El Limon - it doesn't get any better than that

Trip Start May 14, 2002
Trip End May 28, 2002

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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Our trip started at a ranch in the small village of El Limon.  We went by horse through tropical forests, climbed hill tops and crossed a river until we reached Salto del Limon. This ride takes about 30 min. and was accompanied by guides. 

I've never sat on the back of a horse before and felt completely miserable for the poor thing, my weight bouncing on its back.  Needless to say that I was very understanding when my horse decided to remain in the river and let the rest of the group go, however I slightly panicked when the last horse in front of me disappeared in the tropical foilage.  Somehow though my seemingly 3 year old "guide" managed to get my horse out of the water and back on track - by foot, with me on the back, while local women did their laundrey in the river.  I was sure feeling like a loser at this point.  I did eventually make it to the top of the mountain chasing after the group and from here on you could only walk by foot as the path got too steep for the horses.  Wohoo!  Walking I CAN do!  

It was only a short 10 min. walk downhill (but remember what goes down must come up).  I could already see "El Limon" and it looked very impressive and big.  However once we made the downhill climb through the dense woods and arrived at the waterfall it didn't look very big any more.  I was confused.  But the guide soon explained that what we were looking at "Little Limon".  

In order to get to "El Limon" we had to literally walk two minutes further.  I could not see or hear "El Limon" when we were at the site of "Little Limon" although it's only 2 minues away?  That still seems ridiculous too me, because without doubt, "El Limon" is quite a waterfall!  How can it just hide undetected in the woods? 

Anyway "El Limon" exists and is one of the most spectacular waterfalls of the Domenican Republic.  The water drops from an altitude of about 50 meters into a large pool.  And that makes quite some noise!  The sight of the pool was pure eye candy given that it was HOT as *!&!@$.  Of course you can go and take a dip in the cool water, which we all intended to do.  But my journey ended in one of the puddles on the waters' edge before the guide was able to tell me about the slippery ground.   I pretended to enjoy my mud treatment and lifted my aching body into the water in which my boyfriend was half drowning of laughter about my downfall.   I didn't get hurt, another lady from our group wasn't that lucky though.  She fell on the hard rock and not in the mud like me. 

Swimming in "El Limon" was extremely exciting and nerve racking at the same time.  First of all you cannot see the bottom so who knows what all can be "lurking" ahead.  Rocks? Critters?  Try not to think about it and enjoy your eco-tour.  I did get over my critter fear, but not over the worry of "Are there rocks that I might just swim into or scrape over"  In hindsight I'm sure our guides would have told us, but I'm a little worrier.  Needless to say the guides probably wouldn't have jumped from the top into the pool had there been rocks that close to the surface. Duh! 

Once I finally got over my fear and was comfortable swimming in the pool surrounded by tropical landscape and a scenic waterfall ahead - another challenge presented itself.  Our guide told us that there's a cave behind the waterfall and you can actually swim into it.  Awesome right?  Yes and no.  My boyfriend was in the cave as soon as he heard the news.  I on the other hand was trying to figure out how to find the cave!  As as you got closer to the curtain of water visibility was zero, I couldn't even open my eyes, because the waterspray felt like needles in my eyes, not to mention the noise!  So where is the cave?  And how do you find it?  After all you cannot just dive into it.  What if you find the side without the cave and hit the rock head first?  You might be asking yourself at this point - why isn't she asking the guides.  They were jumping from the top and tending to the woman that had fallen on the rock.  Didn't read carefully, did you?  Try to follow the story - just kidding :)  

I must have pondered how to find it long enough that my boyfriend re-appeared.  He had found the cave and was going to guide me.  That's easier said then done though, because try to swim together with eyes closed and a huge sound barrier from the falling water.  And please people "holding hands and swim" does not work!  So I had to get over myself since I now knew on which side the cave was located and no secret wall of rock was waiting behind it to kill me on sight.  The hard part is that the water is pushing you towards the edge and swimming against that current was really hard.  And here's another paranoia - what if the falling water pushes me down really hard to the bottom of the pool?  I know, I know - what a worry bug.  Funny that I am always drawn to water - but then once there I'm afraid of it...

Long story short I did make eventually behind the veil of water.  The cave was more of a little outcove, big enough for maybe 5 people.  There was a rock at the very end that you could sit on and enjoy the scene for a moment.  It was incredibly silent behind the waterfall.   But new people discovered the cave and that disrupted the intimacy of the moment.  It wasn't long and I was on my way out.  Waterfall & hidden cave - check.  I will always remember the journey though.  One moment of my life that I would not want to live without!  Yes, I swam through a waterfall into a hidden cave, you haven't?

And with this the story of my first visit to a tropical paradise ends.  It was wonderful, two weeks might have been a little too long - but if you plan to stay for a week it will be just right. 
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