What to see in Dominican Republic
Tourist attractions Jarabacoa
Want to get in touch with the pure nature of the Dominican Republic? A trip to Jarabacoa is the chance to explore wildlife-rich rainforests home to glistening waterfalls and the mist-covered mountains of the Central Highlands. Surrounded by four major rivers: Jimenoa, Guanajuma, Baiguate and Yaque del Norte, this beautiful mountain town retains a quaint and quiet atmosphere, making it ideal for a relaxing break away from the hustle and bustle of the country’s more popular beach resorts.
Located in the province of La Vega, Jarabacoa means ‘Land of Waters’ in the indigenous Taino language. Spanish conquistadors once travelled to this highland region in search of riches in the form of silver and gold. Nowadays, a vacation to Jarabacoa is all about enjoying an array of outdoor activities and breathing in the fresh mountain air! From hiking trails to river rafting, Jarabacoa is a favourite destination for adventure travellers.
Despite its mountainous location, Jarabacoa is a relatively large town, with plenty of amenities, accommodation options, restaurants and shops. In fact, it’s a popular destination for European retirees, who come here for the spring-like weather and abundant natural beauty of the surrounding landscapes. If you travel to Jarabacoa in February, you’ll experience the annual Jarabacoa Carnival, one of the most famous celebrations in the country, whilst the ‘Festival de las Flores’, is held in Jarabacoa every June.
With incredible biodiversity, the area is also a centre of eco-tourism and is home to several nature reserves and protected areas dedicated to the preservation of Jarabacoa’s immaculate natural environment. Whether you’re here for adventure sports, such as mountain biking or rappelling, or prefer to simply soak up the quiet tranquillity of the Dominican Highlands, a trip to Jarabacoa is sure to leave you refreshed and help rekindle your connection with nature!
Things to do in Jarabacoa
Of course, if you travel to Jarabacoa, you’ll want to get out and explore the beautiful scenery and surrounding mountains. One of the most popular things to do here is to pay a visit to the amazing Damajagua Waterfalls. A complex of 27 pools within a protected area, guided visits allow you to slide, jump, hike and explore this incredible environment, which could be described as a natural limestone water park. A fun and active experience for the whole family to enjoy if you visit Jarabacoa!
When it comes to waterfalls, this area has plenty to choose from. The most famous is perhaps the Baiguate Waterfall, which empties into the river of the same name. A short walk from the town centre, this thundered cascade is home to a beautiful, crystal clear natural pool, perfect for a refreshing dip, particularly in the wet season.
As mentioned, there’s no shortage of spectacular waterfalls in Jarabacoa, and another one to include on your itinerary is known as Jimenoa I. Nestled between otherworldly rock formations, it’s thought that this natural site was used during the filming of the movie Jurassic Park. Although the hike to reach this waterfall is a little strenuous, it’s well worth it for the beautiful scenery and tranquil atmosphere. Swimming is only permitted at certain times of the year, so be sure to check with the locals before taking a dip!
From waterfalls to mountains, Jarabacoa’s highland situation means it's within easy reach of spectacular mountain hikes. The tallest mountain in the Caribbean, hiking Pico Duarte is one of the best things to do in Jarabacoa. Under an hour’s drive away from the town, this 3,098 metre-high peak offers unforgettable views to those who hike to its summit. Situated within the Jose Armando Bermudez National Park, the full trail to the summit takes anywhere between 2-3 days to complete, although shorter hikes to lower altitudes are another option to consider.
Finally, nature lovers staying in Jarabacoa should pay a visit to the Ebano Verde Scientific Reserve. Named after an endemic tree, this reserve is home to over 600 species of flora and fauna and 80 species of orchid! Due to the high humidity in this area, orchid species thrive here, and the reserve is of special interest to scientists and researchers. Hikes can be arranged and the on-site visitor centre offers further insight into the species that inhabit this rich natural ecosystem.