Adventure Hot Spots
So where do adventure freaks congregate when they come to the Dominican Republic? And whereabouts in the country do they go to get their kicks?
There are two main 'base camps' for adventure travel in the Dominican Republic: Cabarete and Jarabacoa. Situated on the north coast between the Atlantic Ocean and the mountains of the Cordillera Septentrional, Cabarete is an excellent base for activities on land and in the water. Already one of the best places in the world for windsurfing, Cabarete is also an excellent spot for surfing and kitesurfing. Its close proximity to the mountains, meanwhile, means that activities such as canyoning, cascading and horseback riding can be done in day trips from Cabarete. Jarabacoa is the largest town in the Dominican Alps and, therefore, an ideal departure point for the numerous activities which take place in the central mountains, including: canyoning, kayaking, river rafting, horseback riding, mountain biking, paragliding and hiking - up Pico Duarte, for example.
While Cabarete and Jarabacoa are the main adventure hotspots, there are other towns where you might end up spending a night or two. Sosua, for instance, is a good place to go for scuba diving; Las Galeras is the access point for the best rock climbing in the Dominican Republic; Barahona is the largest town in the southwest of the country, a relatively unexplored region with hidden caves and fine coral reefs; and from Santo Domingo you can go caving and paragliding.
The national parks and other protected areas of the Dominican Republic are also obvious territory for the adventurous traveler. Some of the most popular include: Los Haitises, with its caves, Taino paintings, limestone hillocks and mangrove swamps; Parque Nacional del Este, which incorporates Isla Saona and its spectacular birdlife; Santuario del Banco de la Plata and Samana Bay, protected areas covering the breeding grounds of over 10,000 humpback whales; Armando Bermudez and Jose Carmen Ramirez (for Pico Duarte); and Isla Cabritos (for Lago Enriquillo). Along with these, there are approximately 40 other national parks and protected areas to explore