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“The highlight of my trip to Punta Cana”

Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park & Reserve
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Ranked #10 of 91 things to do in Punta Cana
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Owner description: 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.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
New York City, New York
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“The highlight of my trip to Punta Cana”
Reviewed November 16, 2012

One might think that the best part of Punta cana are the beaches and resorts, however, there is a little hidden forest with fresh water pools and an incredibly knowledgeable and charming guide that took my breath away.
I love nature and I could appreciate true unspoiled nature in this reserve. Yes, there is lots of pretty landscaping at the resorts, however it is mostly fake (the golf-course like grass for example). At Indigenous Eyes (Ojos Indigenos) you can see and learn about the trees, plants, birds and animals that are local and brought in from overseas (with the colonization) but that are basically existing undisturbed there and in their natural surroundings. If you go, get the guide Christian. Without him you will not be able to truly understand this very unique dry jungle. He will explain how the incredible fresh water lakes formed and you will even be invited to jump and swim into one. Don't be startled by the seemingly at arm's length bottom. It is much deeper than it looks. Personally, i have never seen such crystal clean turquoise water and swimming in it felt amazing. There were turtles and fish and beautiful coral rocks. In fact, the whole forest is basically growing out of coral. There are ancient medicinal trees that Christian pointed out (almost extinct) that the Tainos used for blood clotting and other healing and that were cut to near extinction by the colonialists. The foundation that manages the forest is working on some interesting projects, including recovering the growth of these trees, the coral reef and a type of rare Iguana that inhabits the forest.
The location of the forest is a little tricky to find. You have to go into the Punta Cana hotel and resorts property next to the Aeropuerto and the keep driving and following the signs. Visit Playa Blanca on the way back- a very sweet secluded white sand beach with a shnazzy bar/restaurant.

Visited November 2012
10 Thank TeoKoleva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Nice hidden swimming hole”
Reviewed October 30, 2012

We took the "side by side" tour from apple vacations when we stayed at Dreams Palm Beach, and part of the tour was to take us to the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and we went swimming. What a beautiful hidden area and a nice all natural park

Visited October 2012
4 Thank Matt S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hilton head island
Level 6 Contributor
90 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed October 28, 2012

absolutely the best part off-property excursion during my visit to the dominican republic! wish i had found it earlier in my stay as i would have certainly gone back for a second exploration. a real gem!

Visited October 2012
2 Thank hipyogachic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Bring a bathing suit and towel!”
Reviewed October 4, 2012

This was our second visit to the PUNTACANA Hotel. We had stumbled upon the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park the day before we left last time, and went swimming on the day of our departure. We were sure not to miss it this time! It is still absolutely beautiful. One can swim in at least two of the lagoons. We also enjoyed watching the turtles (and a crab) in one of the other lagoons. The Indigenous Eyes are one of those amazing natural places! Don't miss it!

Visited July 2012
1 Thank KathyPW11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamburg, Pennsylvania
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“The Lagoon!”
Reviewed September 10, 2012

We went here on a dune buggy tour and walked to the natural lagoon, ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL. It is a must see in the Dominican

Visited September 2012
2 Thank Amber D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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