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Discover The Island Of Culebra

Updated on September 25, 2014

Puerto Ricos Enchanted Island

Culebra is an enchanting Spanish Virgin Island located approximately 17 miles east of Puerto Rico and 12 miles west of St. Thomas. The island is around 15 miles in size and home to approximately 3,000 local residents in the capital city of Dewey. Culebra boasts an intricate shoreline with cliffs, sandy coral shores and mangrove forests; it also has numerous cays that surround it.

The island of Culebra is arid with no fresh water streams and therefore no surface run off. Due to this fact, the ocean visibility is among the best in the world, making for some of the best snorkeling and SCUBA diving.

Culebra has many beautiful beaches, many of which are protected and therefore nearly waveless. Flamenco Beach, being the most popular, (see below) is rated one of the worlds best.

All photos on this page were taken during a recent trip I took to this amazing inland in the sun.

View Of The Sea From The Beach Villas On Culebra

View Of The Sea From The Beach Villas On Culebra
View Of The Sea From The Beach Villas On Culebra

Getting To Culebra

To get to Culebra, fly into Puerto Rico. From there you have 2 options, fly into Culebra from Isla Grande Airport (note, this is not the same airport as the San Juan Int'l Airport international airport) you flew into) or take the local ferry. Flights run by Isla Nena Air Service and Vieques Air Link airlines cost around $60 per person and may be more economical depending on the size of your group. To get to Culebra by ferry, you must first take a taxi from the San Juan Int'l Airport international airport to Fajardo where the ferry departs. The ferry will only cost you $2.25- $3.50 per person but the cab ride to get to the free will cost you around $80.

For information about Ferry Schedules contact the Puerto Rico Ports Authority at (787) 863-0705, (787) 863-0852 or (787) 742-3161.

For information about Air Travel Schedules contact Isla Nena Air Services, Inc., Vieques Air Link, Air Culebra (Charter) at (787) 268-6951, or Flamenco Airways Inc. (Charter) at (787) 723-8110 or (787) 725-7707.

The Beaches And Snorkeling On Culebra

The island's most popular beach is Flamenco Beach, because of its mile and a half white and soft sands. Flamenco Beach is a bay as well as a beach with a fairly complete reef protecting the spectacular beach from erosion. It is located at the northwest end of the island out past the airport. There are few palms for shade as well as sea grape trees under which you can cool off and have a bite to eat. There are also grills in many of these sites and showers and bathrooms throughout the off-beach areas to rinse out the salt. Flamenco Beach even has a small restaurant and a few food kiosks, if you forgot your lunch or beverage.

Zoni Beach, like Flamenco has fairly gentle waves and a beach goes on and on. Views are spectacular and there are fewer crowds. The area is more primitive as there are no services. To get to Zoni beach, you will need to rent a car, a jeep is preferable as the road can be rough in spots. Carlos jeep rental in town is your best bet. There is very little shade at this beach so bring an unbrella as well or prepare to huddle up under a small palm. Other beaches include Malena, Mosquito, Punta Soldado, Sardinas, and Culebrita.

Bot h the Flamenco and Zoni beach have turtle nesting sports that are well marked. Be sure not to disturb the nests in any way while enjoying your time at the sea.

Snorkeling around Culebra is a popular pastime for tourists and locals alike. Coral reefs around Culebra are considered some of the most spectacular of the entire Caribbean region. Hard and soft corals abound in the shallows and magnificent reefs encircle the island. Tropical fish and other sea life flourish.

Explorer's Guide San Juan, Vieques & Culebra: A Great Destination (Explorer's Great Destinations)
Explorer's Guide San Juan, Vieques & Culebra: A Great Destination (Explorer's Great Destinations)

No matter your budget, tastes, or passions, Puerto Rico has something to please your senses and wish you could come back for more. Author Zain Deane takes you on a tour of San Juan and its main islands including Culebra that encompasses Puerto Rico's best-known treasures and best-kept secrets. From the best lodging and food to the best beaches and snorkeling, this guide has it all.

 

Pelicans Take Flight At Flamenco Beach

Pelicans Take Flight At Flamenco Beach
Pelicans Take Flight At Flamenco Beach

Places To Stay In Culebra

There are many places to stay on Cluebra from small inns and guesthouses to larger Inns and hotels. House and condominium rentals abound. Most accommodations are on or near the water and the owners are very helpful and courteous. It's always good to book reservations before you go, because even though this island is sleepy and may be the Caribbean's Best Kept Secret, it still fills it rooms. Camping on the island is also an option.

Here are a few links to a few places to stay on the island:

Property management and vacation rentals, specializing in Culebra for over 13 years.

Mamacitas Guest House. Mamacitas is Culebra Islands premier vacation guesthouse, with and excellent restaurant and bar. It is located in the heart of town.

Palmetto guesthouse The Palmetto (formerly Villa Nueva) is a welcoming, intimate guesthouse for the active traveler looking to visit Culebra.

Culebra Beach Villas, left, a complex located directly at Flamenco Beach, is ideal for relaxing and enjoying the tranquil beauty of the Island of Culebra. This is where we stayed while in Culebra and this is where I would recommend staying. Let's face it, you come to Culebra for the magnificent beach and the Culebra Beach Villas set you up right by the sea. The rooms are all condos and therefore all different in nature. Many, such as the one we were in are quite small, but provide the basic essentials. All have outdoor grills for cooking up lunch or dinner. The staff is friendly and the location certainly can't be beat.

Other Sites To See On Culebra

Other than beachcombing, snorkeling and SCUBA diving, Culebra offers incredible sea kayaking adventures. The island of Culebrita, located east of Culebra, is one of the most beautiful cays and an excellent adventure by sea kayak. The island can also be accessed by a local water taxi. On the island there are six beaches, including Tortuga (on the north side) one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean. At the northeast corner of Tortuga beach is a spot known as "the baths". The views from the short hike up to the old lighthouse (reportedly one of the oldest in the Caribbean) are among the finest in the Caribbean.

Birdwatching is another popular activity on Culebra. The Culebra National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1909 as a wildlife preserve is an excellent spot for this. The refuge supports a variety of breeding seabirds including Laughing Gulls, Bridled Terns, Brown Noddies, Roseate Terns, White-tailed, and Red-billed Tropicbirds and three species of Boobies. More than 50,000 seabirds find their way to this tiny dot in the ocean every year to breed and nurture their young. The refuge is also habitat for the endangered leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles and the Culebra giant anole.

Culebra is not known for its night life though there are a few enjoyable restaurants and bars, such as Mamacitas, that are frequented in the evening times.

Zuni Beach

Zuni Beach
Zuni Beach

Comments On Culebra or Puerto Rico? - I would love to hear from you!

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    • happy-birthday profile image

      Birthday Wishes 4 years ago from Here

      I would love to snorkeling at Culebra! Thanks for sharing this great lens!

    • profile image

      NC Shepherd 5 years ago

      I lived and worked at Tamarindo Estates on Culebra for a few months. It's another nice place to stay while on the island. I loved the island because it was like going back to the 1950s. I hope it stays just the way it is!

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 7 years ago

      How absolutely gorgeous. I would love to see this in person one day.

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 7 years ago from Australia

      Looks like a beautiful destination! I would have loved to snorkel there.

    • profile image

      ulla_hennig 7 years ago

      I have never heard of the island before, so all your information and the beautiful photos were new to me. Thanks for sharing!