The Three Eyes cave is National Park in the Dominican Republic, located in the center of Santo Domingo. Also called Los Tres Ojos in Spanish. It is a true hidden world in the heart of the metropolis. When I first arrived here, I was amazed. Images from Conan Doyle’s book immediately came to mind. In this guide, you will learn all about this attraction and even more.
Table of contents:
- General facts about the caves of the Dominican Republic
- History of the Three Eyes National Park (Los Tres Ojos)
- Map, opening hours, ticket price, tours
- The Three Eyes Cave: what awaits you inside
- Travel Tips
General facts about the caves of the Dominican Republic
I will try to briefly but effectively paint a general picture of the caves in the Dominican Republic as a whole.
- The country is home to a large number of caves, and official statistics do not even indicate how many caves there are in the Dominican Republic.
- According to available data, there are at least 5,000 caves, but there may be up to 10,000.
- About 100 new caves are discovered every year.
- Approximately 70% of the country’s caves are flooded and located underwater, making the Dominican Republic a paradise for speleologists.
- Most of the caves in the Dominican Republic are limestone.
One such cave is located in the center of the capital, Santo Domingo. It is called The Three Eyes Cave and located in the Three Eyes National Park.
Three Eyes Cave (Los Tres Ojos): history
To truly appreciate any landmark, it is important to know its history, no matter how brief. It allows for a deeper understanding of the place and answers any questions that may arise during a visit. Though it may not always be the most exciting information, it is certainly never unnecessary.
- The Three Eyes Cave was formed millions of years ago among the limestone cliffs.
- Until the 20th century, it was underground and unknown to anyone. Life went on above it as the Spanish built the city above it.
- As a result of one of the earthquakes, a part of the cave collapsed. In 1916, people discovered the cave, which by then had become an open cave.
- Initially, three lakes were found in the cave, thus it was named Three Eyes Cave or Los Tres Ojos. Almost 45 years later, a fourth lake was discovered, but the cave was not renamed.
- Today, the three lakes can be reached by foot, while the fourth can only be reached by boat. But more on that later.
Good to know:For over 100 years since the cave’s collapse, it has been fully overgrown with tropical vegetation. Today, it is a oasis in the metropolis and it is hard to believe your eyes when you first arrive here.
Map, opening hours, ticket price, tours
Below is important information about this attraction:
- Parking and entrance coordinates: 18.481374, -69.842959
- Opening hours: daily from 9 am to 5 pm
- Ticket price: 200 pesos. It’s about $4. By the way, they will take dollars at the checkout. Read about how many currencies in the Dominican Republic and what money to bring with you in the article: about the country’s currency.
- Have some small money with you, 50 pesos per person or $1. They will come in handy inside the park, I’ll tell you why below.
- You will find the location of the Three Eyes Cave on the map in the article about Santo Domingo. There is a map.
It is important to know:It sounds like the parking near the attraction is large and free, but there are people dressed as parking attendants who will ask for a small fee (50-100 pesos) to watch your car. It is not necessary to pay them, and you can tell them that they are part of the mafia and that you know the parking is free. In the worst case, they might let the air out of your tires, but this is unlikely. It is recommended to give them 1 dollar for assurance that your car will be safe.
There are many legends and tall tales circulating about safety in the country. To learn about the real situation today, read the article Safety in the Dominican Republic.
By the way, on the same parking lot, tourists are often offered to buy Cuban cigars as souvenirs. They are cheap! But be careful, they sell banana leaves as cigars. To know more about cigars in the Dominican Republic, read the article by the link.
Guided tour of the Three Eyes Cave
Another thing to keep in mind is that there are people at the entrance who offer the services of a private guide. He will take you through the cave, pay for the entrance tickets and ferry fare, and tell you the history of the cave. He charges between 25-50$ per couple, depending on your negotiation skills.
Tip:If you are able to negotiate with the guide on the price, then you can certainly take advantage of his services. He will tell you in more detail about the cave, lakes and the legends associated with them. The ferry through the underground lake is worth 2 dollars for two people, but the guide should also pay for that. And if you are vacationing for example in Punta Cana and want to spend a whole day on a trip to Santo Domingo, you can order a tour from your hotel that will include a visit to the Cave of the Three Eyes and the services of a guide. Such a tour will even be cheaper.
Three Eyes Cave: what awaits you inside
Inside the Three Eyes National Park there are many recreation areas, a small cafe, clean toilets and the actual steps down to the Three Eyes Сave itself.
- The route through the cave is looped
- There are places for taking pictures.
- All three main lakes have access to the water, you can not swim, but you can touch
- Color, transparency, composition of water and temperature in each lake is different.
Attention:Swimming in the lakes of the cave is strictly prohibited, as well as feeding the fish.
By the way, it’s very nice here in the heat. Always cool and fresh.
As you approach the second lake, you will find that passing by is impossible, and you will come across a ferry and its ferryman. Yes, just like in the Greek myth, where Charon ferried souls across the underground river Styx to the realm of the dead. The atmosphere here is just as eerie. The transparent blue water, the silent ferryman, the twilight, and the journey to nowhere.
The ferry ride is 70 meters long, taking one minute. The ferry can carry 8-10 people at a time, but there are no queues. On the other side, you will disembark and walk around 50 meters through the cave among stalactites and stalagmites, and come across a large circular lake. This is the fourth lake that was previously unknown.
The cave ceiling above the lake collapsed 50 years ago. However, it is impossible to reach the lake from the surface of the ground, as the cliffs are steep.
The ferryman charges 50 pesos or $1 for a round trip ticket, just like in ancient Greece :). Payment by card is not possible.
Visiting the entire cave and all four lakes at a leisurely pace will take around 1 hour.
Here are a few tips that can make your visit to this attraction a little easier:
- You can opt out of the guide’s services, it is not mandatory at all.
- Some tourists do not take the ferry to the fourth lake. In my opinion, this is the most interesting part of the Three Eyes Cave.
- Give the parking attendant a dollar, and he will be happy, and you will be at ease about your car.
- If you have spare time, you can bring a snack or buy some snacks at the café here and sit in the park. It is quiet and very beautiful, even though it is close to the center of a noisy metropolis and heavy traffic.
- And, importantly, always carry small change with you. This applies to all of the Dominican Republic, not just this cave.
If you are just studying information about the country and have not yet bought tickets or a tour here, read the article about package tours to the Dominican Republic, there are a lot of tips and life hacks. And about holidays in the Dominican Republic and its trends at this link.
The Three Eyes Cave in the Dominican Republic is an amazing attraction not only in Santo Domingo but also in the entire country. Every tourist should visit this place and see how a huge noisy metropolis coexists with a piece of lost world.
Los Tres Ojos will definitely surprise and impress you!