LAHOWIND » Just you, me, + the dog.

Taking the Plunge: 27 Waterfalls of Rio Damajagua

Fiction: I look super cute in a bulky helmet and puffy life jacket.

Fact: I scored a massive purple bruise the size of a cantaloupe on the back of my left thigh after jumping off a waterfall.

But don’t let either scare you. ;))

No water slide at any water park will ever be the same again. Not after cascading down 12 waterfalls in the Dominican Republic. The hiking adventure known as the Damajagua Cascades (27 waterfalls) is probably one of the coolest things we’ve ever done.

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^^oddly color coordinated with the life jackets we were given. and no, they did not provide us with the matching shirts. lol.^^

The falls have been at the tippy top of our ‘must-see’ list since dropping anchor here in the DR. TripAdvisor bills it as one of the top 10 attractions in all of the Dominican, and it came equally as highly recommended by many of our cruiser friends.

So we set out the other day to experience it for ourselves. And boy, did it live up to its reputation!

Since I don’t own a fancy underwater housing for my Canon 7D, it was a GoPro-only kind of day. Keep in mind, this is a ‘get-completely-soaked’ sight seeing adventure, so there was no chance in hell of bringing along the ‘big’ camera or anything else for that matter that couldn’t afford to get wet.

We got to the park first thing in the morning (to beat the rush) and paid our 340 pesos each to hike 12 waterfalls with a private guide. At less than $8 per person, that’s a steal in my opinion! Hiking all 27 falls was out of the question since it’s not the rainy season and there really isn’t enough water at the higher falls to slide or jump down the rocks.

DCIM100GOPRODCIM100GOPRO DCIM100GOPRO DCIM100GOPRO After about 40 minutes of a very sweaty and blister-inducing hike, we reached the top of the falls where the real fun began! The hike down is way more fun than the climb up.

We immediately began climbing through cool-water riverbeds and jumping off ledges into pools of water. And then there were the totally naturally forming rock slides that we got the chance to slide down. It was quite different than what I expected a waterfall adventure to be. It was really a non-stop hiking/swimming/sliding/jumping adventure as we meandered our way down the series of falls. And it was AWESOME.

At two of the 12 falls, we had the option of jumping from a high rock ledge, well over 25 feet above the water. Regardless of the height, both jumps were terrifying to me. I would say I definitely fall on the lower end of the ‘athletic’ spectrum (don’t let my sailing cover fool you). But I managed to dig deep and find my extreme side…and even jumped off one of the falls instead of taking the easier sliding route down. Not surprisingly, that resulted in a massive bruise on the back of my thigh the next day. I guess from the way I unathletically hit the water. Who knows.

Jer jumped off both the big falls, of course. Such the adventurer!

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DCIM100GOPRO DCIM100GOPRO If I ever thought of myself as graceful and elegant, well this little video we made proves that theory totally wrong. Jer and I literally burst out laughing at each one of my very less-than-graceful slides/jumps. I will be the first to admit that they are far from pretty. ;))

I can’t say I looked too cute sporting a bright red helmet and puffy lifejacket either, but boy was I sure glad to have the protection! Only a few years back, there were no requirements for safety gear, nor were there any official tour guides. That is, until someone died. Nowadays, they have really amped up safety at the park. A guide is now required. As are helmets and life jackets.

At the end of the day, Jereme and I are both so thrilled we had the opportunity to experience the waterfalls. If we’re ever back in the Dominican, I’m sure we’ll go for round 2…and maybe next time, all 27 falls will have enough water so we can experience them all.

Our friends over at >>Where the Coconuts Grow<< have some super helpful tips on how to prepare for the waterfall adventure…a great resource if you’re getting ready to hike the falls.

>>Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing, as we cruise the Bahamas + Caribbean.

Mark and Cindy - s/v Cream PuffJuly 7, 2014 - 11:18 am

Guys,

Great video. Looks like a lot of fun!

Mark and Cindy
s/v Cream Puff
http://www.creampuff.us

Aunt RoseyJuly 7, 2014 - 6:04 pm

Loved the video! After this adventure, I think you two should apply for my fav TV show – The Amazing Race with its $1 Million prize.

LAHOWINDJuly 7, 2014 - 10:38 pm

Thanks Aunt Rosemary!!! I would LOVE to be on Amazing Race! :) -Kim

LAHOWINDJuly 7, 2014 - 10:38 pm

Thanks Mark + Cindy! It was tons of fun. I highly recommend it. :) -Kim

Carol GreinJuly 7, 2014 - 10:46 pm

Omg! You guys are sooo brave!!!! Great video!

LAHOWINDJuly 8, 2014 - 2:20 am

Thanks Carol! My bravery earned me a nasty bruise, but it was definitely still worth it. 😉 -Kim

Jody - Where The Coconuts GrowJuly 8, 2014 - 4:28 pm

Awesome video! Thanks for the link to our post :) So glad you guys got to go!!

Allison HelfenJuly 10, 2014 - 9:06 pm

Wow, what a cool video! It’s been so fun watching you guys. My favorite is still the pigs. Hopefully soon, we’re right behind you! Cheers! – Allison

[…] 27 Waterfalls of Rio Damajaqua – Also known as the 27 Charcos, this half-day sightseeing excursion is well worth the time and money! Nestled in the rolling hills of the Northern Corridor mountain range and behind the long stalks of sugar cane lays a treasure you won’t find anywhere else in the world. It ranks in the top 10 on Tripadvisor for attractions in the DR. I wrote all about our trip to the waterfalls and posted a fun video >>here.<< […]

Kelly - S/V Last TangoJuly 16, 2014 - 8:18 pm

You can see in your video about 10 good opportunities to get that bruise 😉 Looks awesome and thanks so much for sharing!!! We love following along and are taking copious notes for when our adventures take us south!