Situated on the Dominican Republic’s north coast, Cayo Arena – also known as Cayo Paraiso (or Paradise Key) – is comfortably situated on the 34th slot on the list of the world’s most spectacular beaches. The list is prepared by CNN Travel.
Writer Robert Louis Stevenson describes in his novel “Treasure Island” how the sailors would arrive at Admiral Benbow’s Inn with all their belonging in sturdy chests to begin their adventure in the high seas. But, today’s visitors do not need that much when they visit Cayo Arena (Sand Key), situated in the country’s Atlantic coast.
Visitors to the key, also known as Paradise Key, will find upon their arrival a few thatched-roof huts where visitors can stay overnight. The rest of the island is a beautiful stretch of lush tropical vegetation, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean.
The small key is situated only a few meters above sea level. The key itself is surrounded by spectacular white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters. These are some of the main reasons why CNN Travel placed the key on its list of the world’s top beaches.
Geographically, Cayo Arena belongs to the Dominican northwest province of Montecristi. Boats leaving from the mainland to the key do so from Punta Rucia, a small town in Puerto Plata due to the difficulties presented by the mangrove trees and channels that are closest to the key.
Fast boats leave from the small fishing village of Punta Rucia to the key. It is a short 30-minute ride. Visitors can travel to the key with the local fishermen or with tour operators that operate in the area. Transportation cost to the key and a typical Dominican lunch served right on the beach will cost between US$35-60 per person.
Visitors travelling on one of the boats operated by fishermen should wear comfortable clothing, and lots of sunblock. It is recommended that the traveler only take with them only the bare necessities since visitors can only remain on the island for four hours.\
On the return ride to Punta Rucia, visitors are dropped off on Ensenada Beach a spectacular place rich in the region’s flora and fauna and that leads to the Montecristi National Park, home to many protected species such as the manatee and the mangrove trees.
Where to Eat in Punta Rucia
Hotel Punta Rucia Lodge: The lodge’s restaurant offers excellent and very fresh seafood dishes.
La Table d’Arno:French restaurant overlooking the ocean, specializing in meats and patés.
Beicariibi: Italian restaurant offering excellent pizzas.