- Where to Go
- The Best of the Dominican Republic
- A Nature Lover’s Dominican Trek
- The Sexiest Dominican Beaches
- Historical Dominican Road Trip
- A Dominican Culture Tour
- Carnaval and Its Masks
- Planning Your Dominican Wedding
- Dominican Adventures
- Golfing the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Music and Dance
- La Ruta del Mango
- Day-Tripping in Monte Plata
- The Best Small Resorts
Cayo Levantado, also known as Bacardi Island, though choked with tourists, has a beautiful white-sand beach. Due to the island’s protected positioning in the bay, the waters are calm, shallow with a plush sandy bottom, and warm. This is an enjoyable place to take the family. The Gran Bahía Principe Levantado hotel occupies two-thirds of the island. Cruise ships dock here as well.
It’s easiest to obtain a ride to Cayo Levantado by going directly to the Port of Samaná, where boats will take you there for US$10–15 per person, round-trip. Always try to work a better deal if you have more people in your party, and agree on a price before boarding the vessel.
Alternatively, about eight kilometers east of Samaná is a beach called Playa Carenero in a village of the same name. Here you will find multiple boat captains who can ferry you to Cayo Levantado for RD$1,500 for a boatload of 1–5 people round-trip. If you have more than that in your party, it is RD$300 each person. Another option is to go to the Gran Bahía Principe check-in dock. This is where guests of the Bahía Principe resorts are ferried back and forth to Cayo Levantado. It is one kilometer farther down the Samaná–Las Galeras Road. Pay US$9 to board one of their boats.
After disembarking on Cayo Levantado, follow the crowd and you’ll eventually see dozens of booths selling crafts; past there is a beach where you can rent loungers for about US$3. Food vendors sell ice-cold beers and plates of freshly fried fish with rice and salad for US$9. Beware: The trinket-hawkers are everywhere and rather persistent.
It is possible to camp on the remote side of Cayo Levantado. You will need to get a permit from the authorities at the port, which costs US$5, but to cut to the chase, go directly to Victoria Marine (Calle Mella at Av. La Marina, www.whalesamana.com, tel. 809/538-2494), since they are the ones that set up transportation and are allowed to sell you a permit as well.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition