Saona Island is the largest island of Dominican Republic. It belongs to the province of La Romana and the National Park of the East. Its natural beauty, beautiful beaches and semi-populated features, make the island a great tourist attraction of the Dominican Republic, so that many of the tourists who visit Punta Cana consider it an obligatory activity to take time to visit Isla Saona in the numerous excursions that go to the island every day from Bayahibe. In it there are two human settlements of colorful fishermen’s houses that together do not exceed 500 inhabitants.
The first time the Spaniards visited the island was in 1494 when Christopher Columbus returned from his voyage of exploration through Cuba. At that time the island was called Adamanay by the tainos and Columbus named it Sabona Island in honor of his friend and traveling companion Miguel de Cunneo, who was from the region of birth, in Italy. From the corruption of that original name derives the current name of the island, Saona.
In its 110 km² of surface, Saona Island has the best underwater formations of the Dominican coast with its precise corraline reefs, ideal for diving. In its internal forests, mangroves, coasts and three lagoons there is a great diversity of bird and reptile species, as well as caves dating back to the pre-Columbian era, the most famous being Cotubanamá, named after the Taíno cacique XVI decided without much success to seek refuge on the island, fleeing the massacres of the conquistador Oviedo, being captured and executed. In addition, it has an area called the natural pool, an area with crystal clear waters that you can see the aquatic species that inhabit the seabed. It is therefore a perfect place to observe aquatic or wild species such as flamingos or starfish in their natural habitat.
Saona Island is also home to species of turtles, sharks, bottlenose dolphins, whales and manatees in danger of extinction. It has facilities such as bathrooms and showers and tables for the lunch of tourists who visit it on excursions from Bayahibe and from Domínicus.
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