Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic – 27 Charcos
The best waterfall adventure you’ve never heard of.
A couple years back, I lived in the Dominican Republic for a good 3 1/2 months. I’ve never been one for the “tourist traps’ so while we saw some great beaches and stayed at some nice resorts, it was the low-key, hard-to-find adventures that really drew me in.
Enter 27 Charcos:
Meaning 27 waterfalls in Spanish, this adventure tour was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, and haven’t experienced since. Developed in 1994, this little spot on the north side of the island is getting popular, but still fairly unknown and not often crowded.
Carved out of limestone by the Rio Damajagua as it’s flowing to the ocean, you literally adventure through 27 waterfalls accompanied by guides and a few, although minimal, climbing ladders, ropes and the like.
You can book a tour to see 7, 12, or all 27 waterfalls. We had limited time, so we only did 12, but I’m looking for the next available time where I can head back and do all 27! These tours usually cost less than $20/person plus whatever generous tip you decide to give your guide who helped you through this passage.
These 2-4 hour hikes are incredible as you climb up through the waterfalls themselves and do as much swimming through the experiences as you do hiking. Most groups, due to size and time limitations only do the first 7 waterfalls, but if you press onwards, your group can be virtually alone in the waterfalls with your guide.
Each waterfalls is a unique experience. Some you climb around, while others you climb right on up through witht eh help of a rope and your experienced guides.
Once you get to all 27, it’s time to come back down and this is where the real fun begins. Considering each waterfall is unique, coming down is a whole new adventure. Several of the cliffs are 30+ feet high and allow you to jump off into pools of crystalline turquoise blue water. Others, courteous of the smooth away limestone allow you to literally lie down and slide down the waterfall as if it were a large natural waterslide.
27 Charcos is the best Dominican Republic adventure you’ve never heard of. And while the website and media provided do not do the adventure justice, it’s an experience you truly have to do first hand to appreciate. Next time you’re down in the Dominican Republic, skip the beaches and head straight for 27 charcos, you won’t regret it. Just make sure you bring a waterproof camera.