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“Great tour”
Review of SeavisTours

SeavisTours
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: SeavisTours (Bayahibe, Dominican Republic) is a small independent tour operator and specializes in Eco Adventures: small groups, remote places, no crowds, no "booze cruises" and a lot of attention to nature.... The Parque Nacional del Este includes 3 Islands: Saona, Catalinita and Catalina. We have an Eco-Adventure to each of the three islands. All our tours are guided by a multi-lingual and knowledgeable guide. Quality and personal attention are guaranteed. Have a nice holiday!
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed 7 October 2013

We booked the cruise ship tour Saona Crusoe VIP. What a great tour started out cruiseing along the coast line seeing the limestone caves. Then off to there island for snorkeling, relaxing , lunch & cocktails. The cocktails are very strong. lunch was very good. Walking along the beach I found tons of sea glass and pretty shells. Water shoes would be a really good Idea the shore line has toms of shells and coral pices. After spending a few hours on the beach off we went to see the starfish. Seeing and holding a starfish was really so cool. This really was a great way to see some of this really lovely Island

Thank lhanson38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 25 September 2013

My girlfriends booked the Saona VIP excursion as one of only 3 excursion days, the other two of which were scuba dive trips. I was a little hesitant because there were other tour companies that offered similar excursions and the day we went (Wednesdays) wasn't listed as an English tour day. Upon arrival at the Seavis main office, there were a lot of Germans around, all going on our tour and the other ones - I was a little worried even though I was assured our tour would have an English speaking guide. All our fears were immediately relieved when we met our guide, Ingrid. She spoke German and English on our excursion, even though there were only about 6 English speakers and 20 Germans. And I knew we didn't miss out on any of the explanations, guides, or jokes because I speak half-fluent German. I am SO glad we booked this tour. Ingrid was very knowledgeable of the Dominican Republic, its people, history, culture, and wildlife. She taught us about the starfish at the Piscina Natural, the plant and wildlife in the Mangroves, the fish that we could find while diving and snorkeling, and best of all, the oh-so-cute BABY TURTLES at the turtle sanctuary project in Saona. It was wonderful to learn about the efforts to save the turtle population by helping protect baby turtles and ensuring they are not poached and even more awesome to know that Seavis has a large part in doing this.

This tour is great for all ages, although our tour was all adults. There was plenty to do, from the few stops to swim and lounge on the beach, to snorkeling (they provide snorkel, mask, and fins if needed), to a really educational walking tour of Isla Saona, to all the wonderful food. I would definitely recommend this to anyone visiting the DR. Once in a lifetime experience. Oh, and TOTALLY go for the lobster upgrade. See how fresh the lobsters are! The rest of the food is really great too, but when in Rome, right? Thank you Ingrid and team for the wonderful time and also for introducing me to the infamous Mamajuana :)

Thank Ivanne T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 September 2013

SEAVIS SAONA VIP
We always like to go on a few excursions when on holiday and usually go with the tour operators, however having done quite a bit of research on Trip Advisor we found a company called Seavis who did quite a few of the excursions the reps do but cheaper and also knew it would be more informative and the bonus was that they went to the island of Saona, which we really wanted to visit.

We booked via the internet before we went and paid the extra for transfers for the Punta Cana (worth it though cramped on the bus (1 ½ hour) which they organise also. Firstly Ingrid, our guide made us feel so welcome, you begin the tour at the main building in the bay of Bahayibe, here you are given information about what is going to happen during the day. There is heavy emphasis on the natural environment and the local traditions. It is Seavis who are trying to help rebuild the population of sea turtles by sponsoring local people on the island to help hatch the turtles and give them a better chance to survive before they are poached/eggs are also sold to be eaten, if you are lucky and there at the right time, you can actually get a chance to carefully hold a young hatchling which was amazing!

Once fully briefed about the day we went on a speedboat to the rocks and caves the Tainos Indians used to inhabit along the coastline of Bahayibe, from the boat you could take photos of the caves surrounded by turquoise waters.

Next we passed the mangroves and various rivers heading in land, Ingrid explained how important they were to control the risk of flooding and natural habitat for nesting sights of birds and other animals.

After this we had the pleasure of a naturally shallow pool occupied by Starfish, this species originating from the Bahamas, at this point we enjoyed our first drink of rum and sprite (Santa Libra) in the warm water, as we were the first to arrive at this site, something Seavis always manage to do we found it nice and quiet before the main crowds and tour operators.

Reluctantly we had to leave for our first beach stop of Saona, it was on what can only be described as the most beautiful powdery white sand beach that I have ever seen with a post card view at every turn. We had a delicious lunch, when booking the excursion you have the option of the lobster with your meal, only 10$ and worth doing if you like Lobster, they also provided chicken, beef, salads, beans and fruit so plenty for all. We had plenty of time to relax on the beach, swim or snorkel in the water (they also provided masks and snorkels which we didn’t realise before we booked so took or own).

