Here is what Fodor’s says about Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic…
Las Terrenas is the main tourist base on the Samaná Peninsula. It, rather than Santa Barbara de Samaná, the peninsula’s biggest town, is the true center of a visit to the region. The main roads from the southern part of the peninsula end up at the busy center of town along the water, where you can find lots of bars and shopping. Some visitors looking to get away from civilization may find it overcrowded, but others will enjoy the variety of restaurants and nightlife.
The center of town is split by a river outlet to the sea. To the east the beach is known as Playa Punta Popy, and this is the least desirable of the five big public beaches in Las Terrenas. To the west of the river in the middle of town is where much of the action is—you’ll know you’re here when you pass the Kick’n Ass Bar and Grill. A short distance later—beyond this partly Americanized section—the commercial flows into the charming at a conglomeration of restaurants along the beach called Pueblo de los Pescadores. The beach here is called Playa Las Terrenas. There’s a casino farther along the road. Beyond this, the beach becomes even less commercial and more attractive, stretching to where the road ends: this is Playa Ballenas, named for the offshore rock islands that appear to resemble humpback whales.
As nice as Playa Las Ballenas is, Playa Cosón and Playa Bonita offer are even quieter and less trafficked since they’re farther away from the town. At Playa Bonita you can bounce between the golden beach and one of the hotels directly across the rough road, where you can have lunch. Hotel Acaya is one of these hotels and has an open-air restaurant and bar.
Playa Cosón is an unspoiled 12-mi stretch of white sand, the best beach in Las Terrenas. At the time of this writing there were no finished developments along the main beach, but a number of condos were under construction. You can add a pool and drinks to your stay here by buying a day-pass at one of two all-inclusive resorts, which have long private beaches along the Bahía Cosón.