Isla Catalina

If you are looking for an island that will truly be an escape, then Isla Catalina is the answer. No, this is not the Catalina off the California coast, but it is just a forty-five-minute boat ride from Casa de Campo, in the Dominican Republic. Discovered by Christopher Columbus, it has remained uninhabited to this day. Only nine and a half square kilometers, it is a preservation of the main Caribbean eco-systems which include sand dunes, mangroves, and reefs, just to name a few.

Catalina is perfect for a day of swimming, hiking and exploring. The entire island is formed out of coral stone and has three overlapping plateaus. The highest elevation is sixty feet above sea level! In fact, there is absolutely no fresh water on the island. There is only one water source the animals drink from, and even it has traces of salt in it.

Take advantage of this island that remains untainted by the fast-paced society that so many are all too accustomed to. Amaze yourself while marveling at the exotic birds, wild monkeys and "rattleless" rattlesnakes that call this island paradise home. Relax, take a deep breath, and cleanse your soul while sitting on the salted white sands. During the day, try to distinguish where the sea ends and the sky begins. At sunset, be mesmerized at how the colors of flames set fire to the sky and be transported to another world.

Docking & Local Transportation

Cruise ships dock directly at the small island of Catalina.

The island is uninhabited. All traveling is done on foot.

Local Interests

Catalina is an island preservation. Therefore, it is forbidden for anything to be built that would upset the eco-system. Although there are no locals, it is prepared for its visitors. The Searcher is a boat that goes out exploring the Caribbean Sea searching for dolphins. The abundance of these mammals are so great, the sightseer will not go home unsatisfied.

The waters are so pristine around this island that snorkeling is an activity that applies to the beginner as well as the professional. You will be able to see marine life everywhere you look. Lobsters, sea fans, sea rods, big barrel sponges, and black coral thrive.

A short boat ride to Casa de Campo on the mainland of the Dominican Republic can supply you with shops and restaurants you need if you start to feel like too much of a castaway. The cruise ships, however, will supply you with meals while visiting Isla Catalina, so there is no need to worry about where you will be able to eat.

Activities

Isla Catalina is full of natural beauty and wonder that will make for a delightful day of pristine exploration. A self-guided walking tour around this island will reveal to you scenic plateaus of lush vegetation, intertwined with numerous species of birds, as well as wild pigs and rabbits. Make sure to keep your cameras and camcorders by your side, for you will definitely want to record these stunning visuals to marvel at in the future.