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Just 45 minutes by boat from the shores of Casa de Campo lies a paradise of crystal-clear waters, white sand, palm trees, and corals. Yes, it’s Catalina Island, one of the four adjacent islands of the Dominican Republic.
For residents and visitors who wish to experience a pristine island, Casa de Campo offers daily excursions to Catalina, departing at 10:00 in the morning from Minitas Beach. The return is at 1:45 in the afternoon.
This is a few-hour excursion highly recommended for those with limited time. It can be done with family and in a safe manner, as people are boarded on a catamaran boat with all the safety regulations in place for this type of journey.
The Catalina Island Natural Monument is a national protected area that stretches 6 km in a northeast-southeast direction, covering an area of 22 square kilometers. It includes a 500-meter-wide marine strip around the entire coastline.
It is a popular tourist destination in the eastern part of the country, also frequented by various Caribbean cruises, due to its tranquility and natural beauty of the surroundings.
The cost of the Catalina Island tour is $48 for adults and $30 for children under 12 years old. Upon arrival, visitors are greeted by a Casa de Campo hotel team, who are ready to serve and attend to the visitors’ needs.
In the area that belongs to Casa de Campo, visitors have access to sun loungers, tables, towels, bathrooms, and a drinks and snacks bar. However, both drinks and snacks are not included in the tour cost but can be purchased with each guest’s hotel ID, using a credit card or cash.
There is no lunch available for the daily excursions departing from Minitas Beach.
Casa de Campo also offers equipment rental for snorkeling at a cost of $12 per person.
In the beach area near Casa de Campo, there are souvenir shops with local artisans and even massage services.
Reservations for the Catalina Island excursion can be made through Concierge, the Owners’ Club, or directly at the Scuba Caribe Playa Minitas booth.
Coral, Turtles, and Shipwrecks
The beaches of Catalina Island are nesting grounds for several species of sea turtles. The island’s interior is covered with dry tropical vegetation, forming an interesting forest where a rock cliff crosses the island.
The coastal area is characterized by coral reefs, which are home to a great diversity of marine life. The reef is home to a wide variety of marine corals, exotic fish of many colors, diverse marine flora, crustaceans, mollusks and sea turtles that occasionally appear on the reef.
The Catalina Island coral reef is considered one of the most diverse marine locations in the region.
For diving enthusiasts, it is interesting to explore the remains of the Quedagh Merchant shipwreck, one of the ships of the famous pirate William Kidd.
According to divers in the area, the ship’s cannons, ammunition, anchors and fragments of wood and broken ceramics that were inside the ship before it was submerged can be observed.
Catalina Island was named by Christopher Columbus in honor of the daughter of the Spanish kings, Catherine of Aragon. The indigenous name for the island before its discovery by the Spanish was Toey.
Catalina Island is guarded by members of the Dominican Republic Navy, who ensure the protection of its ecosystem. As a protected area, large infrastructures that threaten the natural life of the area are not allowed, nor is living on the island.
The photographs used in the article were taken by the author.