Cayo Levantado

Island in Samaná

A gorgeous public beach lies on the western third of this lush island, 7km from Samaná. It's the only section that's open to the public – a five-star hotel occupies the rest. Boatmen at Samaná's pier can get you there for RD$250 per person round-trip; groups of up to 15 people can negotiate a private full-day boat for RD$3000 round-trip.

Note that the idyll can be somewhat marred by the commercialization of the experience. Large cruise ships dock here regularly, and the facilities, including a few restaurants and bars, don’t offer much peace and quiet. If you choose to visit, try to go in mid- to late afternoon, when most of the activity is winding down.