A Wet and Wild Adventure in Damajagua National Park

A Wet and Wild Adventure in Damajagua National Park

Located on the quiet and picturesque northern coast of the Dominican Republic, Damajagua National Park is a paradise.  Beautiful palm and aloe plants line the hiking path and just wait til you see the gorge!  Massive gray rock faces plunge into the light blue water rushing down rocks, forming waterfalls.  Vines hang precariously over the caverns creating such a beautiful scene.   

With all this beauty surrounding you, how about a wet and wild adventure?!  It is an awesome experience!  It begins with a hike for about 40 minutes up into the jungle.  Once up, you have to make your way down…by jumping into a water-filled gorge, swimming, scrambling over rocks, and sliding down waterfalls!  It’s an absolute blast!

About the Adventure

While on our Holland America Cruise, we were to spend one day at Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, located on the north coast.  We booked the excursion via our cruise line, Holland America.  We wanted to explore the Dominican Republic as it was a new country for us.  Seeing the countryside and doing a fun adventure in a beautiful place knocked it right out of the park.

The excursion we picked is called Waterfalls of Damajagua:  An Adrenaline-Fueled Adventure.  This adventure took place in Damajagua National Park where we would be hiking, jumping into a water-filled gorge, and slipping and sliding our way down eroded rocks with waterfalls flowing heavily over them.  

Once off the ship, we found the excursion area, joined our group, filled out waivers, and received bracelets.  We then boarded a very nice coach bus with a fun and friendly guide who talked to us about the Dominican Republic and all that we were seeing as we drove to the park.  Soon, we arrived at Damajagua National Park with a whole crew waiting for us!

NOTE: This excursion is listed as strenuous! The hike is mainly uphill however that is not the most difficult part. In order to safely do this excursion one has to be comfortable with the hike but also descending down a ladder and jumping into cold water, scrambling over rocks, and swiftly sliding down fast-moving waterfalls. We saw some older folks and people with mobility issues struggling. Be sure you know what you are getting yourself into before signing up for this adventure.

Damajagua National Park

We were handed life jackets and helmets, all in excellent condition.  Everyone also had a few minutes to use the restroom if needed.  From here, our guides took us across a large metal bridge which crossed a small river and then the hike up into the forest began.  We passed small, thin trees which provided natural fencing in some areas with aloe plants, palms, and various other fauna along the way.  

Crossing the first bridge

We were provided water bottles and encouraged to drink all along the way.  Our guides were good about stopping every now and then to allow the slower people to catch up.  

Hiking up

Once at the top, it was time to come down!  We descended down a couple flights of wooden stairs.  Next up was a ladder descending down into the gorge although it ended a few feet above the water.  Our guides showed us how to do it:  go down the ladder facing it and at the end, just jump in!  It was exhilarating and cold but oh so much fun!

We had to swim to some larger rocks that we could then stand on.  Again, we had to wait for the entire group to complete this first passage.  We had several more waterfalls to go down.  Some were smaller and we just slid down the eroded rock, nature’s slide.  One in particular stood out:  It was a curved rock slide with a rushing waterfall flowing over it.  As you sat at the top, the guide grabbed your life jacket and slid you abruptly to one side as you quickly slid to the other while sailing down the waterfall, all to avoid hitting an overhead rock!  As you plunged into the water below, you went down probably 8-10 feet.  Bobbing up, I couldn’t believe this adventure!

Whew!  What an adventure!

After the waterfall portion was done, we trekked through the jungle, making our way back to the beginning of the trail.  A large open-air bar area back at the beginning of the park lured everyone to grab a massive beer to take back on the bus. 

The bar area

This was well earned after such a fun, wet, and wild adventure!

Cheers to a wildly fun adventure!

STATS

Distance from Amber Cove (cruise port) to Damajagua National Park:  15 miles

Length of hike:  About 45 minutes to the first waterfall

Length of entire excursion:  About 4 hours

Difficulty:  Strenuous (see notes)

ABOUT TAKING PHOTOS:  When booking this excursion it is noted that photography is not allowed.  Once at the park, there is a sign posted stating the same.  However, I believe this is to protect guests from losing their phones or other camera equipment.  We had a fellow guest on the excursion who inquired about bringing along their phone in a waterproof case and they were allowed.  But please know that with all the slipping and sliding and plunging that will take place you are taking a risk with bringing a camera along.  Someone in our group lost their Apple Watch from the force of the waterfall, which is typical the guides say.  I opted to leave my camera safely stored.  As much as I wanted to photograph the gorgeous scenery I felt it was not worth the risk to take it along.  There is someone from the park staff that followed our group and took videos and photographs along the way.  You can then purchase the thumb drive for all of the photos at the end, which we did.  I normally take my own photos and do not buy photos or packages but in this instance, I felt it was the best option.  The photos of us in life jackets and helmets are all taken by the park staff.  The rest are my own.

Read more!

We visited Damajagua National Park in the Dominican Republic during our a five day cruise.  For our full review on the cruise, check out A Five Day Caribbean Cruise – Our Experience on Holland America.  

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