The first impression we have of Captiva Island is that of a subtropical paradise on the west coast of Florida: palm trees and palmettos grow almost to the sea, only separated from a narrow and fine sandy one Sandy beach, which stretches around the entire island and tempts every visitor to take a walk on the beach, be it to look for shells or just to relax for a few hours lounging in the sun, while the gentle wind blows from the sea over the skin burned by the sun. There is only a narrow road through the charming neighboring island of Sanibel Island, from which it is separated by a short bridge. But the first impression is deceptive.
First, we drive past pompous luxury villas, separated only by the road from the sea. Everywhere there are signs that parking is prohibited - no wonder, otherwise the wonderful views of the Gulf of Mexico would certainly be obstructed by parked cars of the day trippers, who feel magically attracted by the beaches of the island. In the interior of the island, the road runs through the middle of the island, and well-maintained driveways line the path to the left and right, leading to manicured and obviously expensive villas. A paradise, so at least it seems to us. But this paradise looks back on a dramatic story, as we learn later.
After Captiva Iceland we only came because from here the boats go to Cabbage Key. We didn't learn much more about the island before our visit. Not even in the otherwise omniscient Wikipedia, there were more than a few lines about the island, and our guide didn't reveal much information either. Perhaps that was one reason why our expectations were low. We were all the more surprised by the beauty of this small island. It is not big. The first major intersection we come to is Captiva Island's "city center" - actually just two streets that meet at a ninety-degree angle: one that runs through the entire island and the other that Allows access to the beach on one side and access to the jetty on the other side. In between there are a few restaurants, bars with live music, surf shops, souvenir shops and bed and breakfasts that encourage you to spend the night with their inviting facades. A few steps behind this intersection is Captiva Island's biggest attraction, the Bubble Room Restaurant, which is worth seeing for its decoration alone, which combines Hollywood, Christmas and vintage.
Nevertheless, this paradise is deceptive, as the dramatic story of Captiva Island shows: 2004 namely Hurricane Charley home to the subtropical island. 160 houses were destroyed, and the ensuing tidal wave divided Captiva Island in half. The northern part of the island can only be reached by boat today, but since then, a watershed separates the two island parts from each other. And even the entire island was created by a hurricane, because earlier the island was part of Sanibel Island. The narrow channel separating Captiva and Sanibel was also created by one of the storms that afflict Florida during the hot months of the year. How tragic such storms can be for the individual is shown in the story of a family who fled the mainland before Charley and talked to friends about how badly damaged their home was before returning home. When they got there, they found that the storm had swept away both the house and the property. That too is Florida. And it shows itself once again: even the most beautiful places have hidden a dark chapter somewhere.
Do you already know:
- Sanibel Island Restaurant where the locals eat - Island Cow
- Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers
Source: own site research courtesy of The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel. Our opinion remains our own.
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline