Discover unspoiled stretches of beach

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Adventures & tours

Head south along the East Coast Road (Costera Esta Highway). Aside from a couple other beach bars, there's no development here, and not a single billboard. Wind-tossed sand sweeps across sections of blacktop as you pass one deserted beach after another.

The only traffic jams on this road are when people stop to watch a cluster of kite boarders zip along a stretch of swells. You can pull off nearly anywhere for photo opportunities, but heed the warnings of the colour-coded beach flags if you decide to swim.

The sheltered cove of Playa Chen Rio beach is usually calm enough for swimming. And there's a restaurant at the north end, if you're desperate for a washroom or umbrella drink. On Sundays, locals arrive for beach picnics with their extended families, unloading coolers and relatives from the tailgate. You'll find bicycles fashioned into food carts selling ice cream or fresh fruit. It's a timeless scene.

Stop for a meal at Freedom in Paradise, near the island's southern tip. If the reggae tunes don't relax you, a massage, upstairs under the thatched roof with waves crashing below, will. You might just want to hold off the conch ceviche and shrimp quesadillas until later.