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Staying with the locals, Isla Saona, Islands and beaches, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Staying with the locals

It is possible to negotiate a bed for the night with one of the locals in the two little fishing villages that can only be reached by boat.

© Matthew Carroll / 123RF
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Isla Saona Dominican Republic
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Section editor

Discover Isla Saona

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.

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Isla Saona

Unspoilt beaches, Isla Saona, Islands and beaches, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Unspoilt beaches

The island spans an area of 50 mi˛ and is still lined with large, unspoilt, white sandy beaches peppered with palm trees.

© Rafal Kwiatkowski / 123RF
A colourful advertisement in Bayahibe, Isla Saona, Islands and beaches, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
A colourful advertisement in Bayahibe

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
The pearl of the Caribbean coast, Isla Saona, Islands and beaches, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The pearl of the Caribbean coast

Also known as the "pearl of the Caribbean coast", the lagoon here also attracts various migrating birds among the protected flora and fauna.

© GRAPHICOBSESSION
Spending time with the locals, Isla Saona, Islands and beaches, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Spending time with the locals

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
Isla Saona, Islands and beaches, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Isla Saona

After the boats have left again at 3:00pm, little Saona returns to its picture-postcard setting.

© GRAPHICOBSESSION
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Dominican Republic : Discover our cities Punta Cana
  • Punta Cana Punta Cana
  • Puerto Plata Puerto Plata
  • Santiago de los Caballeros Santiago de los Caballeros
  • Santo Domingo Santo Domingo
  • Barahona Barahona
  • Los Patos Los Patos
  • Qameito Qameito
  • Boca Chica Boca Chica
  • Pedernales Pedernales
  • San Pedro de Macorís San Pedro de Macorís
  • Bayahibe Bayahibe
  • Cabarete Cabarete
  • Juan Dolio Juan Dolio
  • Samana Samana
  • Sosua Sosua
  • Las Terrenas Las Terrenas
  • Cap Cana Cap Cana
  • Paraiso Paraiso