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“Lovely beach” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Isla Saona

Isla Saona
Isla Saona, Republica Dominicana, Parque Nacional del Este, Dominican Republic
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Type: Islands
Attraction Details
Newcastle, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Lovely beach”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

We visited here in June 2014 and were a little disappointed. The boat is fun and filled with rum and laughter. The boat stops in a natural pool in the sea where you can hold 'star fish' for photographs. The sea is lovely but the star fish aren't real. Next it's on to Saona Island. The beach is lovely but be careful as the sea is very rocky underneath which we weren't expecting. A few people ended up with cuts and bruises. The food is ok, but that's about it. The fish that was promised never arrived but the chicken, pork, salads, pasta were fine. Afterwards it's either a speed boat or smaller catermaran back to the port. The day was enjoyable but not quite as good as we expected. Still worth a visit though

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529 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Oak Ridge, North Carolina
Top Contributor
107 reviews 107 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“Beautiful island and beach, thats about it”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2014

We bought our excursions from a vendor at Dominicus beach, the price was very reasonable as we negotiated. We were still leery as we had not been in the country even 6 hrs and we had no knowledge of who we were using. We returned the morning after w/ our receipt and were warmly greeted. After a short wait the boat arrived (whew, so far so good). We boarded the "speed boat" and waited a few minutes for another family. We then started our journey to the catamaran in Bayahibe harbor. A short ride later we arrived and transferred to the catamaran. The wait was long as we were one of the first groups, I think an hr passed before we actually departed for Saona. Forgot to mention, there was a photographer. The ride over was full of music, drinks (alcohol and non) and general happiness. It was rather long, maybe 1.5 hrs but we had no watch. We arrived at Saona Island and after a treacherous transfer to another "speed boat" we set foot on the beach. We were told 2 hrs and that lunch was almost ready. Lunch was a buffet of rice, spaghetti and fruit, not a grand meal but something to be expected. No vendors hassled us but we also stayed in the water most of the time. There is also a set of bathrooms but no flushing toilet. The areas of entry are rocky so bring water shoes (sunscreen and portable camera for pics). The photographer showed me her disc of pics before we left. The price was quite high and we came w/ little money but I did negotiate that too, cant guarantee you will be able to. After 2 hrs we boarded another "speed boat" to the natural pond of starfish. Short ride over staying for about 15 mns. We found two starfish and took pics using our disposable underwater camera (walmart). Then we returned to Dominicus beach and walked right to our hotel. We had two teenagers with us, they were bored on the trip over. Shady spots on catamaran were limited just an FYI. Since we got such a good bargain I cant really complain but know different vendors and operators use different equipment and have different itineraries. We could not snorkel while at Saona, but it came in handy looking for starfish.

Visited June 2014
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1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Tourist Trap...don't fall for it!”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2014

We booked this day long excursion from a booking agent T our hotel in Punta Cana. He failed to mention that it was a 2+ hour drive to get on the boat....including an hour of riding around to other resorts picking up people. Stopped at a junky souvenir stand on the way only to get nagged constantly to buy something. Catamaran trip was nice but way too long circling the island and trying to get tourists drunk on cheap rum. At the end one of the mates came around putting doo rags on everyone's head then a few minutes later asking for $10 for hat. The food on the island was mediocre at best. The only reason I gave this trip 2 stars was because the beach is gorgeous, but don't waste your time or money on this trip...the ret of the beaches at punta Cana are just as pretty. The constant nagging to buy something else really gets old in this country.

Visited May 2014
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Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“SAONA Island”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2014 via mobile

Best excursion ever! Place is paradise, catamaran ride is awesome. I don't drink so I could give a rats tail about rum n coke.. Food was delicious( especially the pork chops).. And yes it takes a while to get there.. But guess what You aren't the only person going! There's many people.. The excursion doesn't cater to you alone.. They do the best they can to accommodate everyone! I loved it! And I highly recommend it to everyone!

Visited May 2014
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Iroquois, Canada
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Saona from La Romana Dreams - forced frivolity”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2014

We booked our tour from the Dreams La Romana resort tour booking office where we were staying. We were looking for a quick trip to and quick trip from Saona that maximized our time to explore the island. We clearly explained that as we do not drink rum and coke (diabetics) that the "party boat" scenario was not a good fit. The agent promised bottled water and wine, neither of which were available, on a speed boat. Indeed the boat going to the island was the much dreaded party boat catamaran. Prior to departure the organizer broke us into groups by language but in the end the anglophones were divided between the francophone boat and the Spanish boat. Although our guide tried valiantly to speak English (and his grammar was pretty good but the accent was too strong to comprehend the words) we found that the Spanish speakers received a lot more information and narrative content than we did. Our first stop, over two hours after departure, that included loud Spanish music and much "forced frivolity" from the crew and passengers found us at a beach location for lunch. The beach was dirty and the lunch was just okay. They served beer and water with bowls of ice. Using the filthy washrooms available as my guide we declined both water and ice and beer was not a possibility. During lunch we experienced a down pour of rain but there was no "plan B" for rain so we hunkered down under towels and made the best of it. The catamaran was then replaced by a faster boat, not a speed boat but faster if we all sat at one end.The next stop was a nice beach - probably not the most beautiful I have ever seen, as promoted by the tour agent, and accompanied by an unfortunate lagoon odor. The next stop was a "turtle museum" which was a hut in a DR village with some posters and lots of stuff for sale.We toured this site and I felt awkward walking through abject poverty with a tour guide. it was both unnecessary and not really very helpful. The final stop was indeed the only great piece of the tour. We stopped at the natural pool and actually saw star fish. It seemed a little silly that the boat set up a bar in the middle of this piece of paradise. The tour was scheduled to depart at 8:30 am and we arrived home at 7:30 pm. It was along day and even the most enthusiastic participants were eager to get off the boat. We paid $100 each which is not unreasonable if we had gotten what was promised in a language we could understand. My advice to Trip Advisor readers is to get firm assurance that the trip will deliver what is promised in a language of your choice.If you are a non smoker you might also want to see if there is such a thing as a non smoking boat. The second hand smoke was pretty objectionable even on the open sea. This was a disaster and we are experienced travelers.

Visited April 2014
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