The white sand, crystal clear waters, topped off by lush green vegetation , is part of the beauty offered by Saona Island, the largest of the Dominican islands and keys.
The island 110-square kilometer island is situated off the southern coast of the eastern region of the Dominican Republic, and is part of the “Parque Nacional del Este,” (the Eastern National Park)one of the Caribbean’s most important protected areas.
Visitors to the island will enjoy the beauty offered by the island’s lagoons, mangrove trees, tropical forests, as well as enjoy the island’s very particular wildlife.
To date, 174 species have been identified on the island, including 40 different types of fish, 124 mollusks and 10 different types of coral. Also various sea turtles, such as loggerheads, hawksbill, green and leatherback turtles and birds, including the crown pigeon and the green parrot. The island is also home to various endangered species, such as the rhinoceros iguana, the gentle manatee, dolphins and the fishing bat.
The only human settlement in this paradisiacal island is the community of “Mano Juan.” The island population is around 500 inhabitants, who make their living from fishing and the tourism industry.
Tours to the island
A day tour to Saona Island is one of the most popular tours in the country. They are organized by tour operators and are available throughout the island, especially in Punta Cana, Bayahibe, La Romana, Juan Dolio, Boca Chica and Santo Domingo hotels.
Getting to the island is done by boat or catamaran, departing from Bayahibe Beach at 9:00 a.m. The tour includes drinks and lunch.
On Saona Island tourists will enjoy a relaxing dip in the beautiful Caribbean Sea, as well as merengue and salsa lessons, take a quiet nap on a white sand beach, and enjoy a Dominican luncheon, served buffet style.
At 2:30 p.m. dozens of speed boats will take off from the island to visit “La Palmilla,” a large natural clear-water pool, near the coastline, situated in the very heart of the Caribbean Sea. As the sun sets, the boats will return to the mainland.
For sure, this will be an experience that everyone will want to repeat. For more information, please visit: www.explorelaromana.com.
Text: Neida Ovalle