A magnet for tourists and the pride of the Caribbeans. Saona Island was a real highlight for our stay in the Dominican Republic.
The island tour is a day trip, pick up at 7:30 a.m and drop off to our hotel at around 6 p.m. After 1 hour drive from Punta Cana to Bayahibe, where the boat lunches, we went on a speedboat with other 20 people from different tour operators. The 20 minutes drive with the speedboat is a great adventure, postcard view everywhere you look.
A first stop was after 20 minutes to snorkel where we had 15-20 Minutes time to enjoy the underwater world. My husband enjoyed the most to snorkel with the tropical fishes while, this time was me taking pictures of him. Next stop at the "natural pool", an incredible place where the water was until our bust, so clear that we could see our toes and the beautiful orange starfishes. I have to mention something really important many people don't know or don't care. Be aware of the life around you and do not take the starfishes off the water as they will die. I know you want that perfect selfie but you can still have it by holding the starfish inside the water.
Our last stop at Saona Island, a truly heaven on earth, scenes from "Pirates of Caribbeans" were drawn in my mind. What a unique feeling! Pity we only spent 2:30'' h on the Island and then we got back on a catamaran with more people, we were totally different group. Some people were dancing, some relaxing and drinking rum and coke. We got back home around 18:00, very tired but happy for another great adventure.
Useful tips to have the best time on Saona Island:
- Relax and enjoy the good part of the island life. People from Caribbeans don't rush, they always take their time, live the "island time” as many calls the “maniana, maniana” (tomorrow..tomorrow”) way of doing things.
- Better and sometimes cheaper to arrange your tour and haggle with the tour operators. Hire a private pick up. No one wants to spend hours on the bus collecting all the other people from different hotels. Private pick up from Punta Cana to Bayahibe is usually 5-10 euro per person. Also depends on the number of people and Tour Operator. The drive from Punta Cana to Bayahibe is aprox. 1hour. If they have to pick up other people from their hotels takes 2-3 hours to get to Bayahibe, the boat launch.
- Don't forget to take your water shoes/flip-flops when going in the ocean. In the water, at the shore there are broken shells and corals washed up by the water. Also, when getting off the boat you can cut your feet in the broken shells. The sunscreen, don't forget the sunscreen, a towel, camera, pills if you have sea sickness. Take some cash money for tip and souvenirs.
- On the Island is served only water and alcoholic drinks and on the catamaran and speedboat only rum and coke. Take a bottle of water and keep the bottle to refill it on the island where they have a water pump container. Also take a snack to eat on the way going and coming back from Saona. It's a long day and you will have just a lunch around 13:00-13:30.
- Do not feel stressed by the merchants trying to sell you their products. Just look in their eyes, smile and say a firm no if you don't want. Massage ladies will try to massage you for free 5 minutes and then you will feel forced to finish the massage. Not a bad massage and you can bargain. In the beginning, they will ask you for an astronomical amounts but you can get it even 3 times cheaper.
- Take pictures as soon as you get on the island, before other boats are coming to avoid crowding. The most important live the moment by being present, open your senses and enjoy the paradise view!
Hope you will find my tips useful and if you want to add something I have missed please write in the comment section down below. Safe travels! ✈️
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