The Dominican Republic may be one of the best windsurfing spots in the world. But the interior of the Dominican offers a ride every bit as wild as the coast — on whitewater rivers, by raft or kayak.
Getting to the Dominican Whitewater
After flying into either Puerto Plata or Santo Domingo, the coolest way to go is by local transport called the guagua inland to Jarabacoa. The guagua is an ancient Dominican van that carries passengers – about 100 pesos or $3 per person, chickens ride free. It’s crowded, but you’re likely to pick up a bit of Spanish and a lot of local flavor. If so inclined, you can explore the whole of the Dominican Republic this way. The guagua can take you into the interior of the Dominican, where you’ll find whitewater rafting and kayaking based out of Jarabacoa, the Dominican’s best base for whitewater rafting or kayaying.
Jarabacoa: The Best Base for Dominican Rafting & Kayaking Adventures
On trips from Jarabacoa, you can choose from Class II-III whitewater rapids for the novice, or Class III-IV rapids for the intrepid adventurer. The most famous whitewater in the Dominican Republic is the Rio Yaque. The longest river in the Caribbean, the Rio Yaque offers both challenges and easy stretches. It may not be like your other rafting or kayaking trips – here, booking a trip on the whitewater probably won’t involve singing a waiver or going through any training. Here the guides help you on with your vest and helmet and then start splashing you the second you hit the river. They think that’s great fun. Sometimes they also jump ship to climb a cliff and cannonball into the river from up to 30 feet (three stories) above the river. Things are a bit more casual in the Dominican Republic.
Recreational and Clean Kayaking Campaign
Recreational kayaking is popular in California, with its extensive coast, river, and lake waters combined with some 965,000 registered vessels. Initial efforts with starting a clean kayaking campaign began in 1997 and have continued to grow since its inception into California’s Clean and Green Kayaking Program.
Components of the California Clean and Green Campaign
California’s clean kayaking effort is divided into three distinct project categories that are concerned with research, public education, and technical assistance services.
Research Activities – The Clean and Green Campaign has been involved in clean kayaking evaluation, surveys of vessel maintenance practices, study of educational techniques used to motivate kayakers, developing tools to support local efforts, and the engineering of required facilities
Public Education – Efforts are made to provide educational and outreach materials to kayakers and train volunteer instructors that can support the program’s local educational efforts
Technical Assistance – Assistance is provided to marinas and local clean kayaking groups to help them further public education goals and install important environmental service infrastructure for kayaks
Clean and Green offers kayakers useful information on environmentally friendly kayak maintenance practices, reducing the discharge of gray water, lowering the use of hazardous substances, and eliminating marine debris. The campaign even has a top ten list kayaking tips list published on its website.
Clean Kayaking Public Outreach
One of the major contributions made by the Clean and Green Kayaking Campaign has been developing materials to support the public outreach efforts of the Coastal Commission. The Campaign has put together a dockwalker program that trains volunteers which are able to distribute education materials and talk to kayakers at their local marinas. Numerous signs, posters, newsletters, booklets, and resource toolkits have been produced and published by the campaign. Other outreach efforts include the use of websites like coast4u, publication of tidebooks, and use of a GIS (geographic information system) database displaying California marinas and their available environmental service facilities.
Pollution Prevention Networking
The California Clean Boating Network (CCBN) is another example of the California Coastal Commission outreach efforts to promote clean kayaking. Its goal is to allow regional kayaking businesses, kayaking groups, natural resource agencies, and local governments to collaborate in efforts to reduce kayaking related pollution and improve educational methods.
Kayakers living in California that are interested in promoting good marine stewardship should consider becoming a volunteer dockwalker for the clean and green campaign or join their regional chapter of the clean kayaking network.
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