Isla Saona - Saona Island - Bayahibe, Dominican Republic
Isla Saona (Saona Island) is located on the shore of a small colorful fishing village named Bayahibe, about 2-3 hours drive from Punta Cana. Saona is the largest of the Dominican Republic's islands. Saona, Catalina, and Catalinita, as well as the natural pool area of La Palmilla are part of the protected nature reserve - Parque Nacional Del Este (East National Park), also well known for hundreds of caves - some of them recall the presence of the native Tainos.
The island’s shallow waters are home to starfish. Please be sure to NOT touch Starfish, or take it out of the water even for a few seconds, it can irreversible damage their tissue. Guides who allows or even encourage you to do that are ignorant morons who are only thinking on their tips. You are better than that. Don't destroy the wildlife just because you feel that you need another instagram photo for your internet friends.
Saona serves as a sanctuary for several species of migratory birds (There are 112 species of birds within the limits of the park, half of which correspond to species in the country) but it’s also a sea turtle haven: Saona Island is the most important turtle nesting site in the country, with nesting season lasts from March through November. Hawksbill, green, and leatherback species come here, and are endangered species.
There is many organized tours to island Saona, it can be overcrowded at times - boats, speedboats and catamarans are coming and going with hundreds, even thousands of people daily. It is recommended to book private or semi-private experience, you will feel like in paradise with its white sand beaches, coral reefs, turquoise waters and palm trees. For the full experience check if parts of the tour include visit to Mano Juan (the only inhabited portion of Saona Island), sea turtle sanctuary and the best of all Saona beaches - Canto De La Playa.
Most of the tours include lunch and drinks, and of course beach time and snorkeling. At some beaches Lounge chairs are available. Some boats and catamarans include on-board photographers, animation team and dancing, if you are into it. Ask your tour provider for specific details, it might save you a lot of nerves.Also it goes without saying that beach sellers are going to do their best to sell you something, it's just a way it is.
Amazing for all ages without the need of scuba diving knowledge!
Went to Isla Saona a few times with the family using organized excursions. The way to the island and back is pretty good and fun on the catamaran.
The really amazing experience begins once you get to the island... crystal-clear water with no waves, and shinny-white sand beaches, way nicer than the hotels' ones.
As it gets deep very slowly, you can walk or swim quite away from the shore and still be in shallow water!
As a certified scuba-diver, I can assert that, due to the clearness of the water, the brightness of the sand, the lack of waves, and the beautiful underwater scenarios, anybody able to just use a mask can have an extraordinary experience!
Picture book landscape and sea
We took a day trip to this beautiful Island to take a break from the Resort we stayed at. What an awesome choice. The only thing we would have loved to know beforehand would be that swimming sandals would be good to have. It is very reefy in front of the Island. For us it meant we spent most of our time on the picturesque white, sandy beach which was a huge highlight and take photos at our hearts content.
I visited this Island during my short 4 day stay in DR. We spent most of the time at the resort relaxing by the pool but decided to spend one day away from the resort on an excursion. I am so glad we chose to visit Isla Saona. It is absolutely breathtaking. The water is crystal clear, you can walk out very far and still be in shallow water, and there were almost no waves which is perfect for families with young children. It is much better than the beaches in Punta Cana. If you are going to Dominican Republic you HAVE to visit Isla Saona.
Amazing all-day activity!
It is a short bus trip from hotel and then speed boat over to island. There is a half hour stop for snorkelling and then on natural sand bank in middle of Carribean sea where you can walk around while being served rum or beer. It is the largest natural pool in the Carribean - gorgeous blue waters with lot of space for your privacy. Then they take you to the beach for lunch and relaxation - again there is plenty of beach beds for everyone - around 2:30 pm, a catamaran took us back to Punta Cana. the ride back home was amazing - feeling up the breeze,and chilling on open beds. There is also music and dancing and unlimited drinks. Isla Saona is breathtakingly beautiful - all day relaxing in crystal waters.
Natural beauty at its best!
We took an all day excursion to Saona Island while staying in Punta Cana. It was the best decision we made! The island was breathtaking! Our sailing crew were great, fun, engaging and they kept the drinks flowing. We had a great time dancing on the catamaran and met some new people. We stopped to snorkel and stopped at the natural pool to swim before getting to the island.
We had an amazing all you can eat lobster lunch upon arrival and relaxed and swam in the bluest most crystal clear water you will ever see! Our pictures from this day turned out amazing.
Beautiful Simple Saona
We had the day trip to Saona Island booked though Tui, we paid less for the "Simple" rather than VIP trip as we have been before and did the VIP last time. What I would say is, if you don't want a lobster dinner, don't spend the extra on the VIP as that is literally the only difference between them. You are whisked out to the natural lagoon on a speedboat, then stop to swim in the waist deep lagoon while drinking rum and coke or soft drinks, then whisked off to the island. It is truly beautiful, powder white sands, palm trees, plenty of sunbeds and beautiful Caribbean waters. It's a bit stony just as you enter the water so take beach shoes if you have them. Sadly no good for snorkelling as the boats are mixing the sand up so it's too cloudy.
There are ladies on the beach offering a massage, haggle and they'll drop the price.. we had a delicious buffet on the beach with BBQ grilled chicken, pork and fish, lots of rice,pasta, salad etc, and unlimited free bar. After a few hours to chill, you sail back by catamaran with free bar all the way, music and dancing if you want to join or areas just to chill if you prefer. It's a long day if you're further out, we were in punta cana so it was an hour on the bus either way, but it really is worth it. Make sure you take a camera and enjoy a day in paradise.
Loved the beauty of this island. Everything is pure nature; very rustic services, simple, just as if men had just discovered it. Bathrooms and showers were provided. Wonderful beach, a little rocky (bring your water shoes) but gorgeous. This was the highlight of my trip; my day to and from Isla Saona. On the way there in a fast tourists boat we stopped at a clearing of pure transparent, aqua ocean water right before we reached the island. We were wowed by the beauty of it all; will never forget it. Then we returned in a beautiful large catamaran where we danced and had drinks provided by a very friendly staff. Highly recommend this.
Fantastic day trip from Bayahibe
The island offers spectacular beaches and the day trips arrange really nice lunches with other services such as massages available at the lovely coconut tree lined white sand beaches.
Well worth the trip. The sail on the returned included music and dance on the catamaran,
just a nice day on a lovely beach.
We had a very lovely day on Isla Saona. Simply beautiful scenery on both the beaches and island. Water was extremely calm for snorkeling and swimming and was so crystal clear that you could see all the way down to the ocean floor while riding a catamaran to the island.
Many famous movies have been filmed here including The Blue Lagoon, with Brooke Shields and The Pirates of the Caribbean filmed portions of the movies here.
Do yourself a favor and go to Isla Saona, you won’t regret it.