• Language and Culture in the Dominican Republic and Cuba

Island paradise!

(This is about our day on Saturday)

Getting up this morning was difficult. We had to meet at FLACSO at 6 am so that we could catch a bus at 7 am. We were all so tired from the previous day that getting up at 5 am to get ready for the day was a struggle, but we were all really excited about the plans for the day. We got to spend the entire day on an island called Isla Saona (Saona Island).

The ride on the bus to the port where we got on a boat to go to the island was about 3 hours with one stop. We stopped briefly at a little shopping area so that people could go to the bathroom and get something to eat or drink.

When we got to the port, we walked down to the water and waited for the boats to come pick us up. There was quite an assortment of people waiting to go to Isla Saona, including people from France, Canada, Italy, America, as well as some Dominicans. It was a decent number of people—we filled three boats full!

When the boats finally arrived, we all loaded on and we were off to the island! The boats were small and fast—lots of fun to ride on as they bounced over the waves. Even though the boats were pretty fast, it still took us about 40 minutes to reach the island. Before we actually got to land, though, we stopped in a certain part of the water that wasn’t very deep—less than four feet—and got into the water.

It was so clear and blue that you could see the bottom clearly. There were so many starfish in that part and we were able to pick them up and get photos with them! They can only be out of the water for 30 seconds at a time or they will die, but it was really cool to get photos with them. They are very spiny and can get pretty big!

After about a half hour in the water, we got back on our boats and finally made it to our island. At this point, we had all been up for at least 6 hours but our excitement overwhelmed our exhaustion. The island is quite literally paradise. The water is blue, the sand is soft, there are palm trees, and it was sunny and warm. We couldn’t have asked for a better day to spend on an island!

Everything on the island was included in our ticket, so we had a really good lunch buffet around 1 pm. It included chicken, fruit, rice, fish, vegetables, bread, and pasta. While we were on the island, we were free to do what we wanted so we went in the water, walked on the beach, and relaxed in the chairs on the beach and talked to each other. It was pure perfection.

When our day on the island was finished, we got back on the little boats. This time, however, we took the boats about a minute away to a catamaran. The catamaran was really cool—nets suspended over the water that you could sit on, a little area to dance, and lots of seating along the sides of the boat. It was a really cool experience and totally worth the extra time it took to get back to the bus.

When we got back to land, we got on the bus again so that we could return to Santo Domingo for dinner. We didn’t arrive back in Santo Domingo until 8 pm, so it was about 8:30 pm by the time we all made it back to our houses. We all really enjoyed the day and were ready for bed when we got back!

Sunday is a free day for us to spend with our host families and exploring the city as we please. I won’t have much to update about that day, so look for another post on Monday night or Tuesday morning. As always, thanks for reading!