Damajagua Cascade: 27 Waterfalls in the Dominican Republic
Los 27 charcos (literally the 27 ponds) is a complex of waterfalls hidden in the Dominican Republic.
When thinking about the Dominican Republic you might picture beautiful Punta Cana, the Isle of Lights festival in Santo Domingo, or think about the world-class salsa singer Juan Luis Guerra. But, today we are going to explore a beautiful destination that people have not yet explored so much.
The 27 waterfalls in the Dominican Republic, which people also call the Damajagua Cascade, are an amazing place for you to get your hiking boots ready!
Join me while we learn more about this beautiful destination.
FUN FACT: While the word charco literally means “pond”, los 27 charcos are not ponds, but a complex of natural pools in which you can swim.
Useful Data About Damajagua Cascade
The 27 waterfalls are hidden in the province of Puerto Plata (literally Silver Harbor.) Puerto Rico has 32 provinces. The province of Puerto Plata has 9 municipalities and its capital is Puerto Plata too.
Los 27 charcos are around 6 mi (10 km) away from Puerto Plata. If you want to go on your own, you can take the highway that leads to a place called Santiago, and about 10 minutes away from Puerto Plata, in the Imbert municipality, in the Los Llanos de Pérez section, you are going to find a small entrance that leads to los 27 charcos. Another way to reach them quite easily is with a 27 charcos tour from Puerto Plata.
If you are feeling up for a cool road trip, you can land in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic’s capital, and drive the Dominican Republic from South to North, and driving the 129 mi (208 km) that separate the cities should take you about 3 hours and 20 minutes.
When Should You Visit Puerto Plata?
Depending on what you want, you can visit Puerto Plata and los 27 charcos in different seasons. Since Puerto Plata is in the paradisiac Dominican Republic, no matter when you visit it you’ll experience temperatures between 63°F and 90°F.
If you feel like visiting los 27 charcos between December and April be prepared, because finding hotels is going to be difficult, but you might be able to catch the awesome Puerto Plata Carnival between February and March.
Between May and Mid-June is great if you are traveling on a budget, since you’ll be able to find hotels much cheaper than they were between December and April, but go prepared because it is going to get hot and you’ll reach around 90°F.
If you decide to visit los 27 charcos between mid-June and November, be prepared to get wet, because this is when it rains the most in the Dominican Republic, and it’s hurricane season as well. On the other hand, you’ll find virtually no tourists.
What Is the Price for the Tour?
When visiting los 27 charcos you are going to find different options.
If you want to take the tour of 7 waterfalls, it costs around 6.20 USD (350 Dominican pesos), if you want to take the tour of 12 waterfalls you’ll need to pay 7.96 (100 more Dominican pesos making 450) and if you want the full experience of the 27 waterfalls it’ll cost you 8.85 USD (550 Dominican pesos).
If you want to include food on this tour you’ll have to pay an extra 6.20 USD (350 Dominican pesos). The food is a buffet which includes rice, peas and either chicken or fish.
If you are carrying a backpack with you you can rent a locker in the park. A type I locker, for 2 USD or 100 Dominican pesos, a type II for 3 USD or 150 Dominican Pesos, a type III for 4 USD or 200 Dominican pesos, or a type IV for 8 USD or 400 Dominican pesos, depending on the number of things you are carrying and the space that you need to rent.
If you want to, you can take a private tour with a buggy before arriving at the park, stopping by a place to meet the local people who live in the communities nearby, listen to Dominicans playing merengue live for you, living the adventure in the park and having lunch for USD 120, or USD 150 if you want to do it with one more person.
The Origin of Los 27 charcos
The Damajagua river in the Dominican Republic forms los 27 charcos. This river has labyrinths, tunnels, pools and of course, waterfalls, spread through about 4.5 mi (7 km) all in the middle of the forest. This is the product of springs that lie on top of the mountains in the municipalities of Altamira and Imbert.
