EL LIMON WATERFALL.
In addition to the beach and palm trees there are other great places in the Dominican Republic. El Limon in the jungle of the Samaná Peninsula in the north of the country is one of them. Hike through a relic tropical forest to one of the highest waterfalls in the Dominican Republic will greatly diversify your holiday. And the route can pass even people with poor physical preparation.
Table of contents:
- General Facts about Lemon Falls
- How to get to the start of the trek to the falls, map
- The route and the waterfall itself. Tips and photos.
- To the waterfall on horseback: all about it
- Price, mode, and parking
- Guided tour to the falls
- Tips for the perfect visit to Lemon Falls
Resources to help the traveler
- The most adequate car rental – DiscoveryCar
- Tours to the Dominican Republic, cheaper only to steal – Level Travel
- Villas, apartments, hotels – Hotellook
- Excursions with Russian guides – Tripster
- Transfer from the airport to the hotel – Intui
The 56 meter El Limon and I’m swimming in its waters. You can not see me very well, but the waterfall can be seen perfectly!
El Limon Falls
Next, you will learn everything you need to know to visit the waterfall on your own or as part of a tour group on horseback. There will be all the information you need to get to such a cool attraction in the Dominican Republic easily and easily.
General Facts about Lemon Falls
Very briefly, I won’t retype wikipedia, but you should have an idea about the place.
- The height of El Limón is 56 m.
- It is not the highest waterfall in the Dominican Republic, although tour sellers say so.
- Limón is the third highest waterfall in the country.
- The first two: 121m and 83m are located in inaccessible places in the jungle, where no man can reach. Therefore, El Limón is the highest of the waterfalls in the Dominican Republic, which can be easily reached by an ordinary traveler, even by yourself.
- El Limón reaches its fullness and beauty from May to September during the rainy season. But even in the dry season, it will not disappoint you. About the season and weather in the Dominican Republic.
All photos in this article were taken in late February during the dry season.
The 56 meter El Limón and me, almost like a bird, well, or a dolphin.
Map, how to get to El Limón Falls
Before I give the map there is one important point: there are 4 hiking routes to the waterfall from different directions. All 4 are approximately the same length. But this article will report about the most important route, it is the easiest in terms of elevation changes and is considered the most beautiful. Since it is on this route, you approach the waterfall from the front and in front of you there will be such a view as on the photo.
On the other trails, you approach Lemon from behind.
This is the view of El Limón Falls from this route.
Map to El Limon Falls
Download the free app for yourself on your phone maps.me, you’ll find great maps of the Dominican Republic there that work without the internet. And there’s this trail to El Limón Falls, very helpful for those who are hiking on their own.
The waterfall is in the center of the Samaná Peninsula. Separately, read an article about all the towns and places of interest in Samana at the link.
It is quick and easy to get to the waterfall from: Las Galeras, Las Terenes, the city of Samaná. But tourists come here from all over the country, even from Punta Cana. And it is 5-6 hours one way. If you drive to the falls from afar and the calendar is January-March, just be sure you have to make it in one day to see the humpback whales and get to Limon.
Important to know:
There is no public transportation to Lemon Falls. Only car rentals, cabs, or guided tours with shuttle service included.
The easiest, most comfortable way of course is by car. Here is a huge article about renting a car in the Dominican Republic. There’s probably all the information you need and a million tips.
Taking a cab will not be very expensive, $20-50 from Las Terenes – there are only 21 km. If you are alone or two, without a car, you can consider a motorcycle cab (motoconcho) from Las Terenesa – will be cheaper than a regular cab. And there it will wait for you to take you back.
The views on the way to the waterfall. Just a bomb!
How to get to Lemon Falls by car
If you take a cab or motorcycle cab, they will bring you to the entrance. If by yourself by car or the same scooter, here’s what you need to know:
- The parking lot is marked on the map above. Be sure to transfer the point to your navigator, and correctly.
- If you look carefully with zoom, then from the exit of the highway to the parking 400 meters more.
- The freeway exit is not marked at all. It is just a gravel road through the village. Look carefully, we drove through twice. Without a navigator on the signs you can not get there. By the way, so on all the attractions, the Dominican Republic. This is their national problem – good navigation :).
- Gone from the highway and all the time on one road, there is no mistaking it, through the village to the parking lot.
- All along the 400 meters you will see a lot of handmade signs and signs that this is the official parking El Limon.
- You have to drive all the way to the end, to a dead end. There will be a parking lot, and the same homemade signage as everywhere else, and a ticket booth. All before that, it’s the enterprising residents who want to make a penny.
Good to know:
The “official parking lot” marked on the map above is also a self-build. It’s just someone’s yard fenced in for parking. The kids charge money for this parking lot after you return from the waterfall.
The route and the waterfall itself. Tips and photos.
Parked your car, immediately bought admission tickets. Please note that there is no card to pay here. Only cash, dollars or pesos.
We stood the initial and final pressure from the local guys that the road is heavy, muddy and not walkable and need to take a horse. We refused, and forward to El Limon waterfall. If you’re interested in horses, I’ll give the information further on.
You will meet such a small waterfall on the way. It’s not El Limon yet, but it’s not far. You can already hear El Limon.
What you need to know about trekking to the waterfall:
- The trail is only 2,200 meters long.
- Walking one way with stops to take pictures, drink water, admire the beauty of the jungle, 40-45 minutes.
- The total height difference and the set and descent of 140 meters. Moreover, most of this drop at the end of the steps.
- The road to the waterfall, not ideal, but in general rolled path. There is some dirt, there are sections with stones.
- My wife and I in flip-flops had no problem. In sneakers would have been a space.
- Look carefully at your feet too, and not on the sides, if you do not want to step in the horse manure. Horseback hikers go the same way.
It is important about shoes:
There will be four fords across the river along this route. In flip-flops we passed and no questions, in sneakers you have to take them off all the time. If you don’t mind getting your sneakers wet, it’s better to wear them.
Such fords are waiting for you on the way to Limon. There are 4 of them in total.
First impressions Wow! The waterfall is steep, you can swim, time here is not limited. There are benches in the shade. The place is landscaped, but at the same time wild and right in the jungle. I personally think one of the must-see places for everyone.
A rest area with benches in the shade, right by the waterfall. Such a fog because of the small droplets in the air from the waterfall.
What without them, especially when given from the couch:
- Bring water with you for a snack.
- Be sure to have bathing suits and a towel
- There is a mini jungle bar/cafe on the way to the waterfall where you can get water, coke, pineapple, coconut. If it works. It’s such an establishment made of sheets of metal tiles, sticks and cow tortillas. Menus, hours of operation, prices – it’s not about them. If you’re lucky, they work; if you’re unlucky, they don’t work. Tranquila, amigo.
- By the way, we were surprised that the water in the waterfall is not icy, but quite comfortable in temperature.
Horseback riding to Lemon Falls.
As you drive up to the parking lot you will see how many paddocks there are and how many horses. You are sure to be offered a horse for rent 5 times, no less. They will say that the road is almost gone, everywhere mud, rocks and very difficult. All this to lure you.
Personal opinion of the author, that the horse can be taken in three cases:
- You find it hard to walk and are afraid you won’t make it.
- You love horses very much and have never ridden and dream about it. This is where the dream is realistic.
- You have extra money .
Each horse is assigned a boy (almost each) who will lead it all the way under the bridle. Even if they tell you, and they will, that you only pay for the horse, the boy then also has to pay at the end. They try not to let horses on the trail without a mare.
About your fitness:
If you doubt your fitness and have read other reports that it is difficult, think about this. The boy is 7-8 years old, walks this route 3-4 times a day, while leading a horse with a tourist. Do you think you can make it on your own .
If it’s about 45 minutes to walk one way, it’s 25-30 minutes on a horse. And still the very last big descent down the steps to the waterfall you go by yourself. Horses do not reach the 300-400 meters they can not go further.
We are already walking back and local tourists on horses are walking towards us. It’s Sunday on the calendar, there are a lot of locals who come here from all over the country.
The price of horseback riding at Lemon Falls.
