Let us help you visit the hidden gem of Los Tres Ojos in the heart of Dominican Republic’s capital Santo Domingo. By Tara Choudhary
When tourists visit the Dominican Republic, they most commonly go to places like Punta Cana or Samaná, which are famous for their beaches. However, they often overshadow the capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, which has been known for its rich culture and history, and for being the oldest city established by Europeans in the Western Hemisphere. Despite this, not many people know about the hidden gem situated within the form of an ecological attraction, the magnificent ‘Los Tres Ojos’.
‘Los Tres Ojos’, which literally translates to ‘The Three Eyes’, is a national park just a few miles east of the main city. It is often referred to as nature‘s break in the middle of the populous city, because of the range of natural beauty it boasts of. The national park offers a look into the Taino people’s underground caverns that were used long ago for refuge and rituals. After walking down a winding staircase, you’ll see a whole set of caves within which the pathways are adjoined to three blue lagoons, or ‘ojos’ (eyes) as they were called by Tainos. This is owed to their oval shapes. By taking a small wooden boat, you will be able to access a fourth ‘ojo’ or lagoon, which was formed by the three lagoons joining and is surrounded by a breathtaking scenery of a rocky landscape and lush green plants. This is complete with a good number of animal species that inhabit the lagoons and are often visible going about their daily business. These species include indigenous bats, turtles and numerous kinds of fish.
One of the best things about the national park is its affordability and low entrance cost, which is only 100 DOP per person (about INR 154; USD 2.17). If you want to see the fourth lake, there is an added cost of about 25 DOP (INR 34), however it is completely worth the price.
After your visit is finished, you will pass many handicraft stalls on your way out. Amongst these there will be many gemstones being sold, but the one that is recommended for gifting is Larimar. It is a mineral pectolite and isn’t found anywhere other than the Dominican Republic.
Apart from visiting the national park, when in Santo Domingo some places you must go to include the 4D cinema, Colonial Gate 4D, where you will be taken on a ride that showcases the history of Santo Domingo. Santo Domingo also knows just how to party, and the nightlife in Mamma Club or Monastery Sundays showcase the same. For good food, there is Pat’e Palo, which is meant to be the best restaurant in the country, and Samurai, which serves authentic Japanese food that, is rave-worthy.
Overall Santo Domingo is a capital that hasn’t received half as much acclaim for the beauties it offers as it should, and it is definitely worth a visit any time of the year as it isn’t usually bombarded by tourists.