Jarabacoa in the Dominican Republic is a quaint mountain town located at the foot of the majestic Dominican Alps. This area is often overlooked by tourists, most of whom travel to the Dominican Republic seeking our beautiful beach towns or resorts. Thus, 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.
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Visit Jarabacoa’s Many Waterfalls
Jarabacoa is home to some of the best waterfalls in the Dominican Republic. Here are just a few of the many natural wonders in this Dominican hidden gem.
If you’re not renting a car, we recommend hiring taxi drivers to get around from place to place. You can inquire with your hotel or home rental for taxi services.
1) Jimenoa I Waterfall
Local rumor is that the Jimenoa I Waterfall is where Jurassic Park was filmed (although Kiskeya Life argues otherwise). This beautiful waterfall is at the corner of massive rock formations that look almost out of this world. Before the hike to this waterfall, you will pass an interesting bean plantation and have the chance to see 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 to Jimenoa I Waterfall. It’s a lovely but steep hike, so bring water and comfortable clothing. The way up will, of course, be harder. It takes about 30 minutes to go down and 45 minutes to get back up.
Please note: No swimming is allowed by the falls during certain times of the year for safety reasons.
Transportation: 15 minutes by car to the entrance. Then a 30-minute hike down a beautiful path of copper-red soil surrounded by pine trees.
2) Baiguate Waterfall
Baiguate is a beautiful waterfall with shallow waters (during dry season) that empty into the Baiguate River. You can walk under the waterfall during the dryer season, but you can’t really swim since the water is so shallow at about 2 feet high. In the wet season, the water level rises and you can have a proper swim in the natural pool. The highlight of this experience is the horse ride there which is a wonderful adventure through the roads of Jarabacoa town and then into the lush woods.
You can get to Baiguate Waterfall by car (10 min drive) and a short 15-minute walk. Or you can take a horse directly there for 30-50 minutes (depending on how fast you ride) plus the walk down.
Cost: $30 per person includes horse and guide.
3) Salto Secreto (Secret Waterfall)
This is hands down one of my favorite places to visit 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. For local tours, contact Silo: (809) 413-2491 on Whatsapp.
4) The 27 Waterfalls Park (Damajagua)
This is a lot more touristy so avoid it if you prefer raw nature. However, if you like sliding down rock formations and jumping into the water, then this might be the place for you. The 27 Waterfalls is a natural park complex of dozens of waterfalls along the Damajagua River. You will slide, jump, hike, and climb up and down this natural limestone water park. It is approximately 2 hours from Jarabacoa.
Cost: This varies depending on if you want a tour or going on your own. For a group tour, it’s about $80 per person and that includes lunch and hotel pick up from Puerto Plata.
5) Jimenoa II Waterfall
This waterfall is currently closed due to a storm that collapsed the hanging bridge which connected travelers to the waterfall. This is the easiest waterfall to get to in Jarabacoa. So I would also probably rate this one as the least impressive but easiest for travelers who don’t want to walk much. It’s still beautiful to see, but I’d only recommend this one for when it’s fixed and if you are looking for a short walk to a waterfall.
Hiking Around Jarabacoa
6) Hike the Tallest Mountain in the Caribbean: El Pico Duarte
Pico Duarte is the tallest mountain in the Caribbean and as such, takes 2-3 days to complete. The Pico Duarte camp base where the hiking starts is about 45 minutes from Jarabacoa driving. And it is a national pride for many of us Dominicans to complete this hike.
The Pico Duarte hike can be rejuvenating, spiritual (you will likely find yourself by day 3 of this hike – trust me), and overall a 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 outdoor lovers.
Here is my comprehensive guide to hiking Pico Duarte if you are interested in learning more about it.
Cost: $350 per person (or $500 for one person). Book your Pico Duarte tour here.
7) Valle de Tetero Hike
The cold Yaque del Sur River runs through the cool lush valley of El Valle de Tetero. Located halfway between the Manabao camp base and the top of Pico Duarte, you can easily combine both Pico Duarte + Valle de Tetero as a 4-day hiking excursion. After a day hike to get here, you can set up your tent, go for a swim in the river, make a bonfire to cook your food, and just… relax.
Cost: $400 per person if combine with Pico Duarte as a 4-day tour. Book your Valle de Tetero tour here.
8) El Mogote Mountain Hike
If you’re limited on time and would rather do a full-day hike instead, El Mogote Mountain hike is likely your best bet. It’s not as quick as the waterfall hikes since it takes at least 3 hours up and down to complete. It is a 4,000 feet climb, with stunning views from above. This is moderate-level hiking.
Relaxing & Rejuvenating in Jarabacoa
9) Professional Massage + Facial
Get an hour massage by a professionally trained masseuse (Margarita) who comes to your house in a little tuk-tuk. This facial was one of the best I’ve ever had, and for once I felt a noticeable difference in my extremely sensitive skin! Margarita also gave me one of the best massages I’ve had in years. This is the cherry on the top of an adventurous and sometimes physically exerting time through Jarabacoa.
She’s a smart lady and her business is excellent! We love supporting Margarita’s work. Message her on Whatsapp for her services: (829)333-9709.
Please note: NO CREEPY MEN. She actually had to move from Sosua because the European/American men kept getting inappropriate with her at her business and soliciting her. NOT OK! She will call the police if you try anything inappropriate.
Cost: About $50/hour for a massage.
10) Aroma la Montana in Jamaca de Dios
This is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful restaurants you’ll likely visit in the Dominican Republic. Coming here is one of the best things to do in the Dominican Republic! Perched at the very top of Jamaca de Dios, a tall mountain residential area, you will find the restaurant: Aroma la Montana. The food here is delicious, but the views of the valley and Dominican Alps alone are well worth the 15 minute drive up.
Cost: Plates range between $10 and $30 dollars depending on what you order. You can always grab a coffee or lemonade if you’re on a budget but want to appreciate the views.
ADRENALINE ADVENTURES IN JARABACOA
11) River Rafting
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 and more experienced rafters.
Cost: $50 per person -includes lunch, a small break with snacks, and round trip transportation.
Paragliding is a highlight experience for adventure lovers coming to Jarabacoa. You can go with a professional pilot and roam the skies above the Jarabacoa valleys.
Cost: $60ish per person
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.
Cost: $50 per person – includes breakfast and lunch. There is a two-person minimum or you can pay $100 to go solo.
Soak in the Local Dominican Culture in Jarabacoa
One of the best parts of travel is culture. If you’re interested, check out our Dominican culture guide to better contextualize your DR experience before you go. Here are some Jarabacoa things to do for cultural immersion.
14) Have BBQ by the River at the Foot of a Small Village Town
Getting to this part of the river for the BBQ is half the fun. You will go through a local small village, stop by the local shop (colmado) to buy beverages or drinks. And then walk alongside the river and cross it on foot to get to a quaint patch of land where you will all cook together. It’s best to start this before sunset and then continue onto the night with a bonfire, drinks, and music.
15) Ramirez Coffee Factory Tour
Spanish-speaking tour of a local Jarabacoa coffee factory. I don’t think the coffee experience is that great, to be honest. It does provide an insight to the coffee process which I think could be fun if you’ve never seen the coffee plant before. It’s also an experience that’s easy to do with kids or those who are not able to go on more physically exerting adventures.
Cost: $20 for two people
16) Explore the Jarabacoa Nightlife
Party lovers can still partake in some nightlife fun sometimes in quaint Jarabacoa. Although we don’t want this mountain town’s peace ruined, you can enjoy some local nightlife. Some locals like to go dancing at Entre Amigos disco and bar, Venue Bar & Lounge, or grab a drink at Camelot Sports Bar— to name a few nightlife venues.
