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Our Visit to the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve in Punta Cana

One of the lagoons at the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve in Punta Cana

Our trip started in Santo Domingo, the capital, from where we departed at approximately 8:00 AM. Had we gone on this trip a week earlier we would have had to drive for close to three hours just to get to Punta Cana but thanks to the new highway (touristic boulevard) we arrived in just under two hours.

Read also: How to get from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana by bus

Since we got there a little early we had to wait a while for our guide to become available so we took that time to put on our swimsuits because we realized we wouldn’t be able to do so once we began our tour of the park. We recommend you go with your swimsuit already on.

Our guide Christiaan came to get us and our approximately two and half hour tour of the Indigenous Eyes Reserve finally began. Christiaan was very knowledgeable on everything form to the flora and fauna which made our hike through the park all the more enjoyable.

Inside the Park

The forest on the reserve is subtropical and secondary, meaning the trees are not older than 150-200 years old; home to more than 500 species of plants, 36% of which are endemic to the Dominican Republic.

The Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve is the only private forest in Punta Cana and is managed by the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation. Their purpose is to educate visitors and to protect/repopulate endangered species not only from the DR but from the entire world. Universities from the United States and Europe use this reserve for scientific research which is why touristic visits to the park are somewhat limited.

Our favorite feature of the reserve are its 12 crystal clear lagoons in 3 of which you can actually swim! They all have Taíno names (the Taínos were indigenous people who inhabited the island at the time of Colombus’ arrival) some of the names are Yucabu, Bayguá, Yauya, Guácara, Turey and Guamá which is the largest and deepest of all the lagoons and was reserved only for the Taíno chief.

White duck at one of the lagoons
We made a friend at the Guamá lagoon, they call him Donald. Bring some treats with you and make his day!

The water is cold but refreshing after all the walking around in the humid forest. The Guamá lagoon is over 8 meters deep so we recommend bringing arm inflatables for small children to stay afloat since there are no shallow areas in this lagoon. We felt in tune with nature in this secluded natural swimming pool, it’s a feeling hard to describe with words, can’t wait to go there again.

Group swimming in Magua lagoon
You can see the bottom floor of the lagoon because it’s crystal clear but it is actually very deep.
Wooden dock
This is a shallower lagoon but we didn’t stop to swim there.

This reserve is not very advertised due to the fact that the ecological foundation is not very thrilled to let visitors inside and this makes it a hidden gem at the heart of Punta Cana.

How to visit?

You can visit the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park by going on the SEGWAY ECO-TOUR or by contacting the reserve directly: Email: fepc@puntacana.com – Phone: 809-959-9221 to arrange a visit. (entrance fee is 25 USD per person and 50 USD p/p for a guided visit). Self guided visits are free of charge for hotel guests at Tortuga Bay and The Puntacana Hotel as well as Puntacana Resort & Club homeowners and residents.

Photos from our visit

3 thoughts on “Our Visit to the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve in Punta Cana

  1. Pingback: Discover the Dominican Republic - South Florida Reporter

  2. Aristides Guerra says:

    It depends on what you are planning to do during your visit to the park… If you want to just swim in the lagoons and walk around on your own then you shouldn’t hire a guide. I say this because our guide stopped at only one lagoon (out of the three you can swim in) and sat there waiting for us to finish swimming and you feel kind of pressured to get out of the lagoon.

    On the other hand if you want to hear the history behind the park (even dating back to before the discovery by Christopher Columbus), the flora, the fauna, the geography, etc then you should definitely go with a guide. The tour is about 2:30 hours long, you’ll most likely swim in just one lagoon (the largest and deepest) but you’ll learn an awful lot. IF you decide to go with a guide ask for Christiaan, he’s from Belgium, speaks 14 languages and is all in all a very nice man who makes the tour very enjoyable.

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