The best of beaches, waterfalls, views and roadtrips

jahjahwarrior

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Mar 14, 2017
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I feel like most of the time DR1 is about problems and solutions, and ways to avoid getting ripped off.

For me, a huge part of the Republica Dominicana, is the adventure!

I was shocked the other day, while looking for a remote waterfall on the Rio Rejoya and having gotten advice to stop at the Tubagua Ecolodge for help finding a guide, that the owner had not heard of those waterfalls, only Los Charcos Militares. I'm also constantly shocked at how many people I meet in the DR that have never visited a lot of these places I am always trying to find.

I do what I can to find interesting places, and bring people with me to enjoy them, and I think DR1 should be a good resource for finding these places, so I'm going to try and document some of my favorites!

Starting with Rejoya! (Alternate names Rejolla, and Juan de Nina. The sign under the Brugal logo at the turn in Camu says Juan de Nina.)
This series of waterfalls is on the Ruta Panoramica between Santiago and Puerto Plata. I had never taken the route because I heard it is in bad condition, but I took it in a car (jeepeta in the shop...always breaking the darn thing) and felt very comfortable on the route. It's halfway refinished, halfway a decent condition dirt road, and the third half is old asphalt. Way better condition than the shortcut from Santiago to Azua through San Jose de Ocoa or the road to Bahia Las Aguilas. The only problem is the spot where you turn to get to the parking for Rejoya, there is a small stream you have to cross and some deeply rutted roads. Our Skoda Octavia handled it, but I was rather nervous about scraping open the oil pan.

If you want to make a weekend out of it, I do recommend the Tubagua Ecolodge. The rates are ok for gringos, and the views are absolutely incredible! You could go to the beaches in POP and get back in time for dinner, or spend the day hiking in Rejoya.

The actual spot you need to park is in Camu. I do recommend that you get a guide, which we got by stopping alongside of kids who were walking on the road and showing them a picture. The first two didn't recognize the waterfall we wanted, but the third did and took us there. The coordinates are 19°41'29.3"N 70°38'05.0"W

From there, you will be walking for an hour. There is a relatively easy to follow path through the woods, and constant clouds of mosquitos, until you arrive at the first waterfall, which is impressive and beautiful with a large area to swim. From there, you will be climbing. This is not something for people who are scared of heights, unable to pull themselves up a 10 foot rock wall, or scared of walking up small waterfalls. If you hurt yourself, there is no cell signal. If you slip, you could fall down the side of the mountain or down a waterfall, hit your head, break your neck, and drown.

There are several more waterfalls that you can stop at, until you get to the largest and most beautiful. After this, there are really nothing more worth seeing. Technically on top, there are a few small ones, but we haven't found a way to get from the bottom of this fall to the top, and the ones on top aren't impressive enough to make the trip.

There is another route your guide might take you on to return. This route is on the side of the mountain, and even though it's covered with trees, there are frequently places where you will need to be extremely careful. You will want to wear shoes for this hike, or boots, that have good grip, and they will end up covered in mud and water as you will be crossing rivers and climbing waterfalls several times. But the route back is slippery and you need to have good shoes. I did mention that this is easily the most dangerous hike I have ever done in DR and you are at extreme risk of danger, and far from any help or cell signal, right? Hence why, even that I know where it is now, I will ask a local kid to take me there in the future. Easily worth a thousand pesos, to have someone there who can run and get help if you need it.

It took us an hour and a half to reach the biggest fall, and an hour and a half to get back. My phone says we climbed over 60 stories. But I already have plans to return in a few weeks! One thing I am going to do different: I am going to get a sturdy rope and tie it around a tree on the 10 foot rock wall climb, and leave it there. Having a rope, with a knot every foot or two, turns it from a relatively scary and precarious free climbing experience, into a much more secure feeling climb.

Like I said, this is the longest hike, and most dangerous hike, but the waterfall was more beautiful than Salto Alto in Bayaguna, or El Limon. And we were the only ones there, it felt like magic!










 
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jahjahwarrior

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Mar 14, 2017
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Pozos Ecologicos de Pedernales, also called Pozos de Romeo

Pozo means "well," like a drinking water well. In Mexico they would probably call these Cenotes, and in English I think of them as sinkholes, swimming holes, etc.

It's funny because these aren't well documented online, but you can find them super easily. Driving from Barahona to Pedernales, you will come across a white wall on the south side of the road, about 13 kilometers before Pedernales, and that's it!

Park on the side of the road or turn left and drive down into the field if you have an SUV. Cars I don't think will make the dropoff. Then you can see three of the pozos right there!

The first one by the road is pretty darn deep. I do a lot of cave diving and my cave diving friends tell me this one has going passage, but when I was there it seemed like an awful pain to get in and out. The next one is easy to get in and out, about 6-8 feet deep water, and it has 2 or 3 little "caves" that go about 5-10 feet, and had air pockets in them when I visited. Super cool, but be careful, don't drown!

Third pozo was meh, don't bother swimming here.

