Los Tres Ojos

Three Eyes - The Three Ponds


Useful Information

Location: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, near the highway Las Américas. Parque Mirador del Este, in the eastern part of the city of Santa Domingo.
Open: All year daily 9-17.
Fee: Adults DOP 50.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System LightColoured Light
Dimension: Aguas Azufradas: D=4, T=15-21 °C.
Nevera: D=5.4 m.
Zaramagullones: D=6.1 m.
L=17 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed, no flash
Accessibility:
Bibliography:
Address: Pedro Morales Troncoso, Av. Las Américas, Santo Domingo. Tel: +1-809-591-1492.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1916 discovered.
1970 declared a landmark.

Description

a drawing of the pools by Pierre Strinati.
photography
Los Tres Ojos, Dominican Republic. Public Domain.

The Cueva Tres Ojos (Three Eyes Cave) is located in the Mirador del Este park in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo. The ponds are located 15 m below the surface. The indigenous Taino Indians, once held their mystical rites in these caves. Los Tres Ojos (Three Eyes) has - despite its name - four ponds. The site is currently one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country.

The first pond, Aguas Azufradas (Blue Waters) is of a perfect aquamarine tone, caused by its high content of calcium and other minerals. It is aso called Lago de Azufre, which is virtually the same.

La Nevera (Freezer) is the second lake, named after its low temperature, actually it is the coldest of the lakes with a temperature between 15 °C and 21 °C. This is explained with the fact that it never receives sunlight. It is the smallest lake. There is a wooden ferry pulled on ropes to cross the lake over to the fourth lake.

El Lago de las Mujeres or El Lago de las Damas (Lake of Women) is the third and biggest lake, it contains fresh water and has strong undercurrents. While it is the biggest it is also the most shallow, its deepest part is only 2.5 m. Because of this the Taino Indians reserved the lake for women and children. And there was another reason, they believed that women swimming in this lake have many children. That's why it was named Lake of Women. Today swimming is not allowed any more for nature protection, despite the mythical effects.

The most beautiful pond is the fourth pond, Zaramagullones which is a cenote, the cave ceiling has collapsed and so the lake is now at the bottom of a shaft with vertical walls and sun is shining in. It is reached with a boat ride across lake two, then a concrete path leads through the upper chamber to the fourth pond. The lake was named after a species of ducks, which are native in this area, and frequent the lake. It is surrounded by vegetation which grows because of the sunlight entering from the surface. It is not considered one of the three "eyes" or main lakes, since it has an opening to the outside. We actually have no idea what this means, but it's the official explanation despite the fact that it makes no sense. The lake was a filming location for the Tarzan series.

There are numerous weird explanations about the site, some are obviously nonsense, others require some thinking. We already mentioned the weird explanation why lake four is not an "ojo". There is a theory that originally there was only one lake, but as a result of an earthquake and the collapse of a part of the roof, the lake was divided into four lakes that communicate with each other. When it was discovered in 1916 the first explores thought that the water of the first pond contained sulphur, a story which is still told, sometimes about the first and sometimes about the second lake. They actually thought it was the reason for the blue colour. Fact is that none of the lakes contains sulfur, and sulfur never causes a blue colour of water. Other stories tell about seawater or brackish water in some ponds, which is also nonsense, the cave is too far away from teh sea and too high. There are no lights during the day, but at night the cave is lit up with lots of coloured lights.