After this we went to another part of the island where the only town is and here you get to see the turtles and hear how the company is making such a difference to saving them. After an interesting insight into the habitat and reasons for the decline in numbers of turtles you have the chance to hold a young hatchling. This is a wonderful experience, not just your average tour that you would get with the reps, once we had enjoyed this we were then shown around the rest of the village which again was a fascinating insight into how the islanders lived.

The final stop of the day was at another beach near the tip of the island were again there was plenty of time to relax, chill or snorkel again with some fresh pieces of coconut and other fruits and also more drinks (all included in the price).

THE JUNGLE TOUR
This was our second excursion with Seavis as we enjoyed the Saona trip so much we decided to book this excursion. Once again the emphasis was on the local environment along the river chavon and its surrounding jungle/rainforest habitat.

It is a good drive to Bahayibe in a bus that’s usually full so pretty crammed (approx. 1 ½ hours) try and enjoy the different surroundings across the countryside, we had an excellent guide who explained the history of the island including Haiti, the climate and mountain range, this was discussed as we were in the van and helped to pass the time with useful information.

We were then dropped off at the main building where we learnt what was in store for us, our tour guide Kirsten told us our day would consist of a trek through the rainforest in the morning, a chance of a swim in a cave, you are each given a snorkel and torch which you need to navigate very steep and slippy steps down but worth it as at the bottom you could see the clear water (not for the faint hearted). After this we continued through the jungle seeing a prehistoric tree, various birds and plants. You also get a chance to see where the old site for the village was before they moved to another part of the Chavon.

Once we reached the end of the trail and old village site we changed guides, our new guide Robert was quite a character and like everyone connected with the company really made you feel at ease. We had a short drive to the river Chavon where a large raft/boat waited on board were plenty of tables and chairs to sit and enjoy outstanding views of the river banks and steep valley sides, as we slowly made our way along the beautiful river enjoying each bend with a different view to see, we were poured drinks mainly consisting of rum and coke for those who drink or coke or water for those who didn’t.

After what can only be described as a beautiful trip we arrived at a stretch of river where we were having lunch, this was in a hut in the middle of the jungle as with the other trip the food was delicious, we really enjoyed it (along with the resident dog who was fed any leftovers).

Following lunch we were shown all the fruit trees many growing exotic types of fruit around the site, it was so interesting to see the variety that could be grown.

For those with a sense of daring and a head for heights there was a path leading to an old rickety wooden bridge, once over it you did a loop around to the site which my fiancée didn’t think she would be able to walk across but she managed it (not very high). We were then given the option to kayak along a stretch of river, as we had never done this before and enjoyed a generous helping of rum and coke decided to opt for the more sedate option of the Jacuzzi style pool overlooking the river, we really enjoyed it and chilled out.

We then got onto a small minicoach for 20 mins, stopped and finally after a brisk walk to the top of a small hill we were driven to a village where they produced local produce to sell, again showing you how it was made in the workshop room above and then down stairs the finished products, this scheme was supported by the government. Whilst we were here we had bought some small tubes with bubbles in them (called bubble wands), the look of delight on all of the children’s faces when we handed them out was something we will never forget (pack of 10 from the £ shop) if you can try and take something (not money) to hand out they really appreciate it.
At the end of what had been a spectacular day with interesting people and so much to see and do we came to a local supermarket and toasted with an ice cold beer to the end of a remarkable excursion, would I say these excursions are worth the money?, without a doubt yes they are, you don’t need to think twice about booking with Seavis, they are excellent value for money focusing on the real flavour of the country….. we loved it, many thanks to all of you.

1  Thank FunkyFarm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 September 2013

I rarely write reviews, but wanted to do so in this case to offer my kudos to Seavis for putting together a great tour that is truly unique. My wife and I took the Tanama River Day tour in August 2013 with our two daughters, ages 12 and 15, because while we usually visit all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean or Mexico, we always like to get out for a day or two to learn about the country we're visiting. What attracted us to this tour was that it wasn't the typical island visit, snorkeling, zip-line, or dune buggy trip. We've done those, and while they are fine, frankly they are pretty much the same whatever country you are in or whatever company you use.

There was only one negative, so I'll get that out of the way now - the van we took from Punta Cana to the start of the tour had very poor air conditioning, so it got very hot in the van during the 90 minute ride. But other than that, I'd say this was one of the best tours I've ever taken. It was exactly as described on the website, and in fact the descriptions there didn't really do it justice. Here's the rundown of they day:

River Cruise - The staff on the boat greeted us and invited us to sit at a one of several small round tables and enjoy some fruit, pastry, and drinks (soft drinks, or rum for those who wanted). As we started the cruise down the river, our tour guide Robert gave each table an overview of the day's itinerary. We were the only English speakers on the trip (the others were German and Dutch), but Robert did a great job throughout the day doing everything in multiple languages - very impressive. The river cruise was incredibly relaxing, and the scenery beautiful. The staff were attentive as well, regularly refilling our drinks.

