Imagine a tropical island off the Dominican Republic’s south-east coast surrounded by impressive coral reef ecosystems rich with a diversity of marine wildlife, crystal clear turquoise waters, pristine palm-fringed mile long white sand beaches, nesting grounds for many migratory species of birds, as well as large areas with natural sandbars decorated with fields of starfish indigenous to this region. This is Saona Island.
Each side of Saona island has its own distinct marine environment. The western side is protected from the winds creating shallower protected reefs, whereas its eastern side features stronger currents, bringing in the larger pelagic life. Wrecks, large reef systems with long swim-throughs and beautiful walls wait to be explored.
1. Saona Dive Excursion
The full-day “Caribbean Island Excursion Saona” includes 2 dives at Saona’s reefs, a local lunch buffet on the island, as well as a stop at the natural pool, where you can get off the boat, walk on the sandy bottom in midst of the deep waters, while enjoying a drink and gazing at sea stars.
2. Diver’s Day
A full day reserved for divers only! As there’s no need to strictly follow a busy schedule like on other days, we can truly take our time to travel to those dive sites that are further away, do 3 dives at sites that we usually don’t visit as often, enjoy longer dive times and relaxing surface intervals.
During our surface intervals, we will remain on board, where a small buffet lunch will be provided, usually near the natural pool area.
2.1 Dive Sites
Some of our most popular dive sites around Saona:
La Parguera (Red Snapper) – 20-25 m/ 65-82 ft
La Parguera is suitable for our experienced divers, due to the wall’s depths and strong currents. The visibility is great throughout the year (up to 30 m/ 98 ft). Spot nurse and reef sharks sheltering from the current under the overhangs! Drift along the reef watching the beautiful corals and colorful fish go by! There are also a few small swim-throughs. We recommend to do this dive with nitrox to extend your bottom time.
El Faro (The Lighthouse) – 18-22 m/ 59-72 ft
With a visibility of up to 25 m/ 82 ft and gentle currents this wall is the ideal place to see filter feeding sponges and soft corals to thrive, as well as massive grey stingrays burrowing in the sand at the base of the wall. Look out for tiny spider-like arrow crabs and beautiful smooth shelled turtles nibbling on the sponges.
Punta Cacon – 9-26 m/ 30-85 ft
A beautiful coral hill on the west-side of the island that is rising from the ocean floor, suitable for all levels of divers, with a vibrant display of colors and calm sea conditions. The hill is covered in soft corals and sponges, bright yellows to deep purples. The marine life ranges from the smallest parrot fish to larger nurse sharks. Watch barracudas, stingray, trumpet fish, eagle rays, turtles and colorful angelfish enjoy their daily lives. The top hill starts at 9 m/ 30 ft and slopes all the way down to 26 m/ 85 ft.
El Peñon (The Rock) 12-18 m/ 39-91 ft
The reef is divided into three parts. You’ll find an untouched coral reef, full of reef fish like puffers, trunkfish and angelfish, eagle rays, lobsters, turtles, seahorses, nurse sharks and occasionally a hammerhead shark. You never know what you’ll encounter. A fantastic dive site for divers of all levels.
3.1 Saona Island Adventure
During this exciting full-day trip, we will snorkel at two different reefs, called Tres Piedras and Tiringo. You will be fascinated by trumpet fish trying to change their color between coral branches, puffer fish, rays and more.
A typical local lunch buffet will be served at a secluded tropical beach, where divers and snorkelers will reunite.
On our way back to Bayahibe, we will stop at the natural pool where you can dip your feet in the shallow waters around the sandbanks, look for starfish, enjoy tropical music and just relax while sipping a beer or rum & coke.
3.2 Natural Pool & Snorkeling
On this 3-hour fun trip, we will snorkel at Tiringo, and you will have the opportunity to see sea stars in the shallower waters of the natural pool. With a drink on hand and Caribbean sounds in the background, soak in the breathtaking beauty of this paradise.
Please remember, while starfish, puffer fish, turtles and other gorgeous looking marine life may look inviting to chase or pick up for photos, it’s prohibited by law to take them out of the water or harass them. Not only can they cause you severe health issues like skin rashes, pain through poisoning, stings or bites, but they can actually die if you stress them or take them out of their natural habitat. Therefore, we urge you to please respect and protect them by keeping your distance, use biodegradable sunscreen or rashguards.
How to start your Saona Adventure?
- Join Pro Dive International’s Saona Dive Excursion or Diver’s Day as a certified diver.
- Become a certified PADI Open Water Diver or PADI Advanced Open Water Diver.
- Explore the highlights of Bayahibe with the Dominican Explorer or Dominican Great Explorer. (price list)
- Contact us for guidance and reservation.