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Wildlife

Natural Beauty around Samara: Waterfall in Santo Domingo Lifts the Spirit

By Arianna McKinney

Hidden in the mountains of Santo Domingo, above Samara, is a breathtaking waterfall about 100 meters high spilling into a pool of cool clean water. The waterfall is located in a property finca owned by the Diaz family, and Chong Diaz, who was born 51 years ago, takes people there on horseback. When asked if the waterfall has a name, Chong says no, but then he decides to dub it the Diaz Waterfall Catarata Los Diaz.

At about 8:30 in the morning, we leave on horseback and ride along the sand across Samara Beach, looking out at the ocean under a clear blue sky. At Matapalo, we leave the beach, cross the road and head up toward Santo Domingo, following the mountain road up up up with panoramic views of Samara's coastline. After passing a few houses, it is just us and the natural beauty of the mountain. The sounds of silence—even the howler monkeys hanging from the trees don't make a sound. All we hear are birds singing and the horses' hoofs clip-clopping up the dirt road. The horses are coated in sweat now and breathing heavy. I can't imagine how many times I would have to stop to rest if I attempted to trek up this steep road on foot, and I pity and admire the hard-working horses.

Farther up the vegetation changes—nothing but teak trees, growing straight and tall. Chong recalls when the mountain was covered with a variety of fruit trees like guava and avocado, along with palm trees and pastures potreros. But now teak is being grown commercially.

We have been riding for an hour and 45 minutes when I hear the rush of water and round a bend in the road to see a creek flowing through the trees. Soon after, we turn off into tall grass, where no trail is visible, but Chang knows this land. We tie the horses to a cluster of trees, where they will enjoy a well-deserved rest as we continue on foot, stepping from stone to stone across a creek, ducking under barbed wire and then carefully choosing our footing as we descend a steep slope. If he fixed the trail, Chong explains, it wouldn't be natural anymore, and natural is more beautiful.

 
 
 

Finally we are there. I stare in delight at this beautiful waterfall in a clearing surrounded by green trees and moss-covered rock. The blue heavens peak down through the trees at this scene of natural beauty.

Chong says the best time to make the 5-hour roundtrip journey is around 3:30 p.m. in order to enjoy the sunset. For Chong, what makes the waterfall special is "the tranquility; the air that you breath there is excellent, the evenings are precious." La tranquildad, el aire que se respire alli es excelente, las atardeceres alla son preciosos. He adds that it's also possible to observe a variety of animals like wild cats gatos de monte, raccoons and coatis (mapaches y pizotes), although we're less likely to spot them during the daytime because they are very timid muy temorosos.

I cross the creek and wade through the shallow part of the pool below the waterfall, laying on a rock and gazing up at the blue heavens and the falling water. A Blue Morpho butterfly flits by, its stunning turquoise (celeste) wings catching the eye. A German tourist in the group strips down to his bathing suit and gets in, diving under the water. Chong affirms that the water is cold but the German disagrees. He says it's refreshing; he sits under the falls, letting the water massage his back, so later on, I strip down and swim across to the waterfall. The water falls over me, pounding my back. I move over a little for a gentler massage and then float, my spirits lifting straight up to that clear blue sky overhead.

To contact Chong Diaz about the waterfall, call 8307-1433.


 

More Nature News

Tourist and Film-maker Shoot Video of Monkeys in Nosara

It's gratifying to know that when people visit Nosara Wildlife Rescue to see first hand, our efforts, that they sometimes come away with a need to contribute... to help stem the tide of the negative effects of man's encroachment into the habitats of Nature's wildlife.

 

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