This fluvial tourism excursion was part of the canyoning experience I had during the Easter weekend 2019 at Tubagua Eco Lodge. I already wrote an article before about the time I spent there. 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. A canyoning trip to Charcos de los Militares and god’s swimming pool in Tubagua.
The ‘Charcos de los Militares’ in Tubagua might be a great alternative for nature and action lovers.
Approximate reading time: 6 minutes
(Last update: April 11, 2021)
Why does this place have two different names?
‘Charco de los Militares’ comes undeniably from the soldiery vocabulary. But why do the Dominicans call this place ‘military puddle’ (Charco de los Militares)?
I couldn’t find helpful information on the website of the Dominican Ministry of Tourism, but I found luckily somewhere else an attempt to explain the name:
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. In any event: A divine swimming pool sounds a bit more peaceful than the military connotation about the military puddle.
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.
Where is Charcos de los Militarios in the Dominican Republic?
You can find it on the map:
The GPS coordinates from Charco de Los Militares:
But again: Without an experienced tour guide who has local knowledge, you’ll never find it on your own. That’s why you need the Tubagua Eco Lodge and their guides to access Charco de los Militares.
The hiking trail to Charcos de los Militares is a green paradise
Every nature lover would be happy to do this excursion and walk to the ‘Charcos de los Militares’. What nature offers you is a stunning view and green paradise:
Our guide must’ve felt that our group was in a rush and we hiked, unfortunately, with a high velocity. Consequently, there wasn’t enough time to enjoy the green landscape. Only a few little videos and photos were possible. It would have been for me also okay to spend some more minutes to breathe in the pure air and enjoy the view.
But after approximately one hour of 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 mountainous 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 depends according to rainfall and drought periods. Our guide told us, that there was at the time we arrived at a low water level.
Jumping into Gods swimming pool in Tubagua
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. The majority of tourism concentrates on Punta Cana. Hence you have in the country many opportunities to do an excursion that fly under the touristic radar. These excursions are hard to find for foreigners, but promise some unique moments you’d never experience in All-Inclusive trips.
I was warned before, that during the Easter holidays a 1/3 of the Dominican population would travel through the country as well. It was supposed to become difficult collecting unique experiences. But at Tubagua, 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 – Very exhausting!
What you should definitely bring to Charcos de los Militares:
- Comfortable tramping boots to hike to the pools. A pair you might want to jump into the water with.
- Sun blocker (water resistant)
- Head covering
- Sunglasses to look cool on photos
- Water – Although there is enough water to see, you should bring bottled water to drink
An insect repellent was recommended to bring with as well. I didn’t apply it to my skin and was lucky to not have been bitten by insects there. Better bring insect repellent just in case.
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!
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