Saona Island, Dominican Republic

A Savona in the Antilles


Pure Saona
Homes of the Tropics
The family
Tropical Wagon
Insta queue
Vegetable Crafts
Avenue of Sales
Deafened Statue
shadows in the sun
Police Shift in Manu Juan
Pinas Coladas Bank
Disembarkation
Manu Juan's Lobsters
Stroll by the Sea
national foods
Coqueiral docking
oil agent
Beira-Mar Duo
Avenida das Vendas II
Gallery Trio

During his second voyage to the Americas, Columbus landed on an enchanting exotic island. He named it Savona, in honor of Michele da Cuneo, a Savoyard sailor who saw it as an outstanding feature of the greater Hispaniola. Today called Saona, this island is one of the beloved tropical edens of the Dominican Republic.

Uvero Alto's early departure begins to prove painful.

Once we overcome the discomfort of a few hours of sleep and embrace Melvin Durán's contagious energy, the rewards follow.

We had survived Bayahibe Bay before. We had already witnessed the crowd that the dozens of guides struggled to keep in a group and in a line.

They were called “families”, distinguished by their surnames, or other improvised baptisms.

Saona Island, Dominican Republic, Haitian worker

With the sun rising on the horizon, several of the visitors took shelter in the shade provided by the vegetation on the northwest threshold of the Cotubanamá National Park.

There, the endless mosquitoes from the adjacent mangroves ambushed them, grateful for the smooth skins and accessible blood of outsiders.

As did the sellers of cigars, sunglasses, hats and the like, these days, with Haiti in absolute chaos, almost all of them emigrants from the western side of Hispaniola.

The captains responsible for the fleet of moored boats and catamarans, process a complex division of passengers by boats.

Gradually, boats and catamarans set sail, most of them with Disney names or just children: “Pinocchio”, “Pluto”, “Mini” and so on. Even with the pinecone, they saved the Gringos waiting for the promised paradise.

A Privileged Incursion into the popular Saona Island

As we left Uvero Alto at dawn, part of a restricted group, we spared ourselves this and other trials. The boat that was waiting for us leaves the cove, with no sign of groups, queues or confusion.

Even in the middle of the rainy season and the hurricanes in the Caribbean, it was dawning a sunny day, bright to match.

Reclining in the front seats, we let the wind massage our faces.

We see the Bayahibe listed lighthouse behind and the almost shallow and forested coastline of the west of the Cotubanamá PN unfold.

Saona Island, Dominican Republic, Bayahibe Lighthouse

The Natural and Tropical Lagoon off Playa Palmilla

In a few minutes, we reach La Palmilla, an area of ​​shallow water, contained by a coral reef off the coast.

There, the Caribbean Sea turns an even more resplendent translucent turquoise.

Palmilla's natural pool below, we pass by stretches of seaside occupied by the reality show "Survivor”. Melvin, alert us to your structures.

Saona Island, Dominican Republic, Playa Palmilla

Without expecting it, we realize that evidence and the respective filming are taking place.

We passed them in a quick nautical panorama.

Then, we skirted the speckled coral along the tip Palmillas, an extreme southwest of the Cotubanamá PN comparable to the boot of the Italian peninsula.

Not by chance.

The Pioneer Visit of Christopher Columbus and Friend Michele da Cuneo

One of the first Europeans to see this area and identify the strait to the south, in 1494, was Michele Da Cuneo, during the second expedition of Christopher Columbus to the Americas.

It was Da Cuneo, an Italian sailor friend of Columbus, who assured him and the crew that it was a island.

As a reward, Columbus gave it to him.

Fast-forward to the dawn of the XNUMXth century.

From the newly founded village of Santo Domingo, a captain named Juan de Esquivel and his men had already dominated much of southern and central Hispaniola.

They were only resisted in Adamanay (original name of Saona) a bag of natives led by Cotubanamá, a proud and charismatic cacique who had long impressed and annoyed the conquerors.

Finally, in 1504, the Spanish captured Cotubanamá and dominated the island's Tainos.

The governor of Hispaniola, Nicolas de Ovando, arch-rival who hated Columbus, dictated the hanging of the cacique.

By eliminating it, it paved the way for the colonization of the Saona we were about to anchor.

The Morning Disembarkation in the Solitary Village of Manu Juan

We crossed the Catuano Strait.

Almost in the middle of the south coast, we can see a house with a pier.

We disembark onto a coral sand bathed by gentle waves.

We went up, first to the shade of coconut trees, where we devoured a providential breakfast.

Then, we moved next to a sign identifying the PN Cotubanamá. And Manu Juán, the only true town, humble “capital” of Saona Island.

Melvin Durán enlightens us about the village and its people of fishing origins.

We follow him inside the house.

To the headquarters of SAONI, an operation to protect and study the turtles of Saona, led by El Negro, a resident determined to ensure the survival and proliferation of the species that spawn in the surrounding sands.

From there, we passed the island's Spartan police station.

Inside, we photograph a photogenic and surprised agent De Oleo, one hand on his cell phone, the other in his holster, under a triptych that exults the founders of the Dominican homeland.

The Commercial “Avenue” of Manu Juan, on an Immaculate Seaside

Back at the seaside, we come across the emblematic commercial avenue of Manu Juan, formed by two rows of huts, with roofs made of coconut palms.

We find them full of handicrafts, clothes and knick-knacks that the resident shopkeepers, almost always happy and smiling, try to foist on outsiders.

Once more on the beach, a fisherman who had just landed showed us two live lobsters.

Nearby, the beautiful and yellow AVAISA stand, Isla Saona Sellers Association exposes the pines (pineapples) essential to their renowned Pinã Coladas.

We feel enticed. Despite everything we'd been through since waking up, it was just after ten in the morning.

We resist sweet temptation.

We said goodbye to Manu Juan. As is supposed in this type of excursion, several times are dedicated to bathing leisure.

Melvin makes us reverse course.

Playa del Toro and Laguna Flamingos, back to the starting point

We skirted a bulge in the coast.

We disembark at a certain Playa del Toro where we resume our exploration mode.

We crossed a hedge of coconut trees and bushes.

On the other side, we come across an immense lagoon, with earthy, mustard-colored waters, hit by a wind that the hedge seemed to bar from the beach.

It was one of several lagoons in the interior of Saona, that of the Flamingos.

This is how it became known due to the many flocks of these wading birds that usually feed there, in the image of the much wider Oviedo Lagoon, located between Barahona and the pristine beach of Bahia de Las Águilas.

By that time, no sign of them. Just a strange stench that invaded the sand and the sea.

We questioned Melvin about what caused him.

“That's why they called Playa Del Toro.” enlighten us. “The sun and salt decompose some algae that develop on the surface. Gradually, fermentation generates this aroma. Today, it's nothing. There are days when we cannot bring anyone here.”

We cool off in the shallow blue sea. Shortly after, we changed our landing again.

Stop at a Bathing Recanto à Pinha of Instagrammers and the like

To a beach further north, equipped with infrastructure and equipment, a blessed place for a long-awaited lunch.

When we disembark, there are a few on the beach, we, Dominican and Haitian masseurs, photographers and vendors.

Melvin alerts us to a curiosity: “Notice that coconut tree almost lying down. You will see the queue that, shortly, will be generated there.”

One by one, more boats and catamarans arrive. filled with instagramers e influencers who knew the cherry tree. And that they ran to her as soon as they set foot on the sand.

Just as Melvin had warned, he soon formed and stretched out to such a line.

Much bigger and more disputed than the buffet which we soon use.

After the meal, we venture to an extension to the south of the beach, with its own structures.

Damaged by one of the many hurricanes that devastate the Antilles every year and which tropical nature had taken over.

Thirsty for blood, the mosquitoes expel them in three stages.

That's why it intrigues us twice as it passes us, on its way to the arena of cock fights of Manu Juan, an olive-green-eyed mulatto native who grabbed a rooster against a Chicago Bulls tank top.

We greet you. Let's make conversation.

Explain to us that it is your best fighting cock. That, with him, he got used to winning bets and easy money, that he almost didn't need to train him.

By then, Melvin was already looking for us. Rushed by its distant appeal, we returned to the meeting and re-boarding point.

An Afternoon Return to La Palmilla Marine Lagoon

We set sail towards Palmilla and the unavoidable attraction of any incursion to Saona, its natural pool.

