Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Caribbean Cruise - Samana, Dominican Republic - Day 3 - 12/20/2012

Christopher Columbus described the Samana Peninsula as "the fairest land on the face of the earth".  Sigrid and were also struck by it's beauty after the last two geographically boring islands.  Samana is on the island of Hispaniola.  The Dominican Republic shares the island with the country of Haiti which is on the west side of the island.  Hispaniola is a volcanically formed island and that is what sets it apart from the previous two which were limestone/coral.  Hispaniola has larger mountains which help create lush rain forests with exotic flowers and fruits.  Wildlife is also abundant and varied due to the many food sources.  The island is a major exporter of coconuts and Major League Baseball Stars.  If you are a baseball fan, you know what I mean.

In this photo you can see the island as we approached it early in the morning.

 The island is very rustic and rural and not well developed for tourism.....Sigrid and I really liked that aspect of the island.  Poverty is widespread here and they certainly have their own culture as do the other islands.  The contrast between the pricey resorts and the peoples homes is stark.

Again, we had to take tenders to the shore due to the lack of a deep water facility on shore.

With 1,800 people wanting to go ashore, it takes an armada of  tenders to get the job done.


You can see the coconut palms lining the shore.

 A nice island greeting.

 We've seen these kinds of carts in Peru and China before.

 This is Samana's "bridge to no where".  The culture may be different but the politicians aren't.

We took the island cultural tour as we did on the other islands.

A Christmas Tree in the town square.

Our first stop on the tour was the town's Whale Museum.

You have to watch where you walk and pause.  If you are under a coconut tree, a falling coconut could ruin you day if not kill you.

They had one whale skeleton on display with lots of information boards about the island and its animals.

Parts of the downtown area were very colorful.

We were then taken to Taino Park to experience a recreated history of the lifestyles of the pre-
Columbian inhabitants of the island of Hispaniola—the Taino people.

I mentioned the contrasts on the island.  Here is an example.  Housing like this is very common.

And then we are taken to this resort for lunch.  This is the exclusive resort Puerto Bahia Marina.

We had a lunch on the dock at the bay at the Café del Mar.  What did they serve on this fantastic tropical island....delicious brick-oven pizza.

After lunch we headed back to the pier to return to the ship.  Tomorrow, we will have a day at sea as we travel to the ABC islands.  If you want to know what the ABC islands are, keep following the posts.

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