Usually when you hear about the Dominican Republic the first thing that comes to mind is beautiful, warm, sandy beaches.
Although that is a big part of the island there is also an entirely different world in the mountains. There are rivers, streams and all sorts of awesome formations to be seen. Not only that but there are a plethora of things that you can jump off of and rappel down.
Before heading to Pico Duarte we took the “Magic Mushroom” tour with Iguana Mama; named after its main rappelling cliff formation, which resembles a giant mushroom. We started bright and early and made it to our destination after a bumpy ride in the taxi down an unpaved road.
The guides gave us a quick safety rundown and then off we went. I would also like to note that we had the chance to do this tour with one of the writers of Lonely Planet, as well as the owner of the tour company (both of whom happen to be named Michael) which was pretty cool.
We were greeted by beauty as soon as we came down into the river valley, and into the stream we went! On the way to the main attraction, the Mushroom shaped rock formation, we got to do some cliff jumps and feel the tranquility of being submerged in nature
Forty minutes later we get to the mushroom.
The view from the top is pretty cool as you see water trickling over the curve of the formation. The guides set up the rope and one went first; knowing the line has been tested was a boost in confidence.
Jade was the first of the group to go down and I followed so I could get some pictures of the other people coming down. This was the first time rappelling for both of us and it was AWESOME.
Halfway through the hike down we got some Gatorade and cookies to rehydrate and replenish for the rest of the tour.
At the second rappelling location we got the choice to either cliff-jump 30 feet or so, or rappel down. We chose to rappel as both Jade and myself have done our fair share of cliff jumping and wanted to take advantage of the rappelling.
Down and onwards we went through turquoise pools of water. After some swimming, laughing and thrill we made it to the end.
On one of the other tours Iguana Mamma offers you can continue further down stream, but this was the end of the line for us.
We climbed out of the canyon and walked ourselves back to the taxi, and were home-bound for a good night’s sleep before we headed off to an even more epic adventure in the huge mountains this island has to offer.