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.
The Peninsula House rates start at $550, including breakfast; 809/962-7447 or thepeninsulahouse.com.
Unique beach bars (left) are just steps from the water in Las Terrenas.
Balcones del Atlantico rates start at $399; balconesdelatlantico.rockresorts.com.
Another option: Mi Corazón in Las Terrenas, a highbrow fusion restaurant; micorazon.com.