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While we are away visiting family and friends, or off on land adventures

Rio Damajagua Cascades: The 27 Waterfalls of the Dominican Republic

Along with the many services they provide, Papo and Pedro coordinate rides from Luperón up to the famous 27 waterfalls not too far from Puerto Plata. We had heard from several of the locals that going to the waterfalls was a MUST while visiting the DR. We had only planned on staying in Luperón for as long as it would take to fix our propane solenoid and our generator but we made sure to work in a little play time too.

The very next day after our generator was fixed, Papo picked us up from our boat and took us to the dinghy dock where a white van was waiting. Peter and I were joined by another cruising couple and their friend. As it turns out, we had met them way back in Spanish Wells, Bahamas!! It was nice to see some familiar faces and share the long ride up the mountain with fellow cruisers.

The ride through town and up into the mountains took about 45 minutes. We stopped at a local market along the way for some cold Cokes for Peter and I, and some ice-cold beers for our cruiser friends.

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The scenery was spectacular. We passed huge pastures, fields of sugar cane and coconut trees. The rolling hills of green seemed to go on forever. It was a great reminder of how people all over the world Live Different. Their small houses were scattered along the country roads with laundry strung across their front yards and often no windows or doors. The heat was stifling but the landscape was so still and peaceful. We were so caught up in its beauty, forgetting about the heat.

All of a sudden, the van slowed to a stop. Something was definitely going on ahead of us but it took a minute to figure out what… Cattle. Dozens of cattle were meandering down the road as if it were covered in grass in the middle of a field. A regular occurrence around here I guess. Just a few days before, we saw a man leading a gigantic pig down the street in front of Putula’s Bar. That pig had the biggest cojones I’ve ever seen!!!! I tried to get Peter to run after it and take a picture but he was too busy happily grinding on his pulled pork sandwich :)

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After a short bumpy ride on a gravel road we arrived at the park that operates the tours for the 27 waterfalls. 27 Charcos at Rio Damajagua is open daily from 8am to 3pm. We were advised to get there early, and we’re glad we did. Truck-loads of people start arriving mid day and throughout the afternoon.

We really didn’t know what to expect before we arrived. Unfortunately Papo didn’t give us very much information about what to bring or not bring. We knew lunch would be included but that’s about it.

There are three different tours  you can choose from. The 1-7 waterfalls are the easiest. 1-12 waterfalls is what we did. It would have been amazing to see all 27 falls but we selected the 12-waterfall tour to make sure we were back in the early afternoon to let the dogs out. The falls range from 10-20′ and most of them are done by crossing your arms across your chest and sliding down. The guides were great and they help everyone get positioned safely before letting go.

It would take at least an hour to hike up to all 27 waterfalls. We took our time getting to the first 12 and it took about 45 minutes of hiking up steep trails. It’s definitely not an easy hike and those terribly out of shape might be swearing up a storm half way through. On the other hand, its great exercise and it was a wonderful way to explore on land away from the boat. Young and old alike can handle it no problem as long as there are no physical injuries restraining your movement. The day involves lots of hiking, climbing, sliding, swimming and jumping. Mandatory helmets and life jackets are provided by the park before departure.

It would have been nice to know a few things about this adventure before we left the boat:


1. A waterproof camera

I brought my iPhone in an old waterproof case, but I had no idea we would be fully submerged underwater several times. The falls are like water park slides where you end up completely underwater at the end of the slide. About half way through the day, my case started to fail and leaked a bit of water in, fogging up the camera lens. This led to less-than-pretty pictures of only the first half of the trip. A fully submergeable camera is highly recommended. The scenery inside the park is absolutely magical and we wish we were prepared with better equipment. Check out some of the photos on Google Images while searching for Damajagua to see some better photography of this magical place.

2. Water shoes with good traction

I wore some cheap $5 water socks from Wal-Mart that had good traction on them. These worked great for climbing over the wet rocks. They weren’t the best for hiking up the trails but I’m used to going barefoot on the boat every day. Peter wore surfing booties with a little tread and those worked just as well. If I had them earlier, I would have worn my new KEEN sandals that are waterproof and have excellent hiking tread. Anything that will keep you from slipping on the wet limestone is recommended.

