This post is part of a series on Emina’s adventure in the Dominican Republic. She visited the country independently with our sis Nerma and her best friend Ajla (girls trip, wohoo!). Start here for our general impressions, entire trip overview and costs. Then check out this post on our first stop in the DR: Bayahibe and stay tuned for the next episode!
In this episode you will read:
- What makes Las Galeras so special
- How to get there if you don’t have a car
- Where to stay in Las Galeras
- How we almost had to cancel the entire trip because of me
- My final vote on Las Galeras
Las Galeras is a remote village at the end of the Samana peninsula in the Dominican Republic. It was a must-do on our DR trip because we read that it is one of the rare places in the DR where mass tourism hasn’t kicked off yet. We spent 4 nights here.
HOT TO GET TO LAS GALERAS WITHOUT A CAR
We woke up early on our last morning in Bayahibe and we had a long journey in front of us:
(1) a local bus from Bayahibe to Romana – around an hour,
(2) a second bus from Romana to Santo Domingo – another hour,
(3) a taxi from where the bus left us in Santo Domingo to the Caribe Tour Bus station in Santo Domingo – a few minutes,
(4) the Caribe Tour bus to Samana – around 2,5 hours, aaand
(5) a guagua (local minibus) to Las Galeras – another hour (we skipped this and took a taxi instead (keep reading)
Now you understand why I say that this is a REMOTE village at the END OF THE ROAD. Yes, it is that far. But is it worth the hustle?
WHEN A BUS DRIVE AND A TAXI DRIVER TURN INTO TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS
Already in our first bus ride we were confronted with a culture shock. First, a young gentlemen got in the bus with a pretty much alive hen – and a real party animal – she didn’t stop making sounds all until they got out in Santo Domingo:D
Second, I did tell you that the Dominicans are religious. But I did not expect that the bus driver gets up, says a long prayer on having a safe trip, God protecting us and us having long and prosperous lives. And then the entire bus goes “Amen!” 🙂
And to make the day even more special, once we finally reached Samana, a taxi driver convinced us to take us to Las Galeras, instead of taking the guagua for our final transportation (a total of 1,500 Dominican pesos / around 30 USD/27 EUR).
This man was so much FUN! As soon as we got in the car we asked him to turn on some bachata and merengue and turn up the volume. He loved this and started singing immediately. And this man DID NOT STOP SINGING until we reached Las Galeras – which is an entire hour:)
On our way back from Samana, we met him again at the bus station. He gave me his number for just in case. Here’s the number: 809 827 5470. He’s called Miguel. If you need a driver while you’re here, he’s your man!
THE HIGHLIGHTS OF LAS GALERAS
Here’s what we’ll never forget:
1. Playa Fronton
This will sound cheesy but I’m very serious: This is one the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic.
Playa Fronton is only accessible via boat. We paid 1000 Dominican pesos (21 USD/17 EUR) each for the boat ride and a total of 1000 Dominican pesos for the three of us for lunch (7 USD/6 EUR each): fresh Caribbean fish prepared for us right at the beach.
2. Sleeping in paradise for 20 EUR/night
Our accommodation in Las Galeras was one of the highlights of this trip. I will make sure to dedicate an entire post just to the Chalet Tropical and the friendly Italian owner, Sarah. For now, let me tell you that we didn’t want to leave this tropical paradise. And we paid only 22 USD / 20 EUR per night per person for it!
Just look at our room!
And the breakfast (8 USD per person per day)
And the garden!
We shared the neighborhood with locals.
3. Riding motorbikes to Playa Rincon
Playa Rincon is another awesome beach here. But what we enjoyed even more is getting there. It takes you almost an hour on a motorbike.
You’re driving through small villages where locals are sitting in small kiosks on the road side with merengue blasting all day.
One of our bikes broke down and locals immediately gathered around to fix it.
We were pretty much stranded:)
A very cool thing about Playa Rincon is that here you’ll see where a river enters the sea. The locals actually prefer coming here because of the river.
4. Ever heard of dambow?
We spent our nights dancing in the local village disco where we were the only tourists. This was probably because it was off season.
This is also where we learned all the popular songs in DR and found out that there is something called dambow, a Dominican sort of reaggeton music. I wished you’ve seen the faces of Dominicans when they saw us singing and dancing to dambow:)
MY INJURY IN LAS GALERAS
Las Galeras was also where our trip was almost over. I had an accident that I still haven’t recovered from completely.
It all started with me asking Nerma to take a “spontaneous” picture of me jumping at the beach with my hair in the air and the turquoise water in the background (Yap, very original. There are only 4,558 similar pics out there on Instagram:D).
Ajla took this picture of me before Nerma took over.
While I was about to jump for picture number 46, I didn’t see that a hole was formed in the sand (probably from the waves). I stumbled on my right ankle right in this hole and craaaaaaaaaaak, what a paaaain! I couldn’t say a word.
We immediately stopped someone on a motorbike to take me back to our house. I spent the next three days in a hammock with icing and Nerma’s home made remedy: a mix of apple vinegar and crushed red onion (how very sexy:D)
After our time in Las Galeras was up, I somehow managed to get myself to our taxi, then the bus, then the next taxi in Santo Domingo, then our rented car, all the way to the other side of the country: La Cienaga. And yes, the entire time I had this smelly onion and vinegar mix on my foot (Love you, Nerma, you saved me from a serious injury – and any human interaction :D)
MY FINAL VOTE ON LAS GALERAS
Recommended! They say that here you will see one of the most beautiful beaches of the DR. We surely haven’t been to all the beaches but from the over 13, Playa Rancon is our number 2. We liked how laid back it was as well as the fact that most of the time we were the only tourists around.
FOLLOW UP ON THE INJURY
Back home I went to visit a doctor. My ligaments were damaged and I had to wear a walking support (You can see it here because, as irresponsible as I am, I went hiking with the damn thing:D). But it was still all worth it:)
Stay tuned for the next episode on sleeping in a local home, watching Turkish soap operas in the middle of nowhere and almost getting attacked in a strike (including a blocked road and military intervention), all in La Cienaga.