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 Samana - Profile


The Samana Peninsula extends almost 30 miles out from the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Santa Bárbara de Samaná (usually called Samana) lies on the southern side overlooking the large bay of Bahia de Samana. This town has an unusual history. It was settled by two shiploads of freed American slaves around 1824 and, to this day, many residents speak English as a first language.

Position 19° 11'67''N, 069° 21'16''W (marina)


See DR Formalities for detailed clearance information and fees.

On arrival, all the officials will make their way out to your boat to undertake clearance. Crew will not be permitted to leave the boat until they have checked in with Immigration.

In the past the clearance process was reported to be rather inefficient here, however recent reports are that things have improved somewhat (see comments at bottom of page).

Whilst the preferred currency for fees is US $, the Peso is accepted as well.

Samana has a long history of "made up charges". Officials here have been known to charge for anchoring based on use of the wharf.  They do not have a wharf and the charge is based on a Ports and Harbours charge where a charge is assessed by the government to use the wharf. It is entirely up to you if you don't want to pay this charge, but it may involve a lot of time waiting in their office if you don't.

Last updated May 2017.


The bay here is sheltered and provides a good anchorage, however the harbour is noisy with loud music. Whilst the authorities in Samana are showing greater compliance with the official rate list, there is a charge here to anchor.

There are also some mooring buoys off the town which may be available for a small charge. The buoys are serviced regularly and have large concrete blocks on them.

A new condo development, Puerto Bahia, with slips opened in 2010 a few miles up bay from the harbour, 4nm west of the town of Samana. It has a deep entrance channel with inside depths ranging from 9 - 15 ft. Services are limited (there are no haulout facilities or resident marine mechanics for example), but it is in nice surroundings. It's a 30 to 40 minutes walk from here in to town. Prices are reported to be high.

Be sure to lock your dinghy and outboard to the boat at all times. There have been several reported cases of theft and attempted theft in Samana, the last one being in June 2016 (see report adjacent). Often you can find someone local to keep an eye on your dinghy for a tip (see comments).

Apart from the wonderful beaches, the principle attraction is the incredible sight of hundreds of humpback whales, which during January to March, gather in the bay to mate and nurse their young.

Last updated May 2017.

Puerto Bahia Samana Marina
Samana , Dominican Republic
Tel:+ 1 (809) 503-6363 ,VHF Channel 16 - Staff speak English
Located 19°11'670''N 069°21'158''W
Full service marina for boats up to 150 LOA, max. draft 10ft. Electric 100 amp single and 3 phase. Customs and Immigration. 24-hr security, fuel dock, free internet, mini-market, showers, laundry, chandlery, restaurants and bars, pools, car hire, rubbish collection.

dlane1181 says:
Jun 24, 2018 06:06 PM

Addendum: We left our vessel on a mooring in Samaná for 3 days while we went to Santo Domingo to visit our daughter and her family. Luis and his compañero, Domingo, said they would keep an eye on our boat. Boy did they!
We returned on Saturday, as scheduled, but the weather across the country was much worse than forecast. Much of our 3-hour road trip was through a driving rainstorm with considerable wind. We were somewhat reassured, though, when we descended through the mountains and the weather seemed much calmer on the NE side of Hispaniola. However, when we reached Samaná, the town and its harbor were besieged by a wicked, unforeseen windstorm, with some reports of 60kt gusts.
As we approached the public pier we saw that our boat was not on the mooring, but was inshore, perilously close to the seawall! And we could see Luis was on her stern, frantically working with several small boats trying to save her from grounding further or from crashing into the sea wall. Once on the pier, a familiar boatman took me aboard his boat - and despite the high winds, high waves, and chop - ferried me out to our boat so I help resuce our boat. When I arrived, Luis explained that several moorings had parted during the freak wind storm, including the one to our boat. They had already towed two boats to safety and parted a line trying to tow ours. Although we were aground, we were in the safest spot in the harbor because it was only mud. No rocks.
Once aboard I started, I checked the bilges, sea cocks, strainers, and engine fluids and then started our Perkins. Meanwhile, Luis hailed a tour boat and took one of its mooring lines aboard and secured to an aft cleat. Working in tandem - our Perkins in reverse and the tour boat pulling astern - we were gently pulled out of the mud and into deeper and safer waters. From their Domingo guided us in his boat to a barrier island about a 1/2 mile off the town where we anchored in 35' of water only a couple of boat lengths off the island's luch tropical beach. About an hour later, the winds went from a steady 30+kts down to 2-4kts, where they remained overnight.
The next morning, winds were still calm, and we dove into the still, clear water to inspect the hull, rudder, and prop. Fortunately, everything was AOK - thanks in large measure to the rapid, volunteer assistance from Luis, Domingo, and several other townsfolk who put their own vessels at risk, and perhaps their own safety, during the storm to assist us.
In short, we have nothing but great things to say about Samaná and its people.

