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Last updated on May 28, 2022
Cayo Levantado is a small island southeast of the Samaná Peninsula. The resort owning the island has one main private beach on the southern coast of the island, while the western coast is a large public access area with two beaches. Cayo Levantado offers easy snorkeling, with decent marine diversity. When snorkeling around the island, you may spot angelfish, butterflyfish, moray eels and flounders, among dozens of other Caribbean fish species.
Cayo Levantado is a small coral cay located 4 miles off Santa Bárbara de Samaná. There are two main options for getting there:
To snorkel in the public access area, you can enter the water from the beach. For zones 1 and 2, the water entrance, from the main public beach, is pretty safe. Area 3 is slightly more difficult to enter.
This beach is periodically subject to a lot of swell, and vessels pass relatively close to shore. To snorkel area 4, accessible to the resort’s guests only, enter the water from the resort’s private beach. Area 5 is only accessible by boat (to be organized with the resort).
Off the public beach, the sand slopes very gently, onto a mixed rocky, coral debris, sand, and seagrass area. It is subject to some tidal current effects, so try not to allow yourself to drift too far to the east (right facing the sea).
The whole of the shore can be snorkeled over from area 1 to area 2, but much of this area is sand with patches of seagrass. Area 2 comprises sparse cobbles inshore, gradually becoming consolidated rock further offshore. These support a variety of reef-related fish species, with small shoals evident.
The seabed between areas 2 and 3 ranges from flat rock to open sand and seagrass areas, with occasional rock gullies closer inshore. Some unusual seagrass seams exist within the rock.
From the resort’s private beach, the seabed slopes gently but the area is periodically subject to swell, as well as small vessels (in-advisedly) passing between the island and the roped-off swimming area.
The seabed is composed of sands, dense seagrass, with an outcrop of rocks in the center of the bay. The rock outcrop is surrounded by mixed sand, cobbles and echinoderm bored rock with some coral.
The final location included here (area 5 on the map) is only accessible by boat, which will take you first to an offshore wreck, with plenty of shoaling species, then on to the sheltered edge of the nature reserve on Cayo Farola. Several interesting seafans and corals here, although silt levels are quite high.
More than 100 marine species have been recorded around Cayo Levantado. French grunt, blue tang, and doctorfish tang are among the most abundant. In the rocky areas, look for the small moray eels finding shelter in the holes and crevices. With a little luck, you may also spot French angelfish, high-hat, cushion sea star, and peacock flounder in the area.
The Bahia Principe Luxury Cayo Levantado is the only resort available on the island. Some snacks and restaurants are set around the public beaches.
These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
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