“If paradise had a name, it would be called Catalina Island.”
This blog post is about my trip to Catalina Island. Having had a hard time deciding where to go (read my “struggle” here), there was this great deal for the Dominican Republic. And as the flights to and from Punta Cana matched perfectly with my schedule, the decision was made. So, in July I stayed four days in an enormous resort in La Romana. Honestly I went there with mixed feelings, as I am not a fan of package tourism, where your day is basically pre-set and your individualism is limited. BUT;
Oh boy, I think I just discovered paradise. ♥ On the second day we managed to get out of the box. We found peace in paradise on a lonely beach on a small island called Catalina Island. The island is separated into a private and public section. Guests of our hotel were able to get access to a private beach which is not open to public. This beach was nearly empty, snow-white and the water was of one of the clearest I have ever seen. ♥ I was so in love with this special place that we came back the day of the return flight to enjoy a few more hours in paradise before hopping on the plane.
When traveling I focus more on action and experiencing something than on spending my time at the beach. However this island has really caped everything I’ve seen before in terms of beaches.
About Catalina Island
Located in the Caribbean Sea, Catalina Island is around 2,5 kilometers away from La Romana. The history of the island goes back quite far in time. It was discovered by Christophoro Colombo in 1494. This beautiful spot on the globe is around 9 square kilometers small. The whole island is a nature reserve, which means nobody lives on the island and you cannot stay overnight. A beach-bar, a buffet-style restaurant (which was closed at this time), some souvenir-shops and rest-rooms are some of the infrastructures of this island. Also you can find this row of cute little houses for the military, which were picture perfect in pastel-colors with straw-roof and reminded me a bit of Muizenberg in Cape Town.
How to get to Catalina Island
Our hotel offered a transfer to Catalina Island three times a day. From the beach of the hotel Casa de Campo where we stayed it was just a 30minutes boat ride away. That made it super convenient to go on a half-day-trip to the island. The cost for a return trip were 35 USD (45 USD if you decided to stay more than two hours on the island, which is a complete rip-off IMHO!). I really enjoyed the boat ride, as it was quite fast, windy (tricky, as you don’t feel the strength of the sun!) and you could feel a splash of water after every wave. As the wind picked up in the afternoon, the ride back was quite bumpy and the second time visiting we even had, “moderate turbulences” due to heavy rain. Speaking about rainy season. So make sure you put your electronic gadgets away.
What to bring along
We only took towels from the beach club, sunscreen and water and we were good to go. Needless to say the sun was super strong and aggressive and I wouldn’t want to miss an extra dose of sunscreen in order not to look like a lobster. The staff built up chaise longues, umbrellas and small tables at our designated place when arriving. They do offer towels on the island, but I found it cozy to still be wrapped in a towel on the way back to the hotel.
There is a beach bar where one could purchase drinks or some snacks. Be aware that everything is rather pricy. A hotdog you will get for example for 20USD (thanks god I am vegan!). I focussed on coconuts which were not only refreshing, but also affordable.
What to do
Nothing! 🙂 Just kidding. As it is a very quiet beach relaxation seems very obvious. Listen to the lounge music from the beach bar or go into the water. Despite my doubts I did not get bored as I found something to discover.
Next to the beach there was a small trail passing through kind of a little forest. We strolled along that path on the cliff where we had a beautiful view on the beach and the sea. Make sure to have a look for the countless lizards you will see on and next to the trail. After around ten minutes you will arrive at an open spot at the front of the cliff. There you could sit on a cute white bench enjoying the view or climbing down a ladder and dip into the water. Jumping into the water was prohibited, but I couldn’t resist, as it was one of those moments. 🙂
The rest of the time I was counting palm trees, trying to climb on one (major fun for everyone else as it might not have looked super gracile) and seeking shade underneath them. Furthermore I was sipping on coconuts, rolling in the sand and splashing around in the water. There are some souvenir “shops”, but I did not come to paradise to do shopping. 🙂
Visual diary Isla Catalina
My words will not do justice, neither will my pictures, but I would love to share with you the beauty of this island. I would love to inspire you to make the most out of everything. To me traveling is so much about finding a private spot within a crowded place. Take a moment to breathe, relax and be connected to Mother Nature. What does one need more, than seeking shade under palm trees, dipping in turquoise water and playing with white sand while the world seems to be standing still for a just a moment?
Have you been to the Dominican Republic before? If yes, where have you been and how did you like it?