Dominican Republic part 2: Las Terrenas, Bayahibe, Saona Island

This is a second part of our travel memories from Dominican Republic. Click the link to see Dominican Republic part 1: Bavaro Beach, Santo Domingo, Las Galeras.

Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

Because of the broken car and the time we spent waiting for  a replacement in Las Galeras, we came to Las Terrenas quite late. We checked in Hotel Balata and drove to a city center where we had a dinner in very nice place at the seaside.

The next day we woke up early, ate breakfast in the hotel and drove to the Rancho La Playa where – after postponing it once day because of the car issue – we had a horse riding session scheduled.

Rancho Playa, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: W, lilmissboho.com
Rancho Playa, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com

Rancho La Playa makes very good impression – owner is very warm and the horses seem clean and well-kept. Altogether with the horses, 3 guides were assigned to us to make sure we have a safe trip. Starting from Rancho la Playa we had a short walk through the city, then turned to the woods where we’ve been riding for about 40 minutes before reaching the beach. The weather was quite moody that day and we got caught by a rain twice but we didn’t complain as the horse riding experience was truly rewarding.

Horse-riding-in-Las-Terrenas-Dominican-Republic-lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com
Horse-riding-in-Las-Terrenas-Dominican-Republic-lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com
Horse riding in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: W, lilmissboho.com

After we reached beautiful, empty beach we spent some time photo shooting. Then we went further along the shore. Accompanied by our guides we’ve been stepping most of the time but trip included also some trotting – not as easy as it may seem if you’re a beginner ;)) We came back bit tired but very happy. Total experience took us around 2 hours and we paid 55 USD per person. We can fully recommend booking a ride with Rancho La Playa!

Horse-riding-on-the-beach-in-Las-Terrenas-Dominican-Republic-lilmissboho.com
Photo: Rancho La Playa, lilmissboho.com
Horse-riding-on-the-beach-in-Las-Terrenas-Dominican-Republic-lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com
Horse-riding-on-the-beach-in-Las-Terrenas-Dominican-Republic-lilmissboho.com
Photo: Rancho La Playa, lilmissboho.com

We packed ourselves into the car and drove south. Next stop: La Romana where we returned rented car and then by bus to Bayahibe.

Bayahibe, Dominican Republic

Bayahibe was a 1 night stop on a way to our dream destination: Saona Island. We went there with no hotel booked and decided to stay in Hotel Taino which we found on the fly.

Bayahibe is small town with a nice harbor where all the small boats park. There is not much happening around and you can walk whole town in 20 minutes therefore I wouldn’t recommend staying there longer than 1 – 2 days unless you really aim for total chillout and relax all days long.

Bayahibe, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com
Port in Bayahibe, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com

The next morning we went to the harbor to meet a man taking us to Saona Island by boat. We were a bit surprised to see how small the boat is as it was supposed to fit four of us, driver and all our luggage. Well it fit all of that plus 4 extra people with LOTS of food supplies for acuaintances running their food business on the island.

Port in Bayahibe, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: W, lilmissboho.com
Boat from Bayahibe to Saona Island, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com

The ride by the motorboat was an experience itself. We’ve been driving for almost an hour bouncing on each wave which seemed scary at the beginning but turned funny after a while.

On-a-boat-to-Saona-Island-Dominican-Republic-lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com

Saona Island, Dominican Republic

Saona Island is truly beautiful paradise island. We were greeted with splendid view of white sandy beaches, tropical palm trees and colorful houses located right on the beach.

Saona Island, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com
Saona Island, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com
Casa Rural El Paraíso on the Saona Island, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com

Most of the tourists come to spend there only few hours but we decided to stay for a night to fully embrace this wonderful place. We stayed in the only hotel we were able to find: Casa Rural el Paraiso.

Casa Rural El Paraíso on the Saona Island, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: W, lilmissboho.com
View from Saona Island, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com
View from Casa Rural El Paraíso on the Saona Island, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com
Saona Island, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com

Casa Rural el Paraiso offers pretty basic lodging so don’t expect any luxury there. I would normally recommend staying there as the atmosphere of the tropical island night cannot be compared to anything else, unfortunately we got bitten by bed bugs very badly there… As of now I can see it’s the only option if you want to spend a night on Saona Island so I hope either there are more accomodation options in the future or the management of Casa Rural el Paraiso takes better care of cleanliness…

After we reached Casa Rural and refreshed a bit, we decided to have a walk to the beach located 5km to the east. We had a nice walk through the woods and then enjoyed our time on the most beautiful beach I have seen so far. Beaches are a main highlight of the country and I truly don’t believe I will ever see any more beautiful than those I’ve seen in Dominican Republic.

Donkeys of Saona Island, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com
On a way to the beach, Saona Island, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com
Beach of Saona Island, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com
Beach of Saona Island, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: W, lilmissboho.com

After coming back we spent some time relaxing, chilling out and then had a dinner prepared on the beach especially for us. It seemed like it’s only the four of us plus few inhabitants on the island. Sparkling stars, sound of waves, palm trees’ shadows in the moonlight and drinks drunk straight from the coconut picked up from a palm tree 5 minutes before – it was a wonderful experience that I will never forget!

Evening at Saona Island, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: W, lilmissboho.com
Chillout at Saona Island, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: W, lilmissboho.com
Night-in-Saona-Island-Dominican-Republic-lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com
Night-in-Saona-Island-Dominican-Republic-lilmissboho.com
Photo: Michał, lilmissboho.com

Next morning we were surprised by a huge rain that forced us to stay hidden and delayed the ride back a bit. On our way back to Bayahibe we made 1 more stop in natural swimming pool – bay of wonderful color and with water so shallow even the kids could swim safely.

Chillout at Saona Island, Dominican Republic - lilmissboho.com
Photo: Marta, lilmissboho.com
Natural-swimming-pool-Saona-Island-Dominican-Republic-lilmissboho.com
Photo: W, lilmissboho.com

Back to reality

Night spent on Saona Island was a penultimate one during our stay in Dominican Republic. After reaching Bayahibe we went back to Bavaro, Punta Cana where we had a plane home on the next day. It was hard to face reality after 1,5 week spent in paradise and -8 Celcius degrees in Berlin didn’t make it easier ;))

Got any questions about our holidays? Let me know in the comment as I’m always happy to share more details and travel tips! I hope you enjoyed the post! Kisses. Marta.

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