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Luftsicht auf den tropischen Strand der Insel Saona, Bild: Valentin Valkov / shutterstock

Isla Saona – Dream destination in the Caribbean!

Saona – Lonely, snow-white beaches and turquoise sea, surrounded by palm forests, inspire every visitor. The approximately 100km² island is located in the Dominican Republic, which can be reached after about ten hours of flight time from Germany.

The climate is tropical, the nature varied from dream beaches to savannahs to the rainforest. Even though the Caribbean state, which is located on the island of Hispaniola , is already paradisiacal, Isla Saona surpasses all dreams and imaginations!

Special features of Isla Saona

Isla Saona is located in the Caribbean Sea and belongs to the archipelago of the Greater Antilles. Geographically, the island is located in the east of the country. It is just 25 km long and 5 km wide. Saona is reminiscent of a desert island. On the one hand, the tropical, paradisiacal island scenery provides this feeling, and on the other hand, the island is really sparsely populated with just 300 inhabitants. They live in the two villages of Mano Juan in the south and Cutuano in the west.

The big special feature is that it is part of the Parque Nacional del Este National Park (English translation: National Park of the East) and is therefore a nature reserve. The national park is one of the largest in the Dominican Republic and is home to many rare bird species.

National parks are a special feature of the Dominican Republic, about a third (31.5 percent) of the state’s total area is a nature reserve.

Sights of Isla Saona

Although Isla Saona is relatively small, it has countless sights! Wild animals, natural dream beaches and even a natural bathtub.

Manatees

Manatees live in the island’s Caribbean waters and with a bit of luck they can even get very close to the boat! A manatee, which wears a clearly visible tracking device for research purposes, is known to be curious about humans. But here the rule is: Please do not touch.

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Turtle Station

In the fishing village of Mano Juan is the “Sea Turtles and the Conservation Project”, a project for the protection of sea turtles. One resident has dedicated his life to the turtles. To protect the animals from predators and humans, he collects their eggs in nature and lets the animals hatch in special boxes in the project’s hut. When the turtles are big enough, they are released back into the wild in safe places. A really great project! The resident is committed to telling visitors everything about himself and his work and answers every question. With a bit of luck, you can even see the baby turtles hatch!
The fishing village is also a real attraction of the island. Caribbean sounds, hammocks, colorful wooden huts and real Pura Vida make the atmosphere very special!

The natural bathtub with starfish

The natural bathtub with starfish – this is how this attraction is often advertised by tour operators. In fact, when you stand on this sandbank, you really have this described feeling of a natural bathtub: The water is knee to waist high, incredibly clear and nice and warm. There are numerous starfish on the bottom that invite you to snorkel. Please do not lift or touch the starfish, this can damage the health of these beautiful animals. By the way, the name of this beautiful place is Piscina Natural.

Natural beach as filming location of “Pirates of the Caribbean”

This beach is called “Canto de la Playa” and is natural. Snorkelers can expect a great underwater world with fish and coral reefs. In some places, the water is just knee-deep. No wonder that scenes for the film “Pirates of the Caribbean” were filmed on this lonely dream beach.

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Tips and tricks

Saona, Dominican Republic
Simply fantastic: Saona Island, Image: Nick N A / shutterstock

The only way to get to the island is by helicopter or boat. An independent journey can be organized via boats that dock in Bayahibe. For this, it is essential to buy a wristband for the entrance to the Parque Nacional del Este National Park.

Easier and less stressful is booking a day trip to Isla Saona, which are offered by many operators. On these excursions, the tour operators take you to the most beautiful places on the island – and food and transfer, for example from Punta Cana , are also provided. The tours can be booked online or at the hotel on site. To ensure that you are guaranteed your desired place, it is advisable to contact the tour operator from home.

When choosing a provider, you should take into account your own preferences: language, atmosphere and time.

Language: Spanish is spoken in the Dominican Republic. In the meantime, however, there are also German emigrants who offer excursions to Isla Saona in the German language.

Atmosphere: From a quiet family outing to an alcoholic party boat – you will also encounter this on Saona. If you like it quiet or wild, you should choose the right organizer accordingly.

Time: It is recommended to start as early as possible in the morning. Isla Saona is popular with day tourists. If you want to experience the “lonely island feeling”, you should choose the provider who is there before everyone else.

In addition, it is relevant to pay attention to the certification of the tour provider when choosing one. Companies without a tour operator license are illegal and are not liable for any damages.

Isla Saona is a nature reserve. Avoiding or taking rubbish with you as well as respectful treatment of wild animals (please do not touch!) should be a matter of course.