Enjoy the white sand and other attractions of this historic island during your stay in La Romana, Dominican Republic.
In the fifteenth century, pirates, including Francis Drake, lurked around Catalina Island, waiting to assault the Spanish ships that sailed to and from Santo Domingo.
Today, this island is surrounded by fine coral reefs teeming with fish in shallow waters; It is a popular destination for groups that stay near Casa de Campo.
Catalina Island or Serena Key, as the local producers call it, is a beautiful island of white sand near the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic.
It is a protected natural park where, of course, there are no buildings. Unknown to many travel agents and tourists, the beach is completely protected from the wind, thanks to which, the sea is always in absolute calm.
Catalina’s waters abound in coral reefs, including the “Living Museum of the Sea” after the discovery, after three centuries, of the shipwreck of Captain Kidd 70 feet (21 meters) deep in the vicinity of the island.
As part of the route of the Underwater Museums of La Romana, the wreck of Captain Kidd became famous due to its discovery by a tourist and a subsequent documentary of National Geographic.
It is a place to dock cruises, where passengers have the opportunity to discover this famous historic Caribbean island.
Most groups spend a couple of hours diving and having lunch, and the divers head for a steep descent called The Wall.
You have the possibility to rent a boat (most of the tourism companies in the area, from Bayahibe to La Romana, to Punta Cana and Bávaro offer this service) to go to a little visited beach on the other side of the island.
Isla Catalina is officially part of the Cotubanamá National Park protected area, (formerly known as Parque Nacional del Este) includes eight emerged reef terraces, 400 caverns, some with pictographs and ceramic remains, and Catalinita Islands, Catalina Island, as well as Saona Island .
Designated as a national park in 1975, it extends over 310 km2 of territory, most of which is semi-humid forest.
White sands and beautiful reefs on Catalina Island
Isla Catalina can be considered an ideal model of fun in the tropics, a type of living design to manage an area dedicated to tourism and preserve much of the authentic nature.
This small island, nevertheless, surprises by its small dimensions that do not reach the 15 square kilometers, of which a kilometer of beach has been used for the handling of tourists who seek exclusively the fun under the sun; taking advantage of the perfect sands and waters with an optimal temperature, and an ideal sea for all water sports.
You will be able to find all the colors that can exist in the tropical universe, and enjoy alternative isolation for a sublime communication with the environment.
Catalina Island has three (3) important beaches (from the West, North and East), two of which have a great potential for the sustainable development of tourism (East and West), although at present it only has one (that of the West).
In addition to these beaches, which occupy more than two thirds of its coastline, Catalina Island has very unique rocky coasts which border its southern part, forming cliffs.
Two of them have great potential for the sustainable development of tourism (East and West), although at present they only use one (the West).
From the beach, a gentle slope leads to the impressive wall (The Hall) that descends more than 100 meters deep, with two impressive steps at 25 and 40 meters.
The entire slope of the beach to El Muro is a true coral and fauna upholstery, a platform of thousands of square meters less than 3 meters deep, ideal for lung diving.
Possibly the best place in the Caribbean for this activity. Every centimeter of this fund is covered in sponges and corals.
The depth of this exceptional and unique terrace varies from 1.5 to 6 meters. Without a doubt, it is a privileged place. Another dive spot is THE AQUARIUS. The name says it all. There are incredible coral and fauna formations that await for you.
Raccoons on Catalina Island
Catalina is the only place in the Dominican Republic where you can find face to face with maps and wild forests, subsisting on a habitat that they have already made theirs.
Considered the exotic in this part of the planet.
Although they are allowed to photograph, they are kept at a safe distance from the tourist. They usually leave in the afternoon for food exchanges, once the visitors have left.
heir conservation instincts are admirable. They have the ability to detect the arrival of the cruise ships, and immediately they all go to the disembarking area
During your visit to the island, in addition to enjoying a day of beach in the Caribbean style, you can find a buffet lunch in Casa de Campo restaurants, as well as go shopping in some small shops or discover typical dances that sometimes take place
It is a very nice place for fishing where they have caught fish from Guatapaná, horse mackerel, Scombridae and other warm waters species.
