Need a break from the beach, the waves and the sand? Dudu Lagoon is a beautiful little getaway in between Rio San Juan and Nagua, on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic.
For you surfers out there, it’s a quick drive from La Preciosa.
It’s an ecological reserve with two lagoons which you can swim in. It’s not particularly well-known (or sign posted) so we managed to have the lagoon to ourselves for an hour, which was a little surprising considering it was the middle of the day.
It costs 300 Dominican Pesos to enter (about $5) which is well worth it!
The main entrance opens up into a peaceful garden of sorts with a couple of seating areas, a restaurant and a nice sculpture of a motorbike made out of odds and sorts.
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How to get to Dudu Lagoon
We were staying in Playa Encuentro so we stopped off at Dudu Lagoon on our way to Las Terrenas in the North East. It’s about an hour and 45 minute drive from the Cabarete/Sosua area and less than 15 minutes from La Preciosa beach.
The closest beaches to Dudu Lagoon are Playa Diamante or Playa Los Cocos. It’s not all that well sign posted, i.e there’s only one sign when you get there. We actually went past it because it says “Dudu Lagoon 200m” but that just meant it was 200m down a dirt road.
It’s pretty easy if you just download Google Maps and save the location and is just off the main road going along the coast (route 5).
The main lagoon
When you see pictures of Laguna Dudu you usually see the main lagoon. It’s an oval shaped lagoon with turquoise water and surrounded on all sides by a 10m+ cliff. On top of the cliff there’s trees and vines that hang down, making it a nice secluded (and quiet) spot.
The lagoon itself is about 50m wide and maybe 75m long – which was bigger than I thought it would be. Apparently it’s 32m deep which makes sense because you can’t see the bottom even though the water is really clear. That might be a bit intimidating for people that don’t like swimming in deep water but there’s lot of ropes to hang on to so just jump in!
Honestly, I was a little apprehensive due to the risk of Bilharzia in fresh water found in the Dominican Republic but there aren’t any muddy edges to the lagoon so with absolutely no medical or expert knowledge, I deemed it safe ;).
The water is colder than the sea but it’s hardly ‘take your breath away’ cold. At midday in the DR it was perfectly refreshing! There’s a few leaves and vegetation floating on the the service at points due to the trees on top of the cliff, but not enough to ruin the clarity of the water. Swim out into the middle of the lagoon and enjoy the tranquility.
Definitely bring swimming/scuba diving goggles! I’ve always had an irrational dislike of trees or ropes in water, which wasn’t ideal because there’s a lot of trees that have seemingly fallen from the cliff and settled in the lagoon underneath you. I got used to it pretty quickly though and it was interesting to see.
Dudu Lagoon Zip Line
There’s a zip line from the top of the cliff across the lagoon – although you can’t make it all the way to the end. Instead, after hearing the horn from the guy operating it, you let go of the zip line half way across and free fall into the lagoon. I’ve read that it’s 10m, although by the time you’ve gone down the zip line it’s probably more like 8m (plenty high enough). I’ve also read that it’s a 5-6 second free fall – that’s not true. You’re in the air for maybe 1-1.5 seconds….the nerd in me looked that up and a 6 second free fall would be well over 120m!
At 50 Dominican Pesos per jump (just under $1), it’s hardly expensive so a couple of jumps is a must-do. You don’t even need to sign lots of paper work and go through a boring tutorial. Just quickly sign a waiver, pay your 50 pesos and your jumping/zip lining/falling within minutes.
We were a group of 5 and everyone had a jump – I swam out with my GoPro to get some footage of people’s free fall and entry into the water, you can see it in the video at the top.
The Cave at Dudu Lagoon
After we’d had our fill in the main lagoon, we dried off, climbed the stairs and crossed the garden to the other side. Down another flight of stairs and we’re greeted by two different lagoons….and some very loud music, Dominican style. I never really understood why everyone plays music at full blast in the Dominican Republic but hey, when in Rome. Considering how peaceful the lagoons were it seemed a bit strange to be blasting out Reggaeton.
You can only swim in one of the lagoons which is in a cave that’s about 20 metres deep. The water is even clearer here because there’s less vegetation that falls into it and there’s small schools of fish swimming around. It was a little busier than the main lagoon, probably because you could get drinks there and relax in the cave.
The other lagoon is a no-swim area, although I think you might be able to hire kayaks and paddle out. It looks more like a lake/large pond than a lagoon and it’s connected to the cave (underneath the bar playing the music). There’s a little wooden platform from which you can see all of the fish and a lot of turtles as well. Again, check out the video to see those little dudes.
A nice half day trip
We didn’t eat at the restaurant so our trip lasted just over an hour. A couple of friends did eat at the restaurant and then got ill, but that’s anecdotal and it could have been anything so don’t want to put you off eating there!
I don’t think it’s a full day trip. You’ll swim in the lagoons for an hour, maybe have a drink and then leave. It’s really peaceful there (except for the music at the cave) so if you’re in the area you have to make a stop.