The Damajagua Falls was a great trip. The falls are located off the road to Imbert, and we drove ourselves there, ready for some serious fun. You can choose which level you want to reach, as there are 27 levels in all (although our guide said levels 21 through 27 were currently closed). Most people only do the first 7 as it was supposed to be strenuous.  We decided to start there.

We had two great guides; “Johnny” who spoke pretty good English and “Calvin” who only spoke Spanish. The hike to the falls is about 30 minutes. It is a pretty easy walk.  You cross a small river and then the trail slopes gently up.








At the first level, you jump in the water and swim to the fall, which you then walk up and over. It was beautiful, but the water was COLD!  We weren’t expecting that. We kept going and Johnny and Calvin did a great job with the kids and with us, helping us up and over. By the time we got to the 7th level we were ready for more. At this point we had the opportunity to jump off the ledge into the water. Johnny made it look so simple. He jumped up and did a beautiful dive into shallow water. Tristan stepped up next and took a big leap, no hesitation. This surprised me, as usually Tristan is a bit more reserved, and Tessa the bold one. In fact when it was Tessa’s turn she hesitated. With encouragement from all of us she made the leap. I stepped up next all ready to go and looked down. It seemed a long way down and I was ready to back out. I couldn’t believe the kids did this. I realized if I encouraged them to do it, I couldn’t very well back out now, so I jumped! What a feeling, splashing down into crisp water!  We wanted more, so we decided to go higher.

As we hiked on, Tristan started having shoe issues. The bottoms of his nearly new Lands End water shoes were disintegrating. Actually, they had started to fall apart as soon as we started walking, but I gave him the “Suck it up” look as he didn’t have any other shoes to wear and we didn’t want to miss the falls. By the 7th fall, the bottom of one shoe was totally gone. He was only wearing the top. Luckily the stones we had to walk on were smooth and he didn’t complain, just kept going. We were in no danger of getting lost, we could just follow the trail of broken shoe treads back. I felt bad, as we should have just stopped, but we really wanted to keep going and as I said the rocks were pretty smooth, (the guides were barefoot!)  We did the best job we could of hiding his feet as we continued on.

The next levels required ropes, ladders and walking on the sides of the cliff. As we approached level 12, the bottom of the second shoe came off and floats in front of Tessa. “Hey” she starts. “This is Tris..” Dan cut her off with a big SSHH!! I don’t know what we were worried about now. We were as high as we were going to go, they couldn’t make us turn back, but we needed to keep up the charade. Now Tristan had 2 shoe tops on and no shoe bottoms. He did make the remark to me about how was he going to do the 30 minute hike and I told them we would worry about that later.

At level 12, it was time for the best part. Here we got to jump, slide (or chicken out and walk around) the falls we had just hiked up. This one was a curved narrow slide between two big boulders and a five foot drop at the end. Awesome! The water was so cold that Tessa was shivering. She was so cold her lips were turning blue! While waiting to slide down the next fall, I rubbed her arms and legs as hard as I could. She was still freezing.   Johnny, noticing how cold Tessa was, scooped her up, carried her down the falls, and set her in the sun. He helped her take off her lifejacket and gave her his shirt to wear. Meanwhile, we had the choice to slide or jump. Dan, Tristan and I decided to jump.

While Johnny took care of Tessa, Tristan lined up next to Calvin, on this small ledge, where they are waiting for a woman in front of them to jump. Dan helped me onto the ledge. My shoes were extremely slick. I let go of Dan’s hand and walked forward. Suddenly my feet slipped.  I lost my balance and spun around. I began falling backwards into Tristan and Calvin, forcing them forward into the woman on the edge of the ledge, nearly knocking her over.  I grabbed a hold of Tristan, who grabbed Calvin, who luckily grabbed the wall before I took us all over the edge. How embarrassing.

After I safely made my jump, I picked up Tessa, trying to warm her up. The sun and the shirt helped and soon she was much warmer. Now was the tricky part of getting Tristan down the 30 minute rocky trail with no shoes. No problem. Calvin picked him up and carried him down on his back. He switched off with Johnny half way down. Of course we knew now we were going to give them a big tip.

When we got back to the base, we bought Calvin and Johnny a drink, and gave them a tip. It was getting close to lunchtime and we asked Johnny where  was a good for Dominican food. He offered to show us. We followed him into Imbert where he pointed out a small restaurant. I asked him to join us for lunch. It was great listening to Johnny talk about growing up in the DR. He talked about paying for a class to learn English. It lasted 10 months and I was amazed how quickly he picked it up. Learning English here is important as that can get them a good job working for the resorts or as a tour guide. If you don’t have a college degree, those are about the best jobs you can get. Plus I am sure they make a good living in tips.

Soon our food came. We had a great spread of pork, beef, chicken, rice, fried plantains, spaghetti (go figure!) and pasta salad. It was delicious. Dan was already planning on a return trip. As we left the restaurant, someone came up to us, speaking in Spanish and pointing to our tire. It was flat. This was our spare as we had already had a flat that Dan changed in Puerto Plata. We thanked him, and headed to the gas station to fill it up. It really wasn’t a flat, more of a slow leak, which was very common on rental cars. Dan filled it up and we headed back to Puerto Plata. We were ready for a new rental car.