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La Romana vs Samana or Cuba

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Toronto, Canada
posts: 2,853
reviews: 62
La Romana vs Samana or Cuba

We can get El Portillo, Samana for about the same prices as Playa Pesquero, Holguin Cuba and also Iberostar Ensenachos, Cayo Santa Maria Cuba.

Iberostar Hacienda Dominican La Romana and Dreams La Romana are about $200-$300 more and wondering if they are worth the extra money. All these hotels are 4.5*- 5*

Anyone been to these hotels and can comment on how they compare?

Group of 10 people ages 20-75 and the older folks are pretty active and enjoy dancing.

Important to us:

Nice light sand beach with lots of lounge chairs. Safe for walking and no hassles.

Good food quality. Some of our family get sick easily (Mexico) and concerned about food.

International liquor. Rum, gin, tequila, beer and vodka drinkers.

Good pools and swim up bar would be nice that is warm enough to swim in late February.

A quiet section or adult area to chill out away from kids.

Music or dancing entertainment in the evening. Doesn't have to be a party place tho.

Thanks very much for any help. We are not familiar with these area at all.

posts: 1,279
reviews: 103
1. Re: La Romana vs Samana or Cuba

Hi! Can't talk about Cuba (I wish I could) but Iberostar and Dreams and El Portillo will fit your bill 90%. Not much walking at Dominicus beach (ID and Dreams), sand is hard to walk on and hotel after hotel. But lovely grounds and great food. I love El Portillo also - you can walk for miles, food and liquor is great but there is no swim-up bar and sand is light color but not as white as in Dominicus beach (Bayahibe). No really adult areas in a pool. I personally don't care about the pool but sea is wonderful in all places there.

Edited: 8:53 pm, September 14, 2013
Spruce Grove, Canada
posts: 469
reviews: 75
2. Re: La Romana vs Samana or Cuba

I think I can help you! We went to Melia Las Dunas in September which is on Cayo Santa Maria, in Cuba. You fly into a small airport at Santa Clara and take a 1 1/2 hour bus ride over a very long causeway from the mainland to the island. Cayo Santa Maria is an emerging tourist spot and has miles and miles of pure white sand. I would avoid Cuba in January and February since the weather can get very cool and you may be looking for cover ups instead of sun tanning. Cuba also is very poor and the food and booze is not up to North American standards. Take Heinz catsup and restaurant packs of peanut butter because you will be craving them. Like I said, the beach is fantastic and the water is gin clear, but really there is nothing to see. No reefs and no seaweed, just a sterile environment underwater. Look under my contributions and you can see my pictures and videos when I was in Cuba and then go to Dreams La Romana. Dreams LR is our favourite.

We also went to Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo in January 2013 with our family and really enjoyed the family style resort there. The beach allows good snorkling from shore and it is very beautiful there. The food and booze is not as good as Dreams LR but it the choices are very nice. You can look at our pictures and reviews at all three resorts. The Dominican Republic weather around La Romana and El Portillo is blessed with the Westerly Trade winds and keeps that cold weather that hits Cuba away from their shores.

Dreams LR would be my pick, then GBP EP and then Cuba as my last pick. Dreams LR has top shelf booze at most bars and has a swim up bar in the infinity pool. Dreams LR also has a really good Preferred Section that would allow the adults who want some quiet time away from the "riff-raff", to have their own preferred pool and another quiet spot beside the beach. The preferred quests also get a preferred lounge that is like a small clubhouse with dedicated servers and snacks. The chocolate covered grapes are to die for.

There is a disco at Dreams LR and at GBP El Portillo for those who are young at heart and like the disco music. Dreams LR also is within easy walking distance to a small village called Bayahibe that has a couple of bars and places to dance. You should have a flashlight to walk back along the beach or take a short taxi ride back to the hotel.

In summary, Dreams LR is my recommendation, spend the extra money, it is well worth it for better booze an food, no towel cards, no reservations needed, no wristbands and many ala cartes that can handle a group of your size.


new jersey
posts: 568
reviews: 6
3. Re: La Romana vs Samana or Cuba

there is a path that leads from dominicus to bayahibe. i seen it on the stand up and paddle page or the facebook page. demi can tell you better if you like a long walk. cuba i wouldn't consider until the castro brothers are out and the people have more freedoms. my father in law is cuban won't ever go back for that reason he is up there in age would have been nice to take the trip though with him.

Bayahibe, Dominican...
posts: 3,967
4. Re: La Romana vs Samana or Cuba

I disagree with post number 1 as there are places to walk around in the village, along most of the beaches but you wouldnt find thelong wide beach. If you staying at Dominicus area you will bw next door to the National East park and there is a wild, long but narrow beach. There are also pathways inside the park for trekking or to horseride with caves, semi dry tropical forest and springwater pools.

There is a pathway as they told you very nice walk in the middle of the forest from Dominicus to Bayahibe (dont forget you repellent and bottle of water if you take this walk)

You have several reefs to snorkel and dive nearby the few resorts

You have the islands to explore

You can use the public transport and go to Bayahibe village and blend with the people. It is safe and entretaint

Plenty of activities to do if you want to do something

Berkeley, CA
posts: 42
reviews: 14
5. Re: La Romana vs Samana or Cuba

I have never been to Cuba (one day soon!) but within the Dominican Republic La Romana would be my choice.

It has a much better infrastructure, the beach is more pristine, etc.

Bayahibe beach (where Dreams is) is amazing.

Samana is kind of newer area that is just starting to be developed over the last 8 years or so. Have never stayed in a resort there.

Second to Bayhibe (aka La Romana) is Punta Cana, lots of great prices there too!

Hope this helps.


Edited: 12:03 am, September 26, 2013
new jersey
posts: 568
reviews: 6
6. Re: La Romana vs Samana or Cuba

good luck traveler you have to get permission from the state dept if your from cali. unless your jz doing a culture exchange with connections like obama then your good to go to cuba. we are going to the iberostar in dominicus.$ 2,098.00 7 nights direct flight from nj with transfers and insurance. i would like to try dreams one day but the price is over $3000.00 for a garden view room. that is with a ocean front room at iberostar as well. i go twice a year. at some point when the prices are closer together i will do it. and they have been in the past. have fun on your trips everyone.

Mississauga, Canada
posts: 36
7. Re: La Romana vs Samana or Cuba

Funtimes85, traveler is from Canada. No travel restrictions to Cuba.

new jersey
posts: 568
reviews: 6
8. Re: La Romana vs Samana or Cuba

thanks looks like berkerley CA. sorry for the misunderstanding.

Berkeley, CA
posts: 42
reviews: 14
9. Re: La Romana vs Samana or Cuba

Fun times I figure by the time I go to Cuba the travel restrictions might be lifted? That's gotta happen one day soon.

new jersey
posts: 568
reviews: 6
10. Re: La Romana vs Samana or Cuba

LOL mark! some one just said you were from canada? well see what happens. would be nice for both countries.