3. Swimsuit/dark shorts

Peter wore surf trunks and I wore a bathing suit with black shorts. The mandatory life jackets cover up your top so the women don’t need to worry about “spilling out”. Since the majority of the way down involves sliding over rocks, white or light-colored shorts or swimsuits are not advised. We didn’t get dirty but white clothes don’t go well with Mother Nature’s slip’n’slides :)

4. Cash for tips, lunch or drinks

Luckily we had extra cash with us. Papo didn’t tell us there was an additional fee for park entry, in addition to the fee we paid him to get us there. The park accepts cash only, no credit cards. There is a gift shop, bar and restaurant also. Papo’s travel package covered the ride up and back plus cost of lunch and several drinks. The food was buffet style and not very good, but nice after a long day climbing around.


1. A backpack

We didn’t know that the only way down was to get completely soaking wet! The staff at the cashier suggested we leave our backpack behind the counter with them. It was totally safe, but had we known earlier we would not have brought it.

2. A towel

After the last waterfall there is still a bit of a hike back out of the mountains to the main park buildings. It’s hot outside and by the time we got back to where lunch was served, we were completely dry.

3. Sunscreen

Fashionably late as always, I didn’t have time to apply sunscreen before we left the boat. I put it in our backpack for later, but when we arrived at the park there was no time to waste. We were off and hiking within minutes. The entire day is actually spent under the rainforest canopy so unless you are extremely fair-skinned, sunscreen won’t help much.

4. Sunglasses

The hike up and back down is mostly shaded.  Peter and I like to wear sunglasses most everywhere we go and we did just fine the whole day leaving ours safely tucked into the backpack behind the cashier’s counter.

5. Anything that cannot be fully submerged in water

This goes for jewelry, watches, clothing, hats, phones or cameras. All three tours, whether it’s the 27, 12 or 7 waterfalls will have you completely soaked.

6. Flip flops

Flip flops will surely fly off after the first slide. They will most likely float and they won’t get too far, but it’s not a good option for footwear. Some of the pools are murky, especially after a lot of rain so if they happen to sink you might not find them.

7. A change of clothes

There are bathrooms to change in afterwards, but unless you plan on leaving your stuff in the vehicle you rode up in or behind the counter at the cashier, there’s no need to bring a change of clothes. Whatever you were wearing will be completely dry, and probably too hot, by the time you ride back to wherever you came from.


Papo charged us around $30 USD per person for the round trip ride which includes drinks on the way up and lunch and drinks at the park.

Entry to the park varies based on how many waterfalls you want to see. The park cashier would gladly accept USD cash but at a higher entrance price. If you exchange your money ahead of time and walk in with Dominican pesos, you’ll get a better entrance rate.

1-7 waterfalls: around $7 USD

1-12 waterfalls:  around $8.50 USD

1-24 waterfalls:  around $12.50 USD

The entrance fee includes the mandatory life jacket, mandatory helmet and tour guide. We were happy to learn that a portion of every entrance fee goes to supporting the surrounding communities and preserving this natural monument.

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At the deepest pool of the 1-12 falls, Peter and our new friend Evan decided to jump off from 35′ above the pool. I’m not a fan of jumping off of anything so I opted for sliding down instead.

This was absolutely the most fun we’ve had on land since we moved aboard our boat. Many of the guide books say these are the best waterfalls in all of the northern Caribbean. If you ever get a chance to visit the Dominican Republic, we HIGHLY recommend visiting the waterfalls. For anyone that enjoys the outdoors, exploring and adventures, this was a very fun way to see one of the best things the DR has to offer. If we ever make it back there, we’ll surely go for all 27 waterfalls and do it again :)

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Have  you been to the waterfalls in the DR? Leave a comment and tell us about your experience!!


FOR SALE!! 2005 Toyota 4Runner 4WD SR5

I can hardly contain the excitement… we are FINALLY ready to sell the only vehicle we have left! We plan to set sail from Punta Gorda, FL at the end of this week and we are headed for the Bahamas!! This means we need the truck gone ASAP :) We need to make our Costco run tomorrow or the next day and then we are just waiting for a few more spare parts to show up in the mail this week.

Peter bought this truck brand new in 05 and it has 235,000 miles on it. Do you know anyone in the Southwest Florida area that would be interested in buying it? Price reduced AGAIN to $6800. Fair bluebook is just over $7000. No known issues, runs great. Rubber floor mats not in the picture but are clean and included.

