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This Tiny Tropical Island In The Dominican Republic Is Going Viral – Here’s Why

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Rising from the Caribbean Sea, this tiny island near the resort city of Puerto Plata is unlike anything else you’ve ever seen.

Measuring just several thousand square feet in size, Cayo Arena is the Dominican Republic’s best-kept secret. 

Aerial view of Cayo Arena in the Dominican Republic

While the tropical country is home to several stunning island destinations, none are as unique as the mystical Cayo Arena.

Here’s why this destination has become a viral hit and how you can visit:

Cayo Arena – A Tropical Gem

Cayo Arena is a picturesque sand bank situated some three kilometers off the Dominican mainland. The island consists entirely of pure white sand and is surrounded in all directions by some of the bluest waters in the entire country.

Bird's eye view of Cayo Arena with blue water and sand bank

Locally known as Paradise Island, this remote destination has become a viral hit among travelers and locals thanks to its picture-perfect beauty and colorful tropical wildlife.

While Cayo Arena is the ideal destination for beachgoers – its sands are some of the softest in the region – it’s mostly known for its diving and snorkeling opportunities.

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@moises.arias06 Cayo Arena (también llamado Cayo Paraíso)se encuentra a 25 minutos en lancha del punto de salida en Punta Rucia, ubicado al noroeste de Puerto Plata. Este banco de arena se encuentra en medio del brillante océano azul, con fina arena blanca y aguas poco profundas repletas de peces tropicales, ideal para snorkelers de cualquier nivel, o también podrás optar por bucear. Gracias a @realitytoursrd .#cayoarena #cayoparaiso #realitytour #republicadominicana #gopro #fpv #paradise ♬ sonido original – Moises Arias

The waters that surround Cayo Arena are home to an abundance of marine life, including rainbow-colored coral reefs – in excellent condition – in addition to fish species.

Travelers can spot everything from octopuses to yellowtail snappers and everything in between. 

A tourist diving in the colourful reefs of the Dominican Republic

Cayo Arena is conveniently located close to Puerto Plata, a popular resort destination in the north-western Dominican Republic.

It’s also a stone’s throw away from Punta Rucia, a nearby coastal village from where most day trips depart.

Here’s How To Visit

Due to its small size and the copious coral reefs that surround the tiny island, Cayo Arena can only be visited by means of a guided excursion.

Taking a tour of the island is by far the best choice to reach the remote island, and most day trips depart from the Puerto Plata area. 

Small boats in the tropical sea in the Caribbean with clear water

Not only are they convenient, but they’re also an opportunity to learn more about local nature and wildlife with the help of an expert guide who knows the island from top to bottom.

This 10-hour day trip from Puerto Plata comes with hotel pick up and drop off, and the journey to the paradisiacal island is made on a speed boat. Lunch, drinks, and plenty of fun are all included in the $91 per person tour. 

For a slightly shorter trip, opt for Anthonyinfotours’ 7-hour day trip, which is recommended by nearly 100% of travelers on Tripadvisor. The $110 per person tour focuses more on snorkeling, making it a great choice for water enthusiasts.  

Shallow water in the Dominican Republic with fish

Travelers embarking on a day trip to Cayo Arena can opt for pick up in the Puerto Plata area, or they can head to Punta Rucia, a quaint fishing village, making it the ideal location for a quick lunch consisting of deep-fried seafood and other local delicacies. 

The 25-minute boat ride to Cayo Arena provides ample opportunities for nature photography; travelers can admire the gradual shift from deep blue hues to crystal-clear, knee-deep turquoise water. 

Stunning white sand beach in Puerto Plata

Upon arrival on the tropical island, travelers will find only a handful of small shacks made of bamboo and straw, which provide respite from the occasionally intense tropical heat.

Remember to pack some additional water bottles and plenty of sunscreen, as you’ll likely spend at least 3 hours enjoying Cayo Arena. 

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