Las Galeras is a small, secluded town in the Dominican jungle. I would even say village. Package tourists do not come here, there are almost no All Inclusive hotels here. People come here for a wild, relaxing holiday in nature. There are deserted beaches, tall palm trees and an endless ocean, what else is needed for a reboot.
Table of contents:
- History of Las Galeras: briefly
- Where is it, how to get there
- Beaches, ocean
- Entertainment, attractions
- Travel Tips
Las Galeras: a brief history
I believe the history of any place you are going to is worth knowing. This expands your horizon and often helps you communicate with the locals. I don’t like long stories, and history is not my favorite academic subject either. Therefore, very briefly:
- Las Galeras is located on the Samana Peninsula. And this peninsula was discovered by Christopher Columbus during his very first trip in 1492-1493.
- From that moment on, all these territories belonged to the Spanish crown. And for a long time the entire peninsula remained uninhabited.
- Since the Samana Peninsula has a very strategic location, the French constantly tried to capture it. And defending desert lands is quite difficult.
- Therefore, it was decided only 250 years after the discovery to populate these lands.
- So in 1756 the capital of Samana appeared, and after another 20 years, 30 km from it, the village of Las Galeras.
- The village got its name because of the ships – galleys that transported slaves. And here these galleys stopped for replenishment of supplies.
- Today, the population of Las Galeras (2006 data) is about 6,000 people. By our standards, this is a large village.
- The main occupation of the locals is fishing and agriculture. There are many banana plantations in the vicinity of the town. You will see them if you go on foot to Fronton beach. More on that below.
- Well, for the last 10 years, tourism has also been an integral part of Las Galeras. Yes, it is not as mass as in Punta Cana or Bavaro, but this has its own charm.
Where is it, how to get there, map of Las Galeras
Las Galeras is the most remote settlement of the Samana Peninsula. It is located in its eastern part. There is nothing further than the ocean and mountains.
Although public transport is poorly developed in the Dominican Republic, Las Galeras can be reached by it. Here are some important points:
- Comfortable regular buses run to the Samana Peninsula from Santo Domingo or Puerto Plata to the capital Samana city.
- Several trips daily. From the capital of the Dominican Republic – about 6 trips.
- The bus company is named Caribe Tours. From Santo Domingo by bus about 4.5 hours. Ticket price is about $8-9
- Further regular buses do not go. But local minibuses GUAGUA run regularly without a schedule. The price to Las Galeras is $3-4. And the time is 1 hour. GuaGua will bring you directly to the central beach and to the main street of Las Galeras.
It is important to know:I think it is not necessary to tell that the most convenient way to get here is by car. We always do this. It’s twice as fast, and without a car it’s hard to visit most of the cool attractions around Las Galeras. Read more about car rental in the Dominican Republic in the article at the link. It’s just personal experience.
Las Galeras: map
Below is a map of not only the cool places of this village, but also bus stops in Samana and Las Galeras itself, so that it would be easier for you if you get there by public transport.
Las Galeras: beaches and ocean
This is what most tourists come here for. Also, of course, for the palm trees, the jungle and peace. Las Galeras is washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Not a bay, not a strait, not something else, but a real ocean.
The water temperature here during the year does not fall below + 26-27 degrees Celsius (79-81°F). And in the summer months, it generally reaches a stunning +31°C (88°F).
There are a lot of beaches around Las Galeras. Here are a few features of the beaches in the area.
- The sand is fine and white as wheat flour. That, in my opinion, is a big advantage.
- Absolutely all the beaches in this area with countless palm trees. The photos come out great.
- Unlike the long beaches of Bavaro or Punta Cana, there are many beaches here, they are close to each other, and the coastline rarely exceeds 1 km in size. But it adds variety and Caribbean charm.
- The infrastructure on the beaches is low, as is the development. And some of the beaches, such as Rincon, Madama, Fronton, are completely wild.
Helpful advice:I recommend having coral shoes with you for visiting the beaches of Las Galeras. There are few hedgehogs here, sometimes they are found, but more often and there are much more dead corals and just a rocky bottom.
There is no such color of water as there is in the south of the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Sea. Read about it in the article: what is the sea or ocean in the Dominican Republic.
Infrastructure of Las Galeras
As you already understood, this is a very small town, and the infrastructure here is appropriate.
Today (2023) there are almost no hotels in Las Galeras and there are definitely no 5 * hotels. The main accommodation options are villas, bungalows or apartments from local residents. Read everything about holidays and hotels for two in the article: Dominican Republic for a couple.
But just last year, in Las Galeras and on the outskirts, they made an excellent road and exits from it that lead simply to nowhere.
It is important to know:The Dominican government has developed a plan to attract tourists to the Samana Peninsula. Now they have made an excellent road. They divide the land into areas for hotels and are trying to find investors. If everything goes according to their plan, then in 5 years another hotel resort may appear here. So hurry up to catch this area in its untouched form.
As for infrastructure, there is:
- A bank
- Two small minimarkets – Calmado
- Several vegetable stalls
- Souvenir shops for tourists
- Dozens of restaurants for tourists
- The main street of the city is a quiet street with almost no traffic with one-story buildings.
In a word, a quiet provincial town.
It is important to know:Here on the beaches there are no bars or restaurants. You can find only sun loungers of the entire infrastructure.