The standard fee is 20 USD. You are taken there, waited there for an hour, and then driven back. Haggling usually starts at 30-40 USD. If you know how to bargain you will get it for 20 bucks. If you don’t know how to bargain you will get 30 bucks.)
At the very end they will ask you for a tip, like for the work of the errand boy. On the one hand, at the beginning you will be promised that 20 dollars is for everything and no more surcharges. On the other hand, it’s a kid who does his job well. He leads the horse, even if you have never ridden, there is nothing to fear. He’s circling difficult places and making sure branches don’t get in your face or eyes.
It is customary to give the child for his work at the end – 10 USD.
Total: the cost for 1 person, if you decide to ride a horse – about 30 USD.
The waterfall and my wife and I, no one else. In this photo, my wife is a photographer. It’s not every day you visit places like this. Very cool!
Mode of operation, parking, ticket price for the Limon waterfall (El Limon)
The following is dry but important information.
- Parking costs 100 pesos (2 USD) per space. Pay when you return.
- Ticket price to enter Lemon Park, whether on foot or on horseback, is 50 pesos (1 USD).
- Mode of operation: there is none. But from 8 am there is already a comrade who sells tickets.
Good to know:
There is no gate or any kind of pass system to the park. Even if you arrive early and no one is there. Feel free to go to the waterfall, pay at the exit.
- Tickets are sold until about 16-17, so there is no exact time. But if you come to the evening, you will need a flashlight, as without it back if it gets dark, to put it mildly, not good.
To summarize: if you visit El Limon waterfall on foot, as we and my wife, our expenses were 100 pesos parking and 100 pesos two tickets = 200 pesos for two (just under 4 USD). And if we had gone by horseback, we add another two times 30, for each horse, to the 4 USD. Total of 64 USD per pair. Conclusions are up to you.
In the photo above at the beginning of the article, was a general view of the parking lot and there is a small green house in the corner. That’s it, don’t pass by – it’s a ticket office .
Guided tour to El Limon Falls
Live far away? In Punta Cana or La Romano? Do you want to go to the waterfall? No desire to haggle with the locals and get there yourself? There are options for cool excursions. This is especially cool for those who have a hotel in another part of the country.
I recommend this full-day program: 3 in 1: Whales, El Limon Falls and Bacardi Island! And for the price, if you plan it all by yourself, with the road will be more expensive. And here it’s all included, and most importantly a Russian guide.
Important to know:
In the Dominican Republic, everything about the tours, it is better to deal with Russian-speaking guides. Especially in terms of comfort and service on these tours. At the link, just such guys. In terms of security, buy an excursion from whomever you want, no one in the jungle will rob or bury you.
Advice for a perfect visit to El Limon Falls
This waterfall is very popular with both tourists and Dominicans themselves. There are always quite a few people on the trail and bathing in the waterfall itself. Especially on weekends and holidays, Dominicans from all over the country come here.
You want a photo like ours, with no one around, get here by 8am. We arrived at 8:10 and were the first to enter the park. True, the ticket seller was still walking around somewhere, we had already moved on. But after a minute he caught up with us, we paid and were given the tickets.
Note how many tourists in the photo. In total one and that one came with me, tied up at the entrance to the park (if anything, it’s the wife).
Our timing was: 45 minutes there, an hour and a half at the waterfall, and 45 minutes back. When we walked back, around 10:30am, there were already quite a few people walking/driving towards the waterfall. All the way back, about 50 people passed us.
In conclusion: the Limon Falls in the Dominican Republic are a jewel. If you want to swim alone in a real jungle waterfall on the other side of the world, get there by 8 am. This attraction is accessible to people of all physical abilities.
Have a full-flowing waterfall and fewer people in your photos!
If you find an inaccuracy, post it in the comments.
IMPORTANT: Below are links without which you can’t organize your dream trip to the Dominican Republic.
Atlantic Beaches and El Limon Falls
The Dominican Republic is a small country. Until you start traveling through it, then it turns out to be big. The closest equivalent in size is Slovakia. The Dominican Republic is larger than countries like Denmark, the Netherlands, or Switzerland.
