I live in the Dominican and have led teams to Isla Saona 5 times now. It is beautiful. You get there by either a motor boat or catamaran and come back by the opposite of what you came on. On the motor boat they stop in several places so that the guests can enjoy the view...light snorkeling, shore cliffs, mangrove trees, a "natural pool", and a star fish bed. The snorkel gear is a little old and leaks, but people have a good time. They throw out bread and a team of fish congregates, but there is really only like 1 or 2 types of fish to see. There isn't anything special about the cliffs or the mangroves. The starfish bed is just a bunch of dead starfish they have left out to show people. One of the workers jumps in the water and lifts it up for people to see, but tell them they can't take the starfish out of the water for more than a second or else they'll die. Completely not true, because they are all already dead, but it is is really fun for the new visitors and it makes us smile every time. The "natural pool" is basically a huge sandbar about 4 feet in depth where people can get out and swim for 30 to 60 minutes. It is crystal clear waters and a lot of fun. Coke is served on both the trip to and from the island.
The island itself is gorgeous, a tropical paradise. There are palm trees, crystal clear blue waters, and soft sand. In the ocean, it is a bit rocky under the sand and it can take skin off the toes, so be careful. A free buffet lunch (included in the trip cost) is served around 12:30 or 1pm and there is an all you can drink bar that serves water, sodas, and I think beer. You can get a decent 30 minute message for about $20 or 3 on my team negotiated a group rate for $45 for 3. There is also a volleyball net and you can borrow a volleyball somewhere.
What I always dislike about the trip is the workers. Some are just fine and kind, but most of them want you to drink hard, party hard, and leave large tips. They play the music ridiculously loud and won't turn it down. If you don't leave big tips, they'll be rude to you and even flip you off. On the catamaran trip they usually have scantily clad ladies (major cleavage and I'm constantly seeing their underwear/bathing suit bottoms under their mini skirts) who go around and try to get male guest to dance with them...often times inappropriately. On shore, the ladies who give messages and the venders are constantly calling out to you and coming up and touching you to try to get you to get a message or buy their goods. If you tell them no, they will continue to solicit you until you get rude with them, and then they walk away with a grudge.
Next week we will be bringing a team of 100 and I'm begging my husband to not to have to go again. I have lived in the Dominican for several years now and most Dominicans are very loving, gracious, and kind, which is very much different from the attitudes of many of the workers in the tourist areas that cater heavily to foreigners. They are aggressive to the point of meanness, they expect you to drink and party heavily and then leave large tips, and they will poke at you, often times literally, for you to purchase their services or goods. After this last trip, I was up all night with heartburn from the stress.
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