Whale Watching - Samaná Bay

Samana Bay

Located northeast of the Dominican Republic, this area gives tourists the privilege of seeing hundreds of humpback whales – Megáptero novaeangliae – that migrate each year from the North Atlantic to this warm water bay to find mates and reproduce. Pregnant females give birth and nurse their calves, preparing for the long journey back to the north. Samaná Bay is the only place in the Caribbean where you can watch them.

It is a magnificent spectacle that allows us to view and navigate a few feet away from these magnificent creatures in their natural environment and to hear the songs that the males emit during the mating ritual – you will also see them jump out of the water. Adult males may reach 12 to 16 m in length, and weigh 40 tons.

 

Whale-watching season: From January to March every year.

Vessel Hire: Travel only with vessels registered with the Ministry of the Environment that have permission to transport visitors. There are several companies working in Samaná from which to choose. Some include on-board guides speaking English and Spanish. The average price per person is $50 plus a $3 fee to the Whale Sanctuary imposed by the Ministry of the Environment. Listed below is the address of the company that pioneered whale-watching in Samanà from 1983 and, therefore, has the most experience. Check them out here: http://www.whalesamana.com.

Tips: Better safe than sorry. So, if you have never ridden in a boat and do not know what effect it may cause, then it’s better take a pill for nausea to avoid the inconvenience and enjoy this spectacle that nature offers. Of course, sunscreen, waterproofs and a hat are essential.

The Observatory: From 2011 you can see whales on shore from the Earth Observation Centre located in Punta Balandra, an old lighthouse about 14 km from the center of the City along the Samaná – Las Galeras highway. It was built here after a study which estimated that 80% of whales are seen in this particular area. Bring binoculars for a closer look!

Getting to the Bay of Samanà: A limited number of international flights reach the International Airport El Catey (AZS). The International Airport Las Américas in Santo Domingo (SDQ) is around 3 hours by car and from here there are diverse domestic flights to the existing national airports on the Samaná Peninsula: Arroyo Barril (DAB), about 10 minutes away from Samaná city, and El Portillo (EPS), closest to Las Terrenas. 

Generally, all hotels include a tour to Samaná. Otherwise you have the choice between rent a car, take a taxi or a bus.