As I pull on my rubber boots in preparation for my journey to Cascada Limon, I can’t help but to ask myself what the hell have I gotten myself into? Engaged in a stare-down with the bony horse waiting patiently in the pasture, I seriously considered my options. My preferred option was to back out of this ludicrous adventure, but this girl has never been a quitter and while sitting alone in the Dominican Republic surrounded by complete strangers, I didn’t figure that it was the best time to start.
What do you think? Are you ready to saddle up and join me on my horseback riding adventure through the jungles of the Dominican Republic to the breathtaking waterfalls known as Cascada Limon? This tour is designed for the fit, as well as the not so fit, and those who want to get fit.
Of course I am somewhat joking. The Cascada Limon tour is slightly more strenuous than what I like, but it is well worth every bit of the blood, sweat and tears along the way.
Tour With Runners Adventures Samana
I booked the Cascada Limon tour directly with the tour co-ordinator at the resort who you can find in the main lobby of the hotel. Although I travelled with Air Transat, I wasn’t unable to locate my Transat representative throughout my stay, so I booked all of my tours directly with the resort. I can’t say if there was a price difference between the resort and Transat, but I can say that notwithstanding who the tour was booked through, all travellers toured together.
Just One Tip: By booking all of my tours directly through the resort, I received a 10% discount on all tours.
The tour was with Runners Adventures Samana, who did a spectacular job and provided us with a horseback riding tour to remember. We were picked up at our resort in a safari style open air jeep. Bouncing along the Dominican streets was the perfect way to start such an adventurous tour, while at the same time discover some of the local countryside. Throughout the drive to Cascada Limon our tour guide inundated us with the history of the island and was eager to make note of the points of interest along the way.
Las Ballenas Cigar House
Although we were unaware, we made a quick stop on our way to Cascada Limon at Las Ballenas Cigar House. Here we watched as one of the locals were hard a work hand-rolling the sweet smelling cigars. These cigars are sold right on site and I understand that they are well worth the purchase.
The cigars are made with all natural products and my tour companions told me that they were the best cigars they have tasted. I am an ex-smoker and there was no way that I was going to risk taking up that habit again, so I didn’t give them a taste. I did however taste the coffee which was fantastic!
Bring along a little extra cash on this excursion to support the locals by purchasing a locally made craft, fresh cinnamon, fresh coffee beans and yes, a cigar.
After a short visit at Las Ballenas Cigar House, we finally arrived at the star attraction, Cascada Limon.
While Cascada Limon is accessible by a relatively
easy difficult 40 minute walk through the forest, I was being my adventurous daring self and taking the tour by horseback. It was a bit of a bumpy ride, as the terrain was muddy, rocky and quite uneven. I imagine that this would have made for a fairly difficult walk as well.
Upon arriving at Cascada Limon, I was provided a really
sexy pair of rubber boots. I recommend bringing socks to wear under the boots, although they are available for purchase as well. The boots are included in the price of the tour.
Just One Tip: Bring along a pair of socks, as you will be expected to wear rubber boots. Socks can be purchased if you forget to bring a pair.
A guide greeted me and assisted me with mounting my horse. She also held the reigns and guided me as we trotted through the forest. It is not necessary to be an avid horseback rider (I hadn’t been on a horse in almost 50 years), as the guide is with you throughout the entire tour and will assist in any way needed. As stated earlier, be prepared, it is not smooth sailing! For more advanced riders, you have the option of being a little more daring and allowing your horse to gallop on its own. Regardless of riding ability, or lack thereof, the guide will remain with you throughout the entire tour.
After a grueling 40 minutes in the saddle, we finally reached the end. At least it was the end for the horse. Little did I know what was yet to come. I dismounted my horse and she was given a well deserved rest while we walked the rest of the way to the waterfalls. Yes…..there are a tonne of stairs! 215 to be exact! At the bottom of the stairs, your reward awaits. Cascada Limon in all of its glory shimmering like diamonds as it invites you into its warm embrace. You don’t want to miss out on this part of the adventure, so bring along a towel and wear your bathing suit.
Cascade Limon is a beautiful 170.60 foot (52 meter) waterfall and it is a refreshing way to relax and reward yourself for all of the difficult work you had to do in order to reach it. It is completely safe to leave your belongings with you guide while you take a well deserved dip in the waterfalls.
Once you have had enough of the waterfall and have taken massive amounts of photos, it is time to saddle up again and to begin the journey back to your horse. Unfortunately, before you reach your horse, you will have to manage to climb all 215 stairs to before you reach her. Once you have accomplished this task, the ride back to the entrance is much easier than the ride to the waterfall.
Before you mount your horse, you just have to stop for a refreshing pina colada. You will need it after climbing all of those stairs. For $5.00 U.S., you can get a fresh pina colada in a pineapple. The bartender will also give you the hollowed out inside of the pineapple…..enjoy!
It is not mandatory that you book a horseback tour when visiting Cascada Limon. You can walk the trail and swim in the waterfall on your own. Many Trip Advisor reviews will tell you that this tour/trek is for the extremely fit only. I almost cancelled my tour after reading this, but I’m sure glad that I didn’t! The trek is a little more difficult than I am use to, but it is well worth the agony and is one of the best tours that I have taken anywhere.
It is quite difficult and the hike certainly isn’t for anyone who has mobility issues, but as long as you can walk, you can do this hike. There are benches scattered along the stairs where you can rest your weary bones until you are ready to carry on.
Trip Advisor reviews will also tell you that the horses are malnutritioned and whipped by the guides. I did not observe this at all. It is true that the horses are not a stocky as the horses found in North America, but compared to most other islands that I have been to I found the horses to be quite healthy. My guide did not carry a whip, instead she gave me a leaf to use if the horse needed prodding. I never used it, as my horse listened to the clucking of my guide.
Know Before You Go
There are a few things that I wish I had known prior to heading out on the tour:
- the guides are not employed by the park, they are volunteers. Make sure you bring money to tip them. I tipped my guide (Skyla) $10.00 U.S., which was a small amount for the amount of work that she had to do.
- if you are going on a tour, bring a pair of socks to wear under the rubber boots.
- bring $5.00 for a pina colada. These are a must to try!
- wear your bathing suit and bring a towel to swim in the waterfall.
- don’t forget your camera.
- if you are not going by horseback, wear sturdy shoes.
- bring bug repellent.
- bring water and a snack. You will get thirsty and hungry from all of the exercise.
- the paparazzi will be joining you during the tour, so don’t forget to smile for the camera!
FOLLOW ALONG FOR MORE ADVENTURES
If I could give one last tip before getting off this horse, it would be not to believe everything that you read! The jungle, the horses, and the waterfall, were all beautiful and well worth the effort, so don’t be afraid to saddle up to Cascade Limon!
HAVE A SAFE AND FUN ADVENTURE…..I sure did 🙂
PIN TO VISIT CASCADE LIMON!