The best eco-lodges and eco-resorts in Punta Cana and beyond

 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. But you’re also going to find some interesting eco-resorts in Punta Cana, which we’re going to present in this article as well.

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.
For the best all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana, continue reading here.

Completely UPDATED: May 2023

Eco Lodges vs. Eco Resorts in Punta Cana

 When looking for eco-hotels in Punta Cana, there is usually a big difference between eco-lodges and eco-resorts. While eco-resorts are better called eco-friendly resorts (see the explanation in the section about the “eco-resorts”), eco-lodges are small individual hotels, usually surrounded by nature and without an all-inclusive meal plan or daily entertainment. While eco-resorts are just regular all-inclusive resorts with a slight focus on sustainable actions, eco-lodges in Punta Cana are unique places with just a handful of rooms, where you can have great tours and experiences in nature.

 The following sections show you all the differences between those places and the best eco-lodges and eco-resorts in Punta Cana.

The best 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 about. There are some surprisingly interesting eco-lodges to discover not far away from Punta Cana, which I will present to you here.

Editor’s Choice: the best experiences 2024

Most unique experience in a small group: Authentic rum tasting* (rating 4.78/5)
Best Rated Punta Cana excursion: Isla Saona Premium in small groups* (rating 4.95/5)
Most booked through Punta Cana Travel Blog: Small-Group Snorkeling* (rating 4.91/5)
Best off-the-beaten-track excursion: Montana Redonda & Costa Esmeralda* (rating 4.79/5)
Best excursion for family fun: Jungle Buggies + Zipline Combo* (rating 4.91/5)
New and trending for 2024: Evening Buggy Tour with Water Cave and Dancing*

Not the right tour for you?
Check out the 45 best Punta Cana excursions here at Punta Cana Travel Blog!

 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. You can also have a lot of interesting tours through the park when staying at this eco-lodge (most of them can also be booked at the accommodation, even though some days of advance notice can help to coordinate groups – alternatively just book them online).

 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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The author Chris in the Dominican Republic

 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 100 USD
Tripadvisor rating (as of May 2023): 4.5/5 (check reviews*)
Distance from Punta Cana: 81 miles / 2.5 hours
How to get there: follow the well-maintained highways 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.
Best prices: check the current promotions here*
Further information: Visting Los Haitises National Park

The eco-lodge Paraiso Cano Hondo in the 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. 

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 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.

TOP 12 Punta Cana Excursions

Isla Saona: Saona Info | Book it*
Private Saona Island Tour: Private Tour Info | Book it*
Dune buggy and ATV excursion: Buggy Info | Book it*
Punta Cana Ziplining: Zipline Info | Book it*
Party boat & booze cruise: Party Boat Info | Book it*
Best Nightlife Show: Coco Bongo Info | Book it*
Scape Park Cap Cana & Blue Lagoon: Blue Lagoon Info | Book it*
Los Haitises National Park: Los Haitises Info | Book it*
Santo Domingo: Santo Domingo Info | Book it*
Samaná (Salto El Limón & Cayo Levantado): Samaná Info | Book it*
Helicopter & airplane tours: Helicopter Info | Book it*
Whale watching (Jan-Mar only): Whale watching Info | Book it*

Looking for more inspiration? Check out the 40+ best Punta Cana tours!

 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 75 USD
Tripadvisor rating (as of May 2023): 4.5/5 (check reviews*)
Distance from Punta Cana: 81 miles / 2.5 hours
How to get there: follow the well-maintained highways 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.
Best prices: check the current promotions here*
Further information: Visiting Los Haitises National Park

A beautiful eco-lodge at Los Haitises National Park, Altos de Cano Hondo

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.

Travel resources

Punta Cana Airport Transfers: Info | Book It*
Santo Domingo Airport Transfers: Info | Book It*
All-Inclusive Resorts: Info | Book It*
Apartments & Villas: Info | Book It*
Excursions: Info | Book It*
Rental Car: Info | Book It*
Road-Trips & Self-Drive Tours: Info | Plan It

 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 100 USD per night (enquire about special rates if you just want to camp) rating (as of May 2023): 7.8/10 (check reviews*)
Distance from Punta Cana: 25 miles / 40 minutes
Best prices: check the current promotions here*
How to get there: follow the well-maintained highways 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.

Camping at La Vacama Beach near Punta Cana at Costa Arrecife

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, even though the price seems a bit high for what you’re getting.

 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 (very rustic) 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 65 USD
Tripadvisor rating (as of May 2023): 3/5 (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.
Best prices: check the current promotions here*
Further information: Full guide about Isla Saona

The one and only Isla Saona, the most popular excursion in Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic

The best eco-resorts in the Dominican Republic

 When talking about eco-friendly resorts in Punta Cana one has to understand, that – if looking honestly at the matter – resorts never can be thoroughly “eco” nor “sustainable”. This is particularly due to the following facts:

  • all-inclusive resorts are the allegory of mass tourism which is – per sé – not eco-friendly, as long as we don’t fly with hydrogen, have air-conditioning from solar panels and built houses with wood and bamboo in the natural environment
  • the daily waste of food in resorts – especially because of the buffets – is enormous and would thwart any food sustainability program
  • resorts often – especially in corrupt countries like the Dominican Republic – damage natural eco-systems or are even built in protected areas

 Those facts should be made clear when talking about eco-resorts in Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic. Still, there are some which are doing better and worse. And instead of picking the worst one, it might help our world at least a tiny bit if choosing the most eco-friendly hotel in Punta Cana.

