Jumping (and Sliding) the 27 Charcos of Damajaqua

Similar to Teleferico, the 27 Charcos (or waterfalls) were a definitive must on my Dominican Republic itinerary…and it’s not hard to see why.

Deep within the tropical mountains of Rio Damajaqua (a mere 30 minute drive from Puerto Plata) hides a natural phenomena of beautiful heights: 27 waterfalls of emerald green, carved into limestone and shadowed by the rainforest canopy. It was nature’s playground and I had the opportunity to immerse myself (literally!) into its depths.

Our tour began with an uphill hike, over suspension bridges and through the trees. It wouldn’t have been so strenuous, had the humidity not enveloped; but after 40 minutes (or 20 ‘Dominican minutes’, as the guides joked) we made it, alive and invigorated.

falls 7Our first challenge was a simple rock slide: arms in, legs straight and…go!

falls 8

Despite previously wading through the crisp water, nothing was to prepare you for the sudden and quick submersion. It was cold. It was wet and it felt good. 

Suddenly, we were faced with a jump – a real challenge.

falls 11

Standing 8 meters above the water, on a rocky outcrop, I made a decision. Despite lacking strength as a swimmer, this was a once in a lifetime experience, and I’d be darned if a little confidence hiccup was going to stop me.

So I jumped.

falls 10

…and guess what? I made it! And I was hungry for more!

Our group continued onward, following the river over falls and slides.

falls 9

falls 6

And before I knew it – the final jump. A jump so scary, so terrifying, that someone even cried. Okay, so it wasn’t that scary, but someone did cry. As for me, failure wasn’t an option.

Step 1: Position yourself for glory.

falls 4

Step 2: Free falling! falls 3

Step 3: Sploooosh!!

falls 2Strangely (and fortunately), not a single cut or bruise was to be seen.

I would recommend the 27 Charcos to anyone and everyone, regardless of strength, bravery, age or aquatic ability. In fact, several of our group members didn’t even know how to swim. The option to slide down the falls is available to those who otherwise chose so. The guides were also very approachable. No pressure, just fun.

falls 1…and yet, I sure am glad I made the jump.

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