Next to the river you can spot majaguas (blue mahoes) and thanks to them is that the river and its waterfalls get their name, damajagua, which comes from the taíno language, an indigenous language native to Dominican Republic. You can spot the blue mahoes specially from the 12th pond on.
Since the Damajagua river forms on top of mountains, waterfalls are the result of this. The height of los 27 charcos in the Dominican Republic is varied, but the highest one is the 8th pool, with a height of 23 ft (7 m.)
The first tourist who arrived at los 27 charcos de Damajagua did so in 1994. Ten years later, Dominicans made this magical place a protected area of their own and they started using it to generate tourism. Out of the money they receive they donate 0.50 USD (30 Dominican pesos) to help develop the communities around los 27 charcos.
The Experience at Los 27 Charcos
Los 27 charcos are part of the protected areas in the Dominican Republic, and while it’s not the biggest place in the Dominican Republic to visit, you are going to have 7 hours of pure fun and adventure.
Start by Taking a Hike in Los 27 Charcos
You can start your path to los 27 charcos climbing a mountain where your adventure will begin. This hike takes around 30 to 40 minutes and you are going to see the Dominican flora throughout the beautiful forest that surrounds it.
Before the hike, you’ll find some stores in which you can find handcrafts that the locals made to take a souvenir home.
In the forest, you are going to see trees that people introduced to the region and endemic ones, all of them properly labeled with their scientific name and their common name in Spanish.
If you are lucky, you’ll be able to spot La cigua palmera (the palmchat) within the limits of the park.
After getting sweaty from the hike, you are going to arrive at the 12th pond, where your adventure begins. At this point, you are going to need to wear a helmet, a bathing suit, and a life vest.
Ride the Zipline in Los 27 charcos
At this point, you are going to find the recently added zipline. The Dominican tour guides built this zipline with the money they earned from the park, and it is a recent addition to attract more tourism. This can be a perfect alternative to enjoy the Damajagua park if you went in a time of the year where it hasn’t rained too much and you might find the pools half-empty.
Here they will give you a harness and you’ll have 5 jumps inside the park with 2 hanging bridges. Or if you want to take a more private tour you’ll be able to enjoy 8 ziplines which together sum up 7,900 ft of cable with the longest trip being 2,640 ft.
In the last part, you’ll be able to jump into a pool to finish your adventure.
From here you are going to start descending the mountain you just climbed, and you are facing three options on most of the waterfalls.
- Walk down to the natural pool – Descender caminando hacia la piscina natural
- Slide down a natural slide – Deslizarse por un tobogán natural
- Jump to the natural pool – Saltar a la piscina natural
You are going to be able to walk down if you feel like the height is too much because there are stairs designed to keep you safe.
Afterward you’ll be swimming and walking under the designated path and finding lots of mini canyons which appeared because of the erosion that the river caused. You are going to swim in turquoise and cool (literally speaking) pools, which will satisfy your desire for adventure and leave you satisfied.
After swimming in the last pool you are going to be able to eat lunch if you purchased it beforehand.
PRO TIP: Keep in mind that if you are visiting with a kid under the age of 8, they will not be able to take the tour, but stay only in the first pool.
Learn Spanish Before Visiting the Dominican Republic
Are the 27 charcos not great? Hiking and zip lines are waiting for you in the Dominican Republic, but before visiting this paradisiac island in the Caribbean, be sure to learn Spanish.
Sign up for a free Spanish class today and learn about all the benefits of learning Spanish, because, besides opening the door for you to a whole new continent and 21 different countries, this marvelous romance language can open the doors for you to understand more than 53 million people in the U.S. who already speak it.
Homeschool Spanish Academy has been teaching English for over 10 years, to more than 24,000 active students monthly. That’s because we offer earned high school credit, flexible scheduling, and different payment options besides having friendly native teachers who will get your Spanish fluent and ready to visit Los 27 charcos.
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