Cayo Costa - Sandy Beaches on a Forgotten Island
In the 1800’s Cayo Costa was the home of Cuban ranchos. No, not like the cattle ranches seen in movies, but fish processing camps that dried and salted fish for shipment to Cuba and other places. Cayo Costa Island was, and continues to be, the home of great fishing grounds with inshore species in Pine Island Sound to the east and bordered by the Gulf of Mexico to the west. Although just a few miles north of Ft. Myers, Cayo Costa remains a hidden treasure.
Cayo Costa is today a state park that encompasses most of the island and is accessible by boat, helicopter or kayak only. The limited access means Cayo Costa is rather remote and primitive. Even the campgrounds and the few cabins on the island, managed by the state of Florida, have limited facilities.
The beaches of Cayo Costa are the proverbial pearl in the oyster. Primitive surroundings, but sandy white beaches unmatched anywhere – and they are without the radio blaring, suntanned, frisbee throwing crowd seen on public beaches. A few boaters know of the island’s beaches and a small number of people are willing to take a ferry to the island. Crowds are rare!
Without the crowds, you are more likely to see some other beach goers like sea turtles, dolphins playing and a raccoon or two scavenging. A perfect place for a secluded holiday! Fishing, snorkeling, swimming, hiking, bird watching and collecting shells are on the list of things to do – and of course, lounging on the beach.
For more details on Cayo Costa, you can see the Visit Florida website here. For ferry information check this website. For more information about the park amenities, the Florida State Parks site is here.
The effort to visit the island of Cayo Costa is rewarding!