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Should You Try The Saona Island Excursion in The Dominican Republic?

Come and discover the white sands and turquoise waters of Saona Island with this tour of this nature lovers' paradise along the Dominican Republic’s coast.

When you think of a tropical island in the Caribbean, what comes to mind? Powdery sands, parrots squawking in the distance, palm groves, and lush greenery likely paint part of the picture. Most people tend to imagine a secluded paradise of natural beauty and this is exactly what Saona Island truly is. 

In this brief article, we will give you all the information you need on Saona Island tours so you know where it is, what activities you can enjoy here, and what sorts of experiences you can expect to have on this hidden little gem in the Dominican Republic.

Where is Saona Island?

As one of the Caribbean's best kept hideaways, Saona Island is not a place that many travelers know how to find. However, if you are looking at a map of the Dominican Republic it is quite easy to locate. Simply find the well known hub of Punta Cana and follow the mainland down south. Right at the bottom you will see a small town called Bayahibe that overlooks an island just off the coast with the inscription “Isla Saona”. 

How to get there…

Saona is an island which means that you can only access it by boat. However, you do not have to travel the entire distance by sea. Most savvy travelers staying in Punta Cana, have a tour guide or transfer service drive them down to Bayahibe town which is the closest port from which you can get a speedboat or catamaran to Saona Island.

While it looks a fair distance on the map, it doesn't actually take that long to get there. The drive from Punta Cana to Bayahibe is about 50 minutes and then the fastest boat option gets you to the island in about 45 minutes. That means that the total travel time from Punta Cana to Saona works out at approximately just over an hour and a half. 

What to do here…

If you are looking for a vibrant and bustling hub of exciting activities, you will not find it with a Saona Island excursion. Instead, this tropical oasis is known for its relaxing vibes, untouched natural wonders, gorgeous oceans and beaches, and stunning scenery.

Since it is part of the Cotubanamá national park which is a world heritage site, a lot of the wildlife and natural elements have been preserved so that you can truly enjoy an unspoiled island of awe. Some of the best ways to enjoy Saona Island involve long walks along the beach, birdwatching, snorkeling in the crystal blue waters, sleeping under the palms, and exploring the vastness of this protected paradise

You can book private tours to this island which will give you a chance to spend a day in this colorful Caribbean haven and unwind as you immerse yourself into a peaceful ambiance filled with the sounds of nature.

What is Saona Island famous for?

The history of Saona Island shows its discovery by Christopher Columbus in 1494 during his second voyage to the Americas, and it was inhabited by Tainos who heavily produced Cassava here. 

Much later this island's stunning tropical beauty made it the perfect choice for two very famous Caribbean movies. Yes, Saona Island was used for both the Pirates of the Caribbean and Blue Lagoon films. 

Nowadays, the island is regarded as a destination of discovery for nature lovers who want to experience a true Caribbean ambiance on an island of serenity.

Can you stay on the island?

Unfortunately, there are no hotels or resorts where you can stay on Saona Island. However, as was mentioned, it is just a short distance away from Punta Cana which means that you have a ton of incredible All Inclusive options to choose from.

The best place to stay near Saona Island: Excellence Punta Cana

Two places worth checking out are Excellence El Carmen known for its contemporary luxury and stunning design, and Excellence Punta Cana which is renowned for its laid back feel and relaxing beachfront atmosphere. 

Whilst you cannot stay overnight on Saona, it can be a nice option for a day trip out to a unique island where you can soak up some sunshine with Saona Island tours before returning to your adults only comforts in Punta Cana. 

Is a Saona Island tour worth it?

Here is the big question… is it worth the trip? Should you just stay in your resort or should you venture out to the wild greens and blues of Saona Island? Probably the best way to decide is to check out some photos that compare the beaches in two different locations.

The first place to look at is the area surrounding your resort. What are their beaches like? How is the snorkeling there? How busy or quiet does it look?

Then go and check out some photos of Saona Island.

Beach photo of Saona Island's sand and sea

For some, you may find that the beaches around your resort are quite sufficient and that you do not feel any need to travel the extra distance to Saona Island. But for others, you may find that the natural park intrigues you and that it is an island of lush beauty that you want to explore for yourself. 

Either way, whether you venture out to enjoy a Saona Island excursion or just want to stay and relax in your resort, this is a good opportunity to check out some of the different places to stay in the Dominican Republic

Have a look and see what you think!

Tags: Excellence El Carmen, Excellence Punta Cana, Things to do in Punta Cana

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