One of the most enchanting parks you can discover when you travel to the Dominican Republic is the Reserva Ecologica Ojos Indigenas (Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve). This hidden oasis spans over 1,500 acres of untouched lowland subtropical forest, offering a serene escape from the bustling city. Whether you choose a guided tour or decide to explore on your own, the natural wonders here will leave an indelible mark on your memory.
- Beginner Tips for Visiting Ojos Indigenas Preserve
- History & Ecology of Indigenous Eyes Park
- Things to Do in Ojos Indigenas
- Costs & Fees to Enter Ojos Indigenas Reserve
- Indigenous Eyes Park Hours & Schedule
- Indigenous Eyes Park Rules
- Is it Worth Visiting Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve?
Beginner Tips for Visiting Ojos Indigenas Preserve
How To Book Your Tickets to Ojos Indigenas Park
Visit through a tour company: Embark on a half-day adventure by joining a tour that combines exploring the freshwater lagoons at Indigenous Eyes Park with exciting activities such as a catamaran cruise, snorkeling, swimming with horses, or riding through the majestic mangroves of Laguna Limón.
Visit on Your Own: If you prefer to explore at your own pace, you can visit the park in person by heading to the Punta Cana Resort. Purchase your entry pass at the front desk, and don’t forget that it also includes access to the private Playa Blanca Beach.
How to Get to Ojos Indigenas Reserve in Punta Cana
Taxi: Arrange a comfortable taxi ride with reputable providers like Taxi Dios Guia Punta Cana or Punta Cana Transportation, both of which offer spacious air-conditioned vans.
Uber: Just like in the U.S., Uber is a popular transportation option in Punta Cana. You can even schedule a ride in advance to ensure a seamless journey.
Tour Transfer: If you’ve booked one of the half-day tours mentioned earlier, rest assured that hotel pick-ups are included in the tour fee. Simply provide your hotel location when making the reservation.
History & Ecology of Indigenous Eyes Park
Indigenous Eyes Park (Ojos Indigenas) is a privately-owned nature reserve operated by the Puntacana Ecological Foundation. It is open to the public and dedicated to research and conservation efforts aimed at protecting the local wildlife in the Dominican Republic. The reserve gets its name from the indigenous Taîno Indian tribe, who referred to the park’s freshwater pools as “eyes” due to their unique shapes and glistening appearance in the sunlight. Interestingly, the largest pool, known as Guama Lagoon, used to be the personal pool of the Taîno Indian chief!
Spanning over 1,500 acres, the reserve features a diverse landscape of mangroves, natural springs, trails, and underground rivers. It is home to 12 stunning lagoons, five of which are open for swimming. These cenotes, surrounded by open caves, offer a refreshing dip in waters of intense shades of turquoise and emerald. Visitors can also admire over 500 plant and animal species, including rare birds such as the Sparrow and Ridgeway hawks, as well as other native species found only in the Dominican Republic.
Things to Do in Ojos Indigenas
1. Visit the 12 Eyes (Cenotes)
Exploring the 12 lagoons and cenotes is the highlight of the reserve and an absolute must when visiting the Dominican Republic. Follow the well-marked signs on a leisurely hike that takes you through each “eye.” You can admire their beauty from a distance or take a refreshing dip in at least five of them. One of the largest lagoons, Guama Lagoon, reaches a depth of 26 feet and is home to turtles and black tilapia. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even dive from the dock!
2. Swimming With Horses
Experience the beauty of the forest and the best beaches in Punta Cana on horseback. This unique adventure, separate from the Indigenous Eyes area but located on the same private property, is well worth adding to your itinerary, especially if you’re traveling from Santo Domingo. Combine your visit to Indigenous Eyes with a half-day tour, which includes horseback riding and exploration of the local village.
3. Iguana Habitat
The Ojos Reserve boasts a beautiful habitat dedicated to protecting the highly valued iguana species in the Dominican Republic. Here, you can witness these magnificent creatures up close and personal, as they are cared for, studied, and bred to ensure their population thrives. This unique experience is located near the hawk habitat and provides valuable insights into the lives of these fascinating reptiles.
4. Honey Bees
Immerse yourself in the world of honey bees at the Indengious Eyes Reserve! Explore the beekeeping station and witness the fascinating process of harvesting award-winning honey. This educational experience offers a close-up view of the bees, allowing children to learn about their importance and offering brave adults a chance to participate in the honey-harvesting process. And of course, you can sample delicious sweet treats along the way!
Costs & Fees to Enter Ojos Indigenas Reserve
- External Visitors: $50
- Puntacana Village and Cíudad Caracolí Owners: $5
- Puntacana Village and Cíudad Caracolí Residents: $10
- Puntacana Village and Cíudad Caracolí Guests: $15
- Extra Guest Homeowners/Residents of PCRC, Village, and Caracolí: $50
- Puntacana Village and Cíudad Caracolí Short-term Tenants: $50
- Punta Cana Village and Club Short-term Tenants: $10
Residents of Puntacana Village and Cíudad Caracolí are allowed up to three guests per family. Short-term tenants must present their reservation to book their visit, while visitors must provide their resident ID for validation. Puntacana Resort & Club owners, The Estate Experience residents, and their guests enjoy complimentary access, with a five-guest limit per family.
Indigenous Eyes Park Hours & Schedule
Park operations: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Ticket sales: 8:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Last entry to the reserve: 3:30 p.m.
It’s important to note that the park may close earlier than the official schedule, so it’s advisable to plan your visit accordingly. Dominican culture tends to start the day early!
Indigenous Eyes Park Rules
To maintain the ecological balance and preserve the beauty of Indigenous Eyes Park, please adhere to the following rules:
- Only use marked and authorized trails.
- Swimming is allowed only in lagoons with access platforms: Yauya, Cacibajagua, and Guamá.
- Minors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by and under the direct supervision of an adult.
- Unauthorized activities include: bringing pets, using drones without prior authorization, feeding fish, turtles, and birds, and touching, mistreating, or uprooting the surrounding flora and fauna.
Is it Worth Visiting Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve?
I absolutely loved my peaceful experience at the Ojos Indigenas Ecological Reserve. Unlike other tourist destinations, this hidden gem remains untouched by rowdy crowds and partygoers. Throughout my visit, I often had the trails and pools to myself, allowing me to fully connect with nature in a tranquil setting. Whether you’re fond of light hiking, swimming in crystal-clear cenotes, or simply reveling in the beauty of nature, this half-day tour is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. So, without a doubt, I highly recommend visiting this breathtaking destination during your Punta Cana trip!
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