Rise early with morning hotel pickup in Puerto Plata, and fuel up for your day tour with a light Dominican-style breakfast at a restaurant in Rio San Juan. Then you'll be whisked by air-conditioned minivan to the Samaná wharf, where you'll hop aboard a boat and jet off to Los Haitises National Park, located in San Lorenzo Bay. These lush rainforests are a protected sanctuary for various species of crustaceans, reptiles and birds dotting the rocky island hills.
Zigzag through mangrove swamps, navigating the dozens of canals created by the more than 100 rivers crossing one another in the park. Keep your camera out to snap shots of carp, crab, oysters, river shrimp and manatees. Then explore the park’s caverns — Cueva de la Arena, Cueva de la Linea and Cueva de San Gabriel — marked with petroglyphs. Learn about these pictorial records believed to have been made by the Tainos, the area’s first inhabitants.
Your captain guides you onto the open waters of San Lorenzo Bay. Pass by Cayo de los Pájaros (Bird Island), home to birds like brown pelicans, royal terns and frigate birds, and continue on to the postcard-worthy paradise of Cayo Levantado, or Bacardi Island, as it's also known. Head to a private area of the beach, where a buffet lunch that includes lobster awaits, along with an open bar of beer, soda and water.
After lunch, enjoy free time to swim in the turquoise waters. Dig your toes into the powdery white sand and enjoy use of a private chaise lounge. Sip a final farewell drink, and then relax as you’re transported back to your hotel in Puerto Plata.