For anyone visiting the north part of the Dominican Republic, particularly around the Puerto Plata, La Isabela, Sousua and Cabarete areas, the 27 Waterfalls tourist attraction will almost certainly be offered to you at some point or another. If you are like me you tend to avoid the package tours. However, this is one that you really shouldn't miss, even if there is going to be a crowd.
If you have your own car this is even better: You can decide to leave a bit later in the morning, and avoid the masses of tour buses that will normally depart the surrounding areas and arrive all at the same time. We left Sousua at 11am and by the time we arrived, we rarely even saw anyone else
The tour begins with a rather long (over an hour) hike to the top of the falls, and this might be a bit much for people in poor shape or the elderly. If you fall into that category, I'm afraid there is no other option but to perhaps wait at the final waterfall for your group to return. This is a lovely spot in itself, but just know that you DO have to be capable of walking in the jungle for a while in order to start the tour.
But when you do start it, it is one of the coolest things I have ever done in my life.
"27 Waterfalls" isn't just a gimmicky name, that is really what you are going to encounter as you jump off all of them into the water below. The depths have all been tested, and just to put your mind at ease, one of your two guides will jump in before you just to prove that the water is deep enough.
I suppose I should advise that you better not be afraid of jumping from heights into water below because there is no other way back :)
Some of the falls also have rock "waterslides" and this is just as exhilarating as the jumps.
Some people will ask "is it safe" and the answer to that is YES, unless you do something stupid. You are jumping off of cliffs, so if you mess about, there is obviously an opportunity for injury. The Dominican Republic isn't exactly world-class when it comes to safety inspection, so you need to understand that yes, there are some risks involved here. However, I never felt in danger at any time and it was absolutely exhilarating. The safety gear of a helmet and life-jacket are required and even the guides set an example by also wearing them.
The Water is nice and cool (as well as clean) and most of the trip takes place in the shade of the jungle. At the last waterfall you are allowed to stick around for as long as you want at the final pool, where food is almost certainly going to be served as part of your tour and unless that has changed, it was actually surprisingly good.
PRO TIPS: If you have your own car this "tour" is remarkably cheaper. For whatever reason, the tour companies tack on quite a lot simply for the transportation to and from the falls.
If you go on a tour that involves pick up and drop off from a hotel you can expect to pay $70 or so per person. It is dramatically less if you make your own way there.
View this post on TravelFeed for the best experience.