River Rafting on Rio Yaque del Norte – Explore the Caribbean with Debbie

Destination:  Constanza, Dominican Republic

The ‘excursion manager’ of hotel Brisas de Yaque 1 in Jarabacoa, who I first met yesterday afternoon at the reception desk, is waiting for me in the lobby of the hotel. He will accompany me to Rancho Baiguate where he arranged for my River Rafting excursion on the Yaque del Norte River later this day. I am excited because I know that I am going to experience something completely new!

It takes about 15-20 minute by car to reach Rancho Baiguate, the largest “adventure center” in the area, where all activities are related to the outdoor experience. Examples are canyoning, mountain biking and multi day adventure treks to Pico Duarte, the highest mountain in the Caribbean. “I am here for my wild water rafting experience, I enthusiastically explain the young woman, Osmayra, who is welcoming me at the front desk and immediately starts to apologize for the rare occasion that a large group of people could not make it here in time and cancelled the event a few days back. This is the point where I realize that my ‘excursion manager’ is a faker! Since he also is kind of a nice guy trying to make a buck and I am guaranteed a spot on tomorrow’s adventure, I let him off the hook without too much of a verbal slapping. Instead I decide to make the most of my day, take a look at the excursion menu and decide on a 1.5-hour horse-riding trip to Salto Baiguate, which will cost me 14 US dollars, including breakfast that turns out to be more suitable for my taste buds than for my digestive system. When it is time to start my excursion, my horse does not disappoint me in the sense that it takes quite a bit of effort to get him to move. I have come by this type of ‘horse attitude’ many times before. It is Joel Victoriano, my guide, who eventually gets the show on the road. While sitting on the back of my horse, I manage to take some pictures, we cross a river, pass fields where farmers cultivate squash and watch hundreds of butterflies pass by. Every minute of our journey, nature becomes more impressive and subsequently the desire to keep on talking diminishes. The infinite variation of plants, brushes, trees and the color green, the humidity, the sound and sight of birds, insects and other friendly critters create a real rainforest atmosphere. We park our horses and cover the last few hundred meters towards the waterfall on foot. Being in the vicinity of a freefall and crash landing of massive amounts of water touches upon all senses.

Salto Baiguate, is by no means the most impressive or highest waterfall (25 meters) you may find in the Dominican Republic though in context with it’s natural surroundings it provokes me to think that this just could be one of the most awe inspiring and peaceful natural environments I ever felt being part of. No wonder that Joel Victoriano tells me that he has no desire to go anywhere else for an extended amount of time.

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