The middle pozo is good for swimming, there are a lot of bees on the rock at the end where you walk out. I'm terrified of bees, but I managed to walk in and out about 8 times and they never even landed on me. They seem to be there for the drinking water and that's it, but if you are allergic, be careful because you are hours and hours away from any real hospital.

With the help of some local kids and the drone, we found three more accessible pozos in the fields. There are tons more, but you have to find your way, walking on razor sharp rocks and dodging cactus that practically leap into your skin. 3 weeks later, I just finished getting the last cactus spine out of my finger...

So I can't give too many specific directions on the others, but if you are up for the task of walking and maybe getting lost, breaking a leg, poked by cactus, etc, send me a pm and I can give you some more coordinates.

The last pozo we visited had crystal clear water and a great rock for jumping about 30 feet into the water. There was a second side we didn't visit because even 100 feet away you could hear the bees buzzing, they must have a huge hive! And you have to rock climb to get out, and there are wasp nests hidden in some of the holes in the rock....so be careful!

The water was all fresh, but after watching a busload of tourists get in and swim, don't even think about drinking any. We returned Sunday morning and had the place to ourselves.

Can't wait to go back!

Are tapatalk pictures upload working for everyone?

Second pozo by the road, the best for swimming


Pozo hidden from the road


The deep Pozo. Swim on the left bees on the right
 
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reilleyp

Active member
Dec 12, 2006
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Pozos Ecologicos de Pedernales, also called Pozos de Romeo

Pozo means "well," like a drinking water well. In Mexico they would probably call these Cenotes, and in English I think of them as sinkholes, swimming holes, etc.

It's funny because these aren't well documented online, but you can find them super easily. Driving from Barahona to Pedernales, you will come across a white wall on the south side of the road, about 13 kilometers before Pedernales, and that's it!

Park on the side of the road or turn left and drive down into the field if you have an SUV. Cars I don't think will make the dropoff. Then you can see three of the pozos right there!

The first one by the road is pretty darn deep. I do a lot of cave diving and my cave diving friends tell me this one has going passage, but when I was there it seemed like an awful pain to get in and out. The next one is easy to get in and out, about 6-8 feet deep water, and it has 2 or 3 little "caves" that go about 5-10 feet, and had air pockets in them when I visited. Super cool, but be careful, don't drown!

Third pozo was meh, don't bother swimming here.

The middle pozo is good for swimming, there are a lot of bees on the rock at the end where you walk out. I'm terrified of bees, but I managed to walk in and out about 8 times and they never even landed on me. They seem to be there for the drinking water and that's it, but if you are allergic, be careful because you are hours and hours away from any real hospital.

With the help of some local kids and the drone, we found three more accessible pozos in the fields. There are tons more, but you have to find your way, walking on razor sharp rocks and dodging cactus that practically leap into your skin. 3 weeks later, I just finished getting the last cactus spine out of my finger...

So I can't give too many specific directions on the others, but if you are up for the task of walking and maybe getting lost, breaking a leg, poked by cactus, etc, send me a pm and I can give you some more coordinates.

The last pozo we visited had crystal clear water and a great rock for jumping about 30 feet into the water. There was a second side we didn't visit because even 100 feet away you could hear the bees buzzing, they must have a huge hive! And you have to rock climb to get out, and there are wasp nests hidden in some of the holes in the rock....so be careful!

The water was all fresh, but after watching a busload of tourists get in and swim, don't even think about drinking any. We returned Sunday morning and had the place to ourselves.

Can't wait to go back!

Are tapatalk pictures upload working for everyone?

Second pozo by the road, the best for swimming


Pozo hidden from the road


The deep Pozo. Swim on the left bees on the right

Thanks for the great trip report and photos.  I assume most people don’t know about these places because they are too difficult to reach and they dontt want to spend their vacation in a hospital.  They appear to be too remote for the average tourist but I am certainly going to check them out.
 

mobrouser

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Jan 1, 2002
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Excellent photos and reports. Thank you for sharing.

Sometimes I think it is better if most people don't know about these gems.
 

bigbird

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May 1, 2005
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whoa, don't know how i missed this when it was first posted but fantastic ...................
 

jahjahwarrior

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Mar 14, 2017
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Is this them on Google Earth?

https://www.google.com.do/maps/plac...a6020f24060df7e0!8m2!3d18.735693!4d-70.162651

Yes, the dirt brown space immediately next to the road on the left is the main ones. Super easy to find the main ones, and worth the stop.


Don't worry guys I have lots more to share, I've been working my way around the country enjoying and I'm trying to start sharing more often!

Flight back this week was amazing, with two Dominicans downing an entire bottle of duty free whiskey and refusing to stop when the flight attendant told them to, which lead to them getting escorted off the plane by police when we landed. And this weekend I will be in jarabacoa, already charging camera batteries and preparing the hammocks!

Now to figure out which adventure to write about next!
 

jahjahwarrior

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Mar 14, 2017
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Cabo Frances Viejo and Playa Breton

We first noticed this beach by watching the coastline on Google Maps as we drove to Laguna Dudu. The name displayed there is "arroyito de los muertos" and it sounded fantastically dangerous!