Unlike other tourist boats, we have it almost to ourselves, a vast expanse of translucent cyan, warmed by the tropical sun, dotted with starfish that the guides forbid bathers to touch.

Surrendered to that Caribbean delight, we are reminded of the plan that the United States had for Saona, during the 2nd World War, to build a military base there.

This plan was fought with all his might by the contemporary Dominican president and dictator, Rafael Trujillo, who did everything he could to inhabit and civilize the island, and thus prevent an invasion that, at one point, and even during the past decade, came to seem imminent.

Nowadays, the island is home to more than three hundred families, almost all of them concentrated in Manu Juan.

It has little to do with Savona in Liguria.

Even though it is crowded, whoever has the privilege of discovering it, wouldn't trade it for anything in this world.

 

HOW TO GO:

Book your package for the Dominican Republic and its excursions – including Saona Island – marketed by operator Jolidey and available at travel agencies.

Already in Rep. Dominican Republic, you can also book your Saona Island tour or other tours through the agency Visit Dominican Republic

Lagoa Oviedo a Bahia de las Águilas, Dominican Republic

In Search of the Immaculate Dominican Beach

Against all odds, one of the most unspoiled Dominican coastlines is also one of the most remote. Discovering the province of Pedernales, we are dazzled by the semi-desert Jaragua National Park and the Caribbean purity of Bahia de las Águilas.
Oviedo Lagoon, Dominican Republic

The (very alive) Dominican Republic Dead Sea

The hypersalinity of the Laguna de Oviedo fluctuates depending on evaporation and water supplied by rain and the flow coming from the neighboring mountain range of Bahoruco. The natives of the region estimate that, as a rule, it has three times the level of sea salt. There, we discover prolific colonies of flamingos and iguanas, among many other species that make up one of the most exuberant ecosystems on the island of Hispaniola.
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Home Silver

Puerto Plata resulted from the abandonment of La Isabela, the second attempt at a Hispanic colony in the Americas. Almost half a millennium after Columbus's landing, it inaugurated the nation's inexorable tourist phenomenon. In a lightning passage through the province, we see how the sea, the mountains, the people and the Caribbean sun keep it shining.
Samaná PeninsulaLos Haitises National Park Dominican Republic

From the Samaná Peninsula to the Dominican Haitises

In the northeast corner of the Dominican Republic, where Caribbean nature still triumphs, we face an Atlantic much more vigorous than expected in these parts. There we ride on a communal basis to the famous Limón waterfall, cross the bay of Samaná and penetrate the remote and exuberant “land of the mountains” that encloses it.
Lake Enriquillo, Dominican Republic

Enriquillo: the Great Lake of the Antilles

Between 300 and 400 km2, situated 44 meters below sea level, Enriquillo is the supreme lake of the Antilles. Regardless of its hypersalinity and the stifling, atrocious temperatures, it's still increasing. Scientists have a hard time explaining why.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

The Longest Colonial Elder in the Americas

Santo Domingo is the longest-inhabited colony in the New World. Founded in 1498 by Bartholomew Colombo, the capital of the Dominican Republic preserves intact a true treasure of historical resilience.
San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Highly Walled Puerto Rico of San Juan Bautista

San Juan is the second oldest colonial city in the Americas, after the Dominican neighbor of Santo Domingo. A pioneering emporium and stop over on the route that took gold and silver from the New World to Spain, it was attacked again and again. Its incredible fortifications still protect one of the most lively and prodigious capitals in the Caribbean.
San Juan, Puerto Rico (Part 2)

To the Rhythm of Reggaeton

Restless and inventive Puerto Ricans have made San Juan the reggaeton capital of the world. At the preferred beat of the nation, they filled their “Walled City” with other arts, color and life.
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Virgin Gorda's Divine "Caribbeans"

Discovering the Virgin Islands, we disembark on a tropical and seductive seaside dotted with huge granite boulders. The Baths seem straight out of the Seychelles but they are one of the most exuberant marine scenery in the Caribbean.
Maho Beach, Sint Maarten

