Our early winter tour was small, just myself and Clemens Mandell, a 46-year-old German real-estate agent living in Los Angeles. Tours start and end in Jarabacoa, set in Cordillera Central at 1700 feet above sea level. In the distance, four of the Caribbean’s highest peaks can be seen, including the tallest, 10,417-foot Pico Duarte. Called Land of the Eternal Spring by indigenous Taínos, who still make up 15 percent of the population, this town of 60,000 is a summer destination for wealthy Dominicans and hub of the country’s adventure-sports tourism industry. River rafting, kayaking, hiking, climbing, paragliding and horseback riding are easily accessible. Plus, it’s only a 45-minute drive from the small airport in Santiago.