Four eyes see more than two. You should use your own pair of eyes and see yourself what kind of natural treasure in a calm surrounding Santo Domingo has to offer amongst the generic Dominican traffic chaos, loud Merengue music and people chattering all day. You will hardly believe your eyes, which beauty is hidden in the east of Santo Domingo. So be all eyes and keep your eyes peeled for the following article!

‘Nuff of these stupid wordplays, let’s be serious again and talk business: I visited last weekend something, that is really rare in Santo Domingo: A natural resource. Whilst the majority of Santo Domingo is just a usual Latin American capital with urban architecture made of colonial buildings, shopping malls, many residential areas, streets, etc. there are only a few recreational areas in the city. One of them is ‘Parque Nacional Los Tres Ojos’, a 50-yard open-air limestone cave. $4 of entry more than worth it!

Due to tectonic fractures centuries ago, this cave was created and filled with water. A looooong time has passed and the water slowly vanished and vaporized.

Three sweet water lakes remained inside of the cave and gave a habitat to fish, bats and turtles. And these three sweet water lakes give the national park now its name. Every eye (ojos) represents an own lake and has an own name.

  • Lago de Azufre
  • La Nevera
  • El Lago de las Damas

Lago de las Damas! I was lucky to have visited this place as well with a dame. That helped me very much on the one hand not to harass complete strangers all the time to take pictures of me. One the other hand, why experiencing something beautiful like this alone? It’s always good to have a companion to share memories like this.

There is even a fourth lake, called ‘Los Zaramagullones’, which I achieved to pronounce correctly after approximately 20 times. This lake is treated unfortunately like an orphan and isn’t part of the exclusive ‘Los tres ojos V.I.P. club’. Reason for that is, since it has an opening to the outside and appears more to be a lagoon than a subterraneous lake. It can be only accessed by a small ferry raft pulled via rope across Lake La Nevera.

Getting there is free, but you will have to pay a small fee (about $0.50 US) to get out. Smart and devious Dominicans! They let you in for free, but you have to pay for the exit. A perfect business model.

Los Zaramagullones is the most tranquil and beautiful of the four subterranen watering holes. Firstly, because it is remotely from the others and is therefore somehow special. This story, that you need a higher effort to enter with the ferry raft helps to let it shine more special in comparison with the three ojos. But it has as well a lush vegetation and many fish to offer. This beautiful piece of land was a scenery for many production companies who have filmed footage here for movies like Tarzan and Jurassic Park III.

But the other lakes are beautiful and tranquil as well. Especially astonishing was the color of the water. The azure hue is coming from the high amount of calcium. Few rays of light and sunshine are entering the cave, no algas or seaweed is provoked. You can see many movements of different animals through the crystal clear water and observe them.

Risking my life (or at least my dry clothes) again, I was climbing to a ledge to have a better overview of the lake and of course for better photos:

Beauty knows no pain. But sitting and laying on the spiky stones for the perfect photo knows a lot of pain. Was it really worth it?

Talking about photos, I must say, that it is quite difficult for a phone camera to react to all the different light conditions. Both extremes, too illuminated and too dark crash always at the same time when being in a cave and trying to take photographies. And photos with a flashlight are never an option, because they bias every perspective you have. Only Snapchat filters with bunny ears are worse than photos with flashlight.

Me whitey was always too illuminated in the dark backgrounds of the cave. I would recommend everyone who wants to visit this site to bring his/her professional photo equipment with to not look snow white like me on the pictures. So, be witness of my whiteness and see the following pictures, that let me look like having a halo and gloriole:

All the rest of the park is organized quite good as well. Enough sanitary facilities, kiosks and (like always) too many souvenir shops. One of the kiosks had paintings on the walls, beautiful and colorful paintings:

The temperature of the lagoons vary between 20 °C to 29 °C, but it all the time very humid down there and you start sweating easily. Upstairs, the sun lashes merciless down the sky and make you sweat again. After climbing all 692 steps (!) of the cave, you can continue a 15 – 20 minute walk to see more of the national park. And see the ‘Los Zaramagullones Lagoon from above.

Los Tres Ojos, Santo Domingo

But the earlier pictures from the perspective below are better. Anyway, the vegetation is greener than green and makes you forget all the grey beton and loud noises of the town.