Now we know the local name is Playa Breton, and it's not that dangerous.

To find the place, search google maps for Cabo Frances Viejo. It's just off the road, but the road is small. There is a small blue sign that says "cabo frances Viejo." Arriving there, is a wooden sign/gate sort of thing, and you can park on the right or the left. Every single time I go, there is a local guy who will watch your car for you. He is very friendly but whatever you pay him, he will always ask for another 100 pesos to go buy some liquor. Save pesos and just bring him a small bottle if you want, but wait to give it to him until you are leaving.

The walkway down to the beach is quite a walk. It can be slippery, but it's a solid path. The last bit might be a jump, depending on erosion, but it's not that dangerous.

I've never swum much here, because the waves were crazy both times, but in the summer it should be nice. The local kids go spearfishing in the distance.

I had a Samsung 360 degree camera sucked into the ocean by a particularly large wave here :(

Before or after you enjoy the ocean for a while, go back up to your car and then walk to the left hand side. There is a guardshack but the guy there never talks to me. There is a pretty identifiable path that goes into the woods, and it takes about 10 minutes to walk to the point where the old faros are. There are some amazing views on the walk there, and if you feel like climbing trees and possibly dying, some sea grapes sometimes are found there. Delicious snacks!

At the end, there are 3 faros. You can read more about their history here:
https://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/dom.htm
There are 3 lighthouses there, all non functional. The one on the tip I believe is the first one, built in 1913 and inactive since the 40s.

The first tower you see when you get there is the second lighthouse, built during Trujillos era, and both were damaged by an earthquake.

There is a concrete base for a metal tower that was listed as active 18 years ago but now there is nothing there. You can see it in photos as recently as 10 years ago, though.

On the point, if you dare and are careful, walk around the base of the tower on the point. There is a tiny path through the bushes and you will be able to walk to the cliff edge. Careful, if you fall, you will certainly die!

I keep planning on calling the local alcoholic car watch guy, who gave me his number, to arrange permission to camp on the point. It's a nice grassy area, and the local kids would help ensure we are safe, and we can even supposedly get permission to drive our cars out there, but it's nto that bad of a walk. Would be amazing to camp there!





 

william webster

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Jan 16, 2009
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Cabo Frances Viejo.... site of the oldest lighthouse in the New World.

Río del muertos.... dead mans river streams out to your right as you descend to the water.
The surf has been vicious this year , very rough.

I live above el faro.... it’s my view
 

jahjahwarrior

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Mar 14, 2017
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San Jose de Ocoa

I haven't done much here, but we took the "shortcut" between Santiago and Azua, bypassing Santo Domingo, and the road goes through San Jose de Ocoa.

The road is actually pretty nice, not sure it saves tons of time, but I would rather drive slow than be stuck in traffic in SD. You pass by rivers, over mountains, through some coffee fields, and by these giant letters.

I got the impression they were relatively new, and there was a nearly endless stream of people stopping to take photos. Of course, being a sucker for giant letter photos, we stopped too.

But not content to just have a photo below, we climbed the wall to take some photos inside of the letters. I do not advise this!

We got in and took some photos, no problem, but when we went to leave, we scared a nest of wasps and my poor fiancée got stung once. We left carefully in the same direction, but while looking around and moving cautiously, we noticed there are actually MANY wasp nests on the back side of the wall. The front is plastered over, but the back is just river rocks held in place with effectively giant industrial chicken wire. The wasps build nests in the underside of those rocks, and they blend in very well.

So, use the road to save time or headaches between Azua and Santiago, stop and take some photos, but don't go behind the letters or climb up on the wall!

San Jose de Ocoa also has another road to go to Constanza, and I read there are some waterfalls and things. I will go back sometime to explore more.



 

jahjahwarrior

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Mar 14, 2017
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Cabo Frances Viejo.... site of the oldest lighthouse in the New World.

Río del muertos.... dead mans river streams out to your right as you descend to the water.
The surf has been vicious this year , very rough.

I live above el faro.... it’s my view
Las time we visited was supposed to be a swimming day at Playa preciosa... Entire north coast on red alert, waves splashing my drone over 12 meters high! Didn't go swimming...

playa preciosa cliffs...
 

william webster

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Jan 16, 2009
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there is some confusion as tro which beach is Preciosa...

we have always called the one immediately east of Playa Grande 'Preciosa'
Others go one further east... to cite it
 

thompstr

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Mar 21, 2018
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Now things like this is why i want to go back over and over to dr
Love exploring it
Sitting in a resort,getting pampered, no thanks
 

ChelseaRose

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Jul 16, 2017
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WOW- thanks so much for the trip reports and photos! I am aching to explore the island more- and go camping!!

Cabo Frances Viejo and Playa Breton

I keep planning on calling the local alcoholic car watch guy, who gave me his number, to arrange permission to camp on the point. It's a nice grassy area, and the local kids would help ensure we are safe, and we can even supposedly get permission to drive our cars out there, but it's nto that bad of a walk. Would be amazing to camp there!