Yaque del Norte River

river in the Dominican Republic
(Redirected from River Yaque del Norte)

Yaque del Norte is the longest river in the Dominican Republic, and the second longest river of the Hispaniola island, after the river Artibonite.

Yaque del Norte
Rio Yaque del Norte, Dominican Republic
Yaque del Norte River is located in the Dominican Republic
Yaque del Norte River
Location of mouth
Country Dominican Republic
ProvincesLa Vega, Santiago, Valverde, Santiago Rodríguez, Monte Cristi
Major citiesSantiago de los Caballeros, Mao, Jarabacoa, Guayubín, Monte Cristi, Castañuelas
Physical characteristics
MouthAtlantic Ocean
 - coordinates19°50′24″N 71°41′13″W / 19.84000°N 71.68694°W / 19.84000; -71.68694
Length298 km (185 mi)
Basin size7,044 km2 (2,720 sq mi)
Basin features
 - leftBao, Ámina, Mao, Guayubín, Guanajuma, Jagua
 - rightJimenoa, Inoa, Maguaca, Maguá, Pananao, Jicomé

It is 296 km long and flows to the northwest into the Montecristi Bay, Atlantic Ocean.[1]

Name and history


Yaque or Yaqui is a Taíno word given to two rivers. One of those rivers, the longest, goes to the north of the island, to the Atlantic Ocean, and is called the Yaque del Norte ("Northern Yaque"); and the second goes to the south, to the Caribbean Sea, and is called Yaque del Sur ("Southern Yaque").

During his first visit to America in 1492, Christopher Columbus saw for the first time this river, at its mouth, and he called it Río de Oro ("Gold River") because he found many small pieces of gold. But later, during his second visit, he saw the river in other place and called it Río de las Cañas ("River of Canes") because many tall grasses (as sugar cane) were growing on the borders of the river.[2] But none of those names were ever used; it has always been called Yaque, or Yaque del Norte.

Columbus built three forts near the river: Esperanza, Magdalena and Santiago;[2] the first two were abandoned and Santiago was moved to another place with the name of Santiago de los Caballeros. Later Santiago de los Caballeros was moved again near the river but not in the original place.



The source of the Yaque del Norte is at an elevation of 2,580 m, on the Pico del Yaque mountain, in the central part of the Cordillera Central mountain range.

But in this place, the river is called Los Guanos or Río de la Derecha ("River to the Right"). The name Yaque del Norte is used only when this small river joins another small river, Los Tablones or Río de la Izquierda ("River to the Left") in Manabao, to the west of Jarabacoa, at an elevation of 900 m.[3]

From Manabao, the river flows to the east, through the northwestern part of La Vega province. When it gets to Jarabacoa, it turns to the north, to the Santiago. The River Jimenoa, the only important right tributary of Yaque del Norte, joins it at Jarabacoa.

In Santiago de los Caballeros, the river turns to the northwest and flows by the Yaque del Norte Valley, the western part of the Cibao Valley.

Its mouth is on the Montecristi Bay, just to the south of the city of San Fernando de Monte Cristi, on the Atlantic Ocean.

Its most important left tributaries are the rivers Bao, Ámina, Mao and Guayubín.[1]



The city of Santiago de los Caballeros is the most important Dominican city close to the river.It goes also near the cities of Jarabacoa, Mao, Guayubín, Castañuela and Monte Cristi.

Watershed and uses


With an area of 7,044 km², its watershed is the largest of the Dominican Republic, and the second largest of the island. Its discharge (volume of water which passes through a section of the river per unit of time) is 97.0 cubic metres per second at Palo Verde, to the southeast of San Fernando de Monte Cristi.[1]

The water of the river is used for irrigation, mainly in the valley that goes from Santiago to Monte Cristi, the Yaque del Norte Valley. It is a very dry valley and without water it would be very difficult to grow any crop. The most important crops here with irrigation are rice, bananas and vegetables as tomato.[1]

Around Jarabacoa, the river is used for some water sports with canoes and small boats.

There are several dams along the river to generate electricity, store the water for irrigation, and prevent flooding.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 De la Fuente, Santiago (1976). Geografía Dominicana (in Spanish). Santo Domingo: Editora Colegial Quisqueyana. pp. 112–118.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Las Casas, Bartolomé de (1965). Historia de las Indias (in Spanish). Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica.
  3. Rodríguez T., Ramón Isidro (200). El Río Yaque del Norte desde el Pico Duarte hasta Montecristi (in Spanish). Dominican Republic. pp. 134. ISBN 99934-0-076-9.