Lago Enriquillo is the largest and deepest lake below sea level in the Caribbean, ideal for wildlife watching and nature exploration. Boat trips along the lake’s waters and onto Isla Cabritos reveal a large population of American crocodiles, and flamingos.
Rivers + Lakes
Taking a cold river dip, near or away from the beach, is part and parcel of DR culture. Locals love to swim in fresh water rivers, cooking along the banks, and resting in the shade. For more adventure, go river rafting in Jarabacoa and feel the rapids as you tumble over mini cascades past a rocky shore. Rent a kayak and glide along the majestic Chavón River, in La Romana, once featured in the movie Apocalypse Now. In the southwest, the rivers of Barahona—easily accessed as they tumble down to meet the sea—are so magnificent for a swim that they are natural attractions, combining food and drinks on site. Lakes are no less impressive—hop on a boat tour of Lago Enriquillo, sitting 30 meters (138 feet) below sea level at the lowest point in the Caribbean, and home to American crocodiles.
Rivers dips are ideal during the summer when temperatures are at their highest, but you can enjoy them year-round, while lakes are ideal for bird spotting.
Rivers + Lakes in
Tumble or swim in rivers, ubiquitous across this mountainous land, particularly across the cool Jarabacoa region, and tour a salty lake home to crocodiles.
The largest lagoon in DR, with a salt-water level three times higher than that of the sea, Laguna de Oviedo is a prime bird watching area. Around the lagoon’s thick mangrove swamps and 24 keys you’ll spot royal and blue herons, the great egret, roseate spoonbills, sandpipers, and flamingos.
Laguna Dudú’s series of turquoise, freshwater lagoons surrounded with caves and lush forest will keep you swimming all day long. Rent a kayak to navigate the waters, explore one of the caves on foot, or brave the makeshift zipline at your own risk.
One of the DR’s major bird sanctuaries, set along a peaceful lagoon flanked by thick mangroves. Boat rides take you along this mystical lagoon daily, though sunset is the best time to see egrets, and vultures soaring and chirping loudly above the mangroves as you pass through narrow channels.
DR’s largest freshwater lagoon, reaching 28 square kilometers (11 square miles), Laguna Rincón is home to a variety of flora and wildlife rich enough to make it a protected scientific reserve, with water turtles, iguanas, flamingos, pelicans, herons, and Florida ducks.
A popular freshwater river pool, running all the way to where it meets the sea, Los Patos is known as the shortest river in DR. You’ll see ducks stumbling along its banks while you wade, swim, and enjoy the cold water.
One of the most famous hills in the country, it makes more than the imagination fly from its swings with views of the coast and the majestic Laguna Redonda. From that point, more than a thousand meters above sea level, paragliding flights, buggy excursions, four-wheel drives and hiking are also available. Other interesting mountains to visit are La Herradura and Los Machetes, where community members carry out organized excursions among crop fields, as well as rivers and streams such as Chavón, Nisibón, Yabón, Seibo, El Cedro, Maguá and Yeguada, the latter flowing into the Atlantic Ocean offering fishing boat and kayak trips.
This stunning emerald-colored river doubles as a popular natural swimming pool where it meets the ocean on the western end of Playa Rincón. Residents and visitors love to cool off here, before or after enjoying fresh fish and lobster away from the tourist throngs on the eastern side of the beach.
This winding body of water meets the sea on the Altos de Chavón village side, all the way to the Casa de Campo Marina. Speedboat, kayak and canoe excursions are available year round to see and feel the river’s spectacular jungle scenery up close.
Running through the North Coast, the Río Damajagua is best known for the 27 waterfalls, and the fresh water pools it fills as it gushes through Puerto Plata’s highlands and onto its plains.