The toll roads here are pretty good, you can go 140-150 easily (110 limit). The free ones are tolerable, less tolerable, and terrible. Dominicans, let’s face it, are bad drivers. In addition to the general indiscipline and disregard for turn signals, I identified two unpleasant local features.
The first is that slow vehicles here do not necessarily have to keep to the right lane. They just don’t. They drive where they like. As a result, fast cars constantly have to change lanes to avoid having to follow the creeping truck, uncompromisingly occupying the left lane.
The second feature – at night, 50%-70% of cars drive with high beam, without switching it on the approach. There’s no sense in flashing their lights, they won’t even know what’s going on. I talked to some Russian-speaking locals about it, and they told me they just gave up and drive with their headlights on at night, too.
Otherwise, the road situation is similar to anywhere else, the traffic is not complicated, motorcycles and scooters are not very numerous, the traffic jams were noticed only near the capital during rush hours.
Gasoline. The price at gas stations is per gallon. Rough recalculation gives about $1 per gallon.
Surprised by the cost of tolls. From our Dominicus to Punta Cana 100 km. at this point there are two toll plazas, 100 and 60 pesos (160 pesos ~ 3 dollars). This is more or less normal. But on the Samanana peninsula fare is much more expensive, there is a toll booth, where they charge about $10 (in conversion) for a piece of road for 20-30 minutes.
What else can I add about the roads in the Dominican Republic? There are few police, almost no cameras, speeding is fine, everyone is speeding. My navigator I usually use Navitel, but I could not find a map of the Dominican Republic for it, so I used Maps.me, not as good as the navigator, but it will do. Almost everything, now let’s go to the places I have visited.
The first beach on the Atlantic we went to was the very hyped Macau. It is not far from Hong Kong Bavaro. Arriving at the makeshift parking lot, there joyfully greeted the man, all kinds of demonstrations of participation in the process of parking and the subsequent protection. He gets 50-100 pesos for that. Walk from the parking to the sea 5 minutes, but we were advised to stick to the right edge, there should be less waves. This is an extra 5-7 minutes.
The beach is bounded by a rocky cape on the right side:
I wanted to go to the cape on the path, but a man with a gun materialized in front of me, I had to retreat in front of a superior force. I did not launch the drone – there was a decent wind. Here we came to the main differences between the Caribbean and Atlantic coasts, these are waves, wind, less water clarity. And the water temperature is 1 degree lower than ours (measured more than once). And then there’s the algae thrown ashore.
I bathed, this revealed another nuance – the bottom near the shore has a wavy structure, the water is muddy, where you step, can not be seen, a step – and you fall through almost half a meter, another step – the rise, then again failed, etc.
Oleg, the owner of rental cars, said that this beach is very good in summer, then there are almost no waves, beauty. I willingly believe him. We didn’t like “winter” Macau. And molesters, they meet you at the entrance and, praising their services (restaurants, rental boards, etc.), go with you to the very end. And then another 10 minutes reproachfully stand next to you.
Speaking of surfing. I haven’t seen that on our Caribbean coast – there are almost no waves. Here there are, so there is surfing. Not to say that the wave is good on Macau, but it’s probably not bad to learn. The cost of renting boards, I did not find out, because it is worth asking – then you can not get rid of. Also somewhere in the distance flew a kite.
The next beach we hit was one of the best in Bavaro, Los Corales. We parked the car almost by accident (in the visa-free times, I’m sure it’s impossible), walked through narrow labyrinths to the sea. I was accosted by a guy, -Where are you from? I answered according to the tried and tested method in Sri Lanka – Albania! The barker looked like a five-year-old boy, trying to absorb a lecture about the physics of black holes. He fell behind.
Los Korales is characterized by white sand, large width, and small waves – they break off in the distance on the reef, only small rolls reach the shore. By the minuses I would assign the algae, a lot of pristavali and some discomfort for those who come simply with a towel to bathe, because here all is grounded under respectable rent beds with umbrellas, order cocktails and betrayal of his body masseurs.
