This fluvial tourism excursion was part of the experience I had during the Easter weekend at Tubagua Eco Lodge, where I already wrote an article before. It was the perfect half-day excursion and a great combination of hiking, climbing and jumping inside of natural sweet water pools. Comparable to the adventure I had in Cabarete, but this time with better photos and videos. Nothing too crazy, moderate difficulty level, high fun attitude. Stay tuned and read further, if you are looking for a fun outdoor activity off the beaten track in the proximity of Puerto Plata. The ‘Charcos de los Militares’ in Tubagua might be a great alternative for nature and action lovers.
Why is it called military puddle?
I was thinking for quite a bit about the right headline for this second article during my time in Tubagua. If the destination has an entire Spanish name it might be too complicated or too long to make it look funny or interesting for English speaking readers of my blog. This time, I succeeded with the combo ‘radar’ and ‘militar’. They’re both undeniably from the soldiery vocabulary. But why do the Dominicans call this place ‘military puddle’ (Charco de los Militares)?
According to the community, the name of puddles is because at the time of the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, a group of soldiers took the difficult and sensitive decision of dropping out, leaving their uniforms pulled into the crystalline waters of these pools, and from this event were baptized with the name of : The puddles of the military.
Some sources name this trail also God’s swimming pool. Well, although I did this trip during the Easter holidays – what would be a good catholic explanation – I didn’t feel either resurrected, nor reborn or baptized. But very refreshed!
Anyway: This excursion is supposed to be held exclusively through the Tubagua Eco Lodge with a guide who accompanies you during the whole trip. Don’t even think about trying to hike there on your own, you will never make it without local help. I would have never found the way to the water, neither the way back to the lodge. That’s why I was thankful for the good guidance. Although this guy walked as fast as 100m runner, we never lost track during the way. And I was always the last of the group, because I took photos and videos on the way what the other members of the group didn’t do.
You will walk through a scenery that looks simply stunning
Every nature lover would be happy to do this excursion and walk to the ‘Charcos de los Militares’. What nature offers you is simply beautiful:
Our guide must’ve felt that our group was in a rush and we hiked, unfortunately, with almost lightning speed. Consequently, there wasn’t enough time to enjoy the green landscape. Only a few little videos and photos were possible.
But after approximately one hour crossing abundant vegetation through ups and downhill areas, the group arrived at the military puddle or God’s swimming pool. The landscape changed now to a rugged and mountanious zone, but still with the same vegetation.
What you can see behind this chubby guy who blocks the view, is one of the three pools you can jump into and take a swim. Clear and cold water coming from the mountains and then accumulating to three different little or big ponds. The quantity of the pools of course depend according to rainfall and drought periods. Our guide told us, that there was at the time we arrived a low water level.
Taking a jump into Gods swimming pool
You can climb up the rocks and jump into two of the three pools – If you dare to:
The water is crystal clear and refreshing and looks as following:
Individual tourism is quite rare in comparison to mass tourism in the Dominican Republic, everything concentrates on Punta Cana. Hence you have in the country many opportunities to do an excursion that fly under the touristic radar and collect some unique moments. I was warned, that during the Easter holidays a 1/3 of the Dominican population would travel as well and that it could become difficult to collect unique experiences. But it was surprisingly quiet on the highway, in the accommodation and during the whole excursion. No one was actually ‘in the way’ during the walk to the military puddle. We spend at least 1.5 good hours there. Until the moment, when we were about to leave at maybe 12:30am and a horde of Dominicans entered the area with music and fire for BBQ.
That was the perfect moment to leave the scenery and hike back one hour to the eco lodge. This time uphill – Exhausting!
What you should definitely bring to this trip:
- Comfortable tramping shoes for travel to the pools. A pair you might want to jump into the water with.
- Sun blocker (of course a water resistant edition!)
- Head covering
- Sunglasses to look cool on photos
- Water – Although there is enough water, you should bring bottled water to drink
Another top secret recommendation from me is to bring and wear water shoes or old well-worn but comfortable tennis shoes which can get wet. Putting of your tramping boots, go for a quick swim, putting them on again, walk to the next pond and repeat it several times is annoying. But walking the surface without any shoes make you look like a fool.
Better would be during the walks of the ‘Charco de los Militaros’ to put on water shoes which have a flexible sole and can become wet without any problems. Everything else might hurt your feet.
I hope, that you liked this blog article about God’s swimming pool in Tubagua – Next time I will try to remember, that it would be better to record videos in widescreen. Shame on me!