Samaná, The REAL Coconut Coast of The Dominican Republic
Punta Cana is the most unabashedly touristy corner of the Dominican Republic. The whole resort area was purpose-planned and developed for mass tourism. As such, much of everything about the place is a fabrication. This includes its nickname: La Costa del Coco, or the Coconut Coast.
Punta Cana’s “Drunken” Origins
Rewind to the late-1960s/early-1970s. That’s when local Dominican business tycoon Frank Rainieri acquired the easternmost point of his home country. His intention: to create the glitzy escapist haven we know today as Punta Cana. There was, however, a big problem…
Back then, Rainieri’s purchase was called Punta Borrachón. This translates to “Drunken Point.” Not exactly the best name for the upscale resort playground he envisioned.
(In many ways, though, the old name better fits Punta Cana today, no..?)
Rainieri’s solution, the name Punta Cana, was inspired by the native palma cana. The Coconut Coast tag stems from the coconut palms that line Punta Cana’s 30+ miles of white sand shores.
Coconut palms in Punta Cana, though, pale in comparison to those found further west in Samaná.
Coconut Capital of the Dominican Republic
Millions of coconut palms line the coasts and blanket the hills of Samaná. So much so that some say the name Samaná translates from Taíno to “Coconut Land.” This, however, is very much disputed.
What isn’t in dispute, though, is the absolute importance of coconut farming in the Samaná region. Tourism is on the rise here, but agriculture still drives the Samaná economy. Coconut cultivation, in particular, is king. Nowhere else in the Dominican Republic produces more coconuts than Samaná.
It’s a distinction more worthy of “Coconut Coast” honors than Punta Cana, don’t you think?
*Photo by Patrick Bennett captured near Xëliter Vista Mare Samaná.