When it comes to adventure travel, I’m super weird. I’m always scared out of my mind, shaking,.until I DO IT! Thus, “I don’t know how I get myself into these things” is something you will constantly hear through the action-packed 27 Waterfalls video below.
So please, bear with me as I hike, hesitate, and then finally slip through natural water slides; shoot through carved canyons; and jump off many cliffs throughout a Dominican rainforest and the Charcos Damajagua in Puerto Plata! 😀
This half-day Amber Cove port adventure with Iguana Mama was, hands-down, one of my top 5 most incredible excursions I have ever taken–anywhere in the world.
27 Waterfalls, Puerto Plata: My Charcos Damajagua Adventure
If you’re feeling impatient, skip to 2:00 – that’s when the REAL fun begins! 😉
Support Local Tour Operators!
Amber Cove is a relatively-new cruise port–and the first to open up in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic in decades. While the area is filled with all-inclusive resorts, this port of call could be a game changer for the local economy and true boost to authentic tourism.
My hope? That passengers book excursions through local operators vs. the cruise lines that dropped them off here (unless it’s through a responsible, social impact cruise line such as Fathom Travel!).
Also: enter either sharing a taxi and hiring a local guide or booking excursions with local agencies such as Iguana Mama.
27 Waterfalls: Logistics
Since I booked with a local operator, I had to walk for about 10 minutes, out of the Amber Cove complex, to meet my guides. Grounds and main gate are well guarded, so no problems there– felt very safe as a solo female traveler.
Iguana Mama keeps groups quite small, so there were two buses as I believe there were over 20 of us going. Comfortable, decent A/C, funny and informational guides for the 20-35 min. ride (it’s harder to time things in the Dominican Republic, I don’t know why it haha).
There are 2 main excursions you can take from Amber Cove to the 27 waterfalls, also known as the Charcos Damajagua. One option is to take a short 2 km hike round-trip to waterfall 12. Second option, for the most intrepid, is a longer 4 km hike to waterfall 19, 27 (about USD $20 more booked via Iguana Mama).
Which one you pick, of course, highly depends on your physical condition. I took the 2 km hike to be safe and didn’t find it strenuous: only gentle slopes, minimal change in inclination (watch the Damajagua waterfalls video again for sample terrain!).
However, if you have any knee problems, I highly advise you think twice before going. We climbed several long stairs, up and down, throughout the excursion. Furthermore, it’s a rain forest. Expect the ground to always be either damp or very wet–you need both a good grip and good reflects. Buy waterproof sandals like I did! Best investment for my travels, right up there with my goPro Hero3+ 😉
Special thanks to Iguana Mama for inviting me on this tour! All opinions and incredible adrenaline rushes, however, were a product of my honest experience. In fact, I reached out to them because they are a top-rated local tour operator on the Lonely Planet Dominican Republic and couldn’t wait to put them to the test 😉