Jarabacoa is a wonderful place. I was first in Puerto Plata, a small beach town in the northwestern part of the county for work. I left there at around 5:30am to La Vega to catch the bus to my destination. Well, I got there at 8:00am and the 8:30am bus was already full, the next bus to Jarabacoa would maybe leave at 11:30am if there was a bus available. But do not fear, the motoconchos and local transportation services are here! So that is exactly what I did, I hopped on a motoconcho, he took me to the local bus stop and in less than an hour I was in Jarabacoa.
I didn’t know where I was going to spend the night or where I had to go to experience the outdoorsy adventure that I wanted, all I knew was that Jarabacoa had mountains and rivers. I told the bus driver to drop me off at the center of the town, I figured it would be a good place to start, and no I didn’t have a map of Jarabacoa with me, I did however, have a map of the country, I figured that would be enough.
I decided to walk down to the stop of the original bus that I was going to take; it is a national company so I imagined I could find some kind of information there. I immediately came across two white Americans and said, “I know this may sound really random, but where are you two staying tonight?” They looked at me like I had four heads, but nonetheless they tried to help. Like good ol’ tourist they took out their Lonely Planet book and showed me where they would spend the night. It was a really pricy hotel. NOTE to self: never ask tourist where they are staying, it is probably way over priced and not really worth the money, but hey I needed to start somewhere.
I am in the Dominican Republic, so I was sure that a “buscon” (hustler) would appear at any moment, and so in a matter of minutes he did. His name was Antonio and although I knew that he was after my small stash, he was very nice and extremely helpful. This guy got me in contact with this ranch that offered all kinds of nature adventures, got me a local spot to spend the night with a picturesque view for like RD$500 pesos (USD$14), and finally took me to the very cool ranch where I would meet Anthony and Tony. Yes, in one day I met Antonio, Anthony and Tony, I guess we can deduce that this is a popular name up in the mountains of Jarabacoa?
Anthony was the 16 year old in charge of taking me horseback ridding for 2 hours to the Salto de Jimenoa (a small water fall). Yes you read it correctly, a 2 hour horse ride! My butt and back were killing me! It was definitely worth its price of RD$750 pesos (USD$21). Of course what I mean to say is that the horse ride, the yummy buffet lunch, and the access to the pool were all worth that price, I find it hard to put a price on nature, going through a breathtaking greenery to arrive at a waterfall is simply priceless or at least it should be.
Tony was the waiter at the restaurant in the ranch. He was really sweet to me. You see lunch, water, coffee, and tea were all included in the buffet, but you had to pay for other refreshments. I wanted a natural juice and although they didn’t have any, Tony went out of his way to find me some. He came to my table with a glass of “jugo de carambola” or star fruit juice. It was so delicious and something completely new to me. He would come by my table every so often to check up on me and even told me that if I didn’t like what was being offered in the buffet, he would go and get me something else. It began to rain and of course I asked for some hot chocolate, probably some of the best I’ve had in a long time. All in all, my trip was a great one, in less than 24 hours I was able to hike, horseback ride, eat, and just enjoy life. I did this all by myself, but I look forward to sharing Jarabacoa with loved ones and friends.