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Kayaking

Fact File

Where and when: Head to the Dominican Alps for the best river kayaking in the Dominican Republic. The upper reaches of the country's longest river, the Yaque del Norte, as well as Rio Bao and Rio Jimenoa have class IV, V and sometimes even VI rapids (which are challenging even for experts), while the lower sections are in the class II and III category (which are more suitable for the novice kayaker). These are all technical rather than high-volume rivers, with plenty of drops and high-gradient rapids. Sea kayaking is relatively undeveloped, although there are some spots along the coast of Parque Nacional Los Haitises and around Cabo Rojo in the southwest of the country.

Kayaking in the Dominican Republic tends to at its most popular during the winter months, when there is usually more water in the rivers and cold weather often precludes kayaking in Europe and North America.

Equipment: The words 'canoe' and 'kayak' are often taken to mean the same thing. In fact, there are two main types of canoe: a Canadian canoe, which is open from end to end and propelled with a paddle having a single blade; and a kayak, which is covered with a deck, has a small cockpit for the kayaker, and is propelled with a double-bladed paddle. Modern, hard-shelled kayaks could be made out of wood, aluminum, molded plastic or fiberglass, while inflatable kayaks are also occasionally used. Life jackets, helmets and wet suits are provided by whatever company you choose to go kayaking with.

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