Santiago and the Cibao Valley: Places to Explore



Nature lovers should consider a trip to Jarabacoa, in the mountainous region known rather wistfully as the Dominican Alps (altitude 2,666 feet). The town is not pristine like a real Alpine village, though some of the buildings strive for the look. The clean mountain air is contaminated by the many motoconchos (motorcycle taxis) that scoot around the downtown. It's far more hectic than you imagine it will be, and the only peace and tranquillity is found outside of town. Still, the buzz of activity and the European visitors all make Jarabacoa a fun place to visit. The central park is quite pleasant, and some decent restaurants surround it, as well as a pretty Catholic church.

But a lot of the joy of visiting Jarabacoa is the opportunity to take excursions on foot, horseback, or by motorcycle taxi to the surrounding waterfalls and forests—quite incongruous in such a tropical country. Other activities include adventure tours, particularly white-water rafting or canoe trips, canyoning, Jeep safaris, and paragliding, trekking, and mountain biking. Unless you plan to climb Pico Duarte, most of these excursions are more tourist adventures than solitary ecotours.

Elsewhere in Santiago and the Cibao Valley