Taking the kids to the beach to play in the crystal waters is the obvious thing to do on your holiday in Cayo Levantado, but there's more on offer to keep your beloved offspring entertained. How about zip-lining above a dense jungle canopy? This exhilarating experience will fly you over the Juana Vicente Mountains and Samaná Bay. If you want to stay nearer the ground, explore the beaches and nearby forest on a quad bike tour or mix it up on a day trip to Los Haitises National Park. Here, you'll travel by bus to Sabana de la Mar, meander through mangroves on a catamaran and visit ancient caves, before heading to a waterfall where you can take a dip in the cool waters.
Get wed in paradise
You'd be hard pushed to find a more romantic place to tie the knot than this idyllic island. Combine your wedding and honeymoon on your Cayo Levantado holiday and make memories that last a lifetime. The local hotels and their wedding planning staff will provide everything from the photographer to the cake, the bride's bouquet to a special room service breakfast the morning after your big day. Then, spend your honeymoon exploring nearby places such as Santo Domingo, with its cobbled streets, pretty plazas and historic cathedral. Take an excursion to the delightful El Limón Waterfall and swim in the Ensueño Lagoon. Spend your evenings wandering hand-in-hand along the shoreline before enjoying an intimate meal at one of the oceanfront restaurants.
There's so much to see on your holiday to Cayo Levantado, you're going to need more than your feet to see it all. A Jeep safari, in a 4x4 off-road vehicle, will take you on an adventure through mountains, across rivers and along deserted beaches. Spectacular views provide fantastic photo opportunities, and your guide will educate you on the culture and customs of the Dominican Republic. Alternatively, if you're a fan of four-legged transportation, You can go horseback riding through the Dominican countryside. Take in the native vegetation of a tropical forest, stop for a swim at a waterfall and enjoy a buffet lunch back at the ranch.
Out and about
Expect a food fusion of African, Arab, East Indian and European influences during your holiday in Cayo Levantado. Start the day with one of the country's favourite dishes for breakfast, Mangú (mashed plantains), a savoury dish often served with a cooked breakfast. Plantain plays a big part in Dominican cuisine. If you're out and about during the day and need a snack, grab some delicious tostones (fried plantain) from a street vendor. The traditional meal served for lunch is La Bandera Dominica, or 'The Dominican Flag', a combination of rice, red beans and meat. Wash it down with a cool Quisqueya or Ambar beer. For dinner, try guanimos, minced beef served in pockets of cornmeal. Finish the evening with an Añejos rum, which is kept for several years in wooden casks.
So, brush up on your Spanish and pack your hat and sun cream for a Cayo Levantado holiday. You'll be welcomed to this breathtaking island by friendly locals, who will help you slip into the laid-back vibe and relax in the sun. Drink rum cocktails, dance the national dance of the Dominican, the Merengue (it even has a national day dedicated to it) and lose yourself in the spirit of the Caribbean on the holiday of a lifetime.