Condé Nast Traveller called Playa Rincón one of the top 10 beaches in the Caribbean, and we concur. It's reason enough to go to Las Galeras. In the background appear the cliffs of Cape Cabrón at 600m (1,970 ft.).

If you're a beach buff, this is the best beach on the peninsula, and you'll often have its sands to yourself. Don't expect much in the way of facilities. It's best to take whatever supplies you need, although vendors come around hawking food and drink. A rocky road leads to it from Las Galeras, taking 40 minutes by jeep along a rough track. A much easier way to go is to take a ferry departing daily from Dive Samaná, Calle las Galeras, and costing RD$150 for the 20-minute ride.

Many families from Santo Domingo come to Playa Rincón to camp out for the night as a base opening onto Bahía Rincón. The beach is tranquil, its waters calm, as it is protected by two large capes at each end. During the day the waters are a bright turquoise. This beach, with interruptions, stretches along a 7km (4 1/3-mile) stretch of diamond-white sands set against the backdrop of a coconut forest.

One daytime thrill from the southern tier of Playa Rincón is to take a 1km (.75-mile) trail north to Río Frío. The waters of this river are freezing cold even in summer, but locals like to go here to wash off the sand and salt from Playa Rincón. In our view, there's no better place in the Dominican Republic for cooling off on a hot day. Facilities along this beach, other than a fish hut here or there, are very few. There's talk of big development, but right now you can wander like Robinson Crusoe, sometimes walking for a mile before encountering another beach bum.

Of course, if you don't want to make that trek to Playa Rincón, all you have to do is walk out your door to discover the sands of Playa Las Galeras itself. This half-mile beach of white sands lies in a tranquil and beautiful setting at the eastern end of Samaná Peninsula. Many foreign visitors practically never leave the beach all day, taking lunch at one of the fish huts that line parts of the beach. A small palm-tree island lies out in the bay.

The adjoining beach of Cala Blanca is even more spectacular, a picture postcard of Caribbean charm with its tranquil turquoise waters and swaying palms. The offshore reef breaks the waves, so the waters are very gentle here, which makes this beach a particular favorite of families with young children.

Other beaches in the area, also lovely and filled with white sand, are more difficult to reach. To the immediate east is the beautiful Playa Madama, ridged by crags and rocks and set against a cave-studded backdrop. The water here is excellent for snorkeling, but there are no facilities.

The adjoining Playa Colorado is another beautiful stretch of sand set against a backdrop of tropical plants, including coconut palms.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.