A young man diving off El Limon, the waterfall at Samana, Dominican Republic

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Cascada El Limón

Las Terrenas

Tucked away in surprisingly rough landscape, surrounded by peaks covered in lush greenery, is the 52m-high El Limón waterfall. A beautiful swimming hole at the bottom can be a perfect spot to wash off the sweat and mud from the trip here, though it’s often too deep and cold for a dip. The departure point is the small town of El Limón, only half an hour from Las Terrenas.

Just about everyone who visits does so on horseback, and almost a dozen paradas (horseback-riding operations) in town and on the highway toward Samaná offer tours; try Santí or Parada la Manzana. (Don't hire someone off the street, as there’s little difference in price and the service is consistently substandard.) All outfits offer essentially the same thing: a 30- to 60-minute ride up the hill to the waterfalls, 30 to 60 minutes to take a dip and enjoy the scene, and a 30- to 60-minute return trip, with lunch at the end. Your guide – whom you should tip – will be walking, not riding, which can feel a little weird but is the custom. Walking or on horseback, you will get wet, as there are several river crossings along the way – rubber sandals are a good idea.

If you book with a tour company in Las Terrenas, check if transportation to/from El Limón is included; if not, factor on RD$50 round-trip by gua-gua (local bus) or US$40 by taxi. Typically the tour (horse, guide and lunch) costs per person from US$30 to US$55; try Casa de las Terrenas or Flora Tours. Otherwise, it’s a minimum 40-minute walk (from the main intersection in El Limón it's roughly 5.6km), up a sometimes very steep trail over rough terrain and with a river or two to ford. It’s not difficult to follow the path once you find it, though, especially if there are groups out on the trail. If you make the trip independently you'll need to pay the entrance fee (RD$50).

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