Paradise Island (Cayo Arena) via Speedboat

IMG_8892

This tiny island in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean was such a treasure.

Only a short boat ride away from the shores of Punta Rucia, Isla Paraiso or Cayo Arena, as the locals called it, was a dream excursion and the most beautiful way to end our trip! (Yes, it looks like I’m blogging about my trip backwards…)

GOPR0302-2

I guess it goes without saying, but wear sunscreen! Or just be really OCD about it. That Caribbean sun sneaks up on you when you least expect it! This is coming from personal experience, woe…

Our guide is entirely covered up in the photo. He knows what’s up!

Into the speedboat we go!

IMG_8911

After around a fifteen minute bumpy-ish ride, we glide into crystal clear aquatic heavens. We float onto a small sandbar, that once was probably a larger island, and everyone just cooed from amazement.

Normally, the water from the reefs to the island is only knee-deep. The day we went, the tide decided to join in on the fun, so only a sliver of the island was available to stand on, drink and eat from.

IMG_8924

But, that didn’t matter, because soon we will be strapping on our fins and snorkel gear for a swim around the coral reef. This reef forms a nice circle around the island and is teeming with fish. More on that in another post!

And, if the crystalline water doesn’t impress you, try the breathtaking mountains in the backdrop.

I could easily get used to this life…

IMG_8909

The group we came with offered us a variety of tropical fruits to enjoy, cups of rum & coke and generally great hospitality.

As we soaked in the waters around the island, we bumped into a few locals whom were curious about how we found out about this place. Part of me wished that we luckily stumbled upon a great hidden gem, but the other part knew how highly publicized this location was back at our resort. Judging from the amount of reviews this place gets on TripAdvisor, it’s actually no secret for those who look for it!

IMG_8900

After spending a few hours here, we drove the boat out to a mangrove tree forest where manatees are usually spotted, but I guess when we went, we spooked them away! Oops…

As for that Caribbean sun? It got me good after I came out of the water. I should have known better! That fifteen minute ride back to Punta Rucia for our lobster and champagne treat left me scalded on my backside. A nice parting gift from the island — an outline of my life vest and buckles on my back. Thanks!

No, seriously. This was the HIGHLIGHT of our trip.