5 incredible marine animals that you can see on Saona Island – Dominican Republic

Five Incredible Marine Animals That You Can See on Saona Island


Five Incredible Marine Animals That You Can See on Saona Island

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Trips to the Dominican Republic offer endless experiences that you should enjoy at least once in a lifetime. What’s more, it will be difficult for you to choose which of them you want to do first and how many you are going to sign up for. In this post we’ll talk about 5 incredible marine animals that we can see on Saona Island (Punta Cana).

If you’re staying in one of the best areas of Punta Cana, like Playa Bávaro, you can use your accommodation as your starting point and decide on the destinations for these activities. 

There is one place we especially recommend visiting, especially if you love exotic animals and nature in general. We’re talking about Saona Island.

If you’ve found a resort close to Saona Island, they can most likely give you all the information you need for going on a day trip to Saona Island and how to book it. They will also explain how and what this activity is all about.

White sandy beaches on Saona Island – Dominican Republic

Visiting Saona Island

Saona Island is part of the Del Este National Park, now called Cotubanamá. It has a special charm and is perhaps one of the most paradisiacal places in the Dominican Republic.

It is known for its mangroves and humid forests, as well as for its beaches, full of palm trees, made up of incredibly white sand. In its shallow waters, you can easily enjoy seeing the coral reef that surrounds it. 

The island has two sparsely populated towns: Mano Juan and Playa Catuano. These towns are made up of just 69 brightly coloured houses, whose inhabitants are mainly fishermen. 

The seabed on Saona Island is easy to enjoy. Its shallow waters form easily accessible natural pools in some areas. You’ll see that the water is so clear that you won’t miss a thing. 

In the waters on Saona Island there are so many marine animals and species of fish and coral that make it one of the most important ecological reserves in the country.

What marine animals can we find on Saona Island?

Before answering this question, you should first know what material you’ll need to be able to see the most amazing sea animals. You simply have to equip yourself with a pair of goggles and a snorkel tube and some fins. That’s all you need to spend hours admiring the wonders of the sea on this island. 

Sea turtles on Saona Island – Dominican Republic

Sea turtles

There are several species of turtles that inhabit these waters of Saona Island: loggerhead, hawksbill, green turtle and the leatherback. Perhaps the most common and well-known of them all is the hawksbill turtle, highly valued on the illegal market and in critical danger of extinction. 

One of the most interesting places on Saona Island is the Mano Juan Sanctuary, where you can learn about the Sea Turtle Conservation Project.

This place is in charge of monitoring the laying of eggs in the open air by female turtles, by means of GPS. Thus, they can protect them in the event they are located in an area of transit or are too exposed, to prevent them from being stolen by poachers. 

In these cases, the eggs are rescued and transferred to the sanctuary for surveillance, where they are incubated until the young hatch and are returned to the sea.

The existence of turtles is very important for the survival of the reef ecosystem, since their diet balances out the uncontrolled growth of species that can ruin it, such as sponges. 

Starfish on Saona Island – Dominican Republic


This is one of the most beautiful marine animals due to its curious structure. They live on the seabed and their strong and bright colours serve to scare off their predators. 

On the seabed of the coral reef on Saona Island, you will be able to see incredible starfish, which will become an irreplaceable memory of your holidays in the Dominican Republic. 

Of course, you must bear in mind that they are extremely sensitive to light and water contamination. They should never be taken out of the water, nor should they be touched, since they can be killed in just a few seconds. 

Although it may not seem like it a priori, they play an important role in marine life, since they absorb carbon from the oceans, thus helping to maintain the reef ecosystem.

Manatees on Saona Island – Dominican Republic


Did you know that the Dominican Republic is the first country to create protection laws for this animal? On Saona Island there is an important community of manatees. 

Manatees, or “sea cows”, are curious and calm mammals that literally graze on the shallow seabed. The female manatees are very good mothers, feeding their offspring for at least two years. 

They have the unique characteristic of being able to live both in fresh and salt water, although always near the coast. 

Manatees inspired the history of mermaids, fuelling myths and legends throughout history and across different cultures.

Dolphins on Saona Isla - Dominican Republic


Being able to see these creatures up close or even swim with them is a unique experience for you to enjoy during your stay in Punta Cana and Playa Bávaro. They are intelligent and playful animals and you can learn a lot about their habits and way of life. 

You are very likely to see dolphins on your journey to Saona Island. They love to accompany the boats that are going to and from the island, since they are incredibly curious animals. 

They are without a doubt one of the friendliest and most loved animals by all people.

Butterfly fish and other tropical fish on Saona Island – Dominican Republic

Fish: Butterflyfish, queen angelfish, tropical marine fish

Fish are the most populous inhabitants of these shallow reefs, which provide food and shelter for countless species of tropical fish. They are found in warm waters and at a shallow depth, between 20 and 40 metres. 

On Saona Island there are up to 87 different species of tropical fish, with striking colours that help them blend in with the patterns and shadows of the marine reefs where they live. 

Without a doubt, swimming among them will be an exhilarating experience, observing their colours, shapes and way of life.

Stingrays on Saona Island – Dominican Republic


Another of the most striking inhabitants of the coral reefs on Saona Island is the manta ray. It moves along the seabed as if it were a bird. Its large body and two triangular-shaped pectoral fins are reminiscent of bird wings. 

They can be very large and reach between 3 and 5 metres long. Their diet consists basically of zooplankton and therefore their behaviour is relatively sedentary in coastal areas and reefs. 

If you are lucky enough to see them, you’ll have the joy of watching their hypnotic way of swimming through the tropical waters. 

As you can see, Saona Island is a true paradise, an authentic beach and coastal experience whose waters and marine animals are full of surprises. 

Be sure to visit this island that has so much to offer!

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