Day 5 of 7 in the Dominican Republic: Leaping from waterfalls and a 5-course meal

Leaping right in at the 27 Waterfalls in Rio Damajagua, Dominican Republic. Photo: Jon Coen

Leaping right in at the 27 Waterfalls in Rio Damajagua, Dominican Republic. Photo: Jon Coen

I got manhandled by some large Dominican men. They made us line up and take off our shirts. There was a lot of yelling and grabbing … And it was awesome.

Let me clarify. Today, we joined the Iguana Mama crew for a 27 Waterfalls adventure on the Rio Damajagua here in the Northern Region of the Dominican Republic.

Our guides have been doing this for a while they are very adept at helping hikers climb up waterfalls. And that often means physically tossing bodies upstream by the life jacket, pulling people up the rocks and shouting directions over the sound of the falling water. Once you get used to all the yelling and being tossed around, it’s an absolute blast.

The Damajagua is something of a natural wonder. Starting in the interior mountains and winding down toward the Puerto Plata coast, the aqua green water spills off cliffs into crystal pools, and has carved natural slides.

We chose the Extended 27 Waterfalls option, because if you’re going on a tour called veintisiete cascadas, you damn well better do all 27 waterfalls.

Photog and social media guru, Nick Agires takes the plunge. Photo: Jon Coen

Photog and social media guru, Nick Agires takes the plunge. Photo: Jon Coen

We started with about an hour hike into the hills on a winding trail that crosses the river a few times, checking out little blunt-headed green tree snakes and a few colossal insects.

We arrived at waterfall number 27, and that’s where the fun starts, as you climb up the rock and take that first leap into the mountain water. From there, we followed the river, working our way down in a combination swim/hike.

Some of them we went diving off of, and others we slid down, getting tossed into the pool below. We were warned to keep our arms in on the slides. I guess a few folks in the past have left with Dominican souvenirs on their forearms (not to be confused with a Dominican tattoo on the leg from the muffler of a moped).

It was a Sunday and there were a lot of Dominicans also on the river, seemingly high school and college age. One thing that strikes you here is the amazing mix of racial backgrounds. The Dominican population is a beautiful mix of Latin, Afro-Caribbean and European.

A full 73 percent of the population are of racially mixed origin and they’re about as warm as any local people you’d meet in your travels. I should note that the D.R. is extremely clean compared to much of Central American and the Caribbean, at least speaking of the Puerta Plata region.

We returned to the Casa Colonia and met for dinner at Lucia, the French-Caribbean restaurant they have adjacent to the bar near the lobby. I’m not typically accustomed to these five-course culinary presentations highlighted with local seafood, but I guess if someone has to do it … well, I’m your man.

More from 7 Days in the Dominican Republic

Day 1 of 7 in the Dominican Republic: A love for the beisbol

Day 2 of 7 in the Dominican Republic: The open road

Day 3 of 7 in the Dominican Republic: No shortage of small waves

Day 4 of 7 in the Dominican Republic: From ATV excursions to fine dining

Day 6 of 7 in the Dominican Republic: Just a bunch of monkeys

Day 7 of 7 in the Dominican Republic: Muchas gracias