The Boca Grande pass is the gateway into Charlotte Harbor from the Gulf of Mexico. To it’s north is Gasparilla Island (home of Boca Grande), to it’s south is Cayo Costa. Spanish for Coastal Key. this island is basically uninhabited. There are a few self-sustaining weekend homes and some park rangers. It sits in it’s natural state, undeveloped and undisturbed.
We called it our home for the past two years, living in it’s protected harbor of Pelican Bay. It is only accessible by boat. Ferries run from Punta Gorda, and Pine Island to bring visitors. We tend to avoid the area where tourists congregate, instead preferring pristine beaches with no other humans in sight.
Nature abounds on and around the island. At any given moment one may spot manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, osprey, eagles, racoons, gopher tortoises, otter, and hundreds of fish species.
The natural features of Cayo Costa Island are stunning: Miles of beaches, acres of pine forests, oak palm hammocks, mangrove swamps and a spectacular display of bird life. The unique tropical vegetation looks much as it did 500 years ago when the first Europeans arrived here. Because it occurs in the area of transition between the temperate southeastern coastal plain and tropical south Florida, the vegetative composition of Cayo Costa is unique among barrier islands. The interior of the island contains a mixture of pine flatwoods, oak-palm hammocks and grassy areas interspersed with palms. Mangroves dominate the shoreline along Pine Island Sound.
Nearby are the islands of Useppa, Cabbage Key, Sanibel and Captiva. We have traveled from Tampa Bay to the Keys on our trawler, and we have not found a more pleasant place to be. It’s a superior anchorage, well protected from most any wind. You have your choice of Gulf side or Pine Island Sound side for beaches. Hiking, snorkeling, fishing, and bird watching are all spectacular.
Most of the island is designated a state park. Hopefully development will never find this little piece of paradise. If you ever have the opportunity to spend some time on Cayo Costa, don’t turn it down.
I invite you to enjoy more images of Cayo Costa here: https://www.google.com/search?q=cayo+costa+state+park&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=2tx3UtCME4W6yAGDrYCICw&sqi=2&ved=0CGQQsAQ&biw=1538&bih=839