Saona Island is a full day out for visitors that come from Punta Cana. If you've booked a private excursion, you'll have private transport and a private guide that will pick you up at your hotel. For those who booked to join others, a small "feeder' bus will normally collect you from your hotel lobby, make several stops to pick up others and then bring you to a larger bus to make the ride out to Bayahibe, the jump off point for Saona Island. The drive time between Punta Cana and Bayahibe is about an hour once on the large bus.Isla Saona is a 42 square kilometer Caribbean oasis off the southern coast of the Dominican Republic. Saona is, currently, the most popular excursion offered in the Dominican Republic. The island is the quintessential tropical beach with swaying palm trees, bone white sand and lapping turquoise waters.
Once you reach Bayahibe, the recommended way to go is to take the speed boats out to the island and the slow moving catamaran back. But you can do either or depending on your tour operator's itinerary. Either way, you'll experience both. The speed boats normally hold about 30 individuals and really kick up some speed heading out into the Caribbean Sea and towards Isla Saona. The first stop is at a waist deep natural swimming pool of transparent waters and starfish studded sand. There's plenty of time here to appreciate this amazing tropical setting in the middle of the Caribbean Sea with palm tree lined coasts as far as they eye can see, beautiful starfish at your feet and some Dominican rum in your hand. The natural swimming pool is always where the drinking begins!
The speed boats then proceed to Isla Saona where you get dropped off right at the shorelines. No worries about waves though, these Caribbean Sea waters are extremely calm and simply lap there way onto Saona's beaches. Once at Saona Island you'll have many choices: wade in the turquoise waters, visit the open bar, take a nap on a beach hammock, play volleyball, indulge in a typical Dominican lunch of chicken, pork, rice, beans, salad and fruit, or walk the coastline. Most likely, you'll do it all!.
The return to the Dominican Republic mainland is on a slow moving catamaran with Latin music, dancing and open bar! Saona Island Catamarans vary in size with some of the smaller cats fitting around 50 individuals and the larger ones holding some 100. For large groups, privatizing your own catamaran is no problem. If you are an individual or a small group, you will most likely be included with others on this portion of the excursion. This is sometimes more fun than private! More often than not, the other individuals on the boat are there to have a good time so you can meet some new people from all over the world. On the catamaran, it's all about open bar, Latin music and Latin dancing to Merengue, Salsa and Bachata. For those who want to relax, there's normally a wide net at the front of the catamaran to just soak up the sun. The catamaran return to the island normally takes about an hour.
Once back on shore, buses are waiting and ready to take you back to your hotel. Some operators include a stop at a gift shop on the way back to Punta Cana to purchase some Dominican keepsakes. The total time away from the resort is usually about 10 hours. that may sound like a long time, but it sure flies on such an amazing experience to one of the Caribbean most coveted islands.