Don Pedro Island – Wild, Unspoiled Paradise


The Traveling Chefs visited with their family Don Pedro Island, a wild, unspoiled paradise.  Unknown to many, it is one of Florida’s hidden gems. Not only were they with the people they  love the most, they  also experienced many exciting things some of which they did for the first time. 

Very few people know about Don Pedro Island, even many Floridians themselves. Ken, our niece Kimberly’s husband has been visiting the island since he was young because his family used to own a house nearby.

Adding to the obscurity of Don Pedro is its lack of accessibility. One can get to the Island only by boat or kayak; the latter will take one to get there in hours.

We rented a boat for a week, and everyday that week (except when it rained) we rode to the Island from Manasota Key where we rented a condominium. No one can stay overnight in Don Pedro. This helps in making Don Pedro as pristine as it’s always been: wild, rugged, beautiful, breathtaking, fun.


Ken is a good boatman. He showed Stephen and I how to steer the boat. It was exhilarating for us to do it the first time. It was also our first time to be in a private boat, albeit only for a week, which was actually shortened by a storm which failed to diminish our fun.

Every single day on the way to Don Pedro we saw dolphins swimming. On two occasions, one of them swam so close to our boat which made us yell in excitement. Those weren’t our best encounters with a dolphin there, though.

The highlight happened on our last day of boat ing. A dolphin, whom we nicknamed “Noodle” swam side by side with our boat for over twenty minutes! What an awesome experience!

None of the many dolphin sightseeings we had in the past can ever compare to this one and those were for a fee. This one was free. We saw Noodle rose and dipped in clear water so many times. We were able to film this rare encounter in full.


We arrived at Don Pedro early everyday because we wanted to have the chance to pick up newly-washed up sharks’ teeth. There are hundreds of them in the sand. They belong to ancient sharks who lived millions of years ago. When we get tired of soaking ourselves in this unspoiled beach, we also dove for sun dollars. Ken collected the most perhaps because he’s taller than all of us, so he can see better deeper in the water where these can be found.

Both Don Pedro and Manasota Key provided ample opportunities for photographs. Their beaches, birds, turtle nests, vegetation, trails, fish were magnets for our lens. In the group, I am the most avid photographer. I combed the shorelines of both and took hundreds of photographs and scores of videos. I was lost in the trails of both islands looking for the perfect shot.


After dinner we hang out together over board games. Ken and Kimberly are into these games and they brought with them many different ones. My favorite is “Cards Against Humanity.” We laughed at each other’s hilariously horrible comments.

There was a couple of nights when we missed these board games. We dined out. There were two restaurants in the area which Ken and Kimberly suggested. They were both great. One had a live band and the guests can dance. From our table, I was the only one who danced.

As in some of The Traveling Chefs’ travels, saying goodbye to an island paradise isn’t easy.  That’s the only part of this adventure that wasn’t fun.

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Posted on Categories Family, Food, Marriage, TravelTags

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