The Jet-powered Caribbean Beach

At first glance, Princess Juliana International Airport appears to be just another one in the vast Caribbean. Successive landings skimming Maho beach that precedes its runway, jet take-offs that distort the faces of bathers and project them into the sea, make it a special case.
Jabula Beach, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Safari
Saint Lucia, South Africa

An Africa as Wild as Zulu

On the eminence of the coast of Mozambique, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is home to an unexpected South Africa. Deserted beaches full of dunes, vast estuarine swamps and hills covered with fog fill this wild land also bathed by the Indian Ocean. It is shared by the subjects of the always proud Zulu nation and one of the most prolific and diverse fauna on the African continent.
Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Yaks
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 11th: yak karkha a Thorong Phedi, Nepal

Arrival to the Foot of the Canyon

In just over 6km, we climbed from 4018m to 4450m, at the base of Thorong La canyon. Along the way, we questioned if what we felt were the first problems of Altitude Evil. It was never more than a false alarm.
Alaskan Lumberjack Show Competition, Ketchikan, Alaska, USA
Architecture & Design
Ketchikan, Alaska

Here begins Alaska

The reality goes unnoticed in most of the world, but there are two Alaskas. In urban terms, the state is inaugurated in the south of its hidden frying pan handle, a strip of land separated from the contiguous USA along the west coast of Canada. Ketchikan, is the southernmost of Alaskan cities, its Rain Capital and the Salmon Capital of the World.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Adventure
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.
Moa on a beach in Rapa Nui/Easter Island
Ceremonies and Festivities
Easter Island, Chile

The Take-off and Fall of the Bird-Man Cult

Until the XNUMXth century, the natives of Easter Island they carved and worshiped great stone gods. All of a sudden, they started to drop their moai. The veneration of tanatu manu, a half-human, half-sacred leader, decreed after a dramatic competition for an egg.
now from above ladder, sorcerer of new zealand, Christchurch, new zealand
Cities
Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand's Cursed Wizard

Despite his notoriety in the antipodes, Ian Channell, the New Zealand sorcerer, failed to predict or prevent several earthquakes that struck Christchurch. At the age of 88, after 23 years of contract with the city, he made very controversial statements and ended up fired.
Singapore Asian Capital Food, Basmati Bismi
Meal
Singapore

The Asian Food Capital

There were 4 ethnic groups in Singapore, each with its own culinary tradition. Added to this was the influence of thousands of immigrants and expatriates on an island with half the area of ​​London. It was the nation with the greatest gastronomic diversity in the Orient.
Garranos gallop across the plateau above Castro Laboreiro, PN Peneda-Gerês, Portugal
Culture
Castro Laboreiro, Portugal  

From Castro de Laboreiro to the Rim of the Peneda – Gerês Range

We arrived at (i) the eminence of Galicia, at an altitude of 1000m and even more. Castro Laboreiro and the surrounding villages stand out against the granite monumentality of the mountains and the Planalto da Peneda and Laboreiro. As do its resilient people who, sometimes handed over to Brandas and sometimes to Inverneiras, still call these stunning places home.
Sport
Competitions

Man: an Ever Tested Species

It's in our genes. For the pleasure of participating, for titles, honor or money, competitions give meaning to the world. Some are more eccentric than others.
Tokyo's sophisticated houses, where Couchsurfing and your hosts abound.
Traveling
Couchsurfing (Part 1)

Mi Casa, Su Casa

In 2003, a new online community globalized an old landscape of hospitality, conviviality and interests. Today, Couchsurfing welcomes millions of travelers, but it shouldn't be taken lightly.
Vietnamese queue
Ethnic

Nha Trang-Doc Let, Vietnam

The Salt of the Vietnamese Land

In search of attractive coastlines in old Indochina, we become disillusioned with the roughness of Nha Trang's bathing area. And it is in the feminine and exotic work of the Hon Khoi salt flats that we find a more pleasant Vietnam.

sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

Most travel photos are taken in sunlight. Sunlight and weather form a capricious interaction. Learn how to predict, detect and use at its best.
shadow vs light
History
Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Temple Reborn from the Ashes

The Golden Pavilion has been spared destruction several times throughout history, including that of US-dropped bombs, but it did not withstand the mental disturbance of Hayashi Yoken. When we admired him, he looked like never before.
Porto Santo, view to the south of Pico Branco
Islands
Terra Chã and Pico Branco footpaths, Porto Santo

