Don Pedro Island
Don Pedro Island is one of an extensive chain of barrier islands which skirt the coastline of the Cape Haze Peninsular.
Located between Knight Island and Little Gasparilla Island, Don Pedro is accessible only by private boat or ferry. Cars are allowed on the island but most people use golf carts to get around.
Boats can tie up at the wooden docks on the bay side of the island, which is lined with mangroves, once you cut the motor on your boat the peace and quiet is amazing.
With one mile of white sandy beach, some popular activities on the island’ s Gulf side include sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling and shelling.
There are also hiking and nature trails that meander through the island’ s eleven distinct nature communities. Sea Turtle nesting season is from May to September when visitors are asked to exercise caution and not disturb the nesting sites, this is 'State Law' and the fines are very heavy.
Guided walks and educational talks are available by park rangers but these must be booked in advance. Information and telephone numbers are at the villa in our guide.
You may be lucky enough to see endangered animals such as West Indian manatees, gopher tortoises, bald eagles, and American oystercatchers.
As our guests you have beach rights on Don Pedro, so fill up the cooler, grab the towels and beach chairs and head off to experience how Robinson Crusoe must have felt on his deserted island; as you too may be lucky enough on a week day, to find you are the only ones on the beach and that is such an amazing feeling.
Getting there is very straight forward, by car take the Placida Rd to the ferry approximately three miles south of Rotonda West, along Cape Haze Road.
But our favourite method is to hire a motor cruiser from Gasparilla Marine, located on the Gasparilla Road about 2 miles from the villa. The marine staff will supply you with a chart which is very easy to follow and instructions on the boat and how to beach it and also tie up.
The water by the docks is shallow so this is very straightforward, even for the uninitiated, as we were the first time. The waters are also clear and shoals of fish dart back and forth in the morning sun.
There are excellent facilities for visitors and these include a pavilion, picnic tables, barbecue grills, outdoor showers and of course restrooms.