We really hate to sell it, but we don’t have any covered storage for long term. We can always get another one. The adventure we are about to embark on makes it TOTALLY worth selling the 4Runner.

Please spread the word!!



2005 Toyota 4Runner 4WD SR5 $6800

ONE OWNER, runs great!

MUST SELL THIS WEEK – We moved onto a sailboat and are leaving for the Bahamas, Caribbean and Central America and will not be returning to Florida. We would keep it forever if we could, but it doesn’t float :)

4WD with locking differential and limited slip differential, V6, 4.0L, air conditioning, tinted windows, iPod ready, premium stereo, DVD player installed in rear, power windows and locks, running boards, ROOF RACK and TOW PACKAGE, cloth seats with custom front seat covers, maintenance records, California titled, original owner. Small dent above gas tank, no other issues known.

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A trip to St.Petersburg


We are back safe and sound after a weekend trip 2 hours north to Saint Petersburg for the boat show. It was a last-minute decision to make the journey north, but we’re glad we went. The puppies got to go with us, of course, and they got to lounge around the hotel while Peter and I were at the boat show both Saturday and Sunday. This show was much smaller than the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show and we got out of St. Pete with significantly less damage. There were just a few items we wanted to check out – solar panels, lazy jacks, anchors, and spear guns. We’re already pretty set as far as equipment and upgrades but its worth checking out the deals at a boat show if you get a chance. There were also some great seminars and special events going on that we were excited to see.

Sailing Florida Charters had an awesome program going on that Peter and I didn’t want to miss! They were offering FREE 45 minute sailing cruises with paid boat show admission. All we had to do was show up, get on the boat and enjoy a nice little jaunt out on a Catalina 445. We’d choose to get out on the water any chance we get. While we can always take our own boat out anytime we want (weather permitting) its nice to be able to hop on someone else’s boat for a relaxing cruise. There wasn’t much wind and we only motorsailed but it was still fun to play with the sails on a 2010 Catalina! Our view of the boat show was much better from the water :)





We didn’t take too many photos this weekend, we were too busy looking for things we had to have! We did end up purchasing some additional 100 watt solar panels and controllers to supplement the two 80 watt panels we have on the boat now. A post about those will follow as soon as they are shipped to us :) They are really good quality and the efficiency is probably double the ones that came with the boat. Hopefully we will have more than enough juice to power the new radar and freezer we are installing ;)

There were a ton of great seminars at the show too. We really wanted to see Chris Parker in action talking about the weather. We ended up getting one of his books and talked with him about the customized forecasting service he provides. There was a lot of great info he went over but we’re going to need to read his book a few more times to really get a handle on it. Weather is no joke and we need to make sure we can read the weather and how to watch for weather windows before making a passage. Peter is practically an expert already but I have a lot to learn!!

Another seminar we went to was Bob Bitchin’s “How to keep a starboard attitude while cruising.” Wow, this guy is a trip!! He really knows what it means to be Livin the Dream. And, his wife’s name is pretty “bitchin” too – Jody with a Y!! A little bio on him from the boat show program: Since the early 60’s, adventure has been a way of life for Bob Bitchin. He worked as a traveling companion and bodyguard for famous motorcycle daredevil, Evil Knievel. Then in the early 70’s he started sailing and for over thirty years he lived aboard sailboats and cruised most of the Pacific and Central America.  In 1996 he created Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine. Currently Bob and his wife Jody are creating a new title, Cruising Outpost, which will launch this winter.  www.cruisingoutpost.com . Bob has written seven books: Letters from the Lost Soul, The Sailing Life, Brotherhood of Outlaws, BIKER, Emerald Bay, King Harbor, and Starboard Attitude which was released in June of 2011. – See more at: http://www.showmanagement.com/st_petersburg-boat-show/event/seminars/418#sthash.VMZwJGA5.dpuf

Last but most certainly not least, we got to meet Kim and Jereme from S/V LAHO (lahowind.com)!! We chatted with them for a while about our boats and cruising plans. We definitely have a lot in common. They will be setting sail around the same time, from almost the same starting point, with about the same experience, going in the same direction, without time restrictions, and even with the same furry four-legged kind of crew!! We hope to meet Oliver soon and hopefully Betsy and Gunner will have a new cruising buddy :)

The drive back home to our cozy boat was beautiful as well. Its always fun to see new places and experience a bit more of Florida before heading to the Bahamas.