesque havens of poetic wonder, and a few trees and a bunch of pigeons become enthralling flora and fauna. With Samaná this has not needed to be the case, as it can sell itself perfectly well.
For a start, it has its own little gem of historical interest. When Christopher Columbus first stepped foot on Samaná on January 12th, 1493 he was expecting the same friendly or muted response that he got everywhere else he had previously landed. What he got was different indeed. He was met with a hail of spears and arrows from the area’s native Taino warriors, and for the first time he had encountered violent opposition – indeed, the first time any of the conquistadores had encountered any such reception committee. That is the kind of thing that marks a place down in the annals of time. It will undoubtedly have stayed with Columbus for a while afterwards, one can safely assume.
It is when you get the chance to look at Samaná that you understand why the locals were so protective over it. The phrase “area of outstanding natural beauty” is one that is so grossly overused these days that it has come to be used to describe any area that has a few patches of green among all of the black and gray. Samaná breaks with that tradition by being one of those areas – one of those rare areas – lucky enough to have both mountains and beaches in incredibly close proximity. Indeed the whole area is mountainous, but in addition to those mountains has tropical forests, waterfalls and a lot more besides.
Only recently has it been given an airport, and only last year a highway connecting it to the nation’s capital Santo Domingo was opened. Without such connections, Samaná has not yet thrived as a tourist destination. It seems certain that this will change now they are in place. With the improved travel facilities completed, there is continuing work going on in order to give the Samaná peninsula the tourist resorts that will bring in tourists and their money and give Samaná the tourist reputation that it deserves, but which seemingly the tourist boards were too bashful to bestow upon it. There were always reasons for a lover of travel to visit Samaná before. Now there are no reasons not to.