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Posted by on Feb 18, 2011 | 12 comments

Papillon Photos: Culebra, Puerto Rico

 I almost forgot we are in winter.  The past couple of weeks the weather has been acting pretty warm in Southern California.  This week, rain decided to pay us a visit.  She came accompanied by her friend cold.  Therefore, I want to concentrate on a balmy place until the next heat wave.

Well, I was thinking about Culebra.  You have probably heard about this island.  It is getting really famous lately.  Culebra is an island and municipality of Puerto Rico.  It is located 17 miles from the Puerto Rico mainland or the “Big Island”.  It is called Culebra (snake) because it is supposed to look sinuous when you are sailing towards her.

Map of Culebra (source Wikipedia)

The island is small (11.6 square miles), rugged and underdeveloped.  If you want to enjoy Puerto Rico’s most beautiful beaches, you have to go to the small islands and cays grazing its surrounding coast.  Because Puerto Rico is more than one big island.  You knew that, right?  Some of the other islands that are part of the archipelago are Culebra, Vieques (9 miles south of Culebra), Caja de Muertos , Mona, Monito and Desecheo.  There are many more and they are all stunning and unspoiled.  Vieques and Culebra are sometimes known as the Spanish Virgin Islands.

Culebra Location in Puerto Rico (source Wikipedia)

If you want to visit Culebra, you have some options to get there.  There are daily flights from San Juan’s International Airport (Luis Muñoz Marin).  There are also flights from local airports located in the towns of San Juan, Fajardo and Ceiba.  However, most Puerto Ricans arrive to the island by ferry.  The ferry departs from the town of Fajardo.  If you are planning to go, check Puerto Rico’s port authority website or consult your guide for ferry schedules.  If you go in high season, arrive to the ferry station a little more than an hour before departure.  Tickets are sold in first-come, first-serve basis and reservations are not accepted.  If you are planning a day trip and you lose the morning boat, you are done.  You are not going to be able to go to the island.  For maximum enjoyment, stay one or more nights. 

 
The majority of the people who go to Culebra for the day do it for one reason: Playa Flamenco.  I am telling you, once you see this beach you are going to understand why you should be willing to sacrifice a little bit to get there.  Once you exit Culebra’s main pier, you are going to see an army of public buses waiting to transport day trippers to the beach (cost is 1 or 2 dollars per person).  If you want to spend the day at the beach, bring snacks or food.  There are some food vendors at the beach but the selection is limited to Puerto Rican cuisine.  If you want to eat something a little bit different, you would have to go back to Dewey (where the pier is located) and this will kill some of your beach time.  Remember that Playa Flamenco is a Blue Flag Beach.  This means that it fulfills high environmental standards.  Glass bottles (and other glass items) are not permitted in the beach. 

Playa Flamenco, Culebra, Puerto Rico

Beautiful Playa Flamenco

There are some remainders of the Navy occupation of the island.  Rusty tanks dot the island.

Rusting tank in Playa Flamenco

Tank in Playa Flamenco

The good thing about the beaches in Puerto Rico is that there are shade areas were you can rest and eat.

 
If you want to do something different while on Flamenco, you can walk to the Carlos Rosario Beach.  From here you can observe gorgeous view of the Luis Peña Cay. You can also snorkel.  The water is shallow and full of tiny fish.  Ask around for instruction on how to get there.  I went there some years ago with some friends and we took a dirt road to this beach.  Bring water and everything you need.  This is a desolated beach.

View of Playa Flamenco

Chilling at the beach

You can perform many activities on the island.  There are boating, diving, kayaking, snorkeling, fishing and shopping opportunities.  There is also the National Island Refuge where you can observe different types of birds and turtles.

Couple at Playa Flamenco

Well, I can go forever writing about this Puerto Rican spot.  I guess you can appreciate from the photos why this place is so special.  This is as good as the Caribbean gets.

Let me know if you have visited or want to visit Culebra.

See you on another sunny day. :0)

12 Comments

  1. I’d really like to visit Culebra and Vieques–I’ve never been to Puerto Rico before. Maybe one day when I’m back on the East Coast and it’s a cheap, easy flight. It’s just so difficult to reach the Caribbean from California. You might as well go to the South Pacific–it takes less time!
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..Photo Friday- Copenhagen- DenmarkMy Profile

    • Yes, it really time consuming to got o Puerto Rico from California. From Los Angeles, is a 7 hours non-stop flight. If you go thru Florida, is more than 9 hours. With the time difference, it take one day to get there and another to come back. That is one of the reasons I haven’t been there in more than four years.
      Ruth recently posted..Shame on you- when you don’t even know your surroundingsMy Profile

    • Wow, I didn’t know what a panzer was. I looked up (German tank). Thanks for teaching me a new word. Those tanks really look out of place but they represent the triumph of the people who pacificaly was able to drive out the military from their land.
      Ruth recently posted..Thailand’s Blue Tiger- Day 3 Scene 3My Profile

  2. Those beaches sure look gorgeous. We are currently in New Zealand and have some great beaches, but it’s too cold to enjoy them, even in summer. So thanks for making me jealous =)
    Andrea recently posted..Inspiring Travellers Turns One!My Profile

  3. I could definitely go for some Caribbean sun right about now!

    • You know, I have never been to a baseball game. When I was growing up, my dad used to take us to basketball games (because he does not like baseball). I am pretty sure the stadiums get really crazy in Puerto Rico.
      Ruth recently posted..Papillon Photos- Tikal- GuatemalaMy Profile

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