The surroundings of Santo Domingo are full of natural attractions that are sometimes hidden or little known, despite the proximity to the main urban center of the country.
The pandemic period forced Dominicans to look inland and go beyond the big hotels or the beaches, which are the main anchor of international tourism. That time that began on March 18, 2020 changed the level of appreciation of the beauty of the simple or rediscover what we have so close.
The province of Monte Plata has great natural beauties, so much so that it has been baptized as the “Emerald Province”. The residents of Santo Domingo have in Monte Plata several beautiful, close and economical tourist attractions.
For example, the natural monument “Salto de Socoa”, which exhibits a unique beauty and creates a large number of bathing areas only 50 minutes from Santo Domingo (by vehicle), with easy, safe and comfortable access.
El Salto de Socoa is on the edge of the Juan Pablo II highway (Santo Domingo-Samaná) about 15 kilometers from the second toll booth with fresh and crystalline water spas, with an ideal environment to share in groups of family or friends.
The waterfall falls in an abrupt drop of the Socoa River, creating a curtain of water of about 20 meters, which, when it resumes its course in the lower part, leaves numerous small spas in its path, ideal for mitigating the heat.
It is located in the middle of the greenery of Los Haitises National Park, belonging to the municipality of Sabana Grande de Boyó and although it is on private property, access is allowed with the payment of a very economical fee of 100 pesos, which also includes guarded parking.
If you are coming from Santo Domingo, after crossing the second toll booth on the Juan Pablo II highway, when you approach kilometer 60 of the road, on your right hand side you will see a sign welcoming you to Salto Socoa. There you will make a slight right turn to join a kind of marginal road that will take you to the entrance of the waterfall in less than five minutes.
At the entrance, there is an immediate rural atmosphere. There are several kiosks that help vacationers prepare for the trail that will take them to the waterfall. In the same area there is a small establishment where you can buy liquids and another where they sell food, which is part of the experience of the trip.
Without any luxury, Doña Ramona Marte tends to her rural kitchen, a wood stove where she prepares typical Dominican food (locrio, moro, white rice, beans, salads) at only 200 pesos per service.
Doña Ramona explains that many foreigners and groups of Dominicans go to the waterfall with their families or groups of friends, who go down to the waterfall to spend a refreshing afternoon in contact with nature.
At this point, a path has been prepared with ecological steps that facilitate the final route to reach the waterfall, about 500 meters.
At the end of the first half of the trail you can hear the roar of the water that falls from the waterfall to continue its way down the Socoa River.
As soon as you discover the curtain of water, the cool weather and the sight of the crystalline water moving towards the lower part, crashing against the rocks and forming a staircase of natural pools that invite you to take a dip, the visitor realizes that he/she is really in front of a natural monument.
To enjoy more comfortably the bath under the waterfall or in any of the spas that are created in the passage of the river it is advisable to use water shoes, because there are many rocks in the bed that can cause injuries with a bad step.
In the same way, in the bathing area at the foot of the Salto there are several ropes that mark the limits for people who do not know how to swim due to the depth of the water at those points.
Skilled swimmers can cross the pool, which is relatively short, and watch from the back of the water curtain, an unforgettable spectacle, but knowing that it is forbidden to jump from the waterfall also for safety reasons.
It is important to respect the safety signs to ensure a smooth stay.
The “pozas” (pools)
Those who go with family or a group of friends usually prefer some of the “pools” that follow one after another after the fall of the waterfall, which create a kind of natural pools with small islands where you can put your bags, coolers with drinks and even some snacks.
One of the most pleasant experiences is to sit under one of the rocks where the water falls, whose force gives a kind of natural massage compared to any spa in a luxury hotel.
Relaxing while the water constantly hits your shoulders or upper back is an additional motivation to go to Salto de Socoa.
Some women dare to cover themselves with mud, taking it from one of the caves that the waters have opened with the passage of time. After covering part of their face or body with mud, they get into the cold water.
Being in the area of the Haitises, Salto de Socoa is nestled in the middle of a kind of tropical forest with extensive vegetation.
The area is characterized by its ample rainfall, which means that a large part of the year there is rain. When it has rained, hikers should take extra precautions to avoid slipping, always being careful not to hit any rocks.
The characteristics of Salto de Socoa make it recommendable for the whole family, but it is advisable to exclude very young children or pregnant women because the waters tend to hit hard and because you are always exposed to a fall when stepping on one of the rocks in the riverbed.
The Socoa River rises near Batey Santana, in Monte Plata, in the area of incidence of Los Haitises, and its middle course is protected as a Natural Monument.
The busiest day is Sunday, especially after noon. On weekdays the visitation is very reduced, so it is advisable to go in a group, although the area is quite safe and access is controlled.
8:00 am. Access opens and closes at 6:00 p.m., a time established for people to enjoy sunlight.