There are few sights in nature more dramatic and moving than that of a majestic leviathan of the seas (or better yet, a pod of them), and a number of areas around the world are known as great places to go spot them on their annual migrations. The Dominican Republic ranks high on that list, particularly the eastern stretch of its north shore called Samaná, a four-hour drive east from Puerto Plata and its nearby Costa Dorada resort area, and also fairly easily reachable from resorts in Punta Cana, Bayahibe, and La Romana

From mid-January to mid-March, thousands of humpback whales make their way from the North Atlantic down to the waters of the Silver Banks and Samaná Bay to calve and mate. From 20-foot calves to adults reaching up to 50-plus feet in length, these majestic marine mammals provide a fairly close-in offshore spectacle that has created and sustained a vigorous local whale-watching industry.

Amazing Aquatic Antics

And let me tell you, it ain’t just an occasional flipper, fin, and flip o’ the tail, but some dramatic antics indeed. Males breach up to their full lengths in attempts to attract females, and it’s probably the most spectacular biological sight I’ve ever had the honor to witness in person.

Tours range in scale and price from the simple (simple open fishing boats) to the cushy (80-passenger motorized craft with restrooms and other amenities). Top choices include Victoria Marine Samaná, Transporte Marítimo Minadiel, and Moto Marina. There are even a few operators, such as Conscious Breath Adventures, that will bring you out to swim, snorkel, and dive among these sensational cetaceans (save your pennies for that one, of course).

Longtime travel journalist and guidebook author David Paul Appell is CEO of Tripatini.com and its parent EnLinea Media LLC, an online content provider and social media management company. 

Photo | Boulderite

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