I’ve been flying in planes since before I was able to walk or talk. Prior to when I moved to Florida, half of my relatives lived on the opposite side of the country, so it was typical for my family and me to fly each summer to stay at my grandparents’ house to make up for lost time. But flying became a redundant, unenjoyable task. That was until I was 150 feet above the Treasure Coast shoreline in a six-seater Cessna 206 named “Scarlett,” as my pilot Michael Hoover announced through headsets. He and his wife, Sheena Hoover—the owners of Treasure Coast Seaplanes—were my guides for what would be a first: flying in a seaplane.
We cruised low across the vast ocean, over to the Sebastian Inlet to view alligators and manatees, and to Blue Cypress Lake where we officially made our water landing. A surreal moment, it was indeed “more fun than concrete” as the Hoovers had promised. We unbuckled and carefully stepped onto the floats.
I immediately noticed a scenic difference between Vero Beach and South Florida. The lush landscape of tall trees and calm water painted a serene image ahead. As I gazed around, my preconceived notion of Vero Beach being only a getaway for relaxation was proven wrong. The destination is also where adventure awaits. It’s a place to have several first-time experiences, and mine was thanks to Costa d’Este Beach Resort and Spa, the Gloria and Emilio Estefan owned boutique property.
Costa d’Este is an ideal getaway for South Floridians since getting there is effortless. It’s a short drive north past orange groves and tree farms, but once settled in the quaint town, it’s time to enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle of life.
The resort brings a taste of Miami’s chic style to Vero Beach. There are oceanfront rooms that offer views of pastel-pink- and blue-swirl-cotton-candy sunrises. Early birds have a chance to take in those gorgeous views during yoga sessions on the beach.
My days were spent lounging in a beach cabana sipping refreshing piña coladas and taking dips in the infinity pool.
Another first for me that Costa d’Este provided was snorkeling a shipwreck. The S.S. Breconshire left New York in 1894, was lost at sea, and eventually hit a reef. It now rests a quarter mile from the resort. I set out with a group and kayaked over to the wreckage, then snorkeled the surf to view the vast ship, colorful fish, nursing sharks and more.
When a break from the sun was needed, I hit the spa, of course. Book the Himalayan Salt Stone massage for an experience different than the run-of-the-mill treatment you would usually opt for. After relaxing in the sauna, it was time for dinner.
Sous chef Favio Paguada and his team whipped up a five-course wine-pairing dinner for an unforgettable culinary experience at The Wave Kitchen & Bar where I sampled tasty offerings including beef carpaccio and homemade peach cobbler. There’s also a Cuban-infused dinner menu for classics like Cuban coffee-rubbed skirt steak and the famous paella a la Costa.
And while sitting on my balcony watching the ocean currents move in and out as the evening winded down, a simple thought crossed my mind: no matter what shore I’m on, there will always be new adventures to experience and new views to see, especially when in Vero Beach.
Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa, 3244 Ocean Drive, Vero Beach; 772.562.9919; costadeste.com