from Punta CanaWe did do the Saona Island Tour (the upgraded tour with Seafood/Lobster Dinner and a gorgeous Catamaran excursion $139.00ea/US )The island is in the Carribean Sea (calm waters and much hotter) and is protected by the government much like our National Parks. No resorts but gorgeous beaches, restaurants and lounge chairs. Long Day 8 am pick-up at Resort and we arrived back at 9pm . We loved the tour. Our tour guide Johnny( very knowledgeable Dominican fellow ). He spoke Spanish, German, French and English and did so throughout the day seamlessly. It was interesting to drive through the City of Higuey on route to the South side of the Island ! It gave us a feel for urban life in the DR. And of course during our 1.5 hour drive to get there, we saw much rural life as well. The bus was comfortable but no washroom on board.
This tour was well worth the day !
Janet from England
From Bayahibe Our Thomas Cook rep suggested several excursions. We only went on one – to Saona Island. It cost us 85 US dollars each. It was a great day, and well worth doing. We were taken by taxi to Bayahibe harbour first. We could have easily walked this (along the beach), but the rep told us that a taxi was easier, as people didn’t always know where to meet up. It was a bit chaotic, as guests from various hotels meet to go out to the catamarans here. We tagged along with a group from the Iberostar, who fortunately had a rep who went with them and spoke four languages. A speedboat took us out to a huge catamaran, and we transferred onto it. I was wary of this bit, as I can’t swim, but the speedboat is tied to the catamaran in two places, and a staff member stands either side of the steps, helping you across a gap of about a foot. Children are carried across. On the catamaran, we were offered coke or rum. The journey out to the island was lovely, and took about an hour and a quarter. Bob Marley music, then merengue, played the whole time, and the staff tried to get anyone reasonably willing to dance.
We transferred to speedboats again to get onto the beach. Saona’s beach is beautiful – very soft, white sand – paler than Dreams La Romana’s. A buffet lunch was provided in the cost of the excursion. There were basic toilet facilities on the island. There were quite a few vendors where we were first dropped off at the beach, and they quickly approached us with the ‘looky looky, cheapy cheapy’ catchphrase that we’d been told about. We managed to get rid of them quite simply by saying ‘we’re English, and we’ve got no money’. The first one went back and told the others, and after that they left us alone.
We had three hours on the island – enough time to walk along the beach further than anyone else, so that for a while we could see no other people. It was lovely - a real tropical island feeling. The sea was very clear, with WAVES (which you hardly ever get at the beach at Dreams hotel itself).
We joined the speedboat again (and had to wear lifejackets this time), and were taken, at speed, to the ‘natural pool’. This is a sandbank, formed by a hurricane in 1998 just off the coast, which makes the sea about three feet deep, even though you are about a quarter of a mile out to sea – very bizarre. We had 20 minutes here, splashing about and drinking coke or rum whilst standing in incredibly clear waters. There were a few large starfish to see, and some VERY posh yachts moored nearby. We then raced back in the speedboats, alongside another one (we won). It was an exciting, bumpy ride, but safe. Lots of fun. When we got back to the harbour, the taxi should have been waiting for us, but it wasn’t there, so we walked back along the beach. We told the rep the next morning that the taxi hadn’t shown up, and he seemed unsurprised, saying ‘yes, most people walk back’. We felt this was a bit poor, as we had presumably paid for that, and while we’d been waiting for the taxi, we’d been pestered by vendors (one a child), who were quite intimidating and made us feel uncomfortable. We felt that this excursion was well worth the money, though.
Tracy from Canada
This was a cool opportunity to see the island where the movie Blue Lagoon was filmed apparently. There was a catamaran boat to the island, lunch on the island and time for 2 hours of sunbathing or snorkelling in the brightest and bluest waters that the Carribean is known for. After leaving this you are taken to see starfish you can get out of the speed boat and snorkel or watch from the boat whatever you want. This was an ok excursion it was nice to see the different waters where the atlantic and carribean sea meet. Not may fish to see when snorkelling but it is a ride through the country on the bus and you get to see some towns in the dominican as you travel to the boating starting point.
Saona Island is breathtakingly beautiful, with its white beaches and turquoise water, but the tour is slow-paced. We spent a long time looking at very few star fish and drinking lots of rum. After, we had 3 ½ hours time to relax on the beach, and after lunch there is little to do but drink. The many vendors of necklaces, coconuts, sun tan oil, and massages are extremely pesky at first, but they lose steam in time and grant you some peace. We very much enjoyed the ride home on a huge sail boat, and again – all drinks are included!
DO NOT DO IT! What a waste of a day and money. The bus picks you up from the hotel at 6:30 AM for a 1.5 hour ride to the dock after passing through the city of Hiquey. Once you're on the dock, a "speed boat"
takes you to catamaran for another 1.5 hour ride to beach where you will remain for the next 4 hours. Around 2 pm or so, they load you back on the speed boat to take you to sand bar in the middle of the Caribbean ocean where you are able to do some swimming. We found this to be the coolest part of the trip because we were able to stand in waist high water in the middle of the ocean. After about an hour in the water, you're loaded back up and taken back to the dock for the 2.5 hour bus trip back to your hotel. The reason why it's now a 2.5 hour trip back is because they take you to a gift shop in the middle of nowhere and encourage you to buy items that are over priced. We felt this was completely a waste of time as everyone wanted to go back to the hotel.