Things to do
Although small in size, Catalina Island gathers an amazing list of exciting activities above and below the surface. Here are some ideas for things to do on the island to inspire your next adventure.
For those who love beaches, Isla Catalina is the epitome of the Caribbean Paradise. With calm turquoise waters as clear as the summer sky and plenty of palm trees to shade.
Playa Grande at the eastern end is more exclusive, and one of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic. It’s worth a visit!
Diving, Snorkeling and SNUBA.
Diving at Isla Catalina, in the Dominican Republic, is a perfect escape from this world (at least for an hour or so).
On the east side is “El Muro”, a majestic wall that extends from the island to the Caribbean Sea. Snorkelers can also explore the Wall because the top of the reef is only 15 feet away.
On the west side of the island is the “Aquarium“. True to its name, diving here can feel like swimming in a real-life aquarium with an abundance of tropical fish at arm’s length.
Many times, curious stingrays will rise from their bed of sand or an elegant eagle will swim enchanting the divers with their graceful movements.
With such an exciting variety of underwater activities to try, Isla Catalina is the perfect excursion for families of all ages.
Birdwatching and hiking
A natural monument, Isla Catalina, is a bird sanctuary for several species native to the Caribbean. At the eastern end of the island (near the big beach) you will find a path to explore the natural landscape while watching the birds.
It is an easy short walk that is ideal for all levels. At the end of the walk, you will reach a cliff with incredible views of the island.
Pirates and Shipwrecks
For pirate enthusiasts, a short distance from the island is the shipwreck Quedagh Merchant of the 1700s, the infamous Captain William Kidd. No ordinary ship, the Quedagh carried a lot of treasures.
Kidd seized the ship and sailed to the Caribbean, was finally captured and returned to England, where he was convicted and hanged for piracy. The whereabouts of the Quedagh merchant has been a mystery for centuries until 2007.
Today, the latest ship of the scandalous Captain William Kidd has been named “Living Museum of the Sea” by the University of Indiana and the government of the Dominican Republic.
Zip Line Eco Tour
Experience the thrill of soaring to 600 feet above sea level, through five high-speed zip lines on this incredible zip-line ecological excursion.
After an equipment security and adjustment briefing, you will sail along 1,100 lineal feet of line (335 meters), about three quarters of a mile, and fly about 300 feet (91 meters) above the scenic canyon floors.
Daredevils and thrill seekers will love reaching speeds of 40 miles per hour while flying in this epic adventure. Shoot through five zip-lines on a 2-hour tour
45 minute glass bottom boat tour from Avalon
Embark on the Pacific Ocean from Catalina Island on a 45-minute crystal-bottom boat tour that explores Lover’s Cove, a protected marine reserve.
See the underwater world beneath your feet for a close-up experience of California marine life. Take a look at the kelp forest, and marine creatures like garibaldi, seaweed, leopard sharks, bat rays, moray eels and maybe a sea turtle if you’re lucky.
Departures are available throughout the day, which makes it easy to fit into your schedule.
Semi-submarine tour from Avalon
Discover the underwater world of Catalina Island during a 45 minute trip in a semi-submarine. The semi-sub allows you to see the marine life of Avalon Bay while diving six feet (two meters) below the surface at Lovers’ Cove.
Stay dry while watching closely the fish that feed around the submarine, then enjoy the views of the island from the top deck of your boat during the trip back to Avalon.
Discover the Catalina Island Casino
Go back to the days when the bands were big and the movies started talking with a guided tour of the Casino.
The casino, dating from 1929, symbolizes the glamorous period of Santa Catalina Island and houses art deco murals. Watch a short film about the history of the building and the connection to Hollywood and see the pipe organ of the 1920s inside the Avalon Theater, which still shows movies on its big screen.
If you are planning a trip to the Dominican Republic and are looking for the perfect destination away from the usual routes, be sure to add the beautiful Catalina Island to your wish list.