Saona Island, a must Punta Cana excursion

Saona Island- A must excursion if traveling to Punta Cana. So much of travel is about “doing” things—zipping from place to place, checking off activities.

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Saona Island- A must excursion if traveling to Punta Cana.

So much of travel is about “doing” things—zipping from place to place, checking off activities, and coming home more tired than when you left. And that’s great a lot of the time. But sometimes you need a day when you can just be. Or, at least we do. And a visit to Saona Island, Dominican Republic, served up that ideal day when nothing was required of us but just to enjoy being.

The day began with a drive from our hotel in Punta Cana to the village of Bayahibe, the transfer point for our outing with PuntaCanaAventures. When we arrived, the beach was lined with speed boats, fishing boats, and trailers awaiting their day’s work. In no time, we were whisked aboard a speed boat to make our way to our next destination—our private yacht or how they call it Catamaran.

The Catamaran was more than we could have dreamed of. There were nets to perch above the water as we sped, space on the deck to soak in the sun, and enough room to gaze out at a 360-degree view of the Caribbean. After several minutes of checking out space with goofy grins of excitement on our faces, we were greeted with platters of fresh fruit and sandwiches and, of course, rum and champagne for the journey. From the back deck, I found the perfect spot to watch the turquoise water spread out behind us as we headed toward Saona Island.

“The Natural pool is open,” came from the shouts from the crew. We had ground to a halt in shallow, crystal waters not even 100 yards from the prettiest line of palm trees of Saona Island, I’ve ever seen. And, yet, we were still solidly in the Caribbean Sea. The “pool” they referred to was a natural pool of chest-deep water so clear we could see our toes as well as the starfish populating the sands below.

We swam and snorkeled for a bit in pure bliss. Before I knew it, there was a tap on my shoulder. I turned to see one of our crew balancing a stack of plastic cups, a bottle of soda, and a bottle of rum. Yep, rum and cokes as we floated in the middle of the ocean. Pure. Bliss.

After awhile, it was time to jump back on the yacht bound for Saona Island. We busied ourselves with doing nothing—staring at waves, laughing, chatting, feeling the breeze as we zoomed along. The most taxing activity was popping into the galley for another piece of pineapple or a little more rum.

Then we arrived at beautiful Saona Island.

Saona Island, or Bella Savonesa, as it was named by Christopher Columbus in 1494, is just off the southeastern tip of the Dominican Republic. The island is part of a national park located 1 hour away from Punta Cana, which has helped preserve its beaches, waters, and canopy of giant palm trees. It was so gorgeous, it looked like Photoshop came to life.

It was already lunch time when we arrived at the island. A spread of salad, lobster, chicken, vegetables, and everything else delicious under the sun was laid out for us. There were more cocktails, more laughter, more deep breaths of sea air before we adjourned to the beach chairs.

For a couple of hours, we jumped with the waves in the ocean and napped under the palm trees. We watched a bit of volleyball and sank our feet deep into the soft sand. We bought coconuts from a vendor on the beach. We did nothing at all and everything we wanted to all at the same time.

Too soon, it was time to leave Saona island, our Island paradise to head back to Punta Cana for another adventure. But at least we had the return trip on the yacht to look forward to first.

We were the guests of the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism. All opinions of the relaxing and pristine are our own.

By Laura Longwell

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