Indulge in the Jarabacoa’s Local Gastronomy
17) Jarabacoa Food Truck Park
This open-air community space is both a children’s playground and a food truck park offering an array of international cuisine. For a few dollars, you can take a taxi to this part of town and spend your evening eating typical Dominican food, local Colombian arepas, Mexican tacos, or good ‘ole American pizza –to name a few options. The space is adorned with art murals, decorative lights, and colorful tables/chairs to spend a fun or relaxing dinner night. Check out their Instagram here. [CHECK IF ITS CLOSED OR OPEN]
18) El Taino Restaurant
Hands down, the most delicious Dominican restaurant in town. It’s by no means a fancy place. You will order from an open buffet behind a glass window. In return, you’ll be handed a styrofoam box of the different items. But everything was delicious. Especially their rotisserie chicken. Don’t miss out on the table sour sauce. If you want to try local Dominican food, this is the place.
This is the complete opposite of El Taino Restaurant except it’s also delicious. Gigantic burgers with sides are their famed dishes here. One burger dish is enough for two people. Non-burger eaters will have other options to choose from. The tables are in a very cute outdoor patio upstairs with a beautiful and modern decor. Sometimes they have live music.
20) Cafe Colao
A beautiful cafe on an artistic street full of colorful umbrellas. Inside you can get sweets, snacks, and drinks. It gets very busy on the weekends so get there early to snag a good seat.
Day Trip to Constanza from Jarabacoa
Constanza is also an amazing place to situate yourself during your travels through the Dominican Alps. It’s the next best place after Jarabacoa and is PERFECT if you love being deep in the mountain nature. Constanza also offers some of the most beautiful home rentals and Airbnbs in the Dominican Republic.
21) 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.
22) Strawberry Picking in Constanza
Visiting Fresas Ariyama for strawberry picking is perfect for families! Or for those with limited mobility and who don’t want to hike or do anything too strenuous. Our friend Jenny (pictured above) loves this place as it’s perfect for her and her family to spend a day on the farms relaxing and eating farm-to-table goodies.
Where to Stay in Jarabacoa
Gran Jimenoa Hotel ★
Gran Jimenoa Hotel is a high-quality hotel on the very relaxing and almost spiritual Gran Jimenoa River. It’s a great place to go if you want to have breakfast included, housekeeping, and other hotel amenities. This is my favorite hotel in the area.
Costs range from $60 to $150/night.
Jarabacoa Mountain Hostel
TEMPORARILY CLOSED – The Jarabacoa Mountain Hostel offers budget prices at gorgeous and luxurious quality. It exudes inspiration, tranquility, and just an overall feeling of wholesomeness in nature as you breathe in the scent of pine trees and the cool mountain breeze.
Prices range from $14/dorm (pictured above)— to $28/private— to $55/for a luxurious room with your own Jacuzzi. You can also rent an apartment entirely for yourself! You can also use the kitchen to cook your own food if you’re looking to save $.
Transportation: How to Get to Jarabacoa
It’s super easy to get to Jarabacoa. You can either take a Caribe Tours bus from Santo Domingo for about $5 each way. There is one that leaves every day express (without making stops in between). Or you can hire a taxi for about $100 from Santo Domingo to Jarabacoa or $250 from Punta Cana to Jarabacoa.
Interested in reading more of my Dominican Republic blog posts?
- 10 Reasons to Visit Monte Cristi in the Dominican Republic
- How to Get to Bahia de las Aguilas from Santo Domingo via Public Transportation
- I Caught the Dreaded Amoeba Parasite in DR: What Happened & How I Treated It
- A Guide to Moving to & Living in Santo Domingo
- Visiting the Three Eyes National Park (Los Tres Ojos) in Santo Domingo
- Prejudices Against the Dominican Accent & Anti-Dominican Sentiment
- Dominican Republic Road Trip to the Dominican Southwest (2018)
- 15 Cool Things to do in Cabarete, Dominican Republic