Are you ready to feel the exclusivity wash over you as you sunbathe on private sands? A 2017 holiday to Cayo Levantado will be unlike any other. A tropical retreat with three sublime beaches, this island is snuggled into Samana Bay. You might recognise its white sandy beaches from the television, what with Cayo Levantado being a hotspot for many big commercials, including Bacardi.
Sunshine illuminates this tiny islet for approximately 300 days a year and the temperature never dips below 20. Stroll around the island as if you own the territory, which has been nicknamed ‘Bacardi Island’, due to its appearance on a commercial for the white rum-producing company. Alternatively, absorb panoramic Caribbean views on a paddle board.
If you’re into scuba diving, a holiday to Cayo Levantado presents a unique opportunity to swim up-close to shipwrecks and vibrant coral reef. Don't want to walk around the island? Take in the views from a golf buggy.
Since the islet is small, there’s not much to do except enjoy the island way of life. Nevertheless, all it takes is a swift excursion trip to the Santiago province to experience a thrill with white-water rafting along the Yaque Del Norte River.
The Dominican Republic's Samana province is the place to go if you’re keen to zip line through the pretty countryside. A 4x4 safari tour is another popular attraction that will expose you to countryside living in Samana. Alternatively, drift through mangrove swamps in a wooden boat at Los Haitises National Park.
Please note: these attractions are located outside of Cayo Levantado and will therefore require some travel. Try to plan wisely with a travel agent to ensure you select the best options for your time in the Dominican Republic.
Wine and Dine
The Dominican Republic might be famous for its rum, but this isn't the only alcoholic beverage served at resorts. Most wine served inside Cayo Levantado restaurants is imported. If you want to treat your taste buds to a beverage that was actually produced on the islet, ask the bartender or waiter for a glass of Mama Juana.
A blend of honey, red wine and rum, this drink has a deep red appearance like wine. Its flavour is not so similar, however, what with the concoction being soaked in a variety of herbs and tree bark before being bottled and poured. Some people even consider the drink to be an aphrodisiac.
You’ll be spoilt for choice with the culinary offerings dished up at the restaurants scattered around the Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado. Two recommendations for fine dining are the Orquidea Buffet Restaurant, which appeals with its terrace design and island views, or Beach Restaurant, where international cuisine is on offer.
Holidays in Cayo Levantado are ideal for families who want to lap up the sunshine in unblemished surroundings. Although you can expect to see a lot of couples checking into the hotels, the heavenly islet is child-friendly. In fact, a variety of beach activities are on offer at the local beaches. If you’re planning on travelling to Cayo Levantado with small children, you can feel confident about dropping them off at a kid's club while you unwind with older members of the family.
Sun loungers can be rented on a daily basis or, if you wish, you can build sandcastles with the kids beneath a palm tree. Water activities, such as snorkelling and swimming, are guaranteed to occupy the young ones for hours on end. A Santo Domingo City Tour can also be organised during a family holiday in Cayo Levantado. Alternatively, simply enjoy the authentic Caribbean cuisine at area eateries and sunbathe poolside.
Action and Adventure
You’ll have the privilege of uncovering sections of land that most people don't even know about when you spend your 2017 holiday in Cayo Levantado. This island in the Dominican Republic is a playground for sun worshippers, what with the landscape blending dense jungle and palm trees with white sands and azure waters. Despite the fact the islet is fairly small, it’s possible to traipse through the jungle and carve your own path to witness nature in a blissfully untouched state.
Spend an afternoon snorkelling or show off your jet skiing skills around the bay. Should you be interested in embarking on a wildlife-watching excursion, take the chance to observe humpback whales gliding freely through the islet’s surrounding waters. There’s a heavy focus on eco-tourism in Cayo Levantado, so why not organise a trip to Los Haitises National Park? A guided tour will be the best option if you want to learn about the flora and fauna that make this destination so stunning.
Life's a Beach
Separated into two segments of gorgeous beach in Samana Bay, Cayo Levantado boasts a public and a private beach. Visitors can access the public beach and relieve tired muscles with a massage on the sand. Browse the selection of souvenirs sold by local vendors on the public beach, dine at a waterfront restaurant, or swim in the crystal clear waters.
Pay attention to the signs, if you pass any, located near the Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado. This plush resort prohibits people from wearing a monokini poolside. Normal beachwear is allowed on the resort's private sections of beach. Extending for 130 metres, both beaches are served by a dock.
All beaches in Cayo Levantado are well maintained and the water is fairly placid, so why not take a kayak out at sunset? The sea remains shallow for a while, making it a desirable spot for a snorkelling session or a paddle with the kids.
Most people who book a break to Cayo Levantado will do so because they are in need of some serious relaxation, rather than to drink cocktails and dance until the early hours. On the other hand, there’s nothing stopping you from getting a bit tipsy with a bottle of rum on your private balcony and dancing beneath the moonlight. Party animals can take a boat trip to one of the Dominican Republic's other popular tourist areas, like Puerto Plata and Punta Cana, and let their hair down at one of the nightlife spots.
There really is no need to embark on such a journey for a taste of the nightlife, though. Simply make your way to the main public beach to engage in conversation with fellow holidaymakers over a drink or two. Keep in mind that the majority of businesses close their doors before midnight, so be prepared to host your own party when it’s last orders at the bar.
As a popular wedding and honeymoon destination, Cayo Levantado holidays offer a romantic paradise for couples. Feast on a romantic dinner overlooking the bay from one of the oceanfront hotels or restaurants. This is the perfect way to conclude a day spent exploring this jewel of the Caribbean. Couples of all ages walk hand-in-hand on the powder-soft sand, while others are kicking back and relaxing with a traditional rum-based beverage. It’s easy to book a boat excursion to the mainland, where car hire is available.
Most hotels are catered towards couples in search of some respite from hectic daily life and with so many nuptials taking place on the islet each year, you can expect to hear a lot of love songs being played in the nearby restaurants. So small is the island, that you may even meet another couple with whom you can befriend during your holidays in Cayo Levantado. Privacy will not be a concern if you stay in a luxurious hotel designed with a private terrace, however.
Founded way back in 1493, the Dominican Republic has held onto its traditional origins and customs. You’ll notice influences of the African and Taino cultures around the small islet, where the Dominican people are warm and friendly. Immerse yourself in the upbeat vibe on holiday in Cayo Levantado, as you dance to the Merengue. This style of Dominican dance is a big part of the musical culture. Women will usually slip on a vibrantly coloured dress for lunch and dinner, while the men may wear trousers and a boldly patterned t-shirt.
The official language spoken in the Dominican Republic is Spanish. However, you won’t have trouble communicating with the Dominican people, since the majority of workers in the hospitality industry are also fluent in English, German and French. The locals tend to follow a Christian faith. Roman Catholicism is deeply rooted into society, with approximately 90 per cent of the population claiming Catholicism as their religion.