While I have visited Jarabacoa a few times, I haven’t yet gotten the chance to write much. This week my wife and I will be doing some house sitting for some friends here in Jarabacoa so I’m starting up a new section.
Jarabacoa as a Tourist Destination
Unlike most of the typical tourist destinations in the Dominican Republic, Jarabacoa is not located near a beach. Actually Jarabacoa is pretty much in the middle of the island of Hispaniola. In case I just confused you, Hispaniola is the name of the island the Dominican Republic and Haiti share. The draw for Jarabacoa is its mountains and weather. If you like to hike, visit waterfalls, off road atv and things of that nature this place is great!
My family and I have taken several day hikes here up into the mountains checking out waterfalls and streams. Some of the paths are just maintained by other hikers with machetes, some are well groomed. Usually if it is groomed you will need to pay to get in. Don’t panic, the usually price is 50 to 100 pesos or about $1.50-$3.00 USD.
Foreigners in Jarabacoa
There is a pretty large foreigner population in Jarabacoa. Many missionaries and others have made this their home. The influence of the foreign residents is shown in both the supermarkets and restaurants. Like the larger cities of Santiago and Santo Domingo you can find a wider variety of foods at both the restaurants and supermarkets then you will in the smaller towns. For people just moving to the DR from the States this is one of the easier locations to adjust to.
As with the vast majority of the places I’ve been in the DR, the locals like having foreigners around and are very friendly. Also, like the majority of the places I’ve been in the Dominican Republic many of the places are pretty quick to raise the prices when they see a foreigner or extranjero. Until you get an idea of the prices it is usually a good idea to start off with a local friend to help you get the hang of things.
Where there are foreigners there will be beggars! Kids are taught in this country to beg money from all foreigners, with pretty much the attitude that they might as well try whether they need it or not. While in the standards of most of the foreigners most of the people are pretty poor, it is pretty unlikely that many are starving in this area. I’ve had kids come out of a store drinking a soda (that they just bought), see me and run over to tell me in broken English that they’re hungry and need money so they can eat today. Usually people here, while poor, have ways to grow their own food an so are not starving, .
This is one area where Jarabacoa excels. The weather here is great year round. It can get a little cool at times at night (in the 70s) but the weather here is very moderate. It is at a higher elevation (about 500 feet) and as tropical climates go, is less humid. You might even at times want a light jacket.
This is the first of several articles I plan of writing about Jarabacoa. We already have a couple restaurants we like to eat at so I should be getting some pictures and reviews about some of the places we check out in the next few days.