The sparsely populated island of Culebra in Puerto Rico offers one of the most relaxing scenery in the Caribbean. Besides the small population, the area does not have the numerous tourist developments that are present in most vacation destinations. When the bustle of your regular life becomes too much, and you want a place to reconnect truly with nature, then Culebra Puerto Rico has that and much more.
The Island accommodates a broad range of travelers from the family on its yearly vacation to honeymooners to the lone tourist. Culebra Puerto Rico is particularly suited for snorkeling and hiking. This is thanks to its clear waters and unpolluted landscapes. This guide looks at some of the activities that visitors can enjoy when visiting Culebra Puerto Rico. It covers a little bit of everything to cater to different interests and budget needs. To get you started, here are 7 of the top destinations at Culebra Island.
7 Main Attractions of Culebra Puerto Rico
1. Sight-Seeing in Culebrita
For a tourist with several days to spare, Isla Culebrita is worth your time. Located East of Playa Zoni/Zoni beach, the small island offers a choice of six beaches, bird nesting areas, and magnificent reefs. If you are looking to catch a glimpse of a green sea turtle, then Playa Tortuga in Culebrita is your best pick.
Besides the white sandy beaches, there is the old lighthouse, Faro Culebrita, that was built in 1886. Although you can’t enter the structure itself, the views are worth the trip. Culebrita is a photographer’s paradise. From the top of the lighthouse, it is easy to see St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. You will have to hire a water taxi to get to this island, which is part of the National Wildlife Refuge.
2. History Lessons at Museo El Polvorin
Culebra Puerto Rico has an interesting history as a US military bomb-testing site. A visit to the Polvorin Museum will give you a detailed look at artifacts such as artillery shell casings. In fact, the structure that houses the museum was the Navy’s munitions warehouse during those times. Also, you get to educate yourself more on the island’s Calypso roots.
The Taino natives have exhibitions in the museum that will give you an in-depth look at the local heritage. There are documentaries, photographs, and movies that make this museum a treasure trove of Culebra knowledge. A section of the museum is set apart to display the ecological preservation efforts. Children will enjoy seeing the endangered turtles and fish.
3. Clubbing at the Dinghy Dock
So you are looking for a place to wind down your day. You should know that the Dinghy Dock has a reputation for offering fine drinks and even finer company. Whether you want a frozen rum drink or a cold beer, you will find it here.
A majority of tourists end up at the Dinghy Dock at some point in the day. So you can look forward to meeting new people while there. You can also get something to eat as you wait for drinks. The live music is not bad either. The Dinghy Dock overlooks the ocean, which gives patrons stunning views and a calming atmosphere.
For the art enthusiast who is always looking for new experiences in Culebra Puerto Rico, Artefango gives you that. The little art gallery carries a collection of art pieces for local artists. If you wish to learn about the Calypso heritage, stop by Artefango, located just above the popular drink hole, Dinghy Dock.
Local artist Jorge Acevedo owns the place. You can find some of Acevedo’s work as well, which includes pieces on social justice. The casual vibe of the place means you can hop in on your way to the beach- not worrying about the dress code.
5. Go Snorkeling in Culebra Beaches
The coral reefs in Culebra Puerto Rico make it one of the top snorkeling destinations in the world. In an age where nature is suffering from human activities, Culebra’s natural beauty remains largely unspoiled. As you dive into the reefs, you will come into contact with a turtle or two, rare fish and marine plants.
Tourists can arrange for snorkeling adventures from one beach to another. Carlos Rosario, Tamarindo, Punta de Soldado, Flamenco, and Melones are the go-to destinations for snorkeling in Culebra Puerto Rico. For beginners, you can have a guided snorkeling tour to enjoy the best of the island.
6. Water Activities on Flamenco
A trip to Culebra Puerto Rico is not complete without a visit to the world-famous Flamenco Beach. A former naval munitions training ground, Flamenco still has a rusty war tank on the west end of the beach. The contrast of the tank against the blue waters is awe-inspiring. Flamenco’s attractive shoreline, white sand, and crystal clear waters are not the only reasons it is always on the world’s best beaches list. The coral reefs are also must-sees.
Snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming are just a few of the water activities that tourists of all kind can enjoy on Playa Flamenco. The nearby lagoon where the beach gets its name receives a considerable flamingo population in winter. Playa Flamenco has amenities like toilets, outdoor showers, and kiosks that make your stay convenient.
7. National Wildlife Refuge
The national wildlife refuge that was created by President Theodore Roosevelt contains more than 20% of Culebra Puerto Rico. Anyone who loves nature will include the refugee in this/her itinerary. It consists of more than 20 cays and a long stretch of Culebra’s coastline. The island is renowned for its turtle population. Most of them are on the endangered list.
The aim of this refuge is to preserve these species. It is also a habitat for seabird nesting grounds- the largest in the Caribbean, as a matter of fact. If bird-watching is your hobby, then the national wildlife refuge in Culebra Puerto Rico will fulfill your wildest dreams.
Other Things to Do in Culebra, Puerto Rico
If you have already gone to all those 7 destinations mentioned above and yet you still have more time in your hands, here’s a good news. You will never run out of fun things to do in Culebra.
1. Bioluminescent Bay
Apart from beautiful beaches, the islands of Culebra and Vieques also have bio bays. But, the Mosquito Bay in Vieques is said to display the brightest bioluminescent experience in the world. If you’re up for an unforgettable nighttime adventure, this is the place to go.
Brush off that white sand on your feet and go on an off-road adventure while riding on a bike. Yes, you can explore the rest of the island while staying fit and it would still be as fun as a day on the beach. Make sure to tag someone along though.
3. Do Yoga
Speaking of staying fit, you can also take a yoga class while on the island. The best thing about the experience is that you get to do it on the beach.
4. Try Other Water Activities
While it’s fun to go snorkeling at Flamenco beach and meet some sea turtles, there are other ways to enjoy the surrounding waters of Culebra. You can also go surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, sailboarding, and kiteboarding.
5. Souvenir shopping
You can’t possibly sum up your list of things to do in Culebra without some souvenir shopping. Some of the souvenirs you might want to look for are artworks, pieces of jewelry, and other locally-made crafts.
How to get to Culebra Island
By now, you should already have a long list of things to do in Culebra. So, it’s time to talk about transportation.
There are two ways to get to Culebra: either by ferry or by plane. Your first option is obviously the cheaper alternative. However, the ferry to Culebra is run by the country’s transportation authority and its travel schedule is quite unreliable. Also, it might be a challenge to get a ferry ticket. But, if you are willing to try your luck, head to the Terminal de Lanchas in the city of Fajardo.
If you don’t mind spending a little more on a plane ticket, then you can do so in San Juan–the capital city of Puerto Rico. You can buy tickets from Vieques Air Link, Cape Air or Flamenco Air. From San Juan, these airlines can take you to Culebra and even to Vieques.
Preparing for Culebra Puerto Rico
The Caribbean as a whole is famous for its beaches. But Culebra Puerto Rico is in a class of its own. Even after decades since its discovery, the small island has a feeling of being uninhabited.
If your vacation plans include spending a lot of time lying in the sand and taking in undisturbed habitats, Culebra is quite a find. Zoni, Recasa, and Brava are some of the other lovely beaches you can try out. If you like hiking and walking, you have to try the trail to Playa Brava. Fill up your vacation must-see list with these jewels in Culebra Puerto Rico.