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Dominican Republic Cascading and Canyoning
The Dominican Republic is famous for its beaches, but it’s also worth taking a break from the sea and sand to travel inland and discover the beauty and wonders of the tropical mountain landscape, rivers and waterfalls. One of the most exciting ways of doing this is by taking a breathtaking canyoning or cascading tour through the mountains, winding through the river canyons and sliding down waterfalls.

Canyoning, sometimes also called canyoneering, is a fast-paced adventure sport where you travel up and down through wet or dry river canyons by means of sliding, swimming, climbing or abseiling. This has become a popular pursuit for travelers to the Dominican Republic, and there are several companies organizing tours to the different parts of the country where canyoning takes place, mainly in wet river canyons in the lush northern and central mountain ranges.

Canyoning also usually involves some specialized equipment like safety helmets, wetsuits and harnesses, while cascading is more of a freestyle sport, although sometimes ropes will have to be used. The difference between cascading and canyoning is that cascading involves climbing up to the top and sliding down waterfalls, while canyoning is the sport of navigating the length of a river canyon. For both activities, protective footwear - like an old pair of tennis shoes that you don’t mind getting wet or throwing away - is essential.

There are two main areas in the Dominican Republic where you can take part in canyoning and cascading. The northern mountains (the Cordillera Septentrional) are accessible from the north coast hotel and resort areas of Puerto Plata, Sosua and Cabarete. For tours to the central mountains of the Cordillera Central, also known as the Dominican Alps, the mountain resort towns of Jarabacoa and Constanza are the ideal bases. It is important to note that the weather is cooler in these highland areas, especially at night.

You need to be reasonably fit to engage in either of these activities, and knowing how to swim is a must. Although both canyoning and cascading are sometimes defined as extreme sports and safety precautions are necessary, this is not a dangerous sport, in the correct conditions. It is not advisable to engage in canyoning or cascading after a period of unusually heavy rainfall, due to the risk of flash flooding or excess water flow. A reputable tour company will be able to provide responsible advice on safety measures and current conditions.

Two of the independent companies in the Dominican Republic offering this type of adventure are Iguana Mama, based in Cabarete on the north coast; and Rancho Baiguate in Jarabacoa.
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