Culebra is a small Caribbean island, mostly covered in nature preserve that lies about 20 miles east of Puerto Rico. Culebra is part of the self governed commonwealth associated with the USA.
You can reach Culebra via daily ferry from Fajardo. Currently there is no ferry service to or from Vieques. Maritime Transport Authority website for schedule and price information Average price is about $2.25 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.
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 both have flights that leave from Isla Grande Airport to Culebra.
These are small 8 passenger planes. Please be aware of the weight limits for luggage, especially if you plan to scuba dive on Culebra and will be bringing your own regulator or other heavy gear. Each passenger is allotted 25 (Air Flamenco) or 30 (Vieques Air Link) lb of luggage, so the lighter you can pack, the better. They will refuse to carry luggage of 70 lbs or more.
Getting to the Airport
San Juan Isla Grande airport(SIG) is approximately a $25 15 minute cab ride from San Juan International airport. The plane ride may cost $70 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.
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. I would recommend taking a flight to avoid the hassle of the very and the chance of not being able to get to the island.
If you are returning from scuba diving on Culebra, it is safe to fly in the small 8-person planes within a couple hours of your dive. These planes are not pressurized at all, so the cabin pressure is roughly the same as normal atmospheric pressure.
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.
Another option is to rent a golf cart for about $45 a day. They use very little gas, and they can get you almost anywhere on the island in very little time. They are usually able to accommodate up to four people.
One of several WWII-Era American Sherman tanks stranded in the sand of Flamenco Beach.
- 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 for rinsing only (no soap allowed) 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. For more information on camping on the island, visit .
Culebra National Wildlife Refuge map
- The Culebra National Wildlife Refuge,, . established by Teddy Roosevelt in the early years of the 20th century, offers pristine environments for bird and turtle watching in several locations on and around the main island.
- Bioluminescent Organisms: While the neighboring island of Vieques may provide a more reliable source, Culebra’s waters do contain bioluminescent organisms. Talking to the locals and heeding their advice should maximize one’s chances of witnessing the phenomenon and kayak rentals are available on the island to bring more mobility to your maritime search in the darkness.
- Rent a jeep and visit the beaches. Carlos Jeep Rental  has a wide variety of Cars and jeeps.
- Rent a small motorboat ($150-$200/day) and visit the nearby islets such as Culebrita with even more private beaches.
- Camp on Flamenco Beach and just relax. Call (787) 742-0700 for more information on Camping or visit .
- Capt. Bill Browneller, ☎ 805 452-3587, . 9 to 5. Charters whis 37 foot trimaran to Culebrita, Tamarindo and Luis Pena for a day of snorkeling and sailing. Hot lunch is prepared and water and ice with snacks through the day. A full day on the water. $125/person.
- Bird Watching: Hosting a wide variety of sea bird species, Culebra makes for excellent bird watching (especially in its numerous sanctuary zones).
- Turtle Watching: During the late spring and early summer Culebra hosts a variety of sea turtle species. Returning to the island to lay their eggs, Hawksbill, Leatherback, and Green sea turtles can be observed by beachgoers in the dark of night so long as their direct nesting sites are left undisturbed. The local Department of Natural Resources takes groups of volunteers to survey the turtles on occasion and the agency is your best bet to both find and respectfully interact with the largest sea turtle species on Earth (the aforementioned Leatherback Sea Turtle).
- Scuba Diving: Lots of wonderful scuba spots around the island, and two dive boat companies that are happy to take you out for a half-day dive.
A few boutiques offer island made jewelry and art. Try above Dingy Dock.
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.
- Mamacitas Hotel and Restaurant,  (besides offering accommodation) has a restaurant and a tropical bar on the canal. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all great menus, although a little bit pricier than other local fare.
- Dinghy Dock,  has a wonderful atmosphere and a good menu with a regular crowd of ex-pats. It's name is literal as people dock their dinghys and hop up for a table. If you head down when the chef gets in at about four thirty, you can help him feed the Tarpon fish that swim around the dock waiting for table scraps. The best of the Mamacita's crew took over DD making it 100% improved.
- Juanita Bananas,  has Island Cuisine with fresh vegetables, local seafood and top quality meats. Open Friday through Monday for Dinner. Spectacular Sunset views from outside terrace.
- Susie's makes delicious fish and meat dishes in a casual and elegant environment,Indoor and outdoor facilities next to the canal.Chef Susie specializes in Tropical latitudes cuisine mixing Puertorrican food with Asian and Indian nuances.Full bar and wine selection available. Popular with older expats and locals.
- Colmado Milka, a reasonably priced grocery store with recognizable American brands and native foods. Open daily but only in the morning on Sundays.
- Superette Mayra is a small jam-packed grocery store that has it all, including sundries such as cooking pots, supplies for diabetics, reading glasses, cheap coffee machines, beach toys, plastic flower pots, sewing needles. Closed Sundays and during siesta time 1-3 pm.
