Saona Island

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Native name: Isla Saona
Saona is located in the Dominican Republic
Saona Island (Dominican Republic)
Location Caribbean Sea
Coordinates 18°09′20″N 68°41′58″W / 18.15556°N 68.69944°W / 18.15556; -68.69944Coordinates: 18°09′20″N 68°41′58″W / 18.15556°N 68.69944°W / 18.15556; -68.69944
Area 110 km2 (42 sq mi)
Length 25 km (15.5 mi)
Width 5 km (3.1 mi)
Coastline 47 km (29.2 mi)
Highest elevation 35 m (115 ft)
Dominican Republic
Province La Altagracia
Population 300
Pop. density 2.73 /km2 (7.07 /sq mi)
Isla Saona LIghthouse
Location Isla Saona
Dominican Republic
Coordinates 18°06′43.9″N 68°34′25.5″W / 18.112194°N 68.573750°W / 18.112194; -68.573750
Construction concrete tower
Markings / pattern white tower
Height 12 metres (39 ft)
Focal height 32 metres (105 ft)
Light source solar power
Range 16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi)
Characteristic Fl W 10s.
Admiralty number J5446
NGA number 14304
ARLHS number DOM-009[1] [2]

Saona Island (Spanish: Isla Saona) is a tropical island located a short distance from the mainland on the south-east tip of the Dominican Republic. It is a government protected nature reserve and is part of East National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional del Este). It is a popular destination for tourists from all over the Dominican Republic, who arrive in fleets of catamarans and small motorboats on organized excursions every day. The Island is famous for the natural beauty of its beaches, and has been used on many occasions by film-makers and advertisers looking for a stereotypical "desert island" setting for their film or product. It is promoted amongst European visitors as the setting for the famous Bounty chocolate bar advert.


The island was baptized "Saona" by Christopher Columbus, who discovered it in May 1494 during his second voyage to the Americas. The name was meant "... to honor Michele da Cuneo, [Columbus'] friend from Savona."[3] Columbus named Michele da Cuneo the first governor of the island.[4]

By 1500, the Tainos on the island provided Santo Domingo with most of its cassava.[5]

Saona Island and Savona (now part of Liguria, northern Italy) still have twinning relationships. The small power plant in Saona Island is a gift of Savona.


The seas around the Island are rich in wildlife, with many species of birds and tropical marine fish, and there are large areas where natural sandbars offshore bring the depth to just a few feet. These are once again popular with the tourist trade, with small boats stopping hundreds of meters off the beach and disgorging tourists into the waist-deep shallows where they snorkel, drink and inspect the fields of starfish indigenous to the region.

Twin towns[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dominican Republic The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 8 September 2016
  2. ^ List of Lights, Buoys and Fog Signals Atlantic Coast. Retrieved 8 September 2016
  3. ^ Paolo Emilio Taviani, Columbus the Great Adventure, Orion Books, New York (1991) p. 185
  4. ^ Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Columbus, Oxford Univ. Press, (1991) pp. 103-104.
  5. ^ Floyd, Troy (1973). The Columbus Dynasty in the Caribbean, 1492-1526. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. p. 57. 

External links[edit]

Panoramic view of Saona Island
Panoramic view of Saona Island