Saona Island

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Native name:
Isla Saona
Saona Island December 2020.jpg
Saona 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 Edit this at Wikidata
Constructionconcrete (tower) Edit this on Wikidata
Tower height12 m (39 ft) Edit this on Wikidata
Markingswhite (tower) Edit this on Wikidata
Power sourcesolar power Edit this on Wikidata
Focal height32 m (105 ft) Edit this on Wikidata
Range16 nmi (30 km; 18 mi) Edit this on Wikidata
CharacteristicFl W 10s Edit this on Wikidata
NGA no.14304
Admiralty no.J5446 Edit this on Wikidata
ARLHS no.DOM009 Edit this on Wikidata

Saona Island (Spanish: Isla Saona) is a 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]

The island 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. It is known for its beaches, and has been used on a number of occasions by filmmakers and advertisers looking for a stereotypical "deserted island" setting for their film or product.


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.;[2] 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 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. 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.


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


Beach lovers will feel right at home at Saona Island. One of the best ways to spend a day on the island is to explore the many beaches. One will see local vendors selling tropical arts and fresh piña coladas.

Snorkeling in Cotumbanama National Park[edit]

As part of the Cotumbana National Park, 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 around Saona Island[edit]

For underwater enthusiasts, one of the best ways 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. ^ "Ley 5597 de 1962 que modifica la ley 5220 de 1959" (PDF).
  2. ^ 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)
  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