Snorkeling with Sharks and Rays...in the open ocean!!
This Punta Cana excursion takes you to two Islands in the Caribbean sea: Catalinita Island and Saona Island. And we will reach the border between the “Atlantic Ocean” and the “Caribbean Sea”: you'll see the huge Atlantic waves been flattend on the sand banks of the Caribbean. To keep the tour exclusive we only take 20 people per trip. We will snorkel from the boat at Cayo Raton, a very productive reef with large sea creatures (reef sharks and large sting rays!). We'll spend the afternoon on Saona Island, where you can snorkel from the beach at "The Piers" and relax on Catuano beach.
Our driver will pick you up between 06:45am and 07:15am in the reception of your hotel. The fare to Bayahibe takes +- 1.5 hours. You will drive through the country side and you will pass several villages, there is a lot to see.... At 08:30am you will arrive in Bayahibe. More details with regards to the transport, payments etc. can be read at the page FAQ.
In Bayahibe everybody will be kitted with fins and snorkel masks. We board the boat and after +- 20 minutes we'll reach the rocks of Penón and the Mangrove forest.
We turn into the Bay of Calderas. We have obtained special permission from the National Park management to visit this protected area. We will come in a few meters from to the breeding colonies of frigate birds. After leaving the mangroves we'll go east towards the small island of Catalinita. On the right hand side (South) you see Saona and to the left (north) we cruise along side the main island of the Dominican Republic.
Before we reach Catalinita we will make our first snorkel stop at Cayo Raton. The guide will first give snorkel instruction and will than guide you on a special route through the reef. This reef is unique because the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea here. The larger fish of the (colder) Atlantic Ocean hunt for the smaller tropical fish of the Caribbean here. Regularly we snorkel with 6-7 ft reef sharks and with large stingrays. When lucky you can see the green sea-turtle or the 'Carey': the hornbill turtle. The corals are beautiful, with giant sponges and purple sea fans. The current will take you over the reef and the boat will follow.... Guests who don't want to snorkel can stay on the boat on watch for the sharks :).
After the snorkel session we will go the uninhabited Isla Catalinita, untouched by tourism. We'll leave the boat on the sandbank and we will walk along the shore to see the graveyard of the thousands of conch shells left here by the local fishermen. We will reach the "jacuzzi" to relax and enjoy the remoteness of this small island.....
After our stay on Catalinita we will go to Saona Island. We land on Catuano Beach: a beautiful beach lined with palm trees, cristal clear water and pure white sand. Beach chairs and hammocks are available. Just after midday we will enjoy a traditional Dominican buffet lunch, with grilled fish, chicken, pork chops and an array of salads, pastas and fruits. You can enjoy the beach, swim or scroll along the little artisan - souvenier shops.
Those who want can join the snorkeling tour at "the Piers". The old pier of Catuano beach was destroyed by hurricane George in 1998. Only the concrete pillars remain, and they have become a refuse for numerous fish and sea creatures. The water is crystal clear and the dept ranges from 3 ft to 20 ft. The pillars house numerous corals and the spot is unique because you can observe the sealife that lives on various depts. We snorkel from the beach so everybody can determine his or her own schedule. The guides will be there to help the less experienced snorkelers.
On the way back to Bayahibe we stop at the "Piscina Natural". The large sand bank is well-known for the indigenous starfish. We will toast on hopefully a great snorkel day and after 30 minutes we board the boat again for our last stretch back to Bayahibe.