Pico Branco, Terra Chã and Other Whims of the Golden Island

In its northeast corner, Porto Santo is another thing. With its back facing south and its large beach, we unveil a mountainous, rugged and even wooded coastline, dotted with islets that dot an even bluer Atlantic.
Horses under a snow, Iceland Never Ending Snow Island Fire
Winter White
Husavik a Myvatn, Iceland

Endless Snow on the Island of Fire

When, in mid-May, Iceland already enjoys some sun warmth but the cold and snow persist, the inhabitants give in to an intriguing summer anxiety.
View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa
Literature
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Jeep crosses Damaraland, Namibia
Nature
Damaraland, Namíbia

Namibia On the Rocks

Hundreds of kilometers north of Swakopmund, many more of Swakopmund's iconic dunes Sossuvlei, Damaraland is home to deserts interspersed with hills of reddish rock, the highest mountain and ancient rock art of the young nation. the settlers South Africans they named this region after the Damara, one of the Namibian ethnic groups. Only these and other inhabitants prove that it remains on Earth.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Autumn
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Thingvelir, Origins Democracy Iceland, Oxará
Natural Parks
Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

The Origins of the Remote Viking Democracy

The foundations of popular government that come to mind are the Hellenic ones. But what is believed to have been the world's first parliament was inaugurated in the middle of the XNUMXth century, in Iceland's icy interior.
Playa Nogales, La Palma, Canary Islands
UNESCO World Heritage
La Palma, Canary Islands

The "Isla Bonita" of the Canary Islands

In 1986 Madonna Louise Ciccone launched a hit that popularized the attraction exerted by a island imaginary. Ambergris Caye, in Belize, reaped benefits. On this side of the Atlantic, the palmeros that's how they see their real and stunning Canaria.
Ooty, Tamil Nadu, Bollywood Scenery, Heartthrob's Eye
Characters
Ooty, India

In Bollywood's Nearly Ideal Setting

The conflict with Pakistan and the threat of terrorism made filming in Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh a drama. In Ooty, we see how this former British colonial station took the lead.
View of Casa Iguana, Corn islands, pure caribbean, nicaragua
Beaches
Corn Islands - Islas del Maíz , Nicaragua

pure caribbean

Perfect tropical settings and genuine local life are the only luxuries available in the so-called Corn Islands or Corn Islands, an archipelago lost in the Central American confines of the Caribbean Sea.
Fort São Filipe, Cidade Velha, Santiago Island, Cape Verde
Religion
Cidade Velha, Cape Verde

Cidade Velha: the Ancient of the Tropico-Colonial Cities

It was the first settlement founded by Europeans below the Tropic of Cancer. In crucial times for Portuguese expansion to Africa and South America and for the slave trade that accompanied it, Cidade Velha became a poignant but unavoidable legacy of Cape Verdean origins.

The Toy Train story
On Rails
Siliguri a Darjeeling, India

The Himalayan Toy Train Still Running

Neither the steep slope of some stretches nor the modernity stop it. From Siliguri, in the tropical foothills of the great Asian mountain range, the Darjeeling, with its peaks in sight, the most famous of the Indian Toy Trains has ensured for 117 years, day after day, an arduous dream journey. Traveling through the area, we climb aboard and let ourselves be enchanted.
Society
Dali, China

Chinese Style Flash Mob

The time is set and the place is known. When the music starts playing, a crowd follows the choreography harmoniously until time runs out and everyone returns to their lives.
the projectionist
Daily life
Sainte-Luce, Martinique

The Nostalgic Projectionist

From 1954 to 1983, Gérard Pierre screened many of the famous films arriving in Martinique. 30 years after the closing of the room in which he worked, it was still difficult for this nostalgic native to change his reel.
Esteros del Iberá, Pantanal Argentina, Alligator
Wildlife
Iberá Wetlands, Argentina

The Pantanal of the Pampas

On the world map, south of the famous brazilian wetland, a little-known flooded region appears, but almost as vast and rich in biodiversity. the Guarani expression Y bera defines it as “shining waters”. The adjective fits more than its strong luminance.
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.
PT EN ES FR DE IT