Other than the popular attraction that is the natural swimming pool, a pool of water on a sandbank where you are served rum, Saona Island, within the protected natural park del Este, is worth visiting. Also known as the 'pearl of the Caribbean coast', protected from the wind, its lagoon is home to migrating birds which make up part of the protected fauna and flora. It is 42 sq mi and is bordered with large unspoilt white sand beaches scattered with palm trees, as long as you stay away from the beaches facing the coast of Bayahibe, where catamarans, boats and 'lanchas' (small tourist boats) disembark visitors who come from far and wide and in great numbers to the island. The crossing to the island is roughly two hours long. After the boats have left again, at 3:00 pm, Saona gets back its postcard landscape. Two small fishermen's villages, Adamanay and Mano Juan, accessible only by boat, have no hotels at all but it is possible to negotiate to stay the night with some locals. If you have enough time ahead of you, you will be able to hire a fisherman's services for the day in Bayahibe, for approximately 1,500 pesos. It is an option which allows you to choose where to have a picnic and your departure and return time.
The island spans an area of 50 mi² and is still lined with large, unspoilt, white sandy beaches peppered with palm trees.© Rafal Kwiatkowski / 123RF
Other than the popular attraction that is the natural swimming pool - a pool of water on a sandbank where you are served rum - Saona Island, which lies within the Del Este National Park, is definitely worth a visit in itself.© Fotosearch / GraphicObsession
Also known as the "pearl of the Caribbean coast", the lagoon here also attracts various migrating birds among the protected flora and fauna.© GRAPHICOBSESSION
Visitors to Bayahibe can hire the services of a fisherman for the day. This option gives you plenty of flexibility when it comes to where to stop for lunch and what times you depart and return.© Viorel Sima / 123RF
After the boats have left again at 3:00pm, little Saona returns to its picture-postcard setting.© GRAPHICOBSESSION