The big reason many travelers choose Samana is to get in some snorkeling time. The best thing about Samana, more specifically, the Playa El Portillo, is the fact that you encounter excellent snorkeling right off the beach. Families with young kids prefer a beach with calm waters. That’s not the case in most of the Mexican regions like the Mayan Riviera, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo as there are pretty big waves there.
Most of the Samana beaches are truly calm and shallow. It occurs one can walk out in 30 centimeters of water for 35 meters or even more. That’s one of the best parts when visiting Samana. It is still such an underdeveloped and unobstructed peninsula right now.
Best known for being featured in the movies “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory,” the clownfish has become quite popular. Nemo and his dad, Marlin, are ocellaris clownfish, also called false clownfish or clown anemonefish. Anemonefish are so-named for the sea anemones in which they make their homes. There are 28 species of them and they come in many colors, such as pink, red, yellow, black, brown and multi-colored stripes.
Snorkeling is like swimming in a giant aquarium.
Here in Samana you can literally walk along a beach for several miles and may not run into a soul. It feels like you are on a deserted Caribbean island. That’s very cool. Samana is still somewhat under the radar and maybe that’s why the area seems so untouched. Maybe it should stay that way.
Now, head to the snorkeling. At Playa El Portillo is a huge coral reef right off the beach. There are some access areas from sandy entry points. Once you cross into the coral area, it is like entering a magical underwater world. There are numerous varieties of fish including, angel fish, needlefish, clown fish and the grouper. Lots of different and colorful crabs are like wonders. Most of them are not that big, but they are really abundant. One can also spot interesting urchin and anemone to keep you entertained. For sure, exploring this location can take hours and hours.
At some points in the sea, the ocean floor will drop right off to 15 to 20 meters. But you can see these depths very clearly. The impressive rock and coral “monuments” protruding up from the ocean floor are pretty cool to see. Passing over those coral stoned sea bottom while snorkeling is an exhilarating experience. It really does get your adrenaline pumping as you enter into the more open waters. One never knows what to encounter. A manatee, or that Barracuda, a turtle or even a little shark may come cruising along just as you are entering their world.
Diving excursions in Samana
Especially the Las Galeras area has a myriad of great diving sites to explore. Diver Magazine recently cited diving on the Samana Peninsula as ‘the most dramatic to be found on the Island’. Well, all the dive sites around Cabron and Fronton have something special to offer. The Tower just off Cabo Cabron and Tibisi 1 and 2 are frequently cited as the best sites and that is not without reason. See the map.
But there are also ancient shipwrecks to explore. The ocean in this region boasts some pristine coral reefs, walls, caverns, swim throughs and a marvelous inland cave, complete with a host of marine life.