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The Best Day Trips on the North Coast of Dominican Republic!

Posted by Amanda Petty on December 24, 2018
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Soon after arriving on the beautiful North Coast of the Dominican Republic, you’ll find there is plenty to do in both Cabarete and Sosua. With beautiful beaches, dozens of great restaurants and famously consistent wind – this area caters to all. But what if you want to adventure a little further around the area? Fear not – here we round up some of our favourite day trips on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic!

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Lagoons (Lagunas)

Some of the most popular attractions of the North Coast are freshwater lagoons. Here we’ll mention our two favourites, Laguna El Dudu and Laguna Gri Gri.

Laguna El Dudu:

Situated just south of the coastal town of Cabrera, Laguna El Dudu is not one, but two stunning blue lagoons. To get to the lagoons from Cabarete or Sosua, there are a few options available. Unless you are a seasoned traveller, we would recommend against public transport. Hiring a car is good option, but bear in mind that driving in the DR is a very different experience than at home! The most comfortable option is to hire a local taxi, which can take you from your accommodation to the lagoon in around 1.25 hours.

Surrounded by pleasant gardens and pathways, the lagoons are actually connected by an underground cave system, attracting experienced scuba divers. With an entry fee just of RD$150 (US$3), Laguna El Dudu makes for an affordable day trip, and you can even zip-line into the deep lagoon for just RD$25 ($0.50 cents).

Laguna Gri Gri:

If beautiful clear lagoons sound enticing, but the trip to Laguna El Dudu is too long, you’re in luck. Just one hour’s drive in the same direction will bring you to the town of Rio San Juan, home to the must-see Laguna Gri Gri. Doubling up as both tropical bird sanctuary and freshwater lagoon, it gets its name from the abundance of the Gri Gri tree.

For RD$2500 (US$50), you can take an hour long boat tour for up to seven people. The boat will meander through the mangroves and peculiar rock formations, while the guide fills you in on the area’s history. Some private tours will even take you right through to the ocean, ending up at the breathtaking Playa Caleton.

Beaches and Islands (Playas y Islas)

Although both Cabarete and Sosua have beautiful beaches, the North Coast is rich with white sand and turquoise waters ready to be explored. Here are some of the best!

Playa Caleton:

Located in Rio San Juan and the ideal follow-up to Laguna Gri Gri, Playa Caleton can be found in a small, peaceful bay. The beach is the perfect getaway for people of all ages, with white sands, calm waves and towering palm trees.

If you haven’t arrived at Playa Caleton by boat tour, it is probably easiest to catch a guagua going east from the main road in Rio San Juan for around RD$30 (60 cents).

Playa Grande:

As its name suggests, Playa Grande is first and foremost known for its size. Stretching over 1 mile in length, this beach is lined with glittering golden sand and perfect palm trees. Unlike Playa Caleton, the water at Playa Grande is known for its strong swells, making it perfect for surfers. This also means that there can be strong undertows, requiring extra care when swimming. The beach is littered with small seafood shacks, which serve delicious lunch plates if you’re peckish!

Playa Grande can be found just 15 mins from Rio San Juan, meaning an overall taxi or car journey of about 1h15m from Cabarete.

Paradise Island:

The aptly named Paradise Island is every snorkeler’s dream. A secluded white sandbank surrounded by unspoiled coral reef, colorful marine life and crystal clear water, this island is an absolute must see.

A visit to Paradise Island, however, is definitely an all day commitment. The bus drive to the local town, Punta Rucia, can take 2.5 hours from Cabarete, and leaves at around 6am. Once you arrive, a 15 minute boat ride will bring you to the island, where snorkelling equipment, fresh fruit and drinks are all readily available. Most tours will take you through the mangroves of Monte Cristi before heading back to Punta Rucia for the bus journey home.

Please bear in mind that this can be up to a 12 hour day with a serious amount of sun, so don’t forget plenty of sunscreen and money for water! There are numerous tour operators to choose from, including the three below:



Cabarete Tours

Caves and Waterfalls (Cuevas y Cascadas)

For the more adventurous of visitors, picturesque beaches and blue lagoons may not be enough. Fortunately, the North Coast also has plenty of opportunity for exploration and activity. Here are our favourites.

Las Cuevas de Cabarete: away in the Cabarete neighbourhood of Callejon de la Loma is El Choco National Park, the home of Cabarete’s 5 million year old caves. If you’ve visited Cabarete before, and can’t believe you’ve not heard of these caves before, don’t worry – you’re not alone! Many visitors leave the North Coast without ever visiting this natural wonder.

The caves are very easy to get to from Cabarete by motoconcho for around RD$100 (US$2). As you get closer to El Choco, you’ll be amazed at the sudden change from busy streets to lush green forest and trickling water. Tours of the caves can be taken for just RD$1000 (US$20), and you’ll be provided with a helmet, flashlight and thorough information about the caves’ history.

Altogether there are three caves available to visit, two of which feature pools of cool, crystal clear water. If you’re feeling brave, turn off your flashlights and jump into the pools for an eerie sensory experience! Some of the passages can be very narrow with slippery steps, so we would only recommend this tour to the sure-footed and non-claustrophobic.

27 Waterfalls (Charcos de Damajagua):

About 1 hour’s drive inland from Puerto Plata is one of the region’s most sought after attractions. Making up part of the Damajagua river, 27 turquoise pools with connecting waterfalls cascade down the mountainside.

There are several tour operators to choose from, but most tours will provide a similar experience. You’ll start the day with a not-for-the-faint-hearted hike through gorgeous forest to the very top of the waterfall system, and what goes up, must come down! Suited up in safety gear, the descent can be made by jumping or sliding down the waterfalls from pool to pool.

Depending on the recent amount of rainfall, all 27 pools may not be on the tour, but there is still plenty to see! Make sure to bring some old running or tennis shoes, and clothes you don’t mind getting wet. Most tours will offer lunch and refreshments, just like this one from Iguana Mama.

  • *Prices listed are an average price. Prices are subject to change based on season, holidays and duration of stay.
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