After staying in Las Terrenas 10 days, we started to wonder what else is there in different corners of Samana Peninsula. We started to think about exploring the eastern tip of the peninsula, Las Galeras, really close to where Christopher Colombus first landed in the Americas! Our next question is: Is riding a scooter (pasola), a moped, from Las Terrenas to Samana a good idea?
Specifically, we were thinking about taking highway number 7 from Las Terrenas to Sanchez and then number 5 from Sanchez to Las Galeras. After a little research online, I found a blog post by 2 Traveling Lovers from January 2019 who did a similar route. It helped me decide to do this trip.
I recorded more information about each stretch of the road that I wish I had known such as the environment, the elevation change, and the kilometers for each stretch. Hopefully, you will find the details you need to decide.
I should also mention that I am an experienced scooter driver. I had driven in the big cities with busy traffic in Taiwan – but not nearly as “crazy” as in cities in Vietnam of Thailand. I had also driven in the winding mountains in the rain in Taiwan. So there you go. Judge for yourself. Message me on Instagram if you have questions: @supermei_travel.
I also include the scooter rental information at the end of this blog post.
Just leaving the town Las Terrenas
Almost right after we left the town of Las Terrenas, we had to ride up and down some pretty steep hills. This one in the picture above wasn’t the steepest we had to go over.
I was glad that our scooter was 125cc and was powerful enough to ride up the hill. I had to break constantly along some parts when going downhill.
We were going around 30km the whole way in this mountainous stretch, but most people went faster than us, except for this older guy carrying a huge bag of bananas at the back of his scooter.
Las Terrenas to The View Point overlooking Haitises National Park
You can’t miss this viewpoint. It is magnificent! It’s going to come right up to you on your left. The picture above is just for our memeory. It barely does the justice to this stunning landscape.
The View Point Down to Sanchez
This part was a steep descend that continued for about 3 km until we got to the bottom of the hill, which was the town called Sanchez. It was not scary steep, but it was the kind of hill that I needed to break constantly. That was why we didn’t have a picture for this stretch.
*On the way back, we tried the road from Samana through the town Limon back to Las Terrenas, and it was so much easier and less steep than going through Sanchez! I highly recommend avoiding Sanchez and going through Limon instead! See the map in the section Other Notes below.
Sanchez to Samaná (34 km)
This stretch from Sanchez to Samaná is highway number 5. It’s close to the ocean but we couldn’t see the ocean when we were on the road. It had some slight ups and downs.
We passed by many small towns, people hanging out along the side of the highway, or shouting things across the road. We also saw some minivans – be careful, they usually drive unusually slow so they back up traffic, and they stop or slow down suddenly without any warnings.
People drove much faster on this road. Stay to your right if you want to ride a bit slower. Most parts of the road have barriers on the side.
Pedestrians who appeared close to the side of the highway most of the time didn’t seem to be paying attention to the existence of upcoming vehicles. I didn’t try to honk to remind them of my existence, but I slowed down enough so they heard me coming.
Arriving in Samaná
Roads instantly got a lot worse. It was surprising. There were wide potholes that we couldn’t escape from because they covered our whole lane. Also, some, not many, of the potholes had more potholes within them! I tried to maintain a slow speed throughout all of them. The road condition was better in the town itself.
You’re going to see a lot more people occupying the side of the road right when you come up to Samana.
Samaná to Las Galeras
When we first left Samaná , there were a lot of huge potholes in the middle of the road – slow down because they might come up to you right after a turn! Some are longer than your scooter! This one in the picture below is a small pothole.
After we passed this view point below that would came up from our right, the road condition improved.
The road after the view point all the way to Las Galeras was pretty well-paved. It looked like this picture below. There were some slight ups and downs right before we arrived in Las Galeras but not much.
Entering Las Galeras
Easy peasy! The whole trip from Las Terrenas to Las Galeras took us around 2.5 hours, a total of 68 km. We took it slow and also stayed in Samaná .
Gas Stations: There was one right before we left Las Terrenas. There were a couple more before we got to Samaná . There were 2 gas stations in Samaná. There was only one big Texaco between Samaná and Las Galeras.
There weren’t many vehicles the whole time but I wasn’t sure if it was because of covid19 and people weren’t going out as much. Most of the time, I could ride 30-40 km per hour comefortably without feeling being tailgated.
*On the way back, we tried the road from Samana through the town Limon back to Las Terrenas, and it was so much easier and less steep than going through Sanchez! I highly recommend avoiding Sanchez and going through Limon instead! See the map below.
Scooter: Where to Rent and How Much?
We rented our scooter in Las Terrenas. The owner let me try two different scooters around town before I rented one – which I thought was necessary because we were going to ride up to the mountains. Test the brakes and check the groves of both wheels!
Price: 100 USD for 7 days – the usual price around town was 20 USD a day. There was a deposit of 800 USD which I wish they had told us about before they swiped our debit card. This deposit was said to be enough to cover the cost of a brand new scooter if we don’t bring ours back.
Condition of the scooter: This shop had scooters that looked and felt new. Despite that, the one I rented didn’t have a kick stand like it usually should to stand your scooter sideway. The seat also didn’t lock so we couldn’t leave things in the scooters. Neither were problems for us. The brakes could have been better, but they were still within the safe range.