Entertainment and attractions of Las Galeras
I will tell you what you can do here in the city and its environs. Somewhere you have to walk a lot, somewhere you need either a car or a scooter, and sometimes a boat. But in any case, it is very convenient to stay here, and during the day to make trips to nearby sights from Las Galeras and Samana.
The beaches of Las Galeras
These are the main beauties and attractions of the area. You can just walk, swim and relax on different beaches. And every day to choose a new one. And I want to talk about the beaches separately. After all, here within 10 km there are three beaches from the rating of the TOP 10 best beaches in the Dominican Republic.
A wild and deserted two-kilometer beach with very beautiful landscapes. At the end of the beach there is a river that flows into the ocean. It has cold water and there are almost no locals, as it is cold here, but tourists like it. There are also several hiking trails.
- It can be reached either by car, scooter or by boat from the main beach of Las Galeras.
- The beach is a little away and from the center of Las Galeras walk along the ocean for about 6 km.
- Please note that there is almost no infrastructure here. Bring snacks and drinks with you.
- Or rather, there are 2 beach bars here, but with a very strange operation hours and high prices.
Author’s opinion:The beach is beautiful, but there are enough similar beaches near Las Galeras. At least the main beach of this city, and you don’t have to go and visually it is no worse.
Madama Beach and Fronton Beach
These are two of the coolest beaches that are located in the jungle. Both beaches are geographically close to each other, but there is no short path between them. Fronton Beach is generally the most beautiful beach in the entire Caribbean, a photo to confirm this.
- You can get to these two beaches only on foot through the jungle or by boat by the ocean.
- From Las Galeras one way about 6 km.
- These are absolutely wild beaches. They have no infrastructure.
- Be sure to bring water and snacks with you.
Read more about how to get there, how much the boat costs, tips and life hacks in the article: Madama Beach and Fronton on your own.
I do not tell much on this point, since there is a large article about this unique tour: whales in the Dominican Republic.
But in short:
- Every year from January to March, real humpback whales come to the shores of Samana.
- This is one of the few places in the world where you can see them near the coast for quite reasonable price (from $50).
- This tour also includes a visit to the paradise island of Bacardi. The island is a another attraction of the region, but the easiest way to visit it is as part of an excursion for whales.
El Limon waterfall
This is the third highest waterfall in the Dominican jungle. You can swim in it. And it is an hour and a half drive from Las Galeras. Perhaps this is the most remote attraction of Samana from Las Galeras. It is more convenient to go here from Las Terrenas. And here’s what you should know about it:
- Height 56m.
- Getting to the start of path is very easy
- Walk from the parking lot to walk through the jungle in just 45 minutes
- You can swim there
- You can make this journey on horseback. It costs money – but if horse riding is your dream, it’s worth it.
A detailed report about our visit of the El Limon waterfall is at the link.
I cannot say that these are all the sights of Las Galeras and the surrounding area. There are many interesting things here. Just walk along the ocean, do not be afraid to make trips of 5-7 km and you will see this country from a completely different side. And don’t worry, this part of the Dominican Republic is safe. Much safer than even at our home.
Following the link you will find a large number of tours and excursions around the Samana Peninsula and its attractions. Suitable especially for those who stay very far away in Bavaro and Punta Cana.
Where to stay in Las Galeras?
As I wrote above, there are not many hotels here. But they are. Mostly all travelers stay in private villas and bungalows. In this guide, there is a review article about a unique accommodation option: an eco-villa on a mountainside overlooking the ocean and the jungle. Follow the link for a full review of this property: I recommend it to everyone. There are not so many places like this and I’m not sure that many people stayed in such places. And, to be honest, we didn’t – until that day.
And by the link is a dynamic rating of great accommodation options in Las Galeras. There are several hotels there, I advise you to pay attention to the “21 Palm Hotel”, and there are more cool villas. You can click, read reviews, view photos and prices.
Below are some tips if you are planning to come to rest in Las Galeras for a couple of days.
- Many people think that there is nothing to do here and come here for 1 night. Our personal experience says that we visited all the beaches and attractions of Las Galeras in just the first 6 days.
- There are no big stores here, only Calmado with a very modest assortment. Buy all the necessary products and food in advance.
- No night clubs and discos are here. This is a quiet provincial town.
- Be sure to bring coral shoes.
- And do not just lie under the palm trees. Since most of the beaches are wild, no one knocks down coconuts. Remember that about 200 people die every year in the world from falling coconuts from palm trees. This is perhaps the biggest danger of Las Galeras.
- And one more thing: many on Google maps find a palm tree above the water on the main beach of Las Galeras as if from a bounty advertisement. Unfortunately there is no more palm. It broke, only the trunk remained.
In conclusion: the city of Las Galeras in the very east of the Samana Peninsula is another paradise on Earth almost untouched by tourists. You have the opportunity to enjoy this place. Here everyone will find his favorite beach. And those who love nature, palm trees, the ocean, waterfalls will be crazy about Las Galeras.
Bright emotions from your holiday in this fabulous place!
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Dominican Republic
- Flights at the best prices with discounts
- Car rental: DiscoverCars – a largest international resource
- Hotels and apartments: Hotellook – compares hotel prices among dozens of booking platforms and offer you the best price.
- Vacation packages:
- Tours, excursions and extreme activities:
- GetYourGuide – more than 800+ tours and water activities.
- Viator – 3500+ tours and excursions in Dominican.
- Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
- eSIM virtual sim card with internet package.
- Taxi and airport transfers: Intui.Travel