The bounty hunters who once came to Cayo Levantado in search of treasure certainly didn’t find any riches here. What they did find, though, was paradise. Made of stirring stuff, this coral reef isle is heart-poundingly romantic. It’s pretty tiny, but what it lacks in size – it more than makes up for in scenery. Cue crowds of tropical palm trees, bright white beaches and seas the colour of Bombay gin. Floating off the mainland in Samana Bay it’s famously nicknamed Bacardi Island, as it was once the setting for one of their adverts. And this, coupled with its natural beauty, has visitors flocking here. So if you want to find a patch of footprint-free sands, your best bet is to hit the shores after the day trippers have shipped out. You don’t have to stick to the same slice though. Set off on foot in either direction and you can sun yourself on a different stretch each day. And of course, a lot of people come here to spend their time in the water. With an underwater world of coral and sea life, diving and snorkelling are top attractions here. The fishing’s first-class, too. Away from the sands you’ll find a sprinkling of market stalls on the island where you can shop for trinkets and handicrafts. And in the eating out stakes, take your pick from the beach bars dotted about. Cayo Levantado’s not about sightseeing. But if you want to give your guidebook a workout, there are shuttle boats back to the mainland. The Samaná Peninsula is crammed full of must-sees like Los Haitises National Park. And if you’re flying out here between January and March, don’t miss a trip to spot the humpback whales that come here in their thousands for mating season. They must know this place is paradise, too.
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Our hotels and apartments in Cayo Levantado include Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection.