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1 posts from March 2013

03/06/2013

Los 27 Charchos de Damajagua

For our second Co-Pay trip this semester, we spent the day at the 27 Charcos de Damajagua!
A place kind of like a national park with a series of 27 different waterfalls that you can jump
off of and swim around! We split into groups of people who were going to jump the first
seven waterfalls, the first 12, or all 27. Originally I'd planned to only jump the first seven
because I'm afraid of heights, but once I got there some friends convinced me and a couple
other people who were on the fence that this is a great opportunity so while we're here we
might as well take a chance and experience it all. It turned out to be some great advice as we
were all glad we followed it afterwards.

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After choosing our fates for the day, we each got life jackets, helmets, and water shoes (if
we needed them—they looked like rubber Sperrys haha). For the group doing all of the
waterfalls, we needed to hike up the mountain and jump down the waterfalls, so to start our
hike we crossed two wooden bridges and then began our 45 minute hike. It was really hot,
and probably a great workout, but it was hard work! When we finally got up to the first little
waterfall, the water was really cold and refreshing. It was shaped in a circle with a pool of
water in the middle and we pretty much lined up around the inside of the circle, climbed up
on an exposed edge of rock and jumped in the middle. It was a good beginning waterfall for
what was coming. As we progressed, we followed the stream of water that led us to each
waterfall. Some of them we jumped off of, some we slid down, and a couple times we had
the option to either slide down, or climb up the mountain a little and jump from further up!
And at one particular point we swam (or floated) down a channel between two tall mountain
walls to get from one waterfall to the next. Along the way we had three guides who helped
and directed us through each step and made sure we were all jumping/climbing safely, but
it definitely felt like a daredevil experience and not a guided tour. It felt like a tropical place
because I don't typically see waterfalls, caves, or mountains on a regular basis but was also
interesting because all around us looked like a forest that I would see by Lake Michigan back
at home. It was an interesting mix of new and familiar sights.

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I'm so glad I was able to put my fears behind me and jump off of the cliffs into the water
because it's something I wouldn't normally do-even my mom was surprised! I'm even more
glad that I elected to do all 27 instead of just the first seven! I wouldn't have known what I
missed, but being abroad is all about trying new things and living to the fullest. I'm going to
do that with every experience I have here! I've learned that sometimes I like being out of my
comfort zone :)

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After we finished at the 27 Charcos, we went to the CHOCAL chocolate factory in Altamira
to have lunch and learn about the process of making chocolate here in the DR. We even got
to sample some chocolates and some fruit flavored wines made at the factory. Definitely a
successful and exciting day trip in the Dominican Republic that I plan to replicate before I
leave!

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