Mention the Dominican Republic and Punta Cana immediately springs to mind. But beyond the mega-resort town, on the northeastern tip of the country, is a 30-mile long peninsula with breathtaking tropical scenery that’s now accessible by road and air. Picture mountains and capes towering over thick palm forests, and below, rows of coconut trees lining white sand beaches.
When Christopher Columbus and his crew arrived on Samaná’s coastline in 1493, the native Ciguayos received them with a barrage of arrows, and a battle ensued. The Spanish, British, French, and even pirates fought over Samaná for 200 years.
On the peninsula’s eastern corner, facing an iridescent blue Atlantic bay, Playa Rincón’s undeveloped white stretch runs nearly three miles from the base of 1,900-feet high Cape Samaná to Cape Cabrón. Most visitors keep to the west end, where a couple of local restaurants and rows of loungers occupy the beach.
Those who wander east find empty stretches, more wave action and the Cano Frío River. Locals cool off here in freshwater amid dense mangroves, while Dominican women serve fish and rice ‘n’ beans cooked over an open-fire hearth. There are excursions to Playa Rincón by boat and quad bike. Kayaks and snorkel gear are available for rent. The beach is even more spectacular after 2 p.m., when the majority of day-trippers leave.