The Best Resort Amenity in the Dominican Republic is an Eco-Park
If there is one thing you don't expect from a large Caribbean resort property, it's eco-consciousness. Large resort chains love to overdo it with gluttonous wastes of resources all for the pleasure of their guests, without regard for the environment in which travelers find the beauty of an area. Thus, on our recent trip down to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, we were thrilled to discover that a couple resorts are putting preservation and eco-travel efforts first, and even cultivating their own organic gardens for their restaurants.
We visited one resort in particular, the PUNTACANA Resort & Club, which has added an eco-park onto the list of their amenities, and it's become quite popular. The park, Ojos Indigenas, with lush vegetation, natural freshwater pools and residents like giant crabs, was discovered by accident and immediately given official protection. It is only open to guests of the PUNTACANA Resort, Tortuga Bay Resort and those with vacation homes in the resort, but if you're visiting the Punta Cana area and want to dive into the cool, fresh waters of one of the pools, you can also access it by taking the resort's segway tour, one of the only such tours in the Dominican Republic.
Historians discovered that the native Taínos, the pre-Colombian inhabitants of the island, "referred to the lagoons as eyes, due to their unique form." The preserved forest is only 1,500 acres of a larger subtropical forest, with 500 plant species and 11 of the natural pools. Swimming and even jumping in is allowed in most of the pools, and after a hike through the hot forest, the pools are like lifesavers. We jumped in to a few and found ourselves face to face with a curious turtle, some lazy fish and even little shrimp.
So why are we telling you all this? Simply because it's one of our highest recommended mini-trips within Punta Cana, and a welcome distraction from typical resort activities. If you'd like to visit, ask your hotel concierge about contact the PUNTACANA resort for reservations for their segway tours.
Full Disclosure: We were in the DR thanks to Jetblue and the Dominican Republic Board of Tourism. But rest assured that we worked more than swam, and all views expressed here are our own.
· Visiting Punta Cana Airport, Among the Most Unique Airports in the World [Jaunted]
· Inside Oscar de la Renta's Tortuga Bay Hotel in the Dominican Republic [HotelChatter]
· Green Travel [Jaunted]
[All photos: Jaunted]