Caribbean Beach Day Trip; Isla Saona
Isla Saona (Saona Island) was one of our favorite places to visit in Dominican Republic. This Caribbean beach is one of those destinations that seem unreal/ too perfect to be true. You can see every shade of blue and green on the unpolluted Caribbean Sea, offering crystal clear waters for swimming and snorkeling, perfect-looking palm trees, and ultra-soft white sand that will massage your feet with every step you take. Beautiful places like this are rare; if you travel to Dominican Republic, I highly recommend adding a day trip to this Island.
Isla Saona is located in the Caribbean Sea, off the southeastern tip of the Dominican Republic. You can access this Island from almost anywhere in the Dominican Republic, but the shortest/most popular day trips come from Punta Cana, La Romana, and Bayahibe.
Getting to Isla Saona
Punta Cana- The best way of getting from Punta Cana to Isla Saona is via an excursion/day trip since staying overnight is not allowed on Island. By arranging an excursion, you get picked up and dropped off at your hotel, having everything pre-arranged for you. Isla Saona is reachable only by boat. You can opt for a group or private tour. Group tours to Isla Saona offer the best value. Usually, the groups are between 15-20 ppl and included with the price are hotel pick up/drop off, all activities, a buffet lunch, an open bar, and onboard entertainment.
On the other hand, private tours offer you freedom on how long you want to stay at a location and save time. With a private tour to Isla Saona, you bypass multiple pickups and drop-offs to other hotels, heading straight to the Island instead! We had a private tour, and it was definitely the way to go for us. We arrived at the beach early and had the entire island to ourselves for 2+hours. Full-day tours from Punta Cana to Saona Island typically last between 8-10 hours. I highly recommend booking your day trip to Isla Saona with Sun Sand Spirit Dr ; they offer excursions throughout the Dominican Republic, including yoga retreats and boutique hotel accommodations.
Santo Domingo- My favorite way of getting from Santo Domingo to Isla Saona is renting a car and driving. I recommend driving from Santo Domingo to Bayahibe and staying overnight. You get to make stops along the way and explore places like La Romana and Altos de Chavon by driving. *Note: Altos de Chavon was closed during our visit (Summer 2021) due to Covid. Casa de Campo privately owns Altos de Chavon,and to visit as of the time of writing this blog, you must be staying there. If driving is not your thing, excursions from Santo Domingo to Isla Saona are also available.
La Romana- Since you're already staying in La Romana, I recommend booking an excursion from La Romana to Isla Saona. Travel time is approximately 45 min, and you can choose between a speed boat or a catamaran cruise.
Bayahibe- Bayahibe is a Caribbean Beach Resort town in Dominican Republic located the closest to Isla Saona. We stayed at Tracadero Beach Resort for two nights and absolutely loved our time there surrounded by nature. We took a private speed boat from the dock at Tracadero Beach Resort in Bayahibe, and our total travel time was only 25 min.
Where to Stay in Isla Saona
Unfortunately, you can't stay overnight in Isla Saona. Isla Saona is only accessible via boat and on a day trip. We recommend staying at Tracadero Beach Resort in Bayahibe, which is the closest to Saona Island. This resort has the best sunset by the beach.
Tracadero Beach Resort Tour | Isla Saona Day Trip
Things to do in Isla Saona and Nearby
Cruise the Open Caribbean Sea on a Speed Boat or Catamaran
Go for a Swim on the Beach
Relax Under a Palm Tree
Explore the Island on foot (water shoes are recommended.)
Get a Dominican Deep Tissue Massage (a little pricey but so worth it!)
Drink some local coconut water
Visit the Mangroves
Stop at Mano Juan, a colorful fishing village
Pass by the Private Filming Island where Pirates of the Caribbean was shot.
Swim with Wild Starfish in Las piscinas Naturales
Have an Authentic Local Dominican Lunch (we had the best-fried fish near this Island.)
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