One of my favorite places in Puerto Rico is Culebra. This tiny island off the east coast of Puerto Rico is truly a tropical gem. I recall my first time experiencing the island thirteen years ago. I was on a friend’s boat and we were anchored off the coast of the island. We didn’t get on shore that time but it awoke in me the curiosity to return. A few years ago, I finally set foot in the island and I did not want to leave. Here’s how to spend two days in Culebra:
Flights from San Juan to Culebra are short and relatively affordable. Bonus: the view from above! From San Juan, you can take a flight from Isla Grande via airlines such a Vieques Air Link, Cape Air, and Air Flamenco. The drive from SJU Airport (main San Juan Airport) is give or take 30 Minutes. You can also fly from Ceiba on the east coast of the island. There’s a big parking lot where you can leave you car. The cheapest way is to take the ferry from the Fajardo post. There’s also a parking lot where you can leave you car overnight. If you’re lucky and have a friend with a boat, take the boat! The views are amazing!
Where to Stay in Culebra
The island is the place one goes to disconnect. Even two days in Culebra will reset you! There are no big resorts, but rather small guesthouses, rental villas, and small boutique hotels. A renowned property on island is Club Seabourne, a small, local-owned boutique hotel. I have friends who have been going to Club Seabourne for years and love the property. During my visits, I’ve stayed at rental apartments and guesthouses. Don’t worry if you’re not in the lap of luxury… you’ll spend most of your time at the beach!
Culebra means snake in Spanish. This long, small, narrow island is home to one of the most revered beaches in the world: Playa Flamenco. Yes, believe the hype. Playa Flamenco is a long sandy beach with turquoise waters and laid back vibes. Not only is the beach picturesque, but the facilities are also convenient for guests of all ages. There’s ample parking, changing rooms, and kiosks offering Puerto Rican empanadas filled with meat or seafood. My cousin and other friends love to camp there. More camping info here.
Although Culebra is mainly known for Playa Flamenco, I recommend you visit the other beaches on the island. Close to Flamenco, there is Playa Tamarindo. This quiet beach is known for snorkeling. There, you can catch sea turtles peacefully swimming along the ocean. The beach area is quite small, but it’s beautifully quiet and peaceful.
If you want to escape to a secluded beach, head to Playa Zoni. I recommend that if you go to Culebra, you rent a jeep as it gives you access to more of the island. Playa Zoni is quite remote. Getting there is quite the adventure. The roads seem to get narrower and narrower until you reach the beach area. The several times I’ve been, the most I’ve seen are a dozen or so beachgoers. The water is a bit more choppy than Playa Flamenco, but the views are just as sweet.
A must when spending two days in Culebra is taking in a beautiful sunset. One of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve witnessed in Puerto Rico was at Playa Melones. This small beach offers calm waters and a picturesque sunset. There’s also a small area with picnic tables. Perfect to stage a small picnic at sunset.
Where to Eat
The dining options are a bit limited in Culebra. That is why I recommend staying at an apartment or guesthouse where you can cook your own food. The Dinghy Dock is a Culebra institution that has been there for years. It’s nice to sit by the dock with a rum punch in hand and fantasize about the sailboats you witness on the bay. Zacos Tacos is also a great spot with chickens roaming the restaurant as you sip your margarita. I am also a fan of the food stands at Flamenco Beach. Pan Deli is a traditional Puerto Rican bakery, get a ham, egg, and cheese sandwich on your way to the beach.
Two days in Culebra: The Verdict
If you want to unwind, Culebra is the place for you. Although it’s 18 miles from mainland Puerto Rico, it seems like a different country. With less than two thousand inhabitants, this tiny slice of paradise will reconnect you with nature. Two days in Culebra is enough time to unwind and fall in love with island!
All Images by Italo Morales