Found out about Seavis VIP Saona Island Tour through Tripadvisor. When I inquired about booking at the tourist desk of our hotel (Iberostar), they denied ever hearing about it and warned me not to book with any tour operator other than those offered through the hotel, because only they could guarentee we would be safe and not ripped off. However, all the Saona tours offered at the tour desk looked like Booze Cruises, which I knew our family would hate. I persevered and found Seavis's phone number, and called directly. Any anxiety I had was dispelled when I talked to the man answering the phone at Seavis. He explained that the hotel tours were booked on Commission, and that's why they were not recommended.
I imagined we would be the only ones going from the Iberosar, but when they picked us up at the lobby promptly at 8:20, there were several other intrepid families waiting.The taxi took us on a 10 minute ride to the village of Bayahibe, where we met the owners of Seavis, were given an informational briefing, and boarded a speed boat. The tour was conducted in French and English, with Cisco as our guide--a lovely multi-lingual character from I'm not sure where, who obviously has travelled the world and has a great appreciation of the people and ecology of the Dominican Republic. The Dominican crew was also very nice, and included a photographer who took pictures the whole time, and offered a CD at the end, however, with no pressure to puchase.
The tour included stops at Taino caves, the Natural Pool where we got out and held star fish, the Village of Mano Juan, and then a deserted beach for snorkling. We got stories and explanations along the way. At the village we had lunch (pretty tasty), a tour of the school (where the children sang to us), the hospital (rustic), a turtle hatchery (no hatched turtles at the moment) and the home of the local elder cock fighter/soon to be mayor. All of this was an eye opening experience for my kids (ages 12 and 14) especially after a visit to Casa da Campo the night before, where we oggled the houses of the rich and famous.
When I asked my kids what their favorite part of the tour was, they said the ride on the speed boat which was crazy fast, bumpy and a little wet. While somewhat scary for me, it certainly cut the travel time that a boozy catamaran ride would take, and gave us more time on the island. All in all, it was a wonderful day.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC