Among its features are protected islands that serve as nesting sites for pelicans and frigate birds, caves with pre-Columbian pictographs and petroglyphs, and mangrove-lined river tributaries. In the winter, many whales calve in the bay. It is a significant breeding site for the Humpback whale (McCann, 1994, page 11). 
Samaná Bay lies along the boundary between the North American Plate and the Caribbean plate. Two named fault lines run the length of Samaná Bay. These fault lines form the western terminal of the nineteen degree fault, that runs north of Puerto Rico and most of Hispaniola to form the northern boundary of the Caribbean plate. 
Adjoining the bay is Los Haitises National Park, which is popular with national and international ecotourist visitors. Samaná Bay also has 4-star hotels.
The Franklin Pierce administration instructed a special agent to negotiate a treaty permitting the United States to establish a naval base in Samaná Bay, resulting in an agreement in October 1854. However, the British and French envoys convinced the Dominican government to insert a stipulation that Dominican citizens be treated as white people in the United States, which made it a nonstarter because of the prevailing racism which had to be respected by the U.S. government. Again, in the aftermath of the American Civil War, US Secretary of State William H. Seward formed a plan to purchase or lease Samaná Bay for the United States, which was then seeking bases for its navy in the Caribbean. However, the plan failed - partly due to hostility between Congress and President Johnson. making Congress reluctant to allocate funds for the purpose.
- McCann, Jennifer (1994). "Incorporating Local Community Attitudes, Beliefs and Values, Into Coastal Zone Management Solutions: A Case Study Samana Bay, Dominican Republic". Theses and Major Papers. Paper 231.
- Larue, DK; Ryan, HF (1998). Lidiak, Edward G.; Larue, David K., eds. Tectonics and Geochemistry of the Northeastern Caribbean (Special Paper 322 ed.). Boulder, Colorado: Geological Society of America. ISBN 0-8137-2322-1. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
- Schoultz, Lars (1998). Beneath the United States: a history of U.S. policy toward Latin America ([Fourth printing]. ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University: Harvard University Press. p. 81. ISBN 0-674-92276-X.
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