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How To Plan A Perfect Day Trip To Saona Island

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Saona Island is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful tropical islands in the Caribbean. With endless white-sand beaches and untouched nature, Saona has risen in popularity over the years to become one of the most popular locations for day trips from Punta Cana and La Romana. If you’re planning a trip to this stunning paradisiacal island, follow these tips for a perfect experience. 

Tropical landscape in Saona Island featuring palm tree

Visit Saona Island’s Stunning White-Sand Beaches 

While Saona is famous for its lush nature and quaint fishing village, nothing can top its soft white-sand beaches where travelers can relax under the warm tropical sun or dive into the depths of its crystal clear waters. There are countless beaches to choose from on Saona, but if you’re pressed for time, choose Playa el Canto de la Playa, located some 40 minutes away from Mano Juan by foot.

White-sand beach in Saona with palm trees and blue water

The remote beach is considered by many to be among the most beautiful in the whole country, thanks to its palm-tree-lined shore and lack of mass tourism. Playa el Toro is another great choice and is situated closer to Mano Juan. The picturesque beach is surrounded by water on each side, thanks to its unique shape, making it ideal for that perfect vacation picture.

Book A Guided Tour Of The Island

Despite being a small island, Saona is full of natural attractions, from beaches to rainforests as well as lagoons. To make the most of the beautiful tropical destination, opt for a guided tour from either Punta Cana or La Romana. Tours are some of the best ways to explore the island’s hidden gems with the help of an expert guide.

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Female passenger on a boat in Saona while on a tour

Some of the top tours to book include Viator’s 8-hour Saona Island Full-Day Tour with Lunch from Punta Cana. The $86-per-person tour includes hotel pick up and drop off from all Punta Cana and Bávaro properties, as well as a plentiful lunch. During the trip, travelers get to experience the best of this tropical gem.

Visit The Only Town In Saona

Mano Juan, the largest and only urban settlement on Saona Island, is a must-see for any traveler. What the town lacks in size, it makes up for with its charming quality and unique tropical hospitality. With around 500 inhabitants, Mano Juan has a laid-back culture, where sun, beach, and tropical weather create a memorable experience for travelers. 

Old wooden structures in Saona Island

The town’s wooden buildings date back decades, although its history stretches back all the way to the colonial days. Its humble streets are full of small family-run shops and restaurants where travelers can pick up handmade souvenirs or refreshing cocktails.

Pack All The Essentials With You

Travelers planning a trip to Saona should come prepared: the remote island lacks the proper infrastructure for mass tourism, so visitors won’t find large supermarkets or pharmacies. If you’re planning an extended stay on the island, pack all your travel necessities, including sunscreen and medication.

A beautiful shore in Saona Island with a small boat docked

There are several small hotels and restaurants in Mano Juan, Saona’s quaint fisherman village, but it’s best to stock up on other goods like food and water before heading to the island.

A small speedboat taking passengers to Saona Island

How To Visit Saona By Yourself

There are several ways to travel to Saona Island. Located around 69 kilometers from Punta Cana, Saona is a remote island that makes it ideal for exploration. Travelers can opt between arranging for their own transportation to and from the island, or they can choose to purchase an organized tour, which usually includes food and drink. 

woman holding her hat running down the beach

Travelers wishing to visit the island on their own can head to Bayahíbe port, from where they can hop on a speedboat to Saona. A one-way ticket costs around $35, on top of which travelers must pay an obligatory $7 entrance fee to Saona National Park. There are several small hotels and guest houses in Mano Juan, which are perfect for an extended stay.

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