is a tropical island
located a short distance from the mainland on the south-east tip of
the Dominican Republic, near La Romana Province. It is a government
protected nature reserve and a popular destination for tourists from
all over the Dominican Republic, thousands of people arrive in
fleets of catamarans and small motorboats every day. The Island is
famous for the natural beauty of its beaches, and has been used on
many occasions by film-makers and advertisers looking for a
stereotypical 'desert island' setting for their film or product.
It is promoted amongst European visitors as the setting for the
famous Bounty chocolate bar adverts.
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. These are once again
popular with the tourist trade, with small boats stopping hundreds
of meters off the beach and disgorging tourists into the waist-deep
shallows where they snorkel, drink and check out the fields of
starfish indigenous to the region.
The Island Saona
was baptized "Saona" by Columbus, who discovered it in
may 1494 on his way to the Americas. The name was meant to honor the
commune of Savona, where Columbus lived at the time. Columbus named
Michele da Cuneo, his friend and a savonese himself, first governor
of the island. Saona Island and the modern city Savona, in Italy,
still have twinning relationships; the small power plant in Saona
Island is a gift of Savona.