canyons of the dominican republic
Tropical paradise canyons.
The Dominican Republic has no published canyons, despite being extremely mountainous and having excellent limestone geography that lends itself to the formation of excellent canyons. While there have been a few scouting trips here by European canyoneers, they never published their findings, as far as I know.
Suhei and myself first flew to the DR to come look for new canyons and run existing ones in January-February 2022. We weren't disappointed, and ended up returning again in January 2023 for more.
There are a total of maybe three experienced canyoneers in the DR. All of them are guides, and it seems that any exploratory descents are just to see if they can bring tourists down and charge them money. Not exactly my goals in the sport.
Regardless, I somewhat befriended these guides, who them gave me access to the existing routes, and had no issues with me publishing them, in order to draw more independent canyoneers to the DR, and generate more interest in finding the surely-world class routes awaiting discovery.
We also did some first descents, always fixing ropes to re-ascend and exit.
Here are the technical details on some of the routes we've did. I wrote from scratch all this beta, which had never existed before our efforts:
As a word of caution, the Dominican Republic seems to have more wasp nests than anywhere else on earth. While more common in southern parts of the country, every forest is peppered with fist-sized nests of extremely aggressive inch-long wasps. It's a good idea to at least carry headnets for serious bushwhacking. Centipedes are also VERY common in the area around Barahona. We had close encounters with giant centipedes, which are venomous, no less than four times one afternoon. All of them were about a foot long. Two were inside a canyon, and then I almost stepped on two in flipflops on the shoulder of a highway. Be careful.
All in all, the DR is a canyoneering paradise, with warm water, great winter weather, friendly people, and few to no restrictions on visiting streams. We were impressed by the quality of the routes here, and I'd consider at least two of these in my list of favorite canyons.