Mountain Biking in Cabarete
Biking around Cabarete
Cabarete is the homebase of World Famous "Iguana Mama," the Pioneers of adventure in the Dominican Republic. They are responsible for developing all of the routes that are still in use today. Their trips, which all start in Cabarete, have been voted "Best All New Sporting Adventre" by Outside Magazine, "Tour of the Month" by Bicycling Magazine, and nominated as "Top 25 Adventure Tours in the World" by National Geographic Adventure. Just out of Cabarete there are miles of dirt roads and endless mule trails making it mountain bike paradise.
The scenery is breathtaking and locals are so friendly that you
may have a hard time getting very far in one day with the constant
photo stops and invites for cafe! There is something for all riding
levels, and a bike is the best way to see the true Dominican countryside.
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|The Dominican Republic is a mecca for bikers of all levels. Its diverse terrain offers cyclists breathtaking downhills, challenging single track and easy coast cruises. A bike is undoubtedly the best way to see the true Dominican countryside! |
Max of the Mountain - mountain-biking
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|Max does individualized mountain bike tours. Max caters only to those that need a higher level of customization and skill-level. |
Young biker walking with a local country boy
Iguana Mama has tours for everyone. If they are up for the adventure, but too small to ride, Iguana Mama can offer you or a trailer to pull behind the bike. They offer a 12-day Coast to Coast for US$ 1950, a 9 -day Dominican Alps for US$ 1450, and a variety of daily and half day tours from US$40 to US$85. Highly recommended is the Downhill Cruise US$60 Half day or US$85 full day with a traditional East Indian lunch at the Blue Moon Restaurant. Iguana Mama does private tours anywhere in the country, and the prices are fair.
Helmets are a must. Remember that the DR is famous for its beaches and countryside, not its hospitals. While riding on any road remember this simple rule: "the bigger you are, the more right of way you have". Since local drivers are used to sharing the road with dogs, chickens, mules, goats, trucks, motorbikes, cars and guaguas, they tend to be alert. All of this taken into consideration, one should not miss the opportunity to cycle in the DR. There is no better way to see the countryside, and nothing feels better than the nice Caribbean breezes when you are coasting down those hills!
Hiking around Cabarete
There is a $50US fee for bikes on American Airlines each way. It is a good idea to check with your airline before arriving at the airport with bike in hand. All bikes must be boxed or packed in bike bag. Expect to be stopped at customs when entering the country with a bike. They may cut your box open. Although it may be a little unnerving while it is happening, this is routine. There are only a few places to rent mountain bikes on the island. Iguana Mama, located on the North Coast, rents high-end, front-suspension Specialized bikes. Most of their equipment is decked out with XT components and all is well maintained. They sell their bikes every 10-18 months, so it is also a good place to pick up a used bike for a great price. They currently have a fleet of 50 Specialized Stumpjumpers and Rockhoppers. A helmet, water bottle, repair kit with spare tubes and bike insurance Is included with all bike rentals. A full day rental is $30US, and a week goes for $140US. If you plan to rent a bike longer than one week, they are sure to give you a deal. Monthly rentals are also available.
All of the major resorts and many hotels advertise that they include bikes or mountain bikes. Be aware that this equipment is low-end and often not well maintained. This doesn't mean that they are not great bikes for a cruise along the coast, but anyone wanting a real mountain bike adventure should not be fooled into thinking that they have a suitable bike at their hotel.
When to come
Although the majority of cyclist visit the DR in the winter, the best time of year to mountain bike in the DR is June through Oct. It tends to be dry and more single track is open. The nice thing about the DR is that you can bike all year round. Road biking is excellet year round, as well.
Top 5 advanced rides in the the Dominican Republic
Map of the top bike rides in the Dominican Republic
1) Constanza to San Jose de Ocoa. 85km
This takes 2 days and there is no place to get water or food en route. You pass no one, except in the middle at the army barracks in Valle Nuevo. (Good place to camp if you can.) By far the most breathtaking views in the Country are along this road. It is very cold at night in Valle Nuevo, so you need to pack warm clothes. Very difficult ride.
2) Jarabacoa to Constanza. 60km
A very big climb starts this route, and there is no water or food along the way. There are local homes where you can offer RD$50 for a plate of food, but you should have your own drinking water. Very difficult ride.
3) Gaspar Hernandez to Moca on the old road. 68 km
When it is dry, this is an area you can spend weeks exploring. There are hidden waterfalls and small villages. Ask at Iguana Mama for more information. Extremely difficult ride.
4) Rocky MF. 14km
Plenty of fun single track in one of the newest nationally protected areas in the country. 50RD$ entry fee at the park.
5) El Choco Loco. 40km
This ride offers big rolling hills and beautiful views on a 3 hour ride. A great chance to get in to the Country if you don't have much time. You can always ride it, rain or shine. Get free map at Iguana Mama.
Top 5 easy/intermediate rides
1) Cibao Vally 3000 ft Downhill Cruise. 40 km
An exhilarating 40 km of downhill riding. You will need to get dropped off at the top (unless you want to ride up). Take the road from Sabaneta de Yasica through Jamao towards Moca the top. There are some cool off-road loops.
2) Jarabacoa Waterfall Loop.
This ride starts at Salto(waterfall) Baiguate and you can ride to Salto Jimenoa. It is fun and takes 3 hours.
3) Jamao River Loop. 23 km
Start at El Choro in Jamao el Norte, and cross the river to follow the trail. Always take right turns when the road forks.
4) Rio San Juan to Playa Grande. 23 km
This ride offers nice rolling hills on paved road. Head out of Rio San Juan going east on the North Coast road. Watch for a small road forking to the left and signs for Playa Grande before a large hill after about 20 km.
5) Playa Rincon from Las Galeras (Samana Peninsula). 30km round trip
This is a beautiful ride with one of the Country's most beautiful beaches at the end of the road, so bring your suit and towel. They sell fresh fish at the beach.There are hundreds of great rides not mentioned here.
***IMPORTANT: Remember that routes can change due to hurricanes and rain storms. For example, after Hurricane Georges, you could not drive a car over the road from Constanza to San Jose de Ocoa. This is why it is such a great ride now. If they fix the road, it will not be as good of a mountain bike ride, but don't worry they never fix the roads.
Parts and Repairs
There are bike shops in all major cities and small 'repuestos' (repair shops) in almost every town. All parts and bikes are imported, so expect to pay a higher price than you would in the United States, Canada or Europe. Labor, however, is cheaper. Be aware that only a few shops have mechanics trained in higher-end bikes.