The Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve is one of the only private forest reserves in Punta Cana and one of its best kept secrets. The reserve is owned and managed by the PUNTACANA Ecological Foundation and forms part of 1,500 acres of the Puntacana Resort & Club property set aside as conservation land. You can take a refreshing dip in on one of the twelve lagoons the Taino Indians called “eyes.” Many believe they hold medicinal properties. This is really one of the most unique and unexplored jewels of Punta Cana.

To explore the reserve without a guide, you must be a guest at PUNTACANA Resort & Club (www.puntacana.com). For guests of hotels other than Puntacana Resort & Club, you can participate in a guided 2-hour tour with experiened guides. Guests will be provided transportation to and from their hotel. Bring your bathing suit as you will have an opportunity to swim in at least one of the freshwater lagoons. The Ecological Foundation also offers a number of unique excursions including segway tours, horseback riding, and adventure cars.

To learn more, please contact 1-829-470-1367 or 1-829-470-1121 or write to info@segwayecotour.com

History of the Indigenous Eyes

Indigenous Eyes is one of the only private forest reserves in Punta Cana. The reserve forms a part of 1,500 acres of the property set aside as conservation land. The reserve is owned and managed by the PUNTACANA Ecological Foundation. The Foundation and a prestigious group of national and international collaborators conduct research, investigation, and environmental education programs in the reserve through the Center for Sustainability. The reserve has twelve fresh water lagoons. An underground freshwater river known locally as Yauya feeds the lagoons and eventually makes its way to the ocean. If you walk to the beach directly in front of the reserve entrance and look closely amongst the remaining mangrove trees you can see Yauya emptying into the ocean. The ground in Punta Cana is primarily limestone coral made of fossilized oceanic material that has been pushed above sea level over thousands of years. If you look closely you can find fossilized seashells, sponges and other marine relics in the rocks throughout the reserve. The annual rainfall in Punta Cana can reach 1,300 mm, but the porous nature of the limestone causes the water to filter through quickly to the groundwater. For this reason there are few rivers in Punta Cana. Renowned historian and Dominican scholar Bernardo Vega has given each of the twelve lagoons a unique name from the native Taino language.

The reserve is categorized as a “Transition Zone Sub-Tropical Forest,” since flora and fauna characteristic of both the Dry and Humid Sub-Tropical Forests can be found. Reptiles from the Anolis genus are abundant in this area, as well as small green snakes, frogs and other lizards. But not to worry, there are no venomous snakes on the Island of Hispaniola. The reserve has over 500 plant species, 36% of which live nowhere else in the world but the Dominican Republic. Red Land Crabs are common in the Ecological Reserve. Once a year, these crabs climb up from their protective crevices by the thousands to mate. Over 100 different species of birds have been identified in Punta Cana during the winter migration season. Wasps, butterflies, ants and termites are common in Indigenous Eyes. As you are walking, you will see large brown nests in the trees. These are signs that the forest is healthy because the termites that live in the nests break down the dead and dying materials and transform it into fertile habitat.

The reserve is guided by a Leave No Trace policy, visitors are asked to help maintain the natural beauty of Indigenous Eyes by disposing of trash in designated containers and being respectful of the plant and animal life that you encounter. Visitors are also asked to swim only in lagoons that are accessible for swimming and be careful as you enter and exit the lagoons. The reserve is open daily from sunup to sundown.

The PUNTACANA Ecological Foundation manages the Indigenous Eyes Reserve as part of its ongoing efforts to protect and restore the natural resources of Punta Cana and contribute to the sustainable development of the Dominican Republic. You can learn more about the work of the Foundation by visiting www.puntacana.org.