Have a whale of a time in the Dominican Republic
Whale-watching season is on the way in the Dominican Republic
The annual pilgrimage of these marine mammals to the Bay of Samana, on the country’s northeast coast, attracts more than 40,000 tourists each year. Visitors take a 30-minute boat ride in order to get a first-hand look at the magnificent humpback whales, which usually stay in the warm waters until March. Visitors who do not want to get on boats may use a brand new observatory instead. Built by the Ministry of the Environment, it is situated near the town of Samana. The ministry is responsible for the overall welfare of the whales during their pilgrimage to Dominican waters, and charges a fee for all those interested in observing the mammals. A mandatory code of conduct regulates the management of the boats that go out to observe the whales.
A leader in eco-tourism, the Dominican Republic created the world’s first Whale Sanctuary, and has established protection zones for more than 20 per cent of its land and coastal areas. The Bay of Samana has been declared as the ‘home of the humpback whales’ in the Caribbean. These huge marine mammals travel to these warm waters for their annual mating rituals.
The Samana region is a mountainous peninsula marked by its close relationship to the surrounding waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The area is known for its lush tropical vegetation, and its mountains and pristine beaches are completely covered with thousands of coconut trees. Situated some two hours north from the capital city of Santo Domingo, the region offers a modern international airport and a facility for small aircraft.
Images © Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism