Jarabacoa in the Dominican Republic is located at the foot of the majestic Dominican Alps. An area often overlooked by tourists, most of whom come to the Dominican Republic seeking beach towns or resorts. Thus, the mountain town of Jarabacoa has retained a quaint and underrated beauty, encapsulating an almost spiritual ambiance. With its dark pine trees and lush forests; tall mountains and rejuvenating waterfalls; freshwater rivers and cool hikes- there are endless things to do in Jarabacoa.
Jimenoa I Waterfall They say Jimenoa I Waterfall is where Jurassic Park was filmed (although Kiskeya Life argues otherwise). This is a beautiful waterfall at the corner of massive rock formations that look almost unworldly. Before the hike to this waterfall, you will pass an interesting bean plantation and have a chance to overlook the waterfall from the very top of the lively green hills. Just this beautiful view from the entrance to the start of the hike is well worth the visit. It's a lovely but steep hike, so bring water and comfortable clothing. The way up will, of course, be harder.
Baiguate Waterfall is a beautiful waterfall with shallow waters that empty into the Baiguate River. You can walk under the waterfall but during the dryer season, you can't really swim since the water is so shallow at about 2 feet high. The highlight to this experience is the horse ride there which is a wonderful adventure through the roads of Jarabacoa town and then into the lush woods.
Salto Secreto (Secret Waterfall)
One of my favorite waterfalls in the Dominican Republic! After a 30 minute drive towards the town of Manabao, you leave the car at a cute storefront with an older who lady sells homemade ice cream and herbal medicinal teas. Then you hike through a finca and at one point walk through a river. So your feet will get wet! Then you reach this awe-inspiring waterfall which you will likely have all to yourself.
Pico Duarte Hike
This is the tallest mountain in the Caribbean and as such, takes full 3 days to complete. The camp base where the hiking starts is about 45 minutes from Jarabacoa driving. The Pico Duarte hike can be a rejuvenating, spiritual (you will likely find yourself by day 3 of this hike - trust me), and overall special experience for both tourists and local Dominicans alike. At the top of the peak are the mountainous views of the Dominican Alps from thousands of feet above sea level and the Dominican flag with a statue of the country's founding father: Juan Pablo Duarte. A must do for lovers of hiking.
Mogote Mountain Hike
If you're limited on time and would rather do a full day hike instead, Mogote Mountain hike is likely your best bet. It's not as quick as the other hikes but takes at least 3 hours up and down to complete. It is is a 4,000 feet climb, with stunning views from above.
Raft down the Yaque del Norte River, the second longest river in the Caribbean with Rancho Baiguate. Depending on the time of the year the rapids can be smoother or a bit stronger. The tallest drop is about 3 meters. This is the perfect experience for both beginners or more experienced rafters.
Alongside professional guides, descend through canyons, down the Baiguate Waterfall and into the Baiguate River. You can also enjoy the lush woods and go for a swim in the crystalline waters. This excursion is also through Rancho Baiguate.
Aguas Blancas + Mountain Cliff Natural Pool
Consider a 90-minute ride from Jarabacoa to see the beautiful region of Constanza. This region is home to tall mountains, meadows, valleys, and stunning outdoor opportunities. Aguas Blancas waterfall, pictured above is close to the mountain cliff natural pool which you can combine together for an epic day trip from Jarabacoa. Fun fact: This region is home to a Japanese diaspora that moved here during the mid-1900s. As such, you may find some remnants of that Japanese influence including communities who still live in the region today.