Reef breaking waves:
This beach is not exactly public, but access here is free. We did not swim, I did not launch the drone for the same reason as in Macau – the wind. We walked about 10 minutes and came back to the car. Oleg mentioned one more beach, a public one, the name of which I can’t remember now. It was very good, but a couple of years ago a strong typhoon damaged its relief noticeably, washed away a huge amount of sand and exposed stony areas, not very comfortable for swimming. We didn’t drive in. Los Corales, as far as I understand, gives a comprehensive overview of all the beaches of the Bavaro area. Many reviews simply refer to the entire coastline here as “Bavaro Beach”. Once again, the beaches are good: white sand, turquoise water, spaciousness. But my and my wife’s preferences give the preponderance of the Caribbean comfort over the Atlantic expanse. The preponderance is small and very subjective.
The next point where we set the rustling tires of our car, was El Limón Falls (Salto El Limón), which is located about the middle of the Samaná Peninsula. It is 250 kilometers from our Dominicus. It seems like a trifle, a maximum of three hours, but in fact it turned out to be more than four hours. I had thought through the plans beforehand, A and B. The first one allows us to go home the same day, the second one, we will spend the night in Las Terrenas. We should go on a weekday – less crowds, and a better chance to get back before curfew (on weekdays it’s 9:00 pm).
On the appointed day rise at 7 am, a quick breakfast, and off we go. We are driving on the toll road, 130 km/h, not many cars, I can drive there in a couple of hours. Yeah, right. About 70 kilometers before the capital, maps.me told me to turn off the highway. It seemed logical, a detour around the city, and the map showed the rationality of this turn. But we were driving on a toll road, it’s of good quality, and we turned to the free road, hence, bad. In some places it is not just bad, but awful. Yes, gentlemen Dominicans, did not expect from you … The speed of 50, sometimes 70, so we drove for at least an hour, until we again jumped on the toll road, where I accelerated to the limit. Got to El Limon around noon, I was running out of gas. I decided to fill up first so I wouldn’t have to think about it anymore. We passed by a bunch of call girls offering guide services to the waterfall, but no gas station in sight.
It’s worth mentioning the information I had previously learned about the waterfall. It is some distance from the city and the roads, the path to it goes through the jungle, crosses the river several times (without bridges), sometimes the trail runs through the liquid mud. In general, the path is not easy, you can walk it, but either in such shoes that you can immediately throw away, or in slippers or beach “coral” slippers. Even regular boots will not help, because in some places the water is knee-deep. I’ve read about determined hikers who hiked on foot and were satisfied. But, trying on such a trekking not so much on myself, as on my wife, I turned on the mode “sparing husband” and did not even discuss it with her. There remained the second, most widespread variant – on horses with the guide.
I pulled up near a group of young people on mopeds, asked where the gasoline guide was (I remember from Mexico that the words gasoline, gaz, petrol are meaningless to Latin Americans). A guy on a moped volunteered to escort us. Well, let’s go. We drove through some back roads, I’m sure I wouldn’t have found it by myself. Got gas. The guy on the moped was waiting. I think I should tip him, and at the same time ask him where I should go to get closer to the waterfall. I put the window down and after a few words I find out that he speaks a little English. And he’s a tour guide. Of course, in El Limón, every man is a guide. But why not? Agreed on the price (it’s not as low as you might expect, but I knew the level in advance), went to get the guy. His name was Angelos. We arrived at the “ranch” (fancy word there), I left the car in the yard, Angelos brought two horses, gave their names, mine was named Bobby, the one my wife had, I don’t remember anymore. The horses were stunted, unsightly, and I wondered if they were horses. I said, “Isn’t that a mule? No, Angelos insists, “Horse. I had my doubts, and very strong ones. I think they were mules after all.
All right, let’s go. Angelos took his younger brother with him, the two of them on foot, my wife and I on horseback. This was my second time on horseback, my wife’s first, and I feared she wouldn’t be able to. She was able to and not even without pleasure. The ride lasted about 1 hour one way. In places Angelos showed plants, here’s coffee, here’s cocoa, here’s pineapple. In general, he turned out to be a good guide – patient, participative and quite knowledgeable about the geography of the Samaná Peninsula.