Take a trip into the country's lush interior to Jarabacoa, the heart of the Dominican Republic's emerging eco-tourism scene.
Set in the Cordillera Central mountains (referred to as the Dominican Alps) Jarabacoa is a great spot for mountain biking and exploring the alpine trails. White-water rafting is also popular at the nearby Yaque del Norte River. Jarabacoa's biggest attraction, however, is its waterfalls.
There are three waterfalls around Jarabacoa - El Salto de Baiguate, Salto Jimenoa Uno and Salto Jimenoa Dos. The Jimenoa waterfalls are more spectacular and frequently visited than Baiguate, which is in a lush canyon and a little harder to access.
At 60m (196ft) Salto Jimenoa Uno is a tremendous sight, its icy water gushes from a hole in the rock and crashes into a huge pool. It's possible to swim here (and at all the waterfalls) but the water is bracing to say the least.
While not as dramatic as Salto Jimenoa Uno, Salto Jimenoa Dos (40m/130ft) has a more inviting swimming hole (but it's still icy cold!) and is reached via an interesting trail that takes you through a canyon and along suspension bridges.
I loved this excursion!! I only had 5 days (3 full days) in Puerto Plata, so I didn't really have much time to do much and I wanted to get the most out of the resort I was staying at, but this sounded very interesting. Our tour guide (Lidio...?) was really informative and funny! There were 8 of us on the trip (6 were German, so our tour was in German and English, which was good for brushing up on my very dusty German).
I really liked the horse back riding. Everyone else had a Dominican kid on the back of their horse to help control the horse, but there wasn't one for me, so I got to ride solo, but I think I did pretty well. It was so interesting to travel through that area. The waterfall was pretty, but wasn't that special (I've seen better), but the scenery and the bridges were pretty. The meal we had at the ranch was very tasty and fresh. The cigar shop was informative and smelled really nice. I liked the ceramic factory too. Side note: stock up on souvenirs at the ceramic store because everything was very nicely priced (they even had magnets, shot glasses, and other typical souvenirs in addition to the neat pottery).
I highly recommend this tour. It was a great deal for the price. We did so much! The driver was very erratic and fast (like most other drivers down there), but it added to the experience!
It is possible to explore all the waterfalls in a day but a guide is recommended if visiting Baiguate. You can explore the Jimenoa waterfalls without a guide but, if you don't have your own transport, you may want to hire a taxi for the day.
Salto Jimenoa Uno is about 7km (4.5mi) out of Jarabacoa via the road to Constanza. Salto Jimenoa Dos is about 8km (5mi) northeast of Jarabacoa, attracts an entrance fee and is the most frequently visited of the falls.