Cayo Arena Paradise Island
Cayo Arena paradise island tour is perhaps the most unique experience travelers will have in the Puerto Plata region of Dominican Republic. This tiny coral island sits in the middle of the ocean, just off the coast of Punta Rucia and is home to countless species of tropical fish, such as Sergeant Major, Surgeon Fish, Angel Fish, Yellow Tail Snappers, Damsel Fish, Crabs, Octopus; also sponges, plenty of coral, and other marine life.
Snorkeling in Paradise Island
Snorkeling enthusiasts will want to bring a Gopro or any other waterproof camera to capture the fantastic schools of tropical fish found in the shallow waters surrounding this coral island. Snorkel gear is provided by all tour operators, follow their lead on the best spots and you`ll enjoy an unforgettable snorkeling experience.
Tineey`s article on Cayo Arena snorkeling had a great time in the reef, read her article for interesting photos and details.
On Video: Cayo Arena, courtesy of With The Sparrows.
Diving in Paradise Island
A local tour operator offers diving in the surrounding corals, great for beginner divers ( starting at 5m, 16 ft ). More advanced divers will take a tour to Melissa Insight, in one of the coral banks that go down to 30 meters, including a steep wall dive. This dive has several anemone species, corals and lot of critters, great for underwater photography.
Another great dive is the Cabeza del Cayo, where bigger marine species are found due to the possibility of strong currents. Gorgonian coral formations, schools of squid and many other species make this a favorite for more advanced divers. A good recommended diver instructor is Rene Talheim from Corales Punta Rucia, try the link for more information.
Punta Rucia Lodge
There are a few hotels in La Ensenada, and although this is not an sponsored article we will feature here what we believe are the top choices; including the Punta Rucia Lodge, both for its unique appeal, quality and overall value. This resort consists of 13 beautiful A-frame style bungalows that include 18 rooms. It has a restaurant with terrace and bar, swimming pool with sea views and its own pier.
The design somehow reminding us of our Taino ancestry, mixed with luxurious details and top tier service. This is a boutique hotel, very high end, and has it all for the perfect Dominican Republic vacation experience.
How to Get There:
Many tour operators visiting La Isabela, Punta Rucia and Fricolandia provide transportation from Puerto Plata, also from other cities. Foreign travelers will be be better off with a local tour operator as they will provide transportation, food, drinks, gear, tour guides and access to the boats that take visitors to the small island. The drive from Puerto Plata to La Ensenada takes about 2.5 hours, and reaching the coral island by boat about 40 minutes.
A great hotel to stay at when visiting the area is the Ensenada Resort, specially for those seeking for budget friendly accommodations. The hotel has suites overlooking the swimming pool area and deck, in a very family friendly atmosphere. Their concierge helps the guests arrange tours in the area, including the catamaran and Paradise island. Highly recommended when traveling in groups seeking to save in lodging rates.
The tour to Cayo Arena lasts about 8 hours, some operators coming from the East of the DR will spend less time in the tour due to distance from the East resorts. If you get lucky you might spot a Manatee in the Mangrove national reserve, a tour we also recommend.
Paradise Island Tour: What To Bring
- Swimming attire
- Waterproof camera
Eric Tours – from Sosua
Marysol Tours – from Puerto Plata
Runners Adventures – from Puerto Plata
Dominican Tours -from Punta Cana