Most travelers to the Dominican Republic head straight for the beaches of Punta Cana.

Others venture into cities like Santo Domingo or historic Puerto Plata, but don’t get very far beyond.

There’s a lot to see and do in Dominican Republic, however, and this month I had the chance to experience Jarabacoa.

The small mountain cities are full of adrenaline-fueled activities. If you’re looking to add a little extra thrill to your island vacation, head directly to the mountainous region of Jarabacoa, and thank me later.

What to Do in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic

Jarabacoa is an adventure traveler’s paradise. Come to try your hand at paragliding, white water rafting, chasing waterfalls or hiking Pico Duarte, the highest peak in the Dominican Republic.

Go Paragliding

Fly high above the Dominican Alps in a paragliding adventure in Jarabacoa. Expert guides will point out to you the waterfalls below, as you cruise weightlessly through the air for roughly 20 minutes. Paragliding with Flying Tony and his crew was safe, comfortable and fun. Tandem rides start at $60, or choose to take a paragliding course for $800.

Photo by Nick Argires, Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism

Chase Waterfalls

Salto de Baiguate in Jarabacoa is a gorgeous 25-meter cascading waterfall set within a canyon that’s easily accessible via a 10-minute walk down paved stairs. The waterfall has soft sand beneath it, making it ideal for swimming. Free.

Photo by Nick Argires, The Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism.

Go White Water Rafting

White-water rafting with Rancho Baiguate is a thrill. Short bursts of rapids and lovely jungle scenery make for a fun afternoon all but guaranteed to have you smiling, but don’t expect to stay dry. $50 per person, half-day trips (4 hours).

Hike Pico Duarte

The highest point in the Caribbean is no joke – if you attempt this 26km hike, come prepared. At over 3,000 meters above sea level, this multi-day trek tests your endurance but rewards you with views of the entire island. Popular during New Year’s Eve.

Hiking in Ebano Verde

Hiking the Ebano Verde Scientific Reserve gets your blood moving without having to commit several days. This 5km hike is also used for environmental research, with 600 different species of flora and 100 different types of birds. Ends in a small waterfall.

Where to Stay in Jarabacoa

Hotel Gran Jimenoa
Set right next to the roaring Rio Jimenoa (Jimenoa River) this 4-star property with a large on-site restaurant is the largest and most upscale in the area. All rooms have balconies and are air-conditioned, listen to the river as you drift off to sleep.

Jarabacoa was an amazing region of the Dominican Republic I’m so glad I had the chance to check out.