By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises
Our original plan had been to visit the tony resort complex of Punta Cana in the far east corner of the Dominican Republic.
Alas, the seas were not in our favor for use of the ship’s tenders and our captain decided against anchoring offshore. Instead, we called at the tourist enclave of Samaná, considerably more sheltered in its fine bay.
A bit off the tourist path is St. Peter’s Evangelical Church.
This church was brought from America in the early 19th century by freed and escaped slaves who were invited to resettle on Hispaniola by the government which was the first in the new world to throw off their slave holders. There was also aid by American abolitionists who sought a place to resettle African slaves.
About 6,000 came to Hispaniola; most did not stay, but a community of descendants live in and around Samaná.
Los Haitises National Park is on the southern side of Samaná Bay, about 15 kilometers or 10 miles from Samana. This is a protected virgin forest, accessible primarily by boat from Samaná, with little road access.
Haitis means highland or mountain range in the Taino language, although the hills aren’t that tall: about 20 to 40 meters or 100 to 130 feet.
There are many sea caverns along the coast, some with ancient pictographs and petroglyphs. The area was formed in the Miocene epoch, about 23 to 5 million years ago.
Included within the park is San Lorenzo Bay with numerous islets and mangroves.
The Cayo de los Pájaros, or Bird Key, is populated by frigate birds and pelicans. It is located near the enticingly named Boca del Infierno, or Mouth of Hell.
And the spectacular waterfall, El Limon, was used for the opening scenes of the original Jurassic Park movie.
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