- El Eden, up the road from Colmada Milka. A sandwich and liquor shop, this restaurant comes particularly recommended, and provides a taste of America if island food grows tiring. Also has a bar and gift shop. Open daily.
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.
- Barbara Rosa's Restaurant, 95 Calle Escudero (near Airport,along the main road heading west out of Dewey), ☎ 787-397-1923. Th-M 5PM-9PM. There is no waiter service. That is how it is here: you drive up, grab an open seat. Offers homemade crab soup, fish n’ chips, lump-meat blue crab cakes, and shark nuggets (a local favorite). The food is cheap and tasty, and your host is charming. Bring your own beer, wine or favorite mix. (Note: Tried to visit in early December 2013 on a Saturday night, and the place looked closed. If you're trying to find it, it's at 189 Escudera in a house set back a bit from the road.)
- Zacos Tacos. A nice restaurant with English speaking employees! You can eat outside on the deck or inside. Easily found. Overall great place to eat. For vegetarians, this is especially welcoming because they have many extremely delicious vegetarian options. Just beware of the roosters that stalk the back porch, waiting to steal any unattended tacos.
- 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 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 sandwiches 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.
- Zaco's Tacos has a nice bar as well.
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.
- Harbour View Villas, , is located overlooking Bahia de Sardinas and the town of Dewey. It consists of 3 individual cottages and 3 Suites. The Villas are on one level and the Suites another level. They all look out to the ocean. You can walk to Melones beach and the town of Dewey from the Villas, in 5-10 minutes.
- Mamacita's Guesthouse, 64 Castelar Street (Culebra island), ☎ (787) 742-0090, . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. Waterfront guesthouse with a Caribbean style bar and restaurant offers 10 rooms with balconys. The perfect place to enjoy your vacation, right in the heart of culebra. Mamacitas can be loud in the evening so if you want a quieter option chose another place to stay. $89.00.
Melones Beach (by Mangotree Culebra)
Many private apartments are also available on the island, most can be book through Culebra Vacation Planners .
- MangoTree Culebra, Near town (Culebra island), ☎ (845) 797-5000, . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. Private Apartment, sleeps 4 with kitchen and private balcony. Conveniently located, no need for a car. See the web site for pictures http://www.mangotreeculebra.com $90.00.
- Club Seabourne, . one of the nicer hotels on the island, is located on the way to Soldier's Point. The accommodations here mainly consist of several small but well-furnished cabanas that overlook the hotel's moderately-sized pool. The very friendly staff offers complimentary breakfast, as well as lunch baskets, bike, snorkel and kayak rentals for small fees. In addition, they have a good bar and a pleasant but overpriced restaurant. Reserve, because the rooms here go quickly.
- Tamarindo Estates. is a set of old, but comfortable apartments that sleep 2-3 people, and come with small kitchenettes and balconies. The hotel offers a pool, small grill for barbecues, and their own rocky private beach, which is great for some easy snorkeling and relaxation. It is conveniently located between Flamenco Beach and Dewey, at the end of the road to Tamarindo Beach.
- The Lighthouse, Calle 2 | Barriada Clark, Culebra 00775 (Exit the airport parking lot, turn right, and take the next left, up a hill. Take the first right), ☎ (215) 528-4017, . This small and cozy guesthouse was designed to be reminiscent of a Caribbean Lighthouse. It is located centrally on Culebra,one of the closest hotels to exquisite Flamenco Beach. Ex-pats, Mary and David Wiedner are great innkeepers, doing all they can to make your stay a pleasant one. $100 +/-.
- Rosa's Place Guesthouse, (take the road to flamenco, pass entrance to the airport , take the 3rd left, 10th house on the left), ☎ 7877422182, . Guesthouse with 2 apartments, short walk from town, closest guesthouse to flamenco beach. starting at 75/nt.
Dengue fever is carried by the mosquitoes on Culebra, so a good mosquito-repellant spray is invaluable. Keeping an oscillating electric fan running at night will be useful for 1) keeping cool, 2) generating white noise to drown out the incessant calls of the island's endemic roosters, and 3) keeping the mosquitoes off, since they are weak flyers and will be blown away by the fan.
If you are scuba diving, be aware that DEET, the most common and effective mosquito repellant ingredient, can melt/dissolve some plastics that are used in dive equipment. Many manufacturers expressly mention damage from insect repellants as not being covered under warranty. There are alternatives to DEET such as picaridin that may be less effective but will not put your equipment at risk.
More of a nuisance than a real health risk, roosters are nevertheless omnipresent on Culebra. There are wild chickens running loose pretty much everywhere on the island. Since there are so many roosters vying for dominance, they crow around the clock, not only at sunrise, and the incessant crowing can be difficult to sleep through. Earplugs or an electric fan (as mentioned under "mosquitoes") are recommended.
The other drawback to roosters is that they will aggressively steal food at restaurants. Guard your tacos at Zaco's closely.
- The Culebra Calendar, Calle Castelar, . Culebra's only newspaper has information on current events and historical information. 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.