dlane1181 says:
Jun 17, 2018 09:24 PM

We have been in Samaná for 4 nights now, and we have enjoyed it very much. I worked here with the US Navy for a few weeks in 1993, and the town is very much as I remember it.
We were greeted in a small boat upon arrival by Luis, a harbor agent. He claims to be licensed by the port authorities, but I have not verified this. Regardless, he has been professional, helpful, a pleasure to work with, and I recommend him without reservation.
For example, although we arrived after normal working hours, within 60 minutes of our arrival, he brought the Comandancia Del Puerto aboard our vessel, along with someone from the immigration office. We provided photo copies of our passports, and were granted permission to go ashore that evening. He returned the next day by water taxi and ushered me to the immigration office where I presented everyone’s passport and paid the visa entry fees for crew ($12/person) and vessel ($75). In addition, we negotiated a rate of $10/day for the mooring ball with the owner, with a reduced rate of $5/day if we stayed a week or more.
Moreover Luis and Domingo, his water taxi compañero, towed our dinghy to a rustic boatyard where we had some fiberglass repairs done on our rigid dinghy at a very reasonable price. They also brought out 90 gallons of good clean diesel in 18-gallon jerry cans to top off our tanks. We also went to an upholsterer who did an excellent repair job to the head of our drifter reaching sail.
To get ashore we’ve done a mix of water taxi with Domingo or used our dinghy. With the latter, we’ve left it at the public wharf, where Luis assured us it would be safe. So far, he’s been right about that, too. We have generally tipped someone at the wharf 1-200 pesos for keeping an eye on the dinghy.
I should add in closing that Luis and Domingo work for tips. Although we have never discussed a specific amount per service or per day, we gave them both the equivalent of ~$20/day for the days they helped us out. They seemed content, and I believe we got excellent value for the services they performed for us.

georgier says:
Mar 13, 2018 10:14 PM

If you need I car I would recommend XAMANA Car Rental. We are at Puerto Bahia marina and they will bring the car to you so you don't have to make the trip into town. The cars (we rented multiple times) are in good condition and they will take cash or credit cards. The owner is very friendly and helpful.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
May 26, 2017 04:03 PM

This comment was sent by e-mail, 6 May 2017, and is posted on behalf of SY Blue Flyer:

Here we are in Samana, Dominican Republic (our port of entry).

An interesting channel coming in to the main harbour, not difficult and I found the Navionics very accurate. There is a Marina outside the town, but it is expensive, so I have taken a buoy off the town for 2 nights at US$20 per night. The buoys are serviced regularly and have large concrete blocks on them.

On arrival Chico met us and is acting as our agent. If anyone's going to visit here I can recommend him highly. His English is good, he works in Florida during the off season here.

Checking in is expensive and the preferred currency is US $ but the Peso is fine as well. They give 47 peso to the dollar. All the offices are local and the immigration officer came in specially for me on Saturday. The navy (Customs) came out to the boat to check us over and take the paperwork away for checking us out tomorrow, so that we can leave at a reasonable time on Monday. The crew were not allowed off the boat until checked in with immigration.

The town is very pleasant, with little or office, so tourists are safe here. We went to a supermarket to stock up for Cuba, and then to a fruit and veggie market. All done on a TukTuk, not much room with 4 people and all the shopping. Prices are very reasonable.

Fuel is in Jerrycans unless you do as we did. We filled up with our own supplies and got our cans refilled, by Chico, at the service station. So fresh clean diesel.

We took a very reasonable tour, again thank to Chico, all day. Visited a 45 metre waterfall and another beautiful town. You can negotiate this with Chico.

In total, a very worthwhile port to go to if you're in the neighbourhood.

Hugh Pilsworth
SY Blue Flyer

eaudree96 says:
Jan 12, 2017 12:42 PM

Samana is a geat city and very safe. I recommand to stay at the marina. Its a 5 Star marina at half the price with all the services. From the marina you must take a bus to the city 40 pesos..

John Pedersen
John Pedersen says:
Mar 05, 2015 12:41 PM

We are trying to escape Samana. We've had westerly winds and calms, preventing us from going on to Luperon. We'd expected to really like the place, and had planned to spend two weeks going around Samana Bay. However, the officials will not allow that. We went to Los Haitises national park, which was great, but we were told we had to report back to the the Commandancia in Santa Barbara the same day. The park was great, and we could have happily spent a week just there, exploring and enjoying the wildlife. But it was not to be. We had to return to anchor in Santa Barbaraby with its extremely noisy bars and clubs and cars full of speaker parked on the promenade blasting out competing 'music'. Even my kids, who love music festivals, are being driven crazy by it.

The Commandancia is very inefficient. It took an hour today just to find a form in the office that they'd filled in for me just four days ago - not that the port is busy. Just two yachts have left in the intervening time. It took all afternnon to get a despachio - permission to leave for Luperon. And we haven't been allowed to anchor anywhere at night other than in Santa Barbara.

This isn't exactly one anchorage more perfect than the last, as described in the free cruising guide. It's just the one anchorage, and a very very noisy one at that. I doubt everything in that guide now. Another sailor told us of his experience at Boca Chica. He wasn't allowed to park in the designated anchorage, but forced to take a berth in the marina or pick up a mooring, at $25US a night. Note that the free guide which talks up this place so eloquently (and heavily promotes the south coast as the best route) is sponsored by the owner of the Boca Chica marina.

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