What to Do in Punta Cana and Beyond: Visiting Jarabacoa National Park

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With beautiful scenery and plenty of outdoor activities, a trip to Jarabacoa National Park is an excellent option for what to do in Punta Cana and beyond. Welcome to Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. All you see around you is rolling foothills, lush green jungles, and stunning waterfalls.

Although there aren’t any remaining Taino settlements, this native people likely called Jarabacoa home prior to Christopher Columbus’ arrival on the island. Since Columbus landed on the Dominican Republic, Jarabacoa has been an area of great interest—first, to the Spanish, who searched for gold in the fertile ground, and later, to the those who sought refuge here. More recently, Dominicans have flocked to this still uncommercialized spot for their vacations. When you visit, you’ll be exploring right along with the locals, which makes this area vastly different from the other areas in the Dominican Republic. Its proximity to the shores of the Dominican Republic makes it an excellent day trip when you’re wondering what to do in Punta Cana.

The waterfalls in the area shouldn’t be missed. Salto de Jimenoa Uno is a picturesque 60-meter waterfall that has a history with Hollywood. If you decide to get into the water, be careful, as there are bad currents in the middle of the river. Since the water is much calmer, Salto de Baiguate, while less impressive, is better for swimming. Rafting is another popular activity in Jarabacoa. Hop onto a guided tour down the longest river in the Caribbean, Yaque del Norte. If you want to see the area from a new perspective while getting an adrenaline rush, a rafting tour with Xtreme Spots needs to be part of your itinerary.

Lace up those hiking boots and head out into the lush jungles. The most popular trail heads to the top of El Mogote, the highest point in Jarabacoa. Nearby Flattop Mountain is not for the faint of heart, as it rises 3,000 feet over the 3-mile climb, however, the stunning vistas at the top are well worth the trek. Fan of mountain biking will be delighted to find bike rentals and rolling trails readily available in Jarabacoa. Sign up for a group ride for rent a bike for some solo adventures. Visit the waterfalls, or simply go for a leisurely ride in the hills on horseback. The horses provided for the tours are well trained and suitable for the entire family.

Jarabacoa’s year-round mild climate is the reason the area is known as “The City of Everlasting Spring.” Average temperatures hover in the mid-70s. During the winter months, you’ll want to bring a light sweater or jacket for the evenings, but the days are nice enough for hiking and biking even in January and February. Expect rain at least a few hours a day for May until October.

Whether you choose to spend the days on horseback or rafting down a river, Jarabacoa is a paradise that’s still largely unknown outside of the Dominican Republic. Now, when someone asks what to do in Punta Cana, you’ll know the answer: Head to Jarabacoa for hiking, stunning waterfalls, and outdoor activities.

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