on July 14, 2010
The 27 waterfalls of Rio Damajagua is a must do - I'll get into that last. First, most tours that claim to do the waterfalls bring you up the first 7... which isn't very much as some are smaller - while nice and if it is all you have time for, do it, but try for all of them. There is one tour, iguana mama or something I believe, that is supposed to do more but we didn't go this route.Now this is where it gets interesting... we decided we would just head up to the falls ourself. The entrance fee is extremely cheap, $460 Dominican peso or ~$13 USD. This includes life jacket, helmet and a trained guide. So all you have to do is get there, right? Right!Looking at a map, judging the distance from Playa Dorado to Puerto Plata and then up to the falls, it seems pretty close. It's not that close - its a solid 45 minutes from what I recall. You have a few options - find that one tour that does all 27 and therefore your transportation cost is split between the whole truck of people, get a guagua to town and then find the guagua that heads up, or try to get a "taxi"/random person with a car who wants to earn a few extra dollars that day.We ended up with the last option after the guagua directions we were given indicated it would be nearly impossible to figure out. (This was probably partially accurate as there is no sign from the road when you get to the falls to known to be let off but you are welcome to try as I'm sure its not actually that bad if you speak a little Spanish especially.)The random stranger at the entrance to our complex offered us a moto-taxi to the falls for $10 - no helmets... which I'm really glad we didn't take - that would've been a long ride, especially with our towels and wet the ride back. He finally hailed us a random car who agreed to $15 but once inside and driving said it had to be $20 because it was far. Then he offered to wait and return us for $30 - great deal! For him it would've cost him the gas there and back regardless so this was his best option. (note: they also don't use gas, its petrol or something). So, since he didn't have any money, he preferred to be paid some in pesos ($10 USD) in advance so he could purchase the gas in town. We paid, he stayed, it all worked out and we paid the balance when he returned us! Another note, money is relatively waterproof - I stuck it in a secure pocket of my shorts and kept it with me in the falls. Also, bring a waterproof camera - you'll want pictures!Now for the falls - they are AMAZING! You climb up shoots with ladders, ropes, around the rocks, hike up along the side, etc... its a bit tiring and there is swimming against the current but it keeps you cool - I did almost give up around #8 and #12 I think. It does require arm strength or a friend to help but the guide literally pulled me up a full shoot of water one of the times. My shoes got sand in them which hurt so if you have water shoes with holes, that's probably better also.Once at the top you get to go down! You can slide down shoots, jump off cliffs into pools (sometimes multiple times), and its very relaxing/exhilarating to head down! There's just no way to describe it - its well worth the effort of getting there.There is a bar at the complex and we also made sure to tip our guide as he did a lot of work getting us up the falls. We went first thing when it opened, maybe 30mins after or so and had the whole place to ourselves with our own private guide. Definitely the way to go rather than waiting for a whole slew of 20 people to climb up around you.
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009