The Yaque del Norte is the longest river in the Dominican Republic and a popular destination for whitewater rafting. Running through the beautiful scenery of the Cordillera Central mountains, the river offers a combination of thrill-seeking and great views.
Part of the Dominican Republic’s emerging ecotourism scene, rafting on the Yaque del Norte River is becoming increasingly popular for visitors to the country. The river has Class II, III, and IV rapids, and depending on the amount of rainfall the ride can be mildly heart-racing or wet and wild.
Many Yaque del Norte River whitewater rafting tours are available, most of which originate in the mountain town of Jarabacoa, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of Puerto Plata. In addition to the rapids, visitors can explore the area around the river, where horseback riding, swimming under waterfalls, mountain biking, and hiking are popular activities.
Things to Know Before You Go
- If you’re planning to go rafting, wear suitable footwear that can get wet, along with your swimsuit and quick-drying clothes.
- Adventure activities like rafting and mountain biking are best suited for active types.
- Accommodation is available in Jarabacoa for those who want to explore the region for a few days.
How to Get There
Access to the Yaque del Norte River is via Jarabacoa in the Cordillera Central mountains. There are no direct buses from Puerto Plata to Jarabacoa, so most visitors arrive by private car or participate in full-day tours from Puerto Plata that include round-trip transportation.
When to Get There
The region around the Yaque del Norte River can be visited at any time, and Jarabacoa is well known for its pleasant springlike weather. For whitewater rafting, the summer months are best, when the water levels are at their highest.
Freshwater Pools in Jarabacoa
A highlight of a trip to the Jarabacoa region is a dip in one of two freshwater pools—La Confluencia and La Cortina—fed by the Yaque del Norte River and surrounded by lush vegetation. Just 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) outside Jarabacoa, La Confluencia is popular with picnicking families and especially crowded (and loud) on weekends. A bit farther out, La Cortina is named for the curtain formed by the water as it falls into the swimming hole.