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Los Tres Ojos, Dominican Republic

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Los Tres Ojos ("the three eyes") are a great destination sight within easy drive of Santo Domingo. At the eastern tip of the pleasant Parque Mirador del Este, Los Tres Ojos are a series of freshwater lagoons amid 50-foot tall limestone caves.

For a time, the caves were famous as the setting for some of the Tarzan movies. More recently, the complex, formed by natural sinkholes in the earth, was a background setting for some scenes from Jurassic Park. Indeed, taking a (not unstrenuous) hike around the beautiful lakes, you may feel like you've entered a lost world.

Los Tres Ojos Santo DomingoThe caves were once a holy site for native Taino Indians, and now host a variety of plants, animals, and fishes, including many turtles. Discovered by Westerners in 1916, the three main lakes (there are actually four) are known as "Aguas Azufradas," "Nevera," and "El Lago de las Mujeres."

Open daily from 9am to 5pm, the first lake is accessed by a staircase. Visitors then navigate the caves using pathways and steps, with a pulled boatride across the second lake included in the price of admission. Gape at the stalacites and stalagmites as you navigate the various lakes, each filled with a different color and chemistry of water.

Los Tres Ojos is also close to the Columbus Lighthouse (Faro a Colon), the burial place of Christopher Columbus, and Boca Chica, a pleasant beach. Tours are available from most hotels or agencies. Don't miss these beautiful Dominican Republic caves.

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