The Beata island is the second largest in territorial size in the country, after the Saona island. It has the privilege of having been discovered by Admiral Christopher Columbus, who also named it. It has no residents. It possesses an area of 27 square kilometers, nine in length and six in width.
The island is located to the south of the Dominican territory, a distance of 32 miles from Pedernales and 70 from Barahona. It used to belong to Barahona, but it is currently dependent upon Pedernales. There is an abundance of medicinal plants within it, such as "manzanilla", "copey", "uvilla", bitter wood, white poplar, "canelilla", wild Creole Peruvian bark, "jobobán", "higo", cherry tree and wallflower. A great amount of precious trees were produced in its sandy, limestone, marshy earth and which were devastated by intruders who went to the small barren island in past times. Seven miles from the Beata island is the Alto Velo island, the smallest in the country. It is thirteen miles away from Barahona. It was originally rich in guano and small bats.
The name of "Alto Velo" (High Veil) was given because during moonlit nights it looks like a ghost, according to the legends of old sailors. The small island was discovered by Christopher Columbus, who named it during his second voyage. Alto Velo has a history full of alternatives, since it was originally populated by Haitians in the 16th century. Then in 1854, the Haitians were evicted by a group of American adventurers who wanted the territory in order to extract all the guano that was produced there, but failing in their attempt.