From Cocodrilo a 10km track heads northwest to the island’s most remote upturned hook of land, Punta Francés, where you’ll find the island’s top beach, Playa El Francés. There is over 3km of beach in all, split by a sandy headland into two broad curves of silver, powdery shore ringed on one side by the lush green of a woody, palm-specked thicket and on the other by the glassy, brilliant turquoise of the Caribbean Sea. The deserted tranquillity of this private world is all part of what makes it exceptional, though this is sometimes destroyed by hordes of cruise-ship visitors. Equally attractive is the excellent diving offshore. There is no food and drink available at the beach, as the ranch-house restaurant that once stood here was destroyed by hurricanes, though a couple of small jetties remain. A slightly easier way to get to the beach is to catch a boat from Hotel Colony. Although you will be in the protected part of the island, you don’t need a permit to visit Punta Francés by boat – though you are strictly prohibited from going any further than the beach.

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