In the southern part of the Dominican Republic, there is one of the most charming ecotourism towns in the Caribbean country: San José de Ocoa , popularly known as Ocoa. This region was the domain of the Taino Indians, and is located in the province of the same name.
The town of San José de Ocoa is located exactly 475 meters from the banks of the Ocoa River, which is surrounded by exuberant landscapes, unique natural spaces that are emblematic of the Caribbean region. In addition, it is a few kilometers from Santo Domingo, so it is perfect for a weekend getaway or for a day.
Likewise, if you are passionate about ecological and sustainable tourism (the latest in tourism), you may be enchanted by this welcoming town of farmers and artisans, who offer pure enthusiasm and the best hospitality.
Why visit San José de Ocoa?
First of all, you should know that San José de Ocoa is one of the youngest ecological provinces in the Caribbean country. In fact, it was established as such in the year 2000, especially due to its geographical location, right in the foothills of the Central Cordillera.
In this sense, it has a mountainous area with steep slopes, reaching up to 2,000 meters above sea level, especially in the north. In addition, the vegetation in this area of the country is amazingly abundant and with quite a rich biodiversity.
As we can see, these mountainous spaces offer a wide variety of things to do in San José de Ocoa for visitors, such as hiking, horseback riding, and even fishing, thus contributing to sustainable tourism and the economic development of the community.
Thus, over time, this region has been developing, generating numerous tourism projects to receive the largest number of national and international tourists, favoring not only its economic system, but also the environment through sustainable tourism.
Therefore, if you go through San José de Ocoa, you should not miss any of its most iconic places and natural monuments. From carrying out routes and coffee tastings in the best coffee plantations, to contemplating impressive mountain landscapes, Ocoa is a town that should not be left out of any travel itinerary in the Dominican Republic.
In addition, this area will seduce your palate when you try the many Dominican dishes that its restaurants offer. Some of them are the ocoeño goat and the delicious sweet potato, unique in their kind.
What is the best time to visit this province?
The town of San José de Ocoa has a cool climate for most of the year, with an average temperature of 21°C, and a maximum of 28°C, so it is quite an attractive climate for tourists. especially suitable for the many activities that can be carried out in the region.
However, the best time of the year to visit San José de Ocoa is from December to March, when there is less rainfall and the weather remains mostly cool and pleasant. Keep in mind that the rainiest months are May and July to October, in case you don’t mind dealing with humidity and a few dips in the rain in its natural landscapes.
On the other hand, you should keep in mind that you will notice that the temperatures are more moderate depending on the altitude in which you are, so you will notice lower temperatures in the highest areas, and higher temperatures in the lowest areas of the province.
Top 7: What are the best things to do in San José de Ocoa?
Now yes, we will tell you which are the most incredible and amazing activities that you cannot miss if you are passing through the city, or if you want to explore in more depth the little-explored tourist treasures that await you inside the Dominican Republic. Let’s see.
- Take a walk and relax in Parque La Libertad
We begin this list of the best activities and places to visit in the Province of Ocoa with Parque La Libertad. It is a very attractive place in the town of San José de Ocoa. In fact, it is considered one of the most beautiful in the entire Caribbean country.
The park has paths brimming with tranquility, gardens with abundant and varied plants, and a beautiful gazebo where you can relax and connect with the nature that surrounds you. In addition, in this public park many families usually gather to share and walk with friends and loved ones.
More than a place for leisure and recreation, this park is an ideal space to enjoy an atmosphere of peace and relaxation. On the other hand, local people consider that this park is the lung of the town, softening the temperatures of the entire city.
And it is that when you enter you will see a great variety of leafy trees, which refresh and purify the air not only in the park, but also in the surroundings. As for the gazebo, it is a very old structure. In fact, it is said that its place was a temple of the Catholic Church.
- Visit the House of Memories of Father Luis Quinn
Another of the most representative and authentic places in the town of San José de Ocoa is the House of Memories of Father Quinn, who is widely known as the man who dedicated his life to the people who inhabited this region with love and dedication.
Inside the complex, visitors will be able to learn more about the life of this distinguished character who was much loved by the locals. It was turned into a museum in 2014, and since then it has received hundreds of visitors each year, who are interested in the legacy of the popular priest.
Known as “Protector of the Poor”, Father Luis Quinn made possible the construction of thousands of clinics, schools, homes and aid centers, as well as a hydroelectric dam, and the institution of educational projects for children and adolescents.
Considering his countless accomplishments for the community, it is not surprising that he has become a much-loved local hero. Don’t miss taking a tour of this museum!
- Spend the night at La Bocaina Glamping
The Dominican Republic has many all-inclusive hotels and resorts throughout the island, however, there are few complexes that offer us an experience ahead of our times: an ecotourism hosting service such as Bocaina Glamping.
If you want to bathe in a relaxing river, jump on the natural slides of the waterfalls, or go hiking, then you must stay in one of the 3 available rooms or in one of the villas to sleep in this modern and exclusive hotel located in Rancho Arriba.
The 3 rooms have Wi-Fi connection, grill, fireplace, full kitchen, refrigerator, and television, so you will enjoy a comfortable and complete stay with everything you need. A recommendation for you is not to forget to bring a good coat to spend the night, because it is very cold in this area.
- Delight your palate with a delicious traditional meal at Terraza Gloria and other outstanding restaurants
Enjoying a traditional breakfast with a Dominican flavor along with a spectacular view is possible in San José de Ocoa. Terraza Gloria is one of the most famous places to eat in the region, not only for being a beautiful place but also for its delicious flavors.
It is a family home transformed into a beautiful space to receive diners from all over the country and other parts of the world. In addition to delicious traditional dishes, you can also enjoy exquisite drinks. We invite you to try the coconut mojito.
On the other hand, you will surely be interested to know that Terraza Gloria is a symbol of history and tradition for the town. In fact, all its members are dedicated daily to providing visitors with a wide culinary offer attached to the most authentic flavors of the region.
San José de Ocoa is a municipality with a large number of venues and restaurants, so you should not miss making a stop at some of the most outstanding, such as La Cocina de Mabel, La Pizzería, or having a steaming coffee at Café Samir, Lolin Sweets or Ocoa Bakery.
In case you are looking to enjoy a delicious lunch, we recommend eating at Los Cerezos Restaurant. It is a place worthy of a postcard. It is quite extensive, and various recreational events are frequently held. Also, the food is excellent.
In each of these places you will find specialized dishes with the best Dominican flavor, such as the popular chivo ocoeño, the delicious sweet potato, the sweet coconut scraping, or a coffee whose grain is grown in the area, and has a great value for foreign buyers.
So, no matter what your selection of places to eat in San José de Ocoa is, you will always be surprised to try new and exquisite flavors very much in the Dominican and Caribbean style.
- Live new adventures at Arawakos Adventure
It is a novel tourism project that is attracting more and more national and international travelers. Arawakos Adventure stands out for offering attractive and exciting all-inclusive packages for tourists, including cabins and tents to sleep in and adventure tours through San José de Ocoa.
This complex located on Loma Tatón also offers an authentic gastronomic and cultural experience within its excursions. Also, by taking their tours and tours, you will be able to enjoy magnificent views and perfect stops for a photo op. You will see that many of the places you will visit will allow you to take the best photos as a souvenir.
Thus, Arawakos Adventure offers 7 tours through the most emblematic natural beauties of the valley, covering a large part of the province, including 4 districts and 3 municipalities.
It should be noted that it is only 2 hours and a half from Santo Domingo. Do not miss visiting this small ecotourism paradise that connects with nature and the surrounding mountains!
- Take a relaxing bath in the Salto de la Ciénaga Spa
San José de Ocoa is a land of mountains with rivers and waterfalls everywhere. One of the most beautiful waterfalls in the area is the Salto de La Ciénaga Spa, a waterfall hidden in one of the mountains of Los Corozos.
In addition to being able to take a dip in this waterfall with crystal clear waters, in the surroundings we can see an impressive diversity of landscapes.
And not only that, during the tour of the mountains, you will be able to see other waterfalls and idyllic rivers such as the La Estrechura spa in El Mancebo, and the Maimón and Nizao rivers. As for the Spa, it is located in a hidden cave in a mountain where the water descends surrounded by turquoise waters.
In fact, these waterfalls owe their origin to the union of the mountains in the El Pinar Zone, which produce the satos and the rivers that meander through the rocky mountains. And this is just a part of everything that this province offers us with great potential for those who are passionate about ecotourism.
- Take an exciting tour to the famous Cueva de los Indios
As we mentioned in previous lines, San José de Ocoa is also an area with a lot of history and culture. In fact, the famous Cueva de los Indios in the Parra area is one of the great cultural places that make this province an ideal destination for sustainable tourism.
La Cueva owes its name to the great similarity of its structure with the traditional cave in which the Indians historically lived. Inside, we find hundreds of bats, who only sleep during the day and come out at night, so you won’t have to worry.
The cave is located next to a beautiful waterfall near the community of Parra in Ocoa. You can get there by hiking or on mules, from the Ocoa Park. If you decide to walk, it will only take you 35 minutes.
It should be noted that during the tour you will have to cross the Salto de Parra and some puddles. And take a bath in these impressive waterfalls if you wish! In the end, you will arrive at the Cueva de los Indios, which you can enter from various places without problems.
Of course, its interior is not very neat, especially due to the organic remains of bats, but it is still a unique experience. Also, when you leave the cave, you will be surrounded by abundant and refreshing vegetation, breathing cleaner air than in the cities. You will easily notice it!
So, if you are attracted to extreme adventures between mountains doing ecotourism, you cannot miss this unique opportunity. Without a doubt, it will leave you an unforgettable experience. In addition, this area offers us perfect natural settings to take amazing photos.
Getting to know the town of San José de Ocoa is proof that the Dominican Republic is a country rich in very diverse natural beauties, so we can always find something exciting and fun for everyone, even when we seek to do a bit of ecological tourism.
And despite the fact that the area is quite prosperous, with fertile lands and good economic development, its inhabitants are still working to expand their tourist offer, since its mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and rich gastronomic variety, have great potential to promote the eco sustainable and adventure tourism. Do not stop being part of these projects!