"Jarabacoa, Manabao and surrounding countryside" Jarabacoa by CadeJ
Jarabacoa Travel Guide: 18 reviews and 40 photos
In April 2011, we drove from Luperon to Jarabacoa and explored the area by 4WD jeep. Here is a brief synopsis of what we saw, where we stayed and ate, and what we recommend.
Day 1 - arrived in Jarabacoa via the highway from La Vega about mid-day. We drove the main street (Hwy C-28) which takes a couple of right-angle bends in town. Dominican road labels and maps are not always reliable, but this roadway is the obvious thru-street. We walked around in the central 4X4 grid of city blocks, festooned with restaurants, bars, and various stores. In the afternoon we scouted a couple of hotels that had been recommended. Finally we drove up the road to Constanza (extension of C-28 southward from Jarabacoa) as far as permitted during weekday-construction activities.
Day 2 - we drove west out of town across the bridge over the Yaque River, and uphill. We expected to be able to reach Manaboa via this road (as indicated by the tourist map), but this proved impossible. The road is dirt; steep and deeply rutted in places. We maintained as southwesterly a route as possible, but local farmers assured us that we could not reach our planned destination without returning to Jarabacoa.
Day 3 - we drove to Manabao on the main road, and continued on to Cienaguas and the park office at the approach trail to Pico Duarte. The roads above Manabao are predominantly unpaved and steep and rutted in places, but do not necessitate use of 4WD. Low-ground-clearance cars might have trouble in one or two places. We also drove side roads to Mata Cafe and Agostura (Spirit Mountain Coffee), we drove northward from the northeast part of town on dirt roads through the countryside, passing the reservoir lakes several miles north of Jarabacoa, and then turning west through the hills along the south side of the Cibao valley.
Night 1 - Hotel Paradiso Oasis $RD500 for couple in double bed. The room was not air conditioned but comfortable. The bed was a little bit sagged, but comfortable. Small TV had one channel. The shower was very cold and no showerhead. It was pastoral (faint traffic noise, but roosters crowing). There was a swimming pool (2/3 full) which we did not use. We had a nice breakfast for an additional $RD200 on the owners' house porch. Owners are Felicia and Jose - very cordial.
Night 2 - Hostel Jimenoa $RD900 for couple in double bed. A more conventional hotel, with hot water in the shower and numerous cable TV channels including CNN, BBC and some sort of HBO-like movie channels. No breakfast. The bed was much more comfortable. No air conditioning but there were AC rooms available for $RD1,300. Despite being right in town, there was no noticable traffic noise and there were no roosters.
We had lunch one day at El Comer, a small dominican restaurant on Independencia (one block west of the central park). It was typical fare and reasonably priced (two ate for $RD250). Signs said they had wifi but we did not check it out.
On the square at the park, we enjoyed some Bon ice-cream. Always delicious!
We had lunch one day at a chinese restaurant on the road out of Jarabacoa toward Manabao - right on the corner where traffic loops uphill to the Shell station. It was a gritty place, but excellent food and less that $RD200 for lunch for two.
We ate dinner one evening at Mi Tio; a small internet cafe one block north of the park. Food was pricy, but very good. We got out for $RD400 for sandwiches, a beer, and some fruit juice. This cafe is next to a language school. The proprietor is a former resident of New York and very friendly.
$RD37.7 = $US1 at the time of this visit
1. There were many points of interest along the road to Manabao - swimming pools, scenic overlooks, giant road-cuts, interesting side roads. We could spend another day on that road. There are short hikes from the park office at Cienaguas.
2. There are many pedestrians, and the offer of a "bola" a free ride in the car is gratefully accepted by most of them. Even if they are not actually looking for a ride (only a short distance left to walk), they are grateful for the offer. We do not think Dominican highwaymen prowl the major roads disguised as tired manual laborers or over-burdened middle-aged women; so for an extra jolt of local culture, share the ride if you are mobile and have a spare seat. The local joke is "How many can fit in a guagua (truck)?" answer: "two more!"
3. The waterfalls are highly regarded but we did not go look. Next time for sure.
- Pros:The climate is cooler than elsewhere in the country, nice mountain scenery
- Cons:Just another Dominican village in many respects - the cultural experience is all contemporary and pedestrian
- In a nutshell:A good way to get closer to Pico Duarte or see mountain streams.
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