This description is very misleading. Take advantage of the many aquatic and beach activities available on-site own expense. There aren't any activities. You can drink, eat and get a massage if you want, that is it. Many tours only give you three hours on Saona Island this one provides a whopping six! is also a lie. We got 2 and a half hrs at the beach. We left our hotel in Santo Domingo at 6:45 am and got to the beach at 1 and left at 3:30. The scenic 2 hr drive is a not scenic 3 hr drive. The island is pretty but its too far from Santo Domingo to be worth it especially since there are no actual activities to do on the island, at least not with this company.
First let me say that a tour is made up of several elements. The actual experience on Saona Island and the Fast Catamaran Cruise to Saona, the Slow Catamaran Cruise back the time in the water and time spent on the beach were fabulous and a must do.
Here is why I rate this tour so low.
1: We were told that our pick up would be at 6.40 am which meant no breakfast from our hotel. We were never picked up until 7.30 am and had to walk to another location.
2: The van used was a small 25 seater mini bus that had 25 people in it. The seats were extremely small and close making the three hour drive yes three hour drive from Santo Domingo a very difficult one. A coach bus should have been used for this amount of passengers.
3: Our guide was the worst guide I have ever had in 35 years of travel. To this day I don't know his name as he never introduced himself. On a three hour drive he spoke once and told us about the sugar cane factory. On the way to the island on the Catamaran he slept the entire trip, on the beach after lunch he slept the entire time and on the way back to the bus on the Catamaran he slept the entire trip. Simply unacceptable.
4: Food, not having breakfast we stopped at a tourist shop to use the bathroom after two hours. There was no food to buy but small choices of snacks. By the time we go to Saona Island at 12.30 pm no lunch was ready. We were told lunch would be ready by 1.00 pm. They did not start severing food until 1.25 pm and then there was another tour in the Buffett line as we did not eat until 1.45 pm. Note it's the first time for the day we are eating. There should have been some sort of breakfast be it danishes or sandwiches provided in the morning.
5: On both trips to the island the staff sort of pressured you into tipping. There were not demanding but we certainting in your face. I was sound asleep on the way back on the net hanging over the ocean to be touched and waken by one of the bar girl selling me that they are collecting tips for the staff. Asking is one thing but touching me and waking me to ask for a tip is certainly unacceptable.
I want to again say that Saona is a beautiful place and the ocean wonderful to swim in. But this tour operator simply cut too many corners to maximize profit at the expense of our experience.
This is a really fantastic way to spend a day. The drive to Bayahibe is approximately two hours and once you arrive you take a motorized boat over to the catamaran where you await more groups. There are approximately 50-60 people that you ride over with to Saona Island. Once we arrived it was very disorganized getting off the catamaran and over to the island. They were allowing the last group to arrive to the catamaran off first and where we were the part of the first group to arrive we should have been let off first as we had to wait for the last group to arrive. There were already other groups there and we spent a little less than three hours before we got back on the boats to go to the lagoon. Again this was disorganized as they just started yelling to people it's time to go. The lagoon we were motored out to was absolutely amazing and so beautiful.
Areas where there are room for improvement are that staff should stop serving people once they have had too much to drink. One guy was clearly intoxicated as he could not even walk in a straight line nor walk without falling over, yet continued to be served. He was walking in to people and at no point did any of the staff help him. Also, if they kept a first aid kit as a young boy had gotten stung by a bee and the stinger was stuck in his fingers. More organization when getting on and off the boats would help this process move along smoother. Whether you give colored bands to the groups when they arrive to help with this process.
Overall a great day to a beautiful place!!!