Difference between revisions of "Culebra"
Revision as of 08:24, 8 August 2010
You can reach Culebra via daily ferry from Fajardo or on week days from Vieques. Average price is about $2.50 for a 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. There is also a new high speed ferry option from San Juan on Thursdays through Sundays, which costs about $45 a head. This option may not still be available. Crowds can be thick for both ferries, so get there early, especially on weekend mornings. 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. Air Flamenco and Vieques Air Link has 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. If you are 1 adult this is the better option. If you are two people traveling the taxi from San Juan to Fajardo might be your better option. For 2 adults it would cost approximately $45 per person with cab and ferry one way.
For a budget traveler, you may also want to consider taking one of the local buses 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. I believe it is 3pm. The buses are vans that depart sporadically, do not have air conditioning, and primarily serve locals. Tourists may have difficulty persuading taxi drivers that you want to go to the bus station.
There are several native-run taxi services on the island, ferrying tourists around town, to the airport, and to Flamenco Beach. They charge a very reasonable $2 per person. There are several businesses on the island that rent scooters or cars at the airport. You can rent a jeep for $60 a day at the small airport in Culebra. You can take the shuttle from the ferry dock. Jerry's Jeeps is right across the street. He has older vehicles for $50 a day. 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.
Flamenco Beach is quite outstanding, and unlike the other beaches in Vieques and Culebra, popular enough to attract a real crowd. The beach is in a calm cove and stretches into a circle of nearly a mile in length, and a few rusted-out U.S. Army tanks silently watch over the beach. The water is clear, shallow, and calm, and the waves are small. Reefs exist on each side of the beach and are very easy to access directly off the beach if you have snorkeling equipment with you, and other snorkeling beaches can be accessible by taking the (safe) path through the old army minefield. The reefs are not world class but they are interesting enough for amateur snorkelers. Facilities at the beach are few. Showers run sporadically and there are flush toilets, but no lights other than in the bathroom. Fresh water is freely available. Bring a cooler with plenty of snacks and drinks, plus towels or beach chairs if you can. Campers should be warned that it gets surprisingly windy and chilly at night. Bug spray is recommended. Bring a tent and sleeping bags, and, if you have one, bring a hammock to string between two trees for a night under the stars.
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.
Mamacita's bar and restaurant, , in the heart of the town is popular but quite pricey. El Eden's laid back decor may fool you but make no mistake, this is a 5 star restaurant worthy of NYC. The lobster risotto is to die for! They serve dinner only 3 nights per week (Thursday,Friday, Saturday) but you absolutely must experience it. From the gnocchi's with pesto, fresh eggplant lasagna and swordfish dinner to the prime rib, there is something for everyone. They have a great brunch on Sundays and delicious sandwich's made with fresh bread every day (closed Tuesday and Wednesday)this place should not be missed.They do accept reservations and it is advisable during the busy season.787-742-0509 The Chinese restaurant in town sells some liquor, but the proprietor speaks no English and only some Spanish, so good luck there.
There are half a dozen or so guest houses, such as 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 .