The road to paradise is fraught with bumps...literally. While the peninsula has almost a glut of natural beauty—remote beaches, forest waterfalls, coconut trees, and a blue-blue bay regarded as among the world's best places to see humpback whales, which come to breed here—it was still very much off the beaten tourist path. In fact, it was downright inaccessible to those who weren't determined.
Samaná is only 60 or so miles from the capital of Santo Domingo as the crow flies, but until recently the far reaches of the Cordillera Septentrional mountain range had blocked any straight shot to the destination. Thanks to a new road that bisects the mountain range, the total driving time from Santo Domingo down was cut to just around two hours.