Touring the Samana Peninsula during a winter escape this year and came across this great little beach hideout called Las Terrenas. A sort of sub culture laid-back beach village that has become inhabited by French nationals. It's got all the necessities...beach, mountains, surf, Dominican coffee, French wine and boulangeries.
The road to town winds upward thru some impressively steep terrrain, suddenly opening up to an expansive amazing view of thick palm forests marching dead into the sea.
Had some great Italian food and few bottles of wine with friends from Santo Domingo, all sprawled out on outdoor cane sectional sofas remniscient of South Beach but without the pricey menus.
When in Las terrenas, check out some of the island excursions, kayaking, or whale watches if in season.
Oh and don't worry overmuch about the language, here French will get you by too.