Culebra

Culebra is a small Caribbean island, mostly covered in nature preserve that lies about 20 miles east of Puerto Rico and 12 miles west of Saint Thomas. Culebra is administered as a municipality of Puerto Rico.

Understand

Culebra is 5 miles by 7 miles, without streams. It may have been populated by Caribs before the Spanish conquest, but was then empty until the end of the 19th Century. It was used as a practice bombing range by the US Navy for much of the 20th Century. Development has been recent and slow, and the island is still mostly woodlands. This makes it a spectacular backcountry destination, away from the crowds and the mega-resorts.

Get in

By ferry

Flamenco Beach

You can reach Culebra via daily ferry from Fajardo or on week days from Vieques. Maritime Transport Authority website for schedule and price information. Price is $2.25/adult and $1/child for the ferry ride and it takes about one to one and a half hours from Fajardo. However, reaching Fajardo from San Juan by taxi costs $80-100. If you are two people or more traveling the taxi from San Juan to Fajardo might be the better option over flying.

For a budget traveler, you may also want to consider taking one of the local buses from San Juan to Fajardo. Prices may be negotiated if you speak Spanish, and $10-$20 per person should cover the two to three hour ride. This highway tends to get busy. Check what time the last ferry leaves Fajardo. The buses are vans that depart sporadically, do not have air conditioning, and primarily serve locals. Tourists may have difficulty persuading taxi drivers that they want to go to the bus station.

It is important to note that although the ferry is a cheap option it is extremely busy during the high season (holidays and summer months). During these times the ferry will be extremely hard to use as people camp out as early as 4 in the morning for tickets. This would be a good time to consider flying in.

By plane

You can also reach Culebra via daily airplane service from San Juan, Fajardo, Vieques or nearby Saint Thomas. This option is the best and easiest way to travel, particularly for a single traveler. Air Flamenco and Vieques Air Link have a service that leaves from Isla Grande Airport to Culebra. San Juan Isla Grande airport(SIG) is approximately a $25 15 minute cab ride from San Juan International airport. These are small 8 passenger planes. The plane ride may cost $60 one way and take 35 minutes. There are also flights leaving directly from San Juan International Airport, but they are much more expensive ($115+).

Get around

There is only one town on the island: Culebra Pueblo, also called Dewey. The sights are several miles away, so walking is not a practical option.

There are 3 primary modes of transportation on Culebra: publicos, rental cars or golf carts, and bicycles.

Publicos

Publicos are shared taxis/shuttles that offer transportation to and from anywhere on the island including the airport, Flamenco Beach and the ferry terminal. The cost for most rides is $3 one-way or $5 round trip.

Publicos on Culebra include:

Rental Cars, Golf Carts, and Scooters

There are several businesses on the island that rent scooters, road-legal golf carts, and cars at the airport. You can rent a jeep for $60 a day, or a golf cart for $35 a day. If you arrive with the ferry, you can take a shuttle to the airport. If you want to see the many beaches on all sides of the island you can rent a car for 1-2 days and pretty much cover the entire island.

There are two gas stations on the island: Ricky and Lili's garage by the ferry dock (the area can get very crowded when the ferry is there), and Dakiti on the other side of the channel, past the Colmado Milka supermarket.

See

One of several WWII-Era American Sherman tanks stranded in the sand of Flamenco Beach.
Culebra National Wildlife Refuge map

Do

Eat

There are several small restaurants on the island as well as small hotels which have restaurants. Reservations are recommended if you plan on going to a hotel restaurant.

Several food vendors hawk their wares daily at the entrance to Flamenco Beach. The grilled meat-on-a-stick is both delicious and cheap. Lots of bottled water and other cold drinks from vendors with ice chests.

Supermarkets:

Drink

Mamacita's bar and restaurant, , in the heart of the town is popular but relatively pricey; the bar area is right by the water. Dinghy Dock also has a waterfront bar. El Eden has the best selection of wine in Culebra.

Sleep

View of Culebrita Island (middleground), with St. Thomas in the furthest background

There are half a dozen or so guest houses, including the Palmetto Guesthouse, and small hotels on Culebra.

The term "resort" is a bit misleading as the average facility will be 2-3 stars at best. This is a small island after all! Some of the older hotels are barely a one star. Service is typical laid back (i.e., slow) island style. There are also plenty of houses and villas for rent on the island. Camping is permitted for up to four months at a time on the beautiful government-run Flamenco Beach, just a few miles outside of the main town.

Many private apartments are also available on the island, most can be book through Culebra Vacation Planners .

Cope

Nautical charts, weather, tides, astronomy, telephone directories, all free. They are non-profit and produced by a local volunteer staff. General Information 787-379-1973 Free.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 01, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.