Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park & Reserve
The Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve is a private protected area owned and operated by the PUNTACANA Ecological Foundation. Consisting of lowland subtropical forest, the reserve covers 1,500 acres of land dedicated to conservation, scientific research, and recreation.
The Ecological Reserve is a forest reserve with twelve freshwater lagoons, five of which visitors can swim in. Historians discovered that the Taíno Indians, the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the island, referred to the lagoons as “eyes” because of their distinctive shape. For this reason, the Ecological Park and Reserve was named “Ojos Indígenas” or “Indigenous Eyes.”
The Ecological Park consists of numerous exhibits describing the cultural and natural history of the island. Visitors can visit a petting zoo with many domesticated animals common in the Dominican Republic since colonial times, a sugarcane exhibit, an iguana habitat and many other attractions.
You can visit this ecological park separately, but also several tour companies are including it as a part of their tours, from off-road buggies to catamarans.
Fun morning of fresh water swimming!
We were lucky enough to drive our golf carts there since we were staying at one of the nearby golf resorts. We walked through the woods, seeing one bird and a moth, other than that nothing. We decided not to swim in the first Lagoon. Walked passed the lagoon with all the turtles which the kids loved to see. (painted turtles).
Then we made it to Guama, the larger lagoon with the jumping platform. All of the kids and adults loved jumping in from the about 8-10 foot high platform. We also snorkeled and saw some fish there too. We also took a quick dip in the Cacibijagua too, but Guama was by far the best! We did not take the longer walk out Guayacan and the fruit fields since the kids were kind of done and it was getting buggy. We went first thing in the morning, which was best for the bugs. Not sure I would spend 50 pp to go, but we had a discount from our resort and was well worth it!
Fabulous hiking and amazing blue lagoons
We loved this free hike which headed to amazing blue lagoons where we could swim with fish and turtles. The water was so clear it was amazing. I typically am a bit apprehensive about swimming in unknown waters but it was so clear it was welcoming. We could jump off a little bridge and swim around with very few people around. The vegetation on the hike was unique and we felt safe. It was a true highlight of our trip.
Beautiful experience with some minor reservations
We were staying off the Westin Property and took a ride service to the park. Not being a Westin guest we paid $50 a person to visit and overall I'd say it was a pretty good deal overall as it was nice to be off of our resort and see the park. The hike was lovely, shaded, and mostly flat with only a couple of obstacles (low branches) to duck under.
The trail is well marked but it's more rugged than a trail you might see in the US park system. The three main swimmable pools were marvelous to see and use, though the moss covered rocks are very slippery and the stairs going into each pool were black plastic which became very hot in the sun.
The large main pool was very popular when we went and while we enjoyed our visit it felt a little crowded on the dock even on a "quiet" day. Would absolutely go again, however the price might be a little much for a large group or people pinching pennies on their trips.
Beautiful freshwater lagoons!
Walk through the rainforest to fresh water lagoons. The colors of the lagoons are spectacular! You can swim in the lagoons which have crystal clear water and you can see straight to the bottom. Somewhat cold but not terrible. The hike can be long and difficult for handicapped or elderly folks. Admission is $50 but free if you stay at the Westin Punta Cana resort.
Worth an hour or more! Wear sneakers!
My husband and I had a delightful walk around this park which is free for Westin guests and not expensive otherwise. It is a nice hike with beautiful lagoons where you can swim, or just take a nice shaded hike. One hour without dawdling or swimming gets you back to catch the next bus, or take your time and bring a picnic.
The beach spot is really lovely and just outside the entrance by the sea. Worth a look. We are glad we did this trek which might be hard in flip-flops due to the rocks along the path, so wear sneakers!
It is a very beautiful walk through a series of ponds and lakes, you can only swim in the biggest one which is a 15-20mins walk away from the starting point but there’s pretty spots to see on the way, staff is super helpful and friendly but they’re not there to guide you, once they explain you everything you’re on your own to explore. You’ll love it if you enjoy hiking, bring comfortable shoes!!
I went with my couple around 4pm and had the entire park for ourselves. The main ‘lake’ is gorgeous and amazing for photos, water is cold and is even scary how clear it is (amazing for underwater photography). I would give it 5 stars if it wasn’t so expensive by itself (you have to pay $50 p/p to get in).
Lovely place for a shaded walk, lagoons for swimming as well
The ecological park has 3 km of mostly shaded walking paths that pass by the 12 natural lagoons and a connection to the beach. It is mostly flat but has some stairs and elevations. There are rocks and tree roots that penetrate through the sandy dirt trails so sturdy shoes are helpful. At the swimming lagoons there are benches and stairs down into the water.
One lagoon has a place to jump off into the water but it is too shallow for diving. Several lagoons have fish and turtles swimming in them including one open for human swimming. There are no bathroom or changing facilities so please take that into account. It is free to people staying in the Punta Cana Resort hotels but is pretty expensive for those staying elsewhere. The Punta Cana resort shuttle provides free hourly service to the main entrance so is very convenient, but it is important to watch the timing to avoid a long wait.
I did not swim, but really enjoyed walking around. The shade helped it not be as warm as it would have otherwise, but was still pretty warm. Remember to take water as there is no source of drinks or snacks at the park.
A natural lagoon all for yourself
The Ecological park reserve trail took us to a paradise of its own. It was a great trail through a thick rain forest, away from any human noise. Bird calls and butterflies everywhere as we walked on the well-marked gravel trail. Reached each of the lagoons on the trail and our kids had a blast just swimming in the three of the twelve natural pools - clear crisp water and you could see all the way to the bottom. Swimming is allowed in ONLY 3 lagoons but you can swim with the fish and turtles. Great experience. Have to do it! Can't miss.
Great Experience! Cristal clear blue water. Nature at it's best!
A place to enjoy god's creation and nature. There are twelve natural pools to observe, three of which you can actually swim in. In this place you will learn a lot about Dominican Republic nature and culture of it's first inhabitants.
My wife and I took our teenage daughters out for a nature hike. The scenery is spectacular! It’s a 2-3 hour journey, depending on how much swimming you do. We saw many varieties of butterflies, birds, lizards, fish and turtles. There were also many varieties of fruit trees. Not sure if any of them were edible, but it was neat to see the different fruits. It is an easy hike (I did it in flip-flops) most of which was shaded.
Will come again!
Great place for family hiking, picture taking, and swimming. However, wear running/hiking shoes because it can be difficult to walk from time to time, and bring your beach towel as well.
We were there 2 days ago (May 19) did not notice mosquito problem, but always a good idea to bring a bug spray.
If you stay in Tortuga Bay Hotel then it is free admission.