Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park

If you’re keen to experience the wilder side of the Dominican Republic, this park will tick all the boxes. Known in Spanish as the Reserva Ecologica Ojos Indígenas, the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park is in the Punta Cana area of the island, and is easily accessible from the resort’s hotels. It’s home to twelve stunning freshwater lakes which have a unique eye shape, hence the name of the park.

The history of the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park

This area was originally inhabited by Taíno Indians, who lived here long before European colonialists settled in the Caribbean. The forest is also self-recycling, which means none of the trees are more than a couple of centuries old. Despite the increase in tourism in the Dominican Republic over the years, the park has been carefully preserved and is privately protected.

What to see and do

Stroll around the famous Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park for winding trails through the shaded trees to find cascading waterfalls and glistening blue lagoons. Discover over 100 different species of birds and around 500 different types of plant. If you want to learn more, you can take a guided tour and pay a visit to the botanical and fruit gardens, iguana farm and petting zoo.

Five of the freshwater lakes are open for visitors to swim in, although bear in mind that the water can be rather cold. Like the sea, the water here is extremely clear, so don’t forget to bring your camera.

Getting to the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park

The easiest way to reach this park is to book a private transfer from your hotel or elsewhere in Punta Cana. Book a half-day excursion from 8.30am to 1pm so you’ll have plenty of time to see the park’s wildlife and lagoons. Alternatively, you can go on a self-guided tour and explore the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park at your own pace, which means you’ll be able to spend more time hiking or swimming in the lagoons. You’ll also find a souvenir and snack bar on-site in case you get peckish, although make sure you bring plenty of water with you.

The best time to visit the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park

While the weather can be quite unpredictable in the Dominican Republic, it’s generally sunny and dry most of the time. You may find it slightly more pleasant to visit from December to February, when temperatures are a little cooler at around 28 °C by day and there is generally less rainfall than May to June or August to November. Early spring is the best time to beat the rain, as March has an average of only 6 or 7 days with rainfall, compared with nearly 12 in October and November. However, it’s usually pretty light rather than heavy downpours, so you should be able to dodge the showers.

Other places you can visit near the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park

In Punta Cana, take the family to the Dolphin Explorer park, where they can interact with dolphins and other fascinating marine animals. See the sharks and stingrays at the Marinarium in Cabeza de Toro, or go on an adrenaline-boosting zipline and cave excursion at Scape Park in Cap Cana to the south.

All in all, if you love the great outdoors, you’ll have an amazing time at the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Punta Cana’s other natural attractions.