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Saona Island

Coordinates: 18°09′20″N 68°41′58″W / 18.15556°N 68.69944°W / 18.15556; -68.69944
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Saona Island
Native name:
Isla Saona
Saona Island
Saona Island is located in the Dominican Republic
Saona Island
Saona Island
Saona Island (Dominican Republic)
LocationCaribbean Sea
Coordinates18°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)

Saona Island (Spanish: Isla Saona) is a 110 square kilometer tropical island located off the south-east coast in Dominican Republic's La Altagracia province. It is a government-protected nature reserve and is part of Parque Nacional Cotubanamá.[1]

There are two permanent settlements, the towns of Mano Juan and Catuano. Mano Juan is a fishing village with wooden houses and "Catuano beach" has a detachment of the navy.

The island is a popular tourist destination in the Dominican Republic. A number of films such as Pirates of the Caribbean (2003)[2] and The Blue Lagoon have been filmed in part on Saona Island.


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] However, it is widely accepted that Columbus named it after the Italian city of Savona (see below).


The island was baptized "Saona" by Christopher Columbus, who landed on it in May 1494[4] during his second voyage to the Americas. The name was meant "... to honor Michele da Cuneo, [Columbus'] friend from Savona."[5] Columbus named Michele da Cuneo the first governor of the island.[6]

By 1500, the Tainos on the island provided Santo Domingo with most of its cassava.[7]

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.


Saona island is surrounded by sandbars, and a number of coral reef ecosystems with a wide marine diversity.

Flora and fauna[edit]

There are 539 registered species of endemic flora within the Cotubanamá National Park, all in a diversity of ecosystems including wild bushes and mangroves, semi-humid and salted forests.

Four species of neotropical mangrove are present along the Catuano Channel - Red, White, Black, and Button Mangle.

The Red-footed Booby or Sula Sula as known in the Dominican Republic.


Among the 112 species of birds on the island, the most prominent are Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis), Magnificent Frigatebirds (Fregata magnificens), Flamingos, Seagulls, endemic Hispaniolan Parrots, and Red-footed Boobies.

Sea life[edit]

In the surrounding Caribbean Sea, 40 species of fish, 10 coral, and 124 mollusks can be found, with other marine life including green sea turtles, loggerhead sea turtles, manatees, bottle-nose dolphins, rhinoceros iguanas, and octopuses.[8][9]


Saona Island is one of the most visited locations in the Dominican Republic with over 1 million visitors per year.[10] It is the most visited protected area in the Dominican Republic, capturing 45% of the visits to protected areas in 2019.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ley 5597 de 1962 que modifica la ley 5220 de 1959" (PDF).
  2. ^ "Movies filmed in the Dominican Republic - Lopesan Costa Bávaro". Hotel Lopesan Costa Bávaro Resort, Spa & Casino (Punta Cana). 2020-03-19. Retrieved 2022-03-18.
  3. ^ Granberry, Julian, & Gary Vescelius (2004). Languages of the Pre-Columbian Antilles. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0-8173-5123-X.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "Saona Island". Bayahibe Village. Retrieved 2022-08-13.
  5. ^ Paolo Emilio Taviani, Columbus the Great Adventure, Orion Books, New York (1991) p. 185
  6. ^ Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Columbus, Oxford Univ. Press, (1991) pp. 103-104.
  7. ^ Floyd, Troy (1973). The Columbus Dynasty in the Caribbean, 1492-1526. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. p. 57.
  8. ^ "Saona Island, Ecological Reserve | Saona Dreams". Retrieved 2022-03-18.
  9. ^ adisontabor11 (2016-05-11). "The Birds Of Saona Island In the Dominican Republic". Medium. Retrieved 2022-03-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Hosteltur. "Gobierno dominicano anticipa un plan para relanzar Bayahíbe | Economía". Hosteltur: Toda la información de turismo (in European Spanish). Retrieved 2022-03-18.
  11. ^ Dominican Republic's Tourist Destinations Report (PDF) (Report). Punta Cana: Ministerio de Turismo. April 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-07-09.

External links[edit]

Panoramic view of Saona Island
Panoramic view of Saona Island