While eco-lodges and Punta Cana doesn’t seem like a natural fit at first glance, there are some very interesting options in terms of unique accommodation and eco-tourism in an area that is usually dominated by all-inclusive resorts. Once you head out to explore the hidden gems of Punta Cana and the eastern Dominican Republic, there are some amazing places to stay where it is hard to imagine that they exist in the Dominican Republic. Some of the best eco-lodges in Punta Cana include a comfy hotel in the national park surrounded by waterfalls, glamping at the beach and a guesthouse at the most popular island in the Dominican Republic, away from all the tourist crowds.
Are you looking for other unique places to stay besides these eco-lodges? Check out these amazing Airbnbs in Punta Cana as well as this list of spectacular accommodation in Santo Domingo.
General information about eco-lodges in Punta Cana
Punta Cana is famous for its many luxurious all-inclusive resorts, usually located right at the beach. That’s where most people spend their entire vacation, but it’s worth heading out to explore the surrounding of Punta Cana, especially as there are many hidden gems most people don’t know. There are some surprisingly interesting eco-lodges to discover not far away from Punta Cana, which I will present to you here.
All of these eco-lodges are reachable in less than 2.5 hours from Punta Cana, so it is perfect to combine them with some day-trips, waterfall visits or stunning hikes. The best is to head out there by car, but of course, you can also hire a private driver. If not sure if you want to drive, check out this article about if you shall rent a car in Punta Cana.
Paraíso Caño Hondo (Los Haitises National Park)
Paraíso Caño Hondo is probably my favorite among all eco-lodges in Punta Cana. It is located in the national park Los Haitises and a unique place to stay.
This national park hotel is nestled amidst the rolling hills of Los Haitises, which are covered by tropical and dense vegetation. The next village is a 30-minutes dirt-road ride away, guaranteeing you the most intense nature experience.
This amazing eco-lodge is surrounded by many waterfalls, which are flowing right through the property, creating many natural swimming pools. You can cool down in these pools, enjoy the refreshing water, take stunning photos and find your private spot.
At night, when having dinner, you still can hear the sound of the rivers and waterfalls, which makes Paraíso Caño Hondo a truly magical place.
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This eco-lodge at Los Haitises National Park has around 2 dozens of rooms, which are rustic and charming likewise. They are made of many different natural materials, guaranteeing a sustainable approach and a nature-oriented experience. With the constant sound of the waterfalls and the amazing views of the national park, you will be able to connect with nature more than in any other place around Punta Cana. It is a perfect example of eco-tourism in the Dominican Republic.
Price per double room at Paraíso Caño Hondo: starting from 70 USD
Tripadvisor rating (as of November 2020): 4.5/5 (check reviews*)
Distance from Punta Cana: 81 miles / 2.5 hours
How to get there: follow the well-maintained highway 105 and 104 until the town of Sabana de la Mar. When arriving there, take a right and an immediate left turn and follow the dirt road until close to the end, where you will see Paraíso Caño Hondo on the left side.
Further information: Visting Los Haitises National Park
Altos de Caño Hondo (Los Haitises National Park)
Situated above Paraíso Caño Hondo, Altos de Caño Hondo is a similar eco-lodge at Los Haitises National Park. Its design has the same natural elements as the other hotel and you have access to those stunning and unique swimming pools, emerging from the various waterfalls.
However, there are two main differences between both eco-lodges: the pools are a short walk down, which makes the property much quieter. You can’t hear the sounds of the waterfalls while in your room, but you also can’t hear the noise of other people visiting, especially at the weekend, where day-trippers love to visit Paraíso Caño Hondo. This makes Altos de Caño Hondo much quieter and a perfect place to relax and unwind, but you don’t feel the water as close as at the other property next door.
On the other hand, as Altos de Caño Hondo is located higher than Paraíso Caño Hondo, you have amazing views over the entire national park of Los Haitises, especially if you walk a little bit higher up. There is even a separate viewpoint on the property, which is like a natural balcony with a superb panorama. You hardly can get a better view of the national park than from this eco-lodge.
