This bite-sized chunk of land that dangles from the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic was once an oasis of locally owned hotels and other mom-and-pop establishments in a country where international franchises dominate. Things have changed in recent years. A new airport and highway have made the area more accessible, and developers of large, all-inclusive resorts have begun to snatch up "some of the most charming beaches and coves in the country."
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
"Trend is toward overdevelopment. Strong planning is needed to retain the region’s integrity. If beaches and natural resources are protected, it may be able to support a sustainable level of tourism and benefit the country in the long run."
"Government has not been successful in balancing development with social and environmental concerns. Although the country claims on paper that large areas are under protection, the reality on the ground is quite different.”
"Samaná has reached its tipping point. You can see changes taking place daily here. The new road, new airport, and other government projects are putting great stress on one of the most charming beach destinations in the country."
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
See all the winning images from the 2014 Traveler Photo Contest.