Are you looking for an island adventure this summer? Then you’ve come to the right place! Seek no more, as we are here to tell you everything you need to know about Saona Island, a jewel located in the Dominican Republic’s paradisiac waters.
In case you didn’t know, there are many breathtaking islands adjacent to the Dominican Republic, and all of them are available for tourism and exploration. As if the country itself was not already a catch on its own! Along with Beata and Catalina islands, Saona Island is just one of many wonderful places that will make you feel as if you’re in a different world.
This island used to be inhabited by the taíno, the native civilization of the Dominican Republic, and in 1949 Christopher Columbus renamed it Bella Savonesa in honor of Miguel Cunneo from Savona. The name was later changed to Savona and then to the current name, ‘’Saona’’. As you can see, there are a lot of interesting facts and wonderful places waiting to be discovered on this island, so keep reading to find out what makes Saona Island the ideal destination this summer.
Where is Saona Island and how to get there?
Saona Island is located in the southeast part of the Dominican Republic, specifically in a small beach town called Bayahibe, La Romana. The island brings thousands of tourists every year due to its natural beauty, biodiversity, and beautiful beaches. Visiting Saona Island is an experience like no other, and of course, we’re here to tell you how to get there. There are different routes available depending on where you’re visiting from. The most common departure place is Bayahibe beach or Dominicus beach, both located in the Bayahibe town. Both beaches allow for visitors to easily embark on their maritime transportation of choice, such as yacht, boat, or catamaran. Many people can agree on the trip is impressive, and the views are unmatched with weather and natural resources.
You can also get to Saona Island from Santo Domingo, Boca Chica, Juan Dolio, Bávaro, and Punta Cana, and the journey can be done in a minimum of an hour and a half. There are also many tours available from many hotels and tour agencies in the area.
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What to expect?
Mesmerizing virgin beaches and beautiful white sands are some of the things that await you in Saona Island. Once you arrive you will soon realize why this place lives up to the hype. There are many Saona Island tours available that will take you to live the experience in just one day, however, many tourists get sucked into the tour and end up missing out on some of the island’s most interesting places. If you are looking to have the complete Saona experience, we recommend visiting its fishing village, called Mano Juan.
Mano Juan is a small and welcoming fishing village, inhabited by very few people (around 500 people live here). The quality of life there is very humble, and people usually live in small but eye-catching wooden houses. There are many comfortable hotels available where you can stay if you are not in a rush and enjoy breezy nights and sunny days waking up in paradise. And of course, people there are very warm and friendly as this is part of the Dominican culture. You can find all sorts of shops to buy souvenirs, handcrafted items, and local products that you can bring as a reminder of an amazing trip. Mano Juan also has its own nature reserve with turquoise waters, surrounded by palm trees and white sand. You can enjoy bathing in the crystal clear waters of its beaches.
Another perk of visiting Saona Island is learning about all of its numerous species. There is a high percentage of endemic flora and fauna in this part of the country and that can also be discovered through the island. The environment of the island serves as the home to a variety of different ecosystems, and it is rich in forests, mangroves, and natural water bodies. That’s why the island has its own nature reserve.
Saona Island is officially protected and therefore there are no buildings on its coastline, so birds and water animals can live freely, and every year its beaches serve as the birthplace for new turtles in the area.
You can also learn more about the island’s activities by visiting the Sea Turtle Recovery Center, the place where all of the marine species are displayed. Don’t forget to pass by Laguna de Los Flamencos, one of Saona's magnificent coastal lagoons, and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can visit one of Saona’s many caves which served as hideouts for the indigenous population running away from Spanish troops in 1912.