Iberostar Punta Cana

 When talking about all-inclusive eco-resorts in Punta Cana, Iberostar Resorts in Punta Cana (which consist of Coral Level at Iberostar Selection Bávaro, Iberostar Dominicana, Iberostar Grand Bávaro, Iberostar Punta Cana, Iberostar Selection Bávaro Suites + Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus in Bayahibe) has to be mentioned first. According to my knowledge, they are the only resort in Punta Cana so far completely abstaining from plastic water bottles and single-use plastic as well as having mostly sustainable sourced fish in their restaurants. They are also part of coral reef restoration projects in Punta Cana and Bayahibe. Iberostar aims to not generate any landfill-bound waste by 2025 and to become carbon neutral by 2030 – even though we know that the sustainability goals of big companies are usually ambitious (and often get postponed), so let’s stay with the things they have already reached.

 Furthermore, like many other all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana, they have implemented energy-efficient lighting and air conditioning systems, as well as water-saving measures such as low-flow faucets and showerheads. They also have a comprehensive waste management program in place, which includes recycling, composting, and proper disposal of hazardous materials.

 As you can see, there are some reasons to call the Iberostar Resorts in Punta Cana eco-friendly. In my opinion, they are the best all-inclusive eco-resort in Punta Cana, even though there is still a very long way to go to be really eco-friendly.

With the following links you can check the best prices and current promotions of the Iberostar Resorts in the Dominican Republic:
Iberostar Dominicana* (lowest tier, affordable resort)
Iberostar Punta Cana* (lowest tier, affordable resort)
Iberostar Selection Bávaro Suites* (medium tier, premium resort)
Coral Level at Iberostar Selection Bávaro* (upper-medium tier, premium resort)
Iberostar Grand Bavaro* (highest tier, luxury resort)
Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus* (resort in Bayahibe, 1 hour away from Punta Cana)
Iberostar Costa Dorada* (in Puerto Plata)

The beach of Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus in Bayahibe

Dreams Flora Punta Cana

 Most of the resorts in Punta Cana have some kind of eco-award, eco-certification or whatever kind of sustainability program, but this not always means that the hotel operates sustainably. There is also a lot of so-called greenwashing in this business.

 Therefore, the Rainforest Alliance’s green frog seal certification of Dreams Flora shouldn’t be valued too highly. This comes with a yearly audit to prove that the eco-resort is actively minimizing its environmental footprint, supporting local communities + ecosystems and applying a wise and reduced use of natural resources. Furthermore, the resort staff works together to promote a socially responsible environment to the guests and the resort is involved in various green initiatives.

 Furthermore, the resort was designed and built with sustainability in mind. The architecture and landscaping were created to blend in with the natural environment and minimize the resort’s impact on the local ecosystem. Dreams Flora is one of those eco-friendly resorts in Punta Cana with the most animals on their property, as flamingos, birds and ducks call the area (and the resort grounds) their home.

 Furthermore, when booking Dreams Flora, you can enjoy one of the newest and most modern all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana, as it was only opened in February 2023. Therefore I also can’t share too many of many own experiences from this eco-resort as we haven’t visited it yet, but reviews so far are raving.

Price per double room at Saona Beach House: starting from 400 USD per room
Tripadvisor rating (as of May 2023): 5/5 (check reviews*)
Distance from Punta Cana: 10 miles / 20-minutes driving
How to get there: book your private airport shuttle here*
Best prices: check the current promotions here*


The face behind Punta Cana Travel Blog: Chris


Author, 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.

2 thoughts on “The best eco-lodges and eco-resorts in Punta Cana and beyond”

  1. Hi! Thank you for your helpful blog. We will be in punta cana for a week this fall. We were originally going for a weeklong all inclusive. Neither of us has ever been to an all inclusive or to the Caribbean. We really love the eco-lodge idea (altos de cana hondo). One option is for us to start there – we are flying in late morning and could drive the 2.5/3 hrs there and stay 1-2 nights. Another option is to start all inclusive for 3 days, go to the eco-lodge for one night, and end at another all-inclusive. This feels too packed maybe and we wouldn’t enjoy the full amenities of an all-inclusive? I don’t know – do you have any thoughts? We do tend to love the idea of actually exploring a country and not just staying at a resort the whole time (which neither of us has actually ever done before, but also seems like punta cana is known for all inclsuives.) Any thoughts appreciated!

    1. Hi Tina,
      personally, I would do the 3-1-3-nights option, because I love to explore as well. Like this, you can also get to know two different resorts, even though, yes, time is pretty short. On the other hand, you can be sure you won’t be bored. If you want to have a really exciting holiday, you can even do 3 nights resort in Punta Cana, 1 night in Altos de Cano Hondo and 3 nights resort in Bayahibe, a different resort area on the Caribbean side, just 1 hour away from Punta Cana Airport. You can read more about Bayahibes’ resorts here:
      If this sounds too stressful for you, 5 nights all-inclusive and 2 nights Cano Hondo is also a perfect option to explore some genuine corners of the Dominican Republic.
      I hope this helps!
      Cheers from Punta Cana

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