Outdoor adventures in the Dominican Republic

27 waterfallsBeyond Santo Domingo and the resorts of Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic is wide open for travelers looking for outdoor adventure. On a recent trip to the country’s Samaná Peninsula and parts of the North Coast, I was able to take part in four distinctly different experiences that only scratch the surface of the great outdoors in the DR.

Horseback riding to Salto El Limón. Smack in the middle of the Samaná Peninsula, the Salto El Limón (Lemon Waterfall) is a 170-foot cascade that falls into a swimming hole, giving people a welcome reward at the end of a long trek. The trail winds through the jungle, and most visitors go on horseback from local paradas (“stops,” but in this case, the word refers to horseback tour outfitters) located conveniently along the road that cuts across the peninsula. My horse and I started out from Parada Basilio y Ramona (Tel. 829-661-4137) with our guide, and after a long route through the jungle and across the Río Limón, I plunged into the waterfall pool to cool off. After the ride, I had a typical Dominican lunch at the home of Basilio and Ramona—chicken, rice, beans, salad, plantains and Presidente beer.

Parque Nacional Los Haitises. Take a boat ride across Samaná Bay to visit Los Haitises National Park—rich with rock islands, mangrove estuaries and caves with Taino pictographs. Amilka Tours is one outfitter among a handful that make the half-day trip easy. Finish your voyage with a swim, and you’re ready to spend the rest of the day on the beach.

27 Waterfalls of Damajagua.
See how extreme you can be in a scramble up 27 waterfalls, only to turn around and slide or jump back down to the beginning. This canyoneering adventure is located in the forest near Puerto Plata, and your admission fee helps to maintain the natural monument as well as fund community projects (such as providing a school bus and constructing wells and community centers). Go it alone, or hire a tour company, but if you want to go to all 27 waterfalls, the Iguana Mama eco-tour operator is the only one to do so.

Snorkel or scuba in Sosúa. Halfway between Puerto Plata and Cabarete lies the town of Sosúa—considered one of the best dive sites along the North Coast. Dive in the ocean along the coral reef, in a mangrove forest, or in a freshwater lagoon. Snorkeling sites abound as well, and my favorite snorkeling moment was being surrounded by Sergeant Major fish as I floated above a rock outcrop covered in coral. More than a few dive companies offer services here; I took a three-hour snorkeling trip with Northern Coast Diving.

Have you been to the North Coast of the Dominican Republic? Did you hang out on the beach or head for the hills? Give your best tips in the comments section.

I was in the Dominican Republic as a guest of the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, but the opinions in this post are my own.

Posted by | Comments (5)  | July 23, 2010
Category: Adventure Travel, Destinations

5 Responses to “Outdoor adventures in the Dominican Republic”

  1. Joel | Blog Of Impossible Things Says:

    27 Waterfalls is absolutely the best experience I had while I was in the DR.

    I want to go back just for that =)

  2. Rebecca Says:

    Haven’t been to the Dominican Republic but I know other travelers that have. They rave about it. Horseback riding to Salto El Limón does sound like a lot of fun.

  3. DPB Says:

    I have visited the D.R. 3 times in the last 7months, I love it there. Hassle free travelling. And yes absolutley beautiful beaches, people, and atmosphere. Sosua is a small area, lets hope remains that way..

  4. Shirly Says:

    This is what we call the great outdoors. I love the description of the places and I absolutely want to give it a try. I have also heard about the 27 waterfalls and it looks great.

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