Yuca Yena - We weren't sure what to expect as the description was of a "fruit trail" and frankly this didn't excite our kids too much. But we were very pleasantly suprised. We came around a bend in the river, and the boat docked alongside a small area built into the jungle. After being given an introduction, we were led by Robert on a walk along a trail that was lined by trees and bushes growing all of the fruits native to the Dominican Republic. At each one, Robert explained a bit about the plant, the fruit, and passed around examples so that everyone could see what he was talking about. We then continued along a trail that involved a bit more climbing, a fun traverse of a rope bridge, and some great views from high above the river. We then circled back to the meeting area near the boat, where we were offered more drinks.

Kayaking - After our drinks, we jumped into our kayaks, and paddled just a couple of minutes down the river before turning into a side channel. The approximately 15 minute paddle (each way) along this channel was absolutely beautiful. The trees created a canopy to shield you from the sun, so it was surprisingly cool, and our kids had a lot of fun trying to maneuver in some very tight spaces. After the kayaking, we returned to the boat, and took a short break while those who were interested tried out the Tarzan rope swing over the river (which provided great entertainment even for those who didn't take part).

Lunch - After drying off, we took a short walk to the road and boarded a giant open-air safari truck for the ride to lunch. The truck took us on a 10-minute ride up a very steep and bumpy (but that just added to the fun) dirt road to the town of Santa Cruz da Gato, where we had lunch at a local restaurant. The food was fresh, delicious, and very local (though we were informed that this was considered a high-end restaurant and so only more wealthy locals ate there). And you could see them preparing the traditional dishes in the open-air kitchen in the back. There was tons of food, and it was all wonderful, with the Yucca being the best we have ever tasted. And if you like things spicy, they had an incredible spicy sauce you could add to the dishes. Lunch was capped off with the local drink, Mama Juana (sp???). It is definitely not for everyone, but it was interested to see how it was presented in a local restaurant (picture a reused wine bottle stuffed full with herbs and lots of other stuff, plus the alcohol). After lunch, we took a wonderful 10 minute stroll down the main road of the town, which gave us a great opportunity to see how the locals live. We had expected this part to be full of people trying to sell things as you typically see on tours, but there was absolutely none of that. It really was just an effort to tell you about the town, and let you see typical Dominican life.

Tanama Jungle Ranch - At the end of town, we boarded the safari truck for a 15-minute ride to the jungle ranch. This is a brand-new facility built by Seavis just for their tours, and once again we were very impressed (they even had very clean flush toilets). We were welcomed once again with some fresh fruit (including coconut - yummy) and drinks, before beginning our tour. We weren't too excited about a butterfly garden, but they changed our opinions quickly. The tour guides educated us about the lifecycle of these beautiful creatures, before leading us through the enclosure. The kids loved trying to have the butterflies land on their fingers. Afterwards, we went on a short jungle walk, before being shown some of the local reptiles (iguanas, snakes, tarantulas). We then boarded the boat for a return cruise down the river and back to the van to return us to our hotel. On the return cruise, we were once again offered snacks, rum, and other drinks, and it was a great, relaxing way to end a long and interesting day.

Summary: Though not heavily advertised as such, this was a real eco-tour. And for the $99 we paid per person (less for our 12 year old), it was an incredible value for a tour that lasted over 10 hours. Robert, our Tour Guide, was fantastic. He worked very hard, seemed to have a real passion for what he was doing, and was very concerned that everyone was having a good time and learning a lot. All of the other staff were great as well - friendly and hard-working. We only wish that people would have tipped them for the effort. I know that we Americans often tip everyone for everything, but we didn't see anyone else on our tour tip Robert or the crew at all, which was very disappointing given how hard they worked.

The two other things we appreciated most, which are very rare these days on any excursion from a major Caribbean tourist destination, were the lack of crowds, and the lack of a high-pressure sales pitch. The entire day, we didn't see any people other than the 15 or so people that were on our tour. The lunch was at a real local restaurant, not a place catering specifically to tourists. And the only thing offered to us for purchase was a CD of the pictures taken during the day - no trips to outlets or factories where you feel pressured to make purchases.

All-in-all, one this was one of the best excursions we have ever taken - thanks Seavis for a great day!

1  Thank Mike Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 September 2013

Our family of 4 did this tour at the end of August and found it amazing! The driver and our tour guide, Ingrid, were both great, but that was just the beginning. We enjoyed the hike through the park - the highlight being the swim in the cave. The water was freezing, but that aside, it was really awesome to see the formations up close. We enjoyed the boat ride on the Chavon River which led us to the location of our really yummy lunch and the hosts were adorable. We all did the fruit trail hike and then the canoe ride...it was so beautiful paddling through the hanging vines - we saw the water turtles and even a huge wild pig in the water with us! The kids had a BLAST swinging from a tree and landing into the river - even our pretty timid son went over and over again. Then we went to the school were the women are learning to read and write and make jewelry to earn their own money. A very heart-warming visit, the women were so humble and gracious -- we bought LOTS of jewelry to support them. The entire tour was so enjoyable...kept waiting for the kids to "get bored" and want to go back to the hotel or something, but even at age 8 and 13, they loved our day! We would certainly tour with Seavis again!

Thank Jolie905
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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