Hiking Jarabacoa’s Salto Jimenoa may not be the most extreme of all the high adventure activities available in the central highlands of the Dominican Republic, but it’s definitely a favorite of mine. We visited early in the week, and found ourselves alone on the path. Last week was Spring Break with a deluge of tourists. So this week was a good time for a visit if you enjoy solitude in nature like I do. It’s fun to indulge in the illusion that I’m the first one who ever admired this view, this bridge, this waterfall!
We were surprised to see the young ticket seller wearing a cable knit sweater and ski hat. Our first impulse was to wonder if our cotton clothing and sun-visors were somehow a mistake at this elevation. Our second impulse was to check the temperature on our i-Phones. Mid 70s. Well, she looked lovely and wasn’t even wiping sweat off her brow like we were. How does that happen?
Swinging bridges to Salto de Jimenoa
The short hike to Salto de Jimenoa involves negligible elevation gain, but it does require negotiating a series of three swinging bridges alongside the Yaque del Norte river. The roar is very immediate, with the water pounding below on a boulder-strewn bed. If you walk with synchronized steps, the bridges respond with heavier wave action than if each person steps at a different time. Teens seem to like the excitement of the movement, but most seniors don’t. Breaking up the footfall pattern seems to even out the weight distribution.
Swimming hole? Really?
Just before we reached the end of the boardwalk where we could see the falls, we encountered a sign identifying a swimming hole. Puzzled, we looked around the rushing waters of the boulder strewn Rio Yaque del Norte for what it might refer to. I think we identified an open area that might do for swimming in the summer when the water level was low. Right now, you’d only send people you never wanted to see again into that fast-running swimming hole.
A hydroelectric plant on the shoreline has a prominent place at the beginning of the hike, but the first bridge soon takes you away from it. Friends in the DR tell us that in the summer months, Jarabacoa has long been a mountainous get-away for city dwellers who want to escape the city heat. Our visit in April of the year discovered a perfect temperature and humidity level. Truly Edenic in so many ways. That has been true of the entire island—so beautiful except what has been besmirched by human use.
In the parking lot, a local offered us cartons of fresh strawberries. We enjoyed eating them later that night over a game of cards with friends on our balcony over-looking the pool.
The rustic beauty of Hotel Gran Jimenoa
We enjoyed the rustic beauty of Hotel Gran Jimenoa and would love to visit again some time. Maybe in this case, a few pictures will tell it all.
For more JMBryce Travel blogs about visiting the center area of the Dominican Republic: