Paradise found image credit by Jacki Ueng
It was in the nineties that Tionne, Lisa and Crystal, forming R&B group TLC advised not to chase any waterfalls but to stick with rivers and lakes that you are used to.
Don’t go chasing waterfalls.
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to.
I know that you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all,
But I think you’re moving too fast.
But, what if you could have it all? I really do believe that we should chase waterfalls, and where to go to a better place than Samana. If we don’t chase after waterfalls to places and dreams we aspire for, then how on earth would we ever reach paradise?
Now Samana is for a larger part protected as National Park. Slopes, jungle like vegetation, tall coconut trees, raw and rough, rivers, ponds and waterfalls, lots of them….
So let’s chase some waterfalls and find paradise.
You’ll probably have heard about the Saltos de Limón waterfalls. The Limon falls are on the road from Las Terrenas to Sta. Barbara. That is, there’s the parking for your car and where you can start a hike with or without a guide to the Limon fall. It is just that some tigueres (local and foreign alike) certainly will try to charge you way too much money for a so called guided tour.
The Saltos de Limón falls are infamous in the Caribbean and one of the most instagrammed places of Samana.
That’s fine when you’re, say from downtown Atlanta, and don’t feel that secure by yourself. But when you have some kind of survivor aspiration and some training done lately, then this hike is pretty easy. And wouldn’t it be a shame to miss out the fall because you don’t want to break the bank. But you don’t have to, so let me show you here what to do.
Most people arrive from the direction of Las Terrenas. With a car, it is just 20 minutes. But it doesn’t matter where you’re coming from, it’s pretty much the same anyhow.
Make sure to get yourself proper transportation. Rent yourself a car, the best option is an SUV. When you are a couple a Quad, or a motorcycle is also ok. Plus you’re buying yourself independence for the rest of the duration of your holiday.
When you did have some training lately, then this hike to the falls is pretty easy to do.
From Las Terrenas, follow the highway signage to El Limón. You’ll get accosted by a bunch of motoconchos asking you if you’re going to the Saltos. Ignore them, or tell them you’re going to Samaná. They’re just trying to get a commission for bringing you to a specific tour guide.
As soon as you pull into the parking lot, you will be bombarded by locals looking to be your guide. Most tourists, however, opt to travel to the Limon waterfall on a horse. And that’s completely fine and for most of us adventurous enough. However, as you are like us, you do look forward to the activity and passes on the guided tour.
If you’re, say like a “worrier”-tourist, you are happy to want to park your SUV or Quad at Santi’s and do the tour through them for RD$650 a person. The offer is a lunch including with the package, which by the way, is completely worth it. More important is that they hire and employ local guides, which we do like.
Most however opt to travel to the Limon waterfalls on a horse. And that’s completely fine and for most of us adventurous enough. However, as you are like us, you do look forward to the activity and passes on the guided tour.
But if you do not want to smash dollars. Or you just wanna be sure that every peso you spend will to the locals (which we highly commend you for), then take a right at this intersection, and just keep going until you see some “hand made” signs for the entrance of the park and the “ruta de cafe.”
See the enclosed image of Santi to make it find easier for you.
Here definitely will be some locals who gladly tell you how and where to park your SUV or your Quad. And they can take you up to the falls.
With some minor negotiation, you must be able to drop the price to let’s say RD$225 a person. Please note to express clearly that you do not want a horse or mule. It’s cheaper to just hike (you don’t need to be a Spartan Warrior to complete the hike)) But they will default to the price with the mules. Unless it is a mule what you wanna have, in which case, whatever.
Be sure that nothing of value is left in your car. So take them with you and lock your SUV. You can also pay a local to secure your car during your trip. They will gladly do it.
When you make the hike up to the Salto the first time it is wise to have a guide. You have to cross a river at several points, and the trail isn’t that obvious either, so you’ll want to make sure you don’t go alone or get lost in the jungle like surroundings. If it’s not your first time doing the trail, you don’t need a guide at all.
Once that you’ve passed the rivers, you will notice that the path is clear cut. Keep in mind that it can rain sometimes and when it has you can have a lot of mud on the trail. Be sure you’re wearing appropriate footwear. Hiking shoes, or kind of.
When you are not a first time visitor to the DomRep you’ll know by now that you can’t go anywhere without running into souvenirs stands. The Salto de Limón trail is no exception to that rule. Once you get near to the Salto, you certainly will be rewarded with a kind of “parada” where you can buy snacks, beverages, and anything you want in amber, larimar, and local artisanal souvenirs.
When you are not a first time visitor to the DomRep you’ll know by now that you can’t go anywhere without running into souvenirs stands.
From this point however it is all downhill. And as a kind bonus, it is shaded again!
With a little luck, you are here on a bright and sunshiny day. The water will be turquoise and not brownish. Either way though, the Salto is as impressive as ever, and the water as refreshing for a swim or so.
A tip is to go really early in the morning to the falls. This is a very popular destination for organized tours and large groups with tourists flood in all day. This takes a lot of the charm away from this tranquil and idyllic spot.
That’s why we advise you arriving at the falls no later than 8.30am. The hike to the fall is approximately 40 to 50 minutes when you are in reasonable shape, so plan to be in Limón at let’s say 7.15am.
For the Felix Baumgartner’s amongst us; you can climb up the face of the falls to several platforms to skydive into the water. The local kids there will give you a show anyhow. But make sure you have a local guide with you who knows exactly where to jump from, and to, as the lake is full of rocks which are nearly impossible to see in the murky waters.
We’ve never done it. We do not bungee jump either. So please don’t break your neck and enjoy the scenery, the hiking and have a good time in this wonderful place. Then you are able to tell your grandchildren where you have been and what a wonderful experience it was.
On the right, you’ll see an interactive map with a gps trail to the Salto de Limon. This hike is made by Juan Cristobal, who is an experienced trail-runner and climber. When you click on the Wikiloc logo one will be directed to the Wikiloc website where you will find detailed information on this hike. We hope that this will make your trip more fun and you will see that going out is not so hard at all. You can download this trail on your smartphone too, see below.
Wikiloc for iPhone & Android
The Outdoor Navigation App that let you track your hiking, cycling and more activities with GPS and navigate along 6,635,457 trails worldwide.
Download the app for your smartphone here: