ISLA SAONA - A CARIBBEAN DREAM-ISLAND

hitlist 5* of 5* excursion time approx. 6-7 hours
getting there: taxi/van/bus (30 min.) - motorboat (90 mins.)
heading back: motorboat (90 mins.) - taxi/van/bus (30 min.)
catering: buffet lunch & non-alcoholic beverages @ the beach
qualities + quiet, idyllic surroundings - suitable for families with children (>6 years), beautiful beach - cristal clear water
qualities - not suitable for people with back problems and pregnant women - the boat ride is pretty rough occasionally
special: life jackets are obligatory on board the motor boat!
sunscreens are highly recommended!
transport any photographic equipment packed waterproof!
PRICES: VIP: EUR 410, - per group of up to 6 persons
GROUP: EUR 90, - per person (7-20 people)
BOOKING: availability daily ! for more details - see below ...

The long-lasting trip to the island of Isla Saona is more than worth it for all those seeking tranquility in a truly idyllic surroundings.

The Saona Island is located in the south of the Dominican Republic and due to its geographical distance to the "mainland" it has gone through a different and distinct evolution which shapes the daily lives of the residents.

Far from the mainland's electricity and water supply, life is dependent to a far greater extent on nature and weather. The houses and huts of the inhabitants are almost all equipped with reception facilities for rainwater, drinking water needs to be brought in by motor-boat from the mainland. Electricity is produced mainly by solar energy and so the island offers visitors a completely different picture than in the busier and noisier villages and towns of the mainland.

The ride starts at about 08:30 a.m. at the cruise-port of La Romana and an air-conditioned van (max. 7 persons), taxi (max. 4 people) or bus takes the visitors out of La Romana - using the highway towards Higuey.

We pass the main entrance of Casa de Campo, past the airport of La Romana/Casa de Campo and some small, vibrant villages. After about 30 minutes we arrive at the (originally small fishers-) village of Bayahibe.

Near the first chapel of Bayahibe there is a small forest of the world's only naturally growing specimens of the "Rose of Bayahibe" ("Quisqueyana Pereskia"), a special leafy cactus.

"Rose of Bayahibe" (Pereskia quisqueyana) "Rose of Bayahibe" (Pereskia quisqueyana)

On the Bayahibe-beach, close to the boat-harbor, the trip continues by means of a powerful motor-boat - heading towards the Isla Saona. During the trip, the country's nature present itself with the magnificent vegetation of the coast. Small mangrove forests are found in the south.

After an approx. 90 minutes boat-ride, the boat docks at the beach of Isla Saona, close to one of the larger villages of the island (Mano Juan).

From here, the island's area can easily be explored by walking foot. Life on the island is usually simple and quiet. In the shade of palm trees or beyond the roofs of the huts one meets friendly and mostly unobtrusive, very hospitable islanders, who love to tell about themselves and life on the island.

Here one learns that on the island there is an hospital equipped for first-aid emergencies, but more complicated cases, need to be transferred to the hospitals of La Romana. It has been a long time ago that babies were born on the island - since the necessary equipment was removed from the island. The availability of a motor-boat on the island is an everyday's necessity.

There are just two state-certified teachers on the island, accompanying the children during the early school years. The nearest secondary schools or universities are located in La Romana, San Pedro de Macoris and Higuey.

One of the main sources of income for the island residents is tourism - this is reflected in the prices of the local grocery store, and the souvenirs which are offered - usually the same ones as to be found everywhere in the country and seldom of the category authentic or recommended.

Spread throughout the island, there are spawning areas of marine turtles. Some of the islanders have dedicated themselves to their protection and grow colonies of the turtles in the backyards of their homes, until they release them back into nature - even if this increases the chances of survival of the baby turtles only very slightly. Up to 200 eggs can be found in a litter, but only a small fraction of significantly less than 10% survives, in order to go on a long trip - and to return - leaving their own descendants in the white-sanded beaches of the island.

Excursion to the "Isla Saona"-island @ the Dominiacn Republic Excursion to the "Isla Saona"-island @ the Dominiacn RepublicExcursion to the "Isla Saona"-island @ the Dominiacn Republic Excursion to the "Isla Saona"-island @ the Dominiacn Republic

The diversity of nature that presents itself in the fauna and flora of the island is really worth seeing it.

In the early afternoon the motor-boats leave for the next stop of the journey - buffet-lunch on the beach (local cuisine) is on the agenda ... accompanied by Merengue-, Salsa- and Bachata-music "Bon appetit!" Within the next hour, the adventurer gets to know to to the typical "comida criolla" and perhaps will even learn to appreciate it. Fresh native fruits, rice, pasta and of course the obligatory chicken ("pollo"), as well as fish are available at the generous buffet. Non-alcoholic drinks are included.

After the food and beverage-stop at the beach, the motor-boast head towards the "piscina natural" (natural swimming-pool) of the island. And indeed this part of the island seems to be more of a swimming pool as part of the ocean. Still hundreds of meters away from the beach, the water depth of about 1.40 meters allows one to cherish the ocean's cristal-blue water - which allows one to swim peacefully, snorkel, or even float in the water whilst taking a refreshing welcome-drink - the swell of the ocean is negligible to non-existent. The crystal clear water reveals the diversity of marine life living here. Starfish with a diameter of 20-30 cm are not uncommon - and it should stay that way !

In the late afternoon the motor-boats take the visitors - after an extraordinary beach experience back to Bayahibe - the starting point of the ocean's trip.Anschliessend an diesen aussergewöhnlichen Badeaufenthalt geht es dann

At the bus parking lot in Bayahibe there are the public toilets, one of the few (though rustic) shower opportunities to at least partially get rid of the salted ocean water.

Finally it goes back to the port of La Romana - by taxi / van or bus.

The excursions to the "Isla Saona"-island are bookeable as

  • VIP-excursion - for 2-6 persons
    For those who like to be on their own - who do not want to discover the island's beauty in large groups. Here, the order and duration of the stops during the trip can be adjusted individually. A separate tour-guide is available throughout the trip.
    COST: EUR 450,- per group of up to 6 people

  • Group-excursion/tour (minimum 2 - maximum 25 people)
    COST: EUR 90,- per person

Excursion to the "Isla Saona"-island @ the Dominiacn Republic

Excursion to the "Isla Saona"-island @ the Dominiacn RepublicExcursion to the "Isla Saona"-island @ the Dominiacn RepublicExcursion to the "Isla Saona"-island @ the Dominiacn RepublicExcursion to the "Isla Saona"-island @ the Dominiacn RepublicExcursion to the "Isla Saona"-island @ the Dominiacn RepublicExcursion to the "Isla Saona"-island @ the Dominiacn RepublicExcursion to the "Isla Saona"-island @ the Dominiacn RepublicExcursion to the "Isla Saona"-island @ the Dominiacn RepublicExcursion to the "Isla Saona"-island @ the Dominiacn Republic

Photos were taken during a field trip with students of the University of Intec in Santo Domingo on 01/16/2011 - copyright @ DGI

Excursion to the "Isla Saona"-island @ the Dominiacn Republic

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