Price per double room at Altos de Caño Hondo: starting from 70 USD
Tripadvisor rating (as of November 2020): 4.5/5 (check reviews*)
Distance from Punta Cana: 81 miles / 2.5 hours
How to get there: follow the well-maintained highway 105 and 104 until the town of Sabana de la Mar. When arriving there, take a right and an immediate left turn and follow the dirt road until close to the end, where you will see Paraíso Caño Hondo on the left side. Take the road after Paraíso Caño Hondo up the hill until you arrive at Altos de Caño Hondo.
Further information: Visiting Los Haitises National Park
Costa Arrecife (Playa La Vacama)
Costa Arrecife is a glamping spot on one of the most pristine beaches you can find in Punta Cana: La Vacama. A wild beach with crashing waves, untouched sand and swaying palm trees is the spectacular setting for this new glamping in Punta Cana, which fits perfectly into the eco-tourism approach the Dominican Republic is recently taking. Costa Arrecife consists of a few tents right at the beach with mattresses and ocean views that can’t be beaten by any all-inclusive resort. Furthermore, it has a welcoming open-air restaurant with fresh seafood and tasty Dominican meals. You can also enjoy cold beers and delicious cocktails here – for lunch, dinner, during the day and also at night. Breakfast is usually included in your stay.
Costa Arrecife stands apart with its unique location at this wild and absolutely pristine beach. You can see the sky changing into multiple colors during sunset and a marvelous star-spangled sky at night, thanks to no lights or cities in the surrounding. This kind of eco-lodge is probably not the best choice for a full week of vacation in the Dominican Republic, but it is a unique spot for a 1- or 2-day adventure in Punta Cana.
Price per double room (tent) at Costa Arrecife: starting from 20 USD per person
Tripadvisor rating (as of November 2020): n/a
Distance from Punta Cana: 25 miles / 40 minutes
How to get there: follow the well-maintained highway 105 and 104 until the colorful sign indicating the entrance of La Vacama. Follow the small road to the right into the village and take a left turn on the first junction, which will take you to the beach.
Saona Beach House (Isla Saona)
Saona Beach House is probably not your typical eco-lodge, but the location and the way to get there makes it one of the best experiences in harmony with nature around Punta Cana. The guesthouse is located on the famous Isla Saona, the destination of the most popular excursion in the Dominican Republic. Due to its location in the only village of the island and the way to get there far off the beaten track, this eco-friendly accommodation is a very sustainable way of experiencing Saona Island. Furthermore, most of your expenses will go directly to the villagers of Mano Juan, who don’t have many other sources of income.
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But it’s not only the sustainable approach that makes Saona Beach House worth a visit and part of this Punta Cana eco-lodge list. The experiences waiting for you are hard to get somewhere else. Your accommodation is right on a pristine beach, for most of the day (especially in the morning, evening and night) you will be the only visitor on the island and you can get to know the village life of Mano Juan, which gives you unique insight into the remote and basic life on the island far away from the tourist crowds. While the regular excursion to Isla Saona from Punta Cana is a great way to visit this piece of paradise, an overnight stay here on the island will be another level of your experience in the Dominican Republic.
Price per double room at Saona Beach House: starting from 70 USD
Tripadvisor rating (as of November 2020): 4/5 (check reviews*)
Distance from Punta Cana: 52 miles / 1 hour driving + 30 minutes boat ride
How to get there: head to the town of Bayahibe via the main highway (“Autopista Coral”) in the direction of La Romana/Santo Domingo. At the Bayahibe turnoff, get off the highway and follow the signs to Bayahibe, where you can catch your pre-arranged boat. Check before with the host about departure place and time (usually in the morning) as they might vary.
Further information: Full guide about Isla Saona
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CHRISAuthor, Travel Coach & Punta Cana based digital nomad
Hey, I am Chris, a born and raised German, travel-addictive and Caribbean Soul. Since 2011 I have been living in the Caribbean, among them 5 years in the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana is my home-base here in the country and I’d love to tell you more about how to experience Punta Cana off-the-beaten-track and give you all the advice you want to know for your vacation in Punta Cana.