Below is how I traveled from Cabarete to Samaná:
Alejate Con Ale
As a Dominican-American, it is important to me to use the local public transportation and support local Dominican businesses. As a photographer, this gives me more options to shoot locations that are not saturated with images.
Whale watching can be quite a tourist hub and I was not interested in that kind of vibe. I understand that some tourists feel safer using large tour companies. But most of those companies overcharge and create an environment that is not welcoming to Dominicans living on the island. The latter is not worth a faux environment of safety.
This is where, Alejate Con Ale came in. A friend recommended her and I had been following her even since. Oh how I desperately wished to leave the winters of New York to go on one of her excursions. Her group, Los Alejados, run excursions to “lugares pocos conocidos” or little known places in the Dominican Republic. While her Samaná whale watching trip is one of her more “touristy” tours, the tone of the excursion still felt Dominican.
Everything was under $80 USD (I saw prices up to $200USD online). It included the boat tour, transportation to and from Cayo Levantado and food. Ale’s staff speak English but because the group was made up of Dominican locals and visitors, everything was run in Spanish.
Cabarete to Samaná
I chose to meet up with the Alejados in Samaná which meant I had to travel on my own from Cabarete.
The easiest route was to take the Transporte Papagayo which leaves from Puerto Plata and goes through the north coast. I called the driver the day before to confirm his schedule and waited for him at the bus stop a few meters from the eXtreme Hotel. The motoconcho drivers were very sweet, they waited with me and even assisted me to wave the bus driver over.
On the way to the Samaná City, the bus makes several stops in case you want to head to Las Terrenas or any other town in the providence. Transporte Papagayo was ideal for me because it is a family-run business and felt safe. They dropped me off on the Malecon, which is also where the port for the boats is.
The contact number for the driver is (809) 749-6415 and the price was $350 DOP. You can use the same service from Samaná to Cabarete on your return trip but in Samaná there are many more options. The bus stop, called Santo Domingo, (any motoconcho driver will know where to take you) has many destination options and is close to the Malecon.
I stayed at the Sunhouse Bed & Breakfast. I highly recommend it for anyone needing basic accommodations for a few nights. The host, Richard, is helpful, there is hot water in the showers and the breakfast included was a sweet addition. There are many other hotel options in Samaná and of course, some giant resort chains.