From January to March, Samaná becomes one of the country’s star destinations. Every year, during this quarter, about 2,000 humpback whales arrive in the warm waters of the coastal province to mate and reproduce, offering a natural spectacle of jumps and dances.
This is an attraction that last year produced the visit of more than 64,000 people, including Dominicans and tourists, according to the Minister of the Environment, Miguel Ceara Hatton, who led an excursion to Samaná that took representatives of the local press to live the ecotourism experience in first person.
“This is a unique, cultural experience, an environmental experience, an experience with nature,” said Ceara Hatton, adding that this year they hope “to be able to significantly surpass” the number of visitors.
Details about the excursion
The humpback whale watching season is from January 15 to March 31 and takes place within the marine mammal sanctuary Banco de La Plata y de la Navidad, in Samaná.
The boats depart mainly from the port of Samaná and other ports in the city of Samaná and the municipality of Miches. There are different tour companies that offer the excursion.
Some options are Whale Samaná, Moto Marina Tours and Colonial Tours. It is possible to book with these agencies through their websites. Prices vary and will depend on the package purchased.
If it is just whale watching, the cost is around US$55 for adults and US$30 for children under 10, while if you add a tour of Cayo Levantado and a typical Dominican lunch, the rate can go up to US$68 for adults and $34 for children.
During the excursion at sea, which lasts about 40 minutes, a guide gives guidelines so that everyone on board can observe the “queens of the Atlantic”, offers information of interest about these cetaceans and answers questions.
It is estimated that during the whale watching season there are at least 300 humpback whales in the bay of Samaná, so the probabilities of seeing them jump out of the water are quite high. In any case, experts indicate that the best time to make the excursion is in February.
A fact to take into account is that the bay can have strong waves at this time of the year, so the experience on board is not recommended for women in advanced pregnancy or people who suffer from motion sickness (motion sickness).
For those who cannot or do not wish to make the trip by boat, there is the option of the Land Whale Observatory, which has been in existence since 2011, from where the marine mammals can be seen safely from land.