My wife, two children and I had a fabulous, positive experience for the week of February 14 through February 21 in Samana, DR. Jacqueline and her husband, Nadin, made us feel welcome and they were very helpful to us. They are generous and patient hosts, who dealt with our questions in a most helpful manner.
Their home in Samana at Puerto Bahia is beautiful--in fact we thought that Jacqueline had understated its qualities. The property is ideally located and there was plenty to do; whale watching off coast, beach at Cayo Levantado (URL HIDDEN) visiting UNESCO-protected completely natural park at Los Haitises, Samana itself) or just sitting by the pool wondering why one should do anything.
The La Regatta restaurant at the Bannister Hotel (10 minutes of a walk) is of a high quality with a large menu. (It would help if one spoke or could read Spanish, though we did not and muddled by just fine.
Samana itself is an area that less developed than other more "touristy" areas of DR. There are a number of quite good restaurants, many French and Russian tourists but few American tourists when we were there except those off the Costa cruise ship who came on land for a few hours.
Our visit to the local open-air market was a tremendous experience for us: fresh fish and vegetables in abundance and chaos all around. Our taxi driver came into the market with us. He negotiated for about 30 minutes over the price of fish we had decided to buy to cook on the grill, which became a matter of honor for both the seller and he! The bid-ask spread was approximately 100 pesos (~US$2) on a total cost of about US$12 for 6 kg of just-caught fish. Regardless, we were not allowed to intervene in the discussion which became heated at times, but ended in smiles.
We highly recommend this property and we intend to return to Samana and Puerto Bahia.
Thank you again to Jacqueline and Nadin!