Translated as 'The Three Eyes,' Los Tres Ojos is a natural landmark that's worthy of a visitor's tine. It's located only five miles outside of the bustling city of Santo Domingo, making it a day trip that's beyond easy to book. Additionally, it offers incredible insight into the indigenous Taíno way of life - one that few people realize they're so close to in the Dominican Republic.
Los Tres Ojos National Park is also absolutely stunning in its landscape, featuring three caves, of course, but also a lush tropical backdrop. These vibrant blue lagoons are worth seeing in person if only to understand how the location earned its name of 'The Three Eyes.'
Here's what to know about visiting Los Tres Ojos.
What Exactly Is Los Tres Ojos, Or 'The Three Eyes'
Los Tres Ojos is a set of natural limestone cave systems, with three main openings, which is what the 'eyes' refer to. These are found with Los Tres Ojos National Park, which is a protected preserve and historical site. The site itself exists only five miles outside of Santo Domingo, and is a ten-minute car ride, at most, from the city center. Visitors have the option to take a guided tour through the 'eyes,' or lagoons, which offer insight into the historical background of this incredibly scenic location.
The three lagoon 'eyes' found throughout the park are as follows:
- Aguas Azufradas, which was discovered in 1916
- La Nevera, which is known for its slightly cooler temperatures
- Las Damas or Lago de las Mujeres
Although the park is named for the three eyes, there is also a fourth that can only be seen from above. Visitors who wish to see this fourth 'eye' can do so either via boat or from an aerial view at the end of the park.
- Tip: Dominican Abroad suggests walking to the end of the park first in order to see the fourth eye, and then proceeding downstairs to see the original three.
Those who think that this fourth eye - known as Los Zaramagullones - looks familiar, they'd be right. It was featured in major motion picture movies such as Jurassic Park and Tarzan.
When visiting the three caves that correspond to each 'eye,' it's important for visitors to remember these things:
- Comfortable, breathable clothing is a must due to damp conditions underground.
- Food and beverages are not available at the caves, so it's recommended that visitors bring their own water bottles.
- Good footwear, preferably shoes that have good traction, is a good idea for potentially slippery surfaces.
- Photos are permitted in the park, so it's fine to bring a camera.
- It's recommended that visitors bring or wear bug repellent, as mosquitos can be aggressive during the summer months.
Along the way, visitors might also see various wildlife such as birds or fish who are local to the area. The lagoons themselves were once believed to be prehistoric caves, which collapsed over time, causing them to become flooded sinkholes. The reason these lakes keep refilling is due to a nearby river that runs underground, delivering fresh water to each of the sinkholes. This also accounts for the color of the water, which is why it appears to be a vibrant blue or green color, depending on the mineral composition at any given time. Additionally, this flow of water has been known to carry with it microorganisms and species of fish that continuously live in the water. Some of the wildlife that visitors might see also include bats and fish.
Admission Costs, Hours, & Transportation
Los Tres Ojos National Park is a relatively affordable tourist attraction, and one of the most popular near Santo Domingo. Visitors can expect admission prices to be exact or close to the following fees:
- Entrance Cost: 100 pesos, ~$2 USD
- Fourth Eye Entrance Cost: 25 pesos, ~ .50 cents USD for the boat tour
The park itself is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. The last ticket for entrance will usually be sold at 3 PM.
For those traveling from Santo Domingo, the taxi ride is very affordable and won't likely run travelers more than $5 USD. However, interested tourists can also inquire with their hotels or resorts to see if there is a package deal to Los Tres Ojos. The trip to The Three Eyes is well worth the (affordable) cost to get there, and visitors will have the chance to learn about the region's history, indigenous people, and see some of the greatest views near Santo Domingo. The proximity from the center of the city makes the trip even more worth it, as it can easily be done in one day with plenty of time to spare.