- Where to Go
- The Best of the Dominican Republic
- A Nature Lover’s Dominican Trek
- The Sexiest Dominican Beaches
- Historical Dominican Road Trip
- A Dominican Culture Tour
- Carnaval and Its Masks
- Planning Your Dominican Wedding
- Dominican Adventures
- Golfing the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Music and Dance
- La Ruta del Mango
- Day-Tripping in Monte Plata
- The Best Small Resorts
In the heart of the Cordillera Central mountains, often referred to as the “Dominican Alps,” is the town of Jarabacoa, whose name is the Taíno word for “place of abundant waters.” Its abundance is seen not only in the fertility of its land, but also in what it has to offer visitors.
Thick vegetation surrounds the rich agricultural region, and products such as vegetables, coffee, flowers, and strawberries seem to grow without effort. The delectable red fruit can be seen in brimming-over baskets for sale along the curving road up the mountainside, and the marketplace of Jarabacoa is abundant with produce.
Jarabacoa has long been a popular spot for Dominicans as a summer getaway from their life in the city and the muggy heat of the coastal lowlands. The 500 meters above sea level impart constant spring-like mild days and cool evenings. Foreign visitors come because Jarabacoa presents promises of adventure.
It is the launching point for treks to Pico Duarte (the highest peak in the Caribbean), white-water rafting, and canyoning in the waterfalls and rivers (Jimenoa, Baiguate, and Yaque del Norte converge nearby). It is the Dominican Republic that is relatively new to the scene of tourism and the new darling of ecotravel.
There are many popular Dominican adages regarding this town. Although it is modest in size, its reputation is larger than life with sayings like, “Jarabacoa, where the most handsome Dominican men are born” and “God may be everywhere, but he sleeps in Jarabacoa.”
Getting to Jarabacoa
Caribe Tours (Calle José Duran 3, tel. 809/574-6299) has regular service to Jarabacoa from Santo Domingo (US$5.50) at 7 a.m., 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. with a stop in La Vega (US$2.30). However, right next door to this terminal is a guagua stop where for about US$1 less there is a guagua that leaves for La Vega every 20 minutes or so.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition