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The Dominican Republic has an abundance of waterfalls of all kinds. Crystal-clear water, turquoise rivers, giant drops, dozens of cascades in a row and falls submerging in caves are just a few of the characteristics you can find in the country when talking about waterfalls. But are there waterfalls in Punta Cana as well?
Most waterfalls are indeed in the central mountain area (Cordillera Central) and the northern mountain range (Cordillera Septentrional), which is too far away from Punta Cana, at least for a day trip. But there are a couple of waterfalls in the area which are reachable from Punta Cana in 3 hours or less. And as I have visited over 45 waterfalls in the Dominican Republic I can say that those Punta Cana waterfalls listed here are the majority of waterfalls in the area of Punta Cana, considering the 3 hours timeframe. However, I also know that there are always new stunning beauties popping out of the endless Dominican jungle – so let’s see when I have to add the next ones to the list.
COMPLETELY UPDATED: November 2023
Further hiking options (without waterfalls) can be found in my Punta Cana hiking guide.
Waterfalls are part of the most exciting attractions in the area. To check out more amazing things to do in Punta Cana, continue reading here.
At a glimpse: the best waterfall in Punta Cana
This article here is the most extensive source you can find on the entire internet about waterfalls in Punta Cana and the east of the Dominican Republic. I doubt that there will be any similar information where you will find all these details and recommendations, particularly how to reach the waterfall and where to find it.
Still, if you don’t have time to read the entire article, I am happy to share my favorites of Dominican waterfalls in the East of the country here with you at a glimpse, particularly as there is not THE best waterfall in Punta Cana. It always depends on what you’re looking for: beautiful photos, easy accessibility, adventurous hikes, hidden gems, etc.
Here is the summary of the best waterfalls in Punta Cana for every type of traveler:
– the best waterfall hike: Salto de la Jalda (book your guide here* and book your full excursion from Punta Cana here*)
– the most picturesque waterfall: Salto El Limón (book your full excursion from Punta Cana here*)
– the waterfall easiest reachable: Salto de Anamuya (see details below)
– the best hidden gem waterfall: Salto El Zumbador (see details below)
– the closest natural waterfall to most resorts: Salto de Anamuya (see details below)
– the highest waterfall: Salto de la Jalda (book your guide here* and book your full excursion from Punta Cana here*)
1) Salto de la Jalda (between Miches and Sabana de la Mar)
Let’s start right with the highest waterfall in the Dominican Republic (some say it is even the highest in the Caribbean) as well as one of the closest waterfalls to Punta Cana (at least according to the driving distance). It is Salto de la Jalda which impresses with a jaw-dropping height of nearly 400 feet. The interesting thing about Salto de la Jalda is that it is widely unknown. It was only discovered a few years ago and took over the title of the highest waterfall in the Dominican Republic. Even though it is now around 10 years since its (public) discovery, Salto de la Jalda is still absolutely unspoiled as there are hardly any tourists visiting this waterfall (neither from Punta Cana nor from other areas in the Dominican Republic). On most days you will have it all on your own. The reason: the hike is very long (at least 10 miles round-trip) so few people venture out to this untouched natural wonder of the Dominican Republic. Continue reading on my adventure report about Salto de la Jalda here.
As of 2023, there is no helicopter excursion to Salto de la Jalda anymore as the fly-through trips were forbidden by the Dominican government. Luckily, there is now also a hiking excursion available*, which allows you to discover this stunning natural beauty of the Dominican Republic – one of the most adventurous Punta Cana waterfall excursions you can find.
Time to reach Salto de la Jalda from Punta Cana (one-way):
1:50h by car/private transfer + 3h hike (total time per way: 4:50h)
How to get to Salto de la Jalda:
Option A) Book your fully-guided Salto de la Jalda excursion incl. transfers from/to Punta Cana here*
Option B) Take your rental car (check prices for rental cars from/to Punta Cana here*) or a taxi from Punta Cana northwest-ward on the well-maintained road to Miches. Continue in the direction of Sabana de la Mar until the town of Magua, where you turn left into the Magua River Valley. Continue until the trailhead or until the road gets too bad. For the trailhead and GPS trail of the hike, check out my full article of Salto de la Jalda. Don’t head off with the proper experience of long hikes and open terrain!
Further information: full article about Salto de la Jalda on Punta Cana Travel Blog
2) Cascada Blanca (between Miches and El Seibo)
Salto de la Jalda is too difficult for you? Maybe better try Cascada Blanca which is located in the same mountain range, the Cordillera Oriental. Driving time from Punta Cana is 1 hour and 45 minutes before a short but sweaty hike is waiting for you. The good thing: you can refresh yourself in two natural swimming pools as there is a second waterfall on the way. But don’t stay too long in the first one, because you don’t want to miss the huge and roaring main drop of Cascada Blanca waterfall, which is impressive as you can stand just a few meters in front of this massive wall.
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Cascada Blanca is one of the most accessible adventure options among the Punta Cana waterfalls. However, the trail might be difficult to find and the last time we went, it was quite overgrown at the end, so it is pretty mandatory to go with a guide – which is, unfortunately, not quite easy to find. You can try to contact the following WhatsApp numbers: +1 809 494 2333 (active as of 2022), +1 809 839 4347 or +1 829 388 5587). The trail is not challenging but you should come in decent shape, so better visit Cascada Blanca at the beginning of your all-inclusive holiday, before gaining too many kilos from those sumptuous buffets and delicious cocktails. 😉
Time to reach Cascada Blanca from Punta Cana (one-way): 1:45h by car/private transfer + 0:45h hike (total time per way: 2:30h)
How to get to Cascada Blanca: Take your rental car (check prices for rental cars from/to Punta Cana here*) or a taxi from Punta Cana northwest-ward on the well-maintained road to Miches. Continue left in the direction of El Seibo until you reach Pedro Sanchez. Here you should meet your pre-arranged guide. Currently (as of November 2023), there are no waterfall excursions from Punta Cana to Cascada Blanca.
3) La Culebra (between Miches and Sabana de la Mar)
Besides Salto de la Jalda and Cascada Blanca, which I have both visited twice, there are two other waterfalls in the Cordillera Oriental I have not explored so far. One of them is La Culebra, located just east of Salta de la Jalda in the neighboring river valley. It is supposed to be a combination of various waterfalls but so far it is hardly explored. In case you are interested, just head to La Gina and see if you can find a local guide. Once I am going, I will update this part accordingly. This is a very low-key attraction in Punta Cana, so if you are just a visitor in the Dominican Republic, it’s probably more interesting to head off to one of the other waterfalls in Punta Cana and its surrounding.
Time to reach La Culebra from Punta Cana (one-way): 1:30h by car/private transfer + 1:15h hike (total time per way: 2:45h)
How to get to La Culebra: Take your rental car (check prices for rental cars from/to Punta Cana here*) or a taxi from Punta Cana northwest-ward on the well-maintained road to Miches. Continue in the direction of Sabana de la Mar until the town of La Gina, where you turn left around a mile after leaving the main village. Continue until the trailhead or until the road gets too bad to start the hike. The best is to meet your guide in La Gina.
4) Salto de Anamuya (close to Higuey)
One of the Punta Cana waterfalls which is closest to all the all-inclusive resorts is Salto de Anamuya. It is a low-key attraction in Punta Cana and perfect if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the tourism area to enjoy nature at its best. It is also perfect if you’d like to see one of the waterfalls in Punta Cana without actually walking too much, as it is just a quick 5-minute walk from the closest parking spot.
Salto de Anamuya offers plenty of natural swimming pools and is a multi-tiered waterfall. All of them are not crazy high but combined they feature beautiful scenery in the lowlands of the Anamuya Mountains. The waterfall is perfect for enjoying a relaxed day in the river to escape the heat, ideally with a cold beer or other refreshing drinks. If you head there during the weekend, particularly on Sunday, you can be sure to meet many locals enjoying their day off – probably with loud music and big coolers. 😉
Time to reach Salto de Anamuya from Punta Cana (one-way): 45 minutes
How to get to Salto de Anamuya: the easiest is to take your rental car (check rental car prices and recommendations here*) and head towards Higuey. If you enter “Salto Taino” or “Salto de Anamuya” into Google Maps, it will guide you in the right direction.
5) Salto de los Mosquitos (between Punta Cana and Miches)
Actually, I could claim that Salto de los Mosquitos is my own discovery as it is not marked in Google Maps nor does it have an official name (of course the locals knew about it before so I can’t say it is my own waterfall … 😉 ). It is not your typical Punta Cana waterfall excursion, it is rather a beautiful waterfall hidden in the jungle, which can be reached through a pleasant hike. Furthermore, you can combine Salto de los Mosquitos with two further attractions in Punta Cana and its surrounding, which are super close to the waterfall:
– Loma Linda is a mountain with a spectacular view and some giant swings, similar to Montaña Redonda, but not touristically used
– Rancho Terranova is the base and trailhead of this hike, offering a restaurant and pool during the day with delicious freshly caught fish
This combination makes Salto de los Mosquitos one of the best day trips from Punta Cana, particularly considering that the hiking trail is easy to find. It is not marked, but there aren’t that many other trails leading into other directions hence it is a convenient option if you are walking with a GPS and are looking for a waterfall near Punta Cana which is not too easy, but also not too difficult to reach.
This Punta Cana hiking option starts at Rancho Terranova and leads you all the way upward, until approx. 800 feet from Loma Linda away, the mountain with the panoramic lookout, which is easily recognizable once you approach it. When you reach a very prominent huge tree shortly before Loma Linda, take a slight left heading towards the interior of the valley (not a sharp left going steeply down). Follow the trail for approx. 15 to 20 minutes. After crossing the river several times, you see the waterfall on the left.
Please don’t attempt this hike without a trail tracker respectively a GPS, you might get lost in the jungle!
Oh and btw, take note of the name I gave to this waterfall and take sufficient mosquito spray with you. You will need it! 😉
Time to reach Salto de los Mosquitos (one-way): 1 hour by car and a 1.5-hour hike (one-way)
How to get to Salto de los Mosquitos: Take your rental car (check prices here*) and head towards Miches. In Las Lisas, take a left turn and head towards Rancho Terranova. From there you can start your hike as described above and have lunch after your hike. You can enquire with Rancho Terranova if you need a guide. A small entrance fee (or property fee) usually have to be paid to Rancho Terranova – but not more than 5 USD.
6) Salto de Yanigua (+Salto de Martha) (between Sabana de la Mar and Hato Mayor)
There is a triple combination of waterfalls, all located along Rio Yanigua: Salto de Yanigua, Salto de Martha and Salto El Zumbador. You can find them in the southern foothills of the impressive Los Haitises National Park.
The first waterfall (and the one easiest to reach) is Salto de Yanigua. While the waterfall is not extremely high nor impressive, it features a welcoming and refreshing natural swimming pool including a platform to jump off. Thanks to a ladder on the side of the falls, you can also climb up the waterfall and relax in the streams of the river. The whole area is pretty scenic and the garden is very well maintained, so you’ll see an interesting scenery and some tropical flowers as well.
No walking is involved when visiting Salto de Yanigua making it one of the waterfalls around Punta Cana easiest to reach. However, access to the river, the waterfall and the swimming pool is a bit tricky as it might be very slippery.
For an authentic jungle experience, there is a proper waterfall excursion to Salto de Yanigua from Punta Cana, which usually is combined with Los Haitises National Park. Check out further details here*.
Salto de Martha, the second waterfall of this trio, is located along the river if you walk towards El Zumbador, but is more difficult to reach.
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Time to reach Salto de Yanigua from Punta Cana (one-way): 2:30h by car/private transfer (total time per way: 2:30h)
How to get to Salto de Yanigua:
Option A) book this Los Haitises Tour incl. a visit to Salto de Yanigua*
Option B) Take your rental car (check prices for rental cars from/to Punta Cana here*) or a taxi from Punta Cana northwest-ward on the well-maintained road to Miches. Continue in the direction of Sabana de la Mar, where you turn left towards Hato Mayor. Once reaching the little town of El Valle after 5 miles from Sabana de la Mar, turn right and follow the road for approximately another 4 miles and turn left. At the end of the road, take the second/last entrance to the left.
7) Salto El Zumbador (between Sabana de la Mar and Hato Mayor)
If you go to Salto de Yanigua and are a waterfall lover, you should also visit Salto El Zumbador, which is located along the same dirt road, but way deeper in the dense jungle of Los Haitises National Park.
Compared to Salto El Yanigua, which is popular among locals as well (however, during the week you hardly have to share it with others), El Zumbador is a natural hidden gem absolutely off-the-beaten-track. It is especially feasible for photographers, as it features two streams with one of them being broken up in the middle by a rock which makes it a unique photo opportunity. To reach Salto El Zumbador, it is just an easy 20-25-minute hike, but you need a guide to get here as you are passing a private property. The entrance fee is 400 DOP per person + the guide fee. Let me know if you are interested to go and I can pass you the contact.
Those three waterfalls (Salto de Yanigua, Salto de Martha and Salto El Zumbador) make up for a good day trip from Punta Cana. However, please come prepared with a good pre-loaded map or GPS as there are hardly any signs.
Salto El Zumbador is a bit over 3 hours from Punta Cana but as it’s a recommendable option in combination with Salto de Yanigua, I don’t want to leave it out. Due to the long and bad road to El Zumbador, a high clearance vehicle is recommendable (but not necessary, it just takes you a bit longer with a smaller car).
There is no Punta Cana waterfall excursion available to this stunning beauty, hence you have this waterfall near Punta Cana most probably all for yourself when you are visiting.
Time to reach Salto El Zumbador from Punta Cana (one-way): 2:50h by car/private transfer + 20 minutes hike (total time per way: 3:10h)
How to get to Salto El Zumbador: Take your rental car (check prices for rental cars from/to Punta Cana here*) or a taxi from Punta Cana northwest-ward on the well-maintained road to Miches. Continue in the direction of Sabana de la Mar, where you turn left towards Hato Mayor. Once reaching the little town of El Valle after 5 miles from Sabana de la Mar, turn right and follow the road until the village of Yanigua, where you should meet your guide. It’s another 3 miles from here heading south.
8) Salto Socoa (between Monte Plata and Bayaguana)
Even this waterfall is a whopping 150 miles from Punta Cana away, it is reachable in under 3 hours, as it is located right next to the highway. However, once arriving at this natural beauty after a short downhill walk, nothing reminds you of a highway being close and you can draw 100% of your attention to this beautiful and – if you visit during the week – pristine waterfall more or less halfway between Santo Domingo and Samaná. Together with Salto Alto de la Bayaguana, it is one of the easiest waterfalls available in the Dominican Republic as you just have to walk down some more or less maintained steps for around 5-10 minutes. Once there, a natural swimming pool is waiting for you, set amidst the lush nature of this area. Salto Socoa can be combined best with a road-trip and multi-day itinerary to the beautiful peninsula of Samaná. Contact me here if you need advice on how to plan such an itinerary.
Time to reach Salto Socoa from Punta Cana (one-way): 2:45h by car/private transfer + 0:15 hike (total time per way: 3:00h)
How to get to Salto Socoa: Take your rental car (check prices for rental cars from/to Punta Cana here*) or a taxi from Punta Cana towards Santo Domingo. Once passing the international airport of Santo Domingo and the toll booth on the Las Américas highway, turn right on a small signposted intersection until you reach the highway to Samaná. After around 30 miles you will see a sign and an unpaved road towards Salto Socoa.
9) Salto Alto de Bayaguana (between Bayaguana and Los Haitises National Park)
Salto Alto de Bayaguana is one of the easiest reachable waterfalls near Punta Cana and doesn’t involve any walking at all. Furthermore, it is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the Dominican Republic as the stream gets tripartite before it plunges down around 60 feet and therefore offers stunning scenery. Same as Salto Socoa, Salto Alto de Bayaguana is best combined with a trip to Santo Domingo or the Samaná peninsula. If you want to visit this waterfall near Punta Cana, my recommendation is to go during the week as its full of locals during the weekend – except if you want to admire the ruction of hundreds of Dominicans getting drunk in the river while listening to blasting music.
