Saona Island

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Native name:
Isla Saona
Boating on Sanoa Island
Saona is located in the Dominican Republic
Saona Island (Dominican Republic)
LocationCaribbean Sea
Coordinates18°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
Area110 km2 (42 sq mi)
Length25 km (15.5 mi)
Width5 km (3.1 mi)
Coastline47 km (29.2 mi)
Highest elevation35 m (115 ft)
ProvinceLa Altagracia
Pop. density2.73/km2 (7.07/sq mi)
Isla Saona Lighthouse
Isla Saona.jpg
LocationIsla Saona
Dominican Republic
Coordinates18°06′43.9″N 68°34′25.5″W / 18.112194°N 68.573750°W / 18.112194; -68.573750
Constructionconcrete tower
Markings / patternwhite tower
Tower height12 metres (39 ft)
Focal height32 metres (105 ft)
Light sourcesolar power
Range16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi)
CharacteristicFl W 10s.
Admiralty numberJ5446
NGA number14304
ARLHS numberDOM-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 Parque Nacional Cotubanamá. 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 known for its beaches, and has been used on a number of occasions by film-makers and advertisers looking for a stereotypical "deserted island" setting for their film or product. It is promoted amongst European visitors as the setting for the Bounty chocolate bar advert.


Granberry and Vescelius (2004) suggest a Macoris etymology for the name Saona, comparing it with sa-ona 'full of bats' in the purportedly related Warao language of the Orinoco Delta.[3]


The island was baptized "Saona" by Christopher Columbus, who landed on it in May 1494 during his second voyage to the Americas. The name was meant "... to honor Michele da Cuneo, [Columbus'] friend from Savona."[4] Columbus named Michele da Cuneo the first governor of the island.[5]

By 1500, the Tainos on the island provided Santo Domingo with most of its cassava.[6]

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. Smaller speed boats stop for tourists to relax in the waist-deep shallows where they snorkel, and explore the fields of starfish indigenous to the region.

Near and around Saona island are coral reefs ecosystems with impressive marine diversity that attract snorkelers and scuba divers alike.

Things To Do in Saona[edit]

As one of the most visited location in the Dominican Republic, Saona offers visitors a unique variety of things to do from sunbathing in turquoise beaches to more adventurous activities such as snorkeling. Below is a list of some of the popular Activities in Saona Island.

Explore one of the Many Stunning Beaches

Beach lovers will feel right at home at Saona Island. One of the best way to spend your day on the island is to explore the many beaches on the island. In your adventure you'll see local vendors selling tropical arts and fresh pina coladas.

Snorkeling in Cotumbanama National Park

As part of the Cotumbana National Park, it is no surprise that snorkeling is one of the popular activities on a Saona Island Excursion. The corals reefs on the Caribbean are brimming with colorful fish.

Scuba Diving Saona Island

For underwater enthusiasts one of the best way to see the underwater beauty of Saona Island is by exploring the coral reefs. Divers will find an impressive system of coral fauna and wrecks that abound with fish.

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. ^ Granberry, Julian, & Gary Vescelius (2004). Languages of the Pre-Columbian Antilles. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0-8173-5123-X.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Paolo Emilio Taviani, Columbus the Great Adventure, Orion Books, New York (1991) p. 185
  5. ^ Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Columbus, Oxford Univ. Press, (1991) pp. 103-104.
  6. ^ 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