Few will imagine that Saona Island, which is almost 14 miles long and 4 miles wide (covering an area of 68 square miles) and just over one mile from the shore, is the same size as Aruba. It is really a collection of many beaches with the town of Mano Juan in the south center. Coconut trees, white sands with transparent shallow waters make it the perfect postcard of a Caribbean dream beach. The boat trip to the island from Bayahibe passes by mangroves and coral reefs, all part of the National Park of the East.
Five miles south of La Romana, the second largest island off the shores of the DR is a protected, uninhabited area. Divers visit to explore the coral reefs to the east and north of the island. The Living Museum of the Sea with the remains of the Quedagh Merchant, the sunken ship of pirate William Kidd is its newest attraction. It is a cruise ship mooring point. Enjoy the banana boats and snorkeling.
Banco de Arena de Catalinita
The Catalinita Sand Bank comes as a surprise. Out of nowhere, an island emerges from the sea. Boat trippers are taken there to enjoy the white sands and shallow waters in the middle of the Caribbean, to the beat of merengue and bachata. It formed after Hurricane Georges in 1998.
Near by Activities
A 15-minute drive from La Romana International Airport and 10 minutes from the resorts in the Dominicus section, this beachtown and boat launch site has a mix of good food, shopping for local arts and crafts, culture walks, and even a shady grass area to sit and enjoy the sunsets.
The first beach to obtain Blue Flag certification in the Caribbean, the large all-inclusive resorts in La Romana are here, offering a variety of cultural and adventure excursions to guests. There is a public beach access section for visitors who are not staying at the resorts.
Preferred by the jet set for docking their yachts, Palmilla is also known as “the natural pool” for its shallow and transparent waters. It can easily be reached by boat from Bayahibe.
Catalina Island, Dominican Republic
Catalina Island, Dominican Republic
Parque Nacional del Este
The National Park of the East is now the largest and most studied and visited park in the country. Farming never prospered due to the lack of rivers within, and the area remained untouched. In 1975, to ensure its preservation, the 194 square miles area between Boca de Yuma and Bayahibe was declared National Park of the East. More than 575 species of flora, including 53 endemic to the island are preserved in the park, and it is a major Taino Indian archaeological center. The Padre Nuestro Ecological and Archaeological Trail, a short distance from Bayahibe town, was created to make vis- its into the park easy. The one mile-long guided trail gives a sample of the cactus and orchid forest vegetation of the park. The biggest draw of the park, though, is in the beaches, coastline of mangroves and reefs with preserved coral, also home to pelicans (Pelicanus occidentalis) and the Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens), especially in the area of Bahía de las Calderas and Boca de Yuma. The offshore island of Saona with its collection of beaches is the most popular tour in the DR. In the mainland section of the park, the Puente, Panchito and Berna caves with cave art can be visited by requesting a permit.
Wild Ranch Zip Line, Dominicus
Cueva de las Maravillas
Known for its scenic beauty and intriguing petroglyphs. Imagine traveling to the center of the earth, Jules Verne-style, as walking to cool depths of 82 feet along the 800-foot trail. Or observe the effects as the lights turn on and off, like musical notes celebrating the majesty of the thousand year old stalagmites and stalactites.The secrets of the cave are revealed along the 800-foot path, almost 40 minutes of guided tour. 472 paintings on the walls, and 19 engravings on rocks have been counted. The cave is open for visits from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9am to 4pm.
In the Dominican Republic, choose La Romana-Bayahibe if diving is your thing. It promises the widest selection of dive sites at a short boat ride distance. Teams of instructors and guides organize diving trips from the all-inclusive resorts, and for independent travelers, there is a handful of specialized centers in Bayahibe. Use vacation time to come away with your diving license, so you can venture more often into the wonderful world of diving. Instruction is first rate, as is the exotic underwater flora and fauna there to be discovered. In addition to walls, reefs and coral
The Padre Nuestro Ecotouristic and Archaeological Trail
Located 1.2 miles from both Bayahibe or Dominicus. Experience the great biodiversity of the National Park of the East. There are around 575 species of plants, of which 294 grow along the mile-long path. Take a bottle of water, bug repellent, light clothing and hardy shoes because the trail is located between two sea cliffs and a good section is over rocky terrain. Visitors are taken to springs in the caves, some with art from Pre-Columbian times. The caves were used as shelters by the Taínos, but also as spiritual temples. Obtain your license in cave diving at one of the diving schools and enjoy a dive at the Chicho Cave on your visit.
Snorkeling, Bayahibe, Dominican Republic
gardens, there is wreck diving the modern day St. George ship and the recreation of the historic wreck of the galleon Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, as well as the site of the coral canyons at Guaraguao, on the way to Saona island. Learn cave diving skills at Chicho Cave.
The Captain Kidd Living Museum Under the Sea is the newest dive attraction in the area, a joint project between the Ministry of Culture, Indiana University and the La Romana-Bayahibe Hotels Association and Tourism Cluster. The site is just 10 feet underwater, just 70 feet from the shores 10 La Romana-Bayahibe Guide of Catalina Island. Snorkeling and diving can be combined with a wonderful picnic on the beach, lobster lunch included. Captain Kidd was accused of piracy and hanged in England in 1699. In the Living Museum of the Sea, divers and snorkelers alike can view the remnants of the Quedagh Merchant, the last ship captured by William Kidd. Its anchors and dozens of cannons now lie between corals and other sea creatures.