Las Galeras - Still A Genuine Caribbean Experience
But for how much longer?
Las Galeras may be found at the farthest point of the Samana Peninsula, which juts out horizontally into the Atlantic, about 2/3 of the way along the Northern coast of the Dominican Republic. On the map, this protrusion resembles the ear of a giant moose, whose nose and mouth at the Eastern most extreme of the island itself would be where the major resort areas of Punta Cana and Bavaro are (Well that's what it reminds ME of anyway ;D).
The 30km or so of continuous white beach that links Punta Cana and Bavaro annually attract many of the package deal vacationers who flock to the ever increasing range of quality all inclusive (AI) hotel developments that 'pepper' that area. But, a way back up the coast to the tip of this moose's ear, it is a different world. So far largely spared the development of massive AI's, at this far reach of the Samana Peninsula – Las Galeras sits like an oasis of calm blessed by the tropical sun.
This town, or rather 'beach side hamlet' play host to several smaller-sized accommodation businesses and a handful of shops. This Dominican Republic resort still represents what tourism used to be before the advent of major developments changed the nature of other areas. Las Galeras is still a tranquil corner of the Island where beaches remain sparsely populated, and exotic flora and fauna further enhance a wonderful natural setting.
Lose yourself in the tranquility
Numerous escapees from the rat race particularly from Europe have landed (and stayed) here over time, and now in some small way offer the more adventurous DR visitor a place to sleep and eat, having perhaps developed the odd room or two for rent. Admittedly, one 'all inclusive' has managed to establish itself at one end of the 'hamlet', but Las Galeras for now remains free from the overwhelming transformation that hotel developers have wrought in Punta Cana, Juan Dolio or Puerto Plata. This situation has largely arisen due to Las Galeras' considerable distance from existing international airports.
Here you can walk out from your rooms and soon literally lose yourself in tropical forests. Here nature in all its exotic forms can still mesmerize you. Here you can beat a secret path through the verdant landscape (advisedly by securing the help of a local guide) and come upon that true deserted tropical beach – Playa Madama – absolutely stunning. A never to be forgotten truly romantic iconic Caribbean setting that will linger long in your 'hall' of favorite holiday memories.
In Las Galeras itself a good half dozen or so small restaurants ply their wares to the travelling community but this is not the place to expect haute cuisine! A modest night scene is provided by a few bars and even a odd 'club' and as these mostly attract local Dominicans it is easy for visitors to experience the true ambience and atmosphere of the Dominican Republic. You can soak up the rhythm of the merengue and bachata that incessantly stirs the Dominican heart by day and night!
'Bienvenue' or 'Wilkommen' to Las Galeras!
Las Galeras is a down to Earth town, with few of the 'bells and whistles' of the large resort areas...but if you want to get away to a quiet corner of the Caribbean where the pace of life is still like it 'used to be' then you could fall in love with this place.
Here, if you are seeking a place to stay, English speaking visitors from the US, the UK or Canada, might well find French or German more useful than the local Spanish tongue as most of the local 'guest houses' or tourist accommodations are run by settlers from middle Europe. These ' small entrepreneurs', finding a way to sustain themselves in this remoter part of the DR, besides accommodation may also offer other services – such as cycle hire, walking tours. Some small shops in town include facilities for hiring diving equipment, too.
Map of Las Galeras Area (Click and pull map around to see more detail. Or zoom-in and -out.)
Las Galeras is still a bit of an undeveloped haven, largely because of its remoteness from the major airports. Almost equidistant from Puerto Plata and Punta Cana, it takes several hours by road to reach this outpost. There is the small airport, El Portillo,on the Peninisula that some choose to fly into using internal air flights. However, the new Dominican International Airport near to the foot of the Samana Peninsula, will most likely lead, in due course, even to this quiet corner losing at least some of its special laid-back and under-developed nature! Such is the price of progress!! So maybe it's worth planning to visit while it is still 'unspoilt' and original... but don't tell anyone -- we don't want the world to know about Las Galeras! ;)
'Las Galeras, Dominican Republic' article prepared by Al Smith
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