Topics include Transportation, Dining Scene, United States: For Foreign Visitors & more!
North Captiva Island is often confused with Captiva, but it is an entirely different island with its own character. Separated from Captiva by Red Fish Pass, it is accessible only by boat or light plane, and much of the island is undeveloped state conservation land.
North Captiva Island's remote location is one of its greatest assets. There is hourly ferry service from Pine Island with Island Girl Charters (239-633-8142), as well as water taxies and private charters available both from Captiva with Jensens Marina (239-472-5800) and Pine Island. Though it is remote, there is plenty to do for families and friends gathering. There are four restaurants. The Boathouse Restaurant for fine dining, Mango's Restaurant and Pool bar for casual fare. The Over the Waterfront is located at Safety Harbor townhouses.NOTE: These restaurants may be restricted to members and guests, so ask before renting. The forth restaurant, Barnicle Phil's is open to the public for lunch and sometimes dinner. It offers a casual dining experience. The Pirate's Stash Ice cream palor is a big hit with visitors of the island. There is also a gift shop called the Coconut Connection with island apparel and gifts and lets not forget North Captiva Water sports offering boat rentals, wave-runner tours and some island shirts and hats along with fishing pole rentals and bait. A small conveniece store can fill in forgotten supplies you may need, though selection is limited and prices higher than on the mainland.
North Captiva Island guests and owners get around by golf carts, bikes or by foot. One cart is provided with each rental. There are over 20 miles of trails and no paved roads. Most of North Captiva Island is protected state preservation land. There are nature trails through the preserve (walking or biking only). North Captiva has about 4 miles of beaches to walk and enjoy of which 2.5 miles is along the state preserve. The wild life is abundant there. You will see many different species of migrating birds and you can't miss all the dolphins you will see from shore. Let's not forget the manatees, sea turtles, and otters. Also, big gopher tortoises roam freely. Kayaking is very popular on North Captiva Island. Since there are so many dolphins, guests normally can kayak right up to dolphins playing just a few yards off shore. Biking is also popular with over 20 miles of trails winding between the million dollar homes spread out over the island.
The vacation rental homes on North Captiva are available through the North Captiva Island Club rental program . Many have private pools, some are on the beach and some directly on the bay. You can also find directly thru owners rentals on sites like VBRO, Great Rentals Gulf Coast Rentals and Cyber Rentals. Amenities and services vary as not all homes have club memberships, so be sure you know what's included. Access to community pools and tennis courts are limited to club members and guests. It may also include free bikes, kayaks, and internet, so make your choice carefully. Also, on island support may be limited, so be sure you're comfortable with your choice of rental from owners and agencies, especially if you're a first timer and don't know the ropes. Almost all of the rental homes have a policy that it is illegal to rent the house if you have also rented another house on the island, if they find out that you have done this they can cancel your reservation and you will not be refunded the cost of your rental, nor will you be allowed to stay during your booking. NOTE: this is not the case when you have a large group and want to have a family vacation or wedding. Not sure how this comment got in here. This island is perfect for a family reunion. Or wedding. And you can rent muliptple houses. It's not a problem.
Getting to the North Captiva Island is easy, but you need to plan ahead. Make ferry reservations early for peak season travel. Groceries can be pre-ordered by fax at several Publix groceries stores in Cape Coral and picked up along the way to the Island. A shopping fee is charged ($10-40, which includes packaging, such as ice and styrofoam coolers for refrigerated items). A downloadable order form for one nearby grocery store is available here. Be sure to tell your taxi driver which store you ordered from to avoid confusion - you will pass several. Most have liquor stores next door. Remember that there are few restaurants on the island - many first time visitors express the wish that they had brought half as many clothes and twice as much food! Don't forget plenty of bottled water, tap water is safe and drinkable on North Captiva but not great tasting. Ferry service is available from Pine Island and water taxies from Captiva. Be sure your food is properly protected from the heat and salt water by using coolers and "boat bagging" of groceries (food packaged in paper bags, which are then placed into plastic to protect the bottoms from wet boat decks). Or, consider the convenience of a provisioning service. Ask your owner/agency or North Captiva Island Club for current recommendations. If you're driving down and taking a water taxi from Pine Island, Pineland Marina offers paid parking for your car at $15 per day and scheduled ferry service with Island Girl Charters (239-633-8142). If you fly into Ft Myers airport, Pine Island Taxi (888-777-9653)offers airport service to Pineland Marina.
North Captiva is a real get away with out leaving behind the comforts of home. Enjoy your stay!