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Time to reach Salto Alto de Bayaguana from Punta Cana (one-way): 3:00h by car/private transfer (total time per way: 3:00h)
How to get to Salto Alto de Bayaguana: Take your rental car (check prices for rental cars from/to Punta Cana here*) or a taxi from Punta Cana towards Santo Domingo. Once passing the international airport of Santo Domingo and the toll booth on the Las Américas highway, turn right on a small signposted intersection until you reach the highway to Samaná. After around 25 miles take a right turn at the junction to Bayaguana and follow the road until the village. Pass the village continuing straight in direction to Hato Mayor. After around a mile, turn left and continue for another 6-7 miles until you see the entrance signposting Salto Alto de Bayaguana.
10) Waterfalls of Paraíso Caño Hondo (at Los Haitises National Park)
All the waterfalls described above are set within stunning natural settings. This isn’t different for Paraíso Caño Hondo* but the unique thing about this Punta Cana waterfall is that we are talking about a hotel.
Yes, Paraíso Caño Hondo is an eco-lodge at Los Haitises National Park surrounded by plenty of cascades and waterfalls. Even their setting is not entirely natural because the drops are constructed, they are fed by natural streams and therefore offer a super refreshing opportunity when using the several natural swimming pools. Furthermore, you can stay a night here and fall asleep with the omnipresent whooshing of the waterfalls. Once here, don’t forget to explore the unique Los Haitises national park to see the abundant flora and fauna.
Time to reach Paraíso Caño Hondo from Punta Cana (one-way): 2:20h by car/private transfer (total time per way: 2:20h)
How to get to Paraíso Caño Hondo: Take your rental car (check prices for rental cars from/to Punta Cana here*) or a taxi from Punta Cana northwest-ward on the well-maintained road to Miches. Continue in the direction of Sabana de la Mar, where you continue straight on a dirt road until you reach the eco-lodge. From Sabana de la Mar it is approximately 20 minutes until you reach Paraíso Caño Hondo*. In case Paraiso Caño Hondo doesn’t have availability, you can also check neighboring Altos de Caño Hondo*.
More information: the best eco-lodges in Punta Cana
11) Saltos Azules at Scape Park Cap Cana (south of Punta Cana)
Talking about artificial waterfalls, there is another option even closer to Punta Cana – at Scape Park Cap Cana. Depending on the hotel you are staying at, it is just a 15-45-minute drive. Scape Park Cap Cana is a huge and modern amusement park in Punta Cana with a tropical theme, meaning that you can find zip lines, water attractions and cenotes instead of roller coasters and bumper cars. While the zipline with its splash-factor and the “Hoyo Azul” with its ultra-blue water are the highlights of Scape Park, it also features “Saltos Azules”, an artificial waterfall in a beautiful setting, where you can swim, jump or explore the cave behind the waterfall. However, compared to the natural setting of Paraíso Caño Hondo the waterfall at Scape Park Cap Cana is nearly 100% artificial – obviously if you compare a national park with a theme park. However, Saltos Azules at Scape Park Cap Cana are one of the closest waterfalls to Punta Cana and you can have a lot of fun here, thanks to the swinging hammocks, the Macuya swing and the Monkey bar.
Time to reach Scape Park Cap Cana from Punta Cana (one-way): 0:15h-0:45h by car/private transfer (total time per way: less than 1 hour)
How to get to Scape Park Cap Cana: You have to buy a full-day ticket to get access to Scape Park Cap Cana. You can check the prices and book tickets here*.
12) Waterfall at Bavaro Adventure Park
Not only Scape Park Cap Cana has an artificial waterfall, but also another big theme park in Punta Cana features a waterfall: Bavaro Adventure Park. Their small waterfall is located amidst their several attractions and therefore marks a perfect Punta Cana waterfall excursion. Combine their adrenaline-filled activities, such as ziplining, buggy adventures or horseback riding, with a visit to a turquoise and idyllic waterfall – even though artificial.
