Things to Do in La Romana
The national park-protected Saona Island (or Isla Saona) lies just off the southern coast of the Dominican Republic.
Lovely beaches fringe this remote slice of heaven, with the best swimming at Mano Juan and Punta Gorda. It’s an ideal beach getaway for a day’s excursion by catamaran.
The population numbers little more than 300 lucky souls, and beach and eco-touring activities are the main drawcards, along with the island’s lagoons, caves and offshore snorkeling.
The island measures around 15 miles long by 3 miles wide (25 kilometers by 5 kilometers).
This tiny island just 1.5 miles off the mainland provides a peaceful respite for those looking to escape the hustle of Dominican Republic’s busier city streets. Most hotels offer shuttle buses to boat docks. A reasonable ride delivers passengers to the sand dunes, mangroves and coral reefs that make this island a destination for visitors. Avid divers will enjoy weaving in and out of the numerous reefs that surround Isla Cantina. Stingrays and tropical fish are a near guarantee here. Less experienced water lovers can spend the day snorkeling in some of the clearest waters this country has to offer.
If you’re wondering what it was like several centuries ago on the island of the Dominican Republic, then you should head to Altos de Chavón, a recreated 16th-century village built in La Romana near the Chavón River. Sculpted in stone, the site is an impressive example of what a Mediterranean-inspired village would have looked like on the island long ago.
Construction began in 1976 with the goal of having Altos de Chavón serve as a center for Dominican Republic culture. The site was created using the local handiwork of the people of the island; much of the stonework and metal carvings seen here were handcrafted by local artisans, which continues to draw attention to the craftwork that was once so prominent in island life. Much of Altos de Chavón is made of stone, and its coastal location provides a dramatic and inspiring backdrop. Visitors to Altos de Chavón will find restaurants, shops and even a 5,000-seat amphitheater where concerts and other performances are held.
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