The visit to the waterfall is included in all the tours and activities you book with Bavaro Adventure Park. Especially the ziplining tour with the splash option – the last zipline sends you right into the water – is super cool and guarantees that you will have a blast!
Time to reach the waterfall at Bavaro Adventure Park (one-way): from most all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana, it is not more than a 20-25-minute drive.
How to get to the waterfalls at Bavaro Adventure Park: you can’t visit only the waterfall, hence it is best to book one of the excursions with Bavaro Adventure Park*, as the waterfall is included in all the packages. Furthermore, all of those excursions incl. waterfall have the pick-up from your hotel included.
13) Salto El Limón (on the Samaná peninsula)
For me, Salto El Limón is one of the most photogenic waterfalls in the entire Dominican Republic which mainly results from the abundant tropical vegetation around it and the impressive drop including its natural swimming pool at the bottom. However, its beauty can decrease dramatically if you come to the wrong time as Salto El Limón is also a popular spot for tourist groups. Therefore it is important to come either quite early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
When visiting Salto El Limón from Punta Cana, you have three options to organize your trip:
A) book a regular tour including bus ride, boat trip across the bay of Samaná, visit of Salto El Limón and visit of Cayo Levantado (you can check itinerary and prices here*)
B) book a VIP tour including flight (!) to Samaná, visit of Salto El Limón and further attractions on the Samaná peninsula (you can check itinerary and prices here*)
C) organize a multi-day itinerary with overnight stays in Samaná and an early morning excursion to waterfall El Limón (contact me for help organizing your road trip through the Dominican Republic)
As the trip overland is quite long I can highly recommend the excursion by plane as it is more private, more exclusive, with spectacular views and less crowded.
Alternatively, take your car and explore the Dominican Republic on a multi-day trip. The country and the area are so multifarious, you won’t regret it.
I have written a comprehensive guide about Salto El Limón here if you’d like to know more details about this beautiful waterfall.
There is also a 3-day itinerary for Samaná here that includes Salto El Limón.
Time to reach Salto El Limón from Punta Cana (one-way):
Option A (land excursion): 1:45h by bus + 1:00h by boat + 0:30h by safari truck + 0:45h walking or horseback riding (total time per way: 4:00h)
Option B (plane excursion): 0:30h by private transfer (to the airport) + 0:30h by plane + 0:30h by private transfer/safari truck + 0:45h walking or horseback riding (total time per way: 2:15h)
Option C (road-trip): 4:15h by car/private transfers
How to get to Salto El Limón:
For the land excursion, you will get picked up in your hotel in Punta Cana if you pre-book your excursion here*.
For the plane excursion, you will get picked up in your hotel in Punta Cana if you pre-book your excursion here*.
For the road-trip, take your rental car (check prices for rental cars from/to Punta Cana here*) or a taxi from Punta Cana and head towards Santo Domingo. Before reaching Santo Domingo, take the Samaná highway, followed by the Boulevard de Atlanticó. Once passing Las Terrenas, continue the road until the village of El Limón, follow the main road to the right until you see the different “paradas” on the left.
Those are all waterfalls in Punta Cana and the surrounding areas you can reach from your resort in under three hours. Which one is your favorite?
If you are interested in further day-trips from Punta Cana besides waterfalls, check out this article with 13 exciting tours.
And in case you are a local, do you have more waterfalls in the area I have to consider (and visit)? Tell me about it (and if you have been there), I love to have new adventures while being here in Punta Cana.
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Author, Travel Coach & Punta Cana based digital nomad
Hey, I am Chris, a born and raised German, travel-addictive and Caribbean Soul. Since 2011 I have been living in the Caribbean, among them 5 years in the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana is my home-base here in the country and I’d love to tell you more about how to experience Punta Cana off-the-beaten-track and give you all the advice you want to know for your vacation in Punta Cana.