“It’s invisible water!” exclaimed my 9-year-old son. I could see his point. Standing waist-deep in the crystal surf, the water below him looked more like it came out of a tap than from the beaches in Culebra.
That’s what Flamenco Beach on the northwest coast of Culebra is like. Hailed in tourist brochures as one of the most photographed and stunning beaches in Culebra and even the Caribbean, the two-mile horseshoe-shaped cove has the silkiest, whitest sand brushing up against the most pristine electric turquoise water to be found anywhere. Add a backdrop of lush green hills, and you have the recipe for jaw-dropping nirvana.
Tranquil and rarely crowded during the week, the most popular beach on Culebra is a great place for a family to take a dip in the sea and dig their toes in the sand.
Tiny, rustic Culebra is the Caribbean’s best-kept secret. Officially part of Puerto Rico, it is located halfway between Puerto Rico and St. Thomas and is the smaller of the two inhabited Spanish Virgin Islands.
Culebra is easily accessible by an hour-long ferry from the port of Fajardo on mainland Puerto Rico for around $4.50. Upon debarking in the charming downtown of Dewey, children and adults alike will be drawn in by the colorfully painted cottages, waterfront eateries, and gift shops.
A fun way for the family to explore the island is to rent bicycles from one of the shops in Dewey. The trip will take you along hilly terrain, offer spectacular views, rest-stop beaches, and very little traffic makes it safe. Bring snacks and bottles of water with you because there are few conveniences stores along the way, and although it’s a small island, the temperature can get hot, especially at mid-day.
For underwater activities, look for an opening in a gate at the end of Flamenco Beach parking lot and a short hike that leads to Carlos Rosario Beach. While not as spectacular as Flamenco, there are fewer crowds on weekends and it boasts the best snorkeling on Culebra. Because the island has no river run-off, the crystal clear quality of the water is significant and even the youngest snorkelers will want to participate. Shallow reefs circle the island, and the variety of corals and tropical fish make this one of the top spots for snorkeling and diving in and around Puerto Rico.
INSIDER TIP: Click here for the ONLY beach packing list you’ll ever need!
Day or night, the best place to eat is at Mamacitas in Dewey. The food is creative and tasty and on the back patio, you can usually find a live band playing calypso music in the evenings. Mamacitas has a lively atmosphere that even the young pirate wannabes will like.
If more time on the island is desired, the choice of lodging will be limited to guesthouses and small hotels, all reasonably priced. There are no 5-star hotels or ritzy resorts on Culebra; there are no casinos, no gulf courses, no cruise ships, no bells, and whistles. The happy, unblemished island has little to offer by way of raucous nightlife, but perhaps you can find a guitar playing from a small restaurant. Very little crime makes it possible for safe walks in the moonlight.
Culebra was an artillery practice facility for the United States until 1975, which is what prevented large-scale tourist development. You can still see a bit of evidence such as a remnant of an old tank on the beach which has been turned into a distinctive and artistic landmark by local painting and fun graffiti.
For some quality family chill time, unspoiled Culebra is one of the few remaining spots in the Caribbean reminiscent of days gone by.
Culebra, Puerto Rico first published in The Momiverse.
Read 47 Cool Things to Do in Puerto Rico
Meet Puerto Rico’s Most Impressive Woman: Dona Fela
Click below to PIN so you can find the best activities and beaches in Culebra again:
This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer.
About the Author
Patti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of the award-winning international blog Luggage and Lipstick and southern travel blog Gone to Carolinas. TripAdvisor called her one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials” and she was named one of the “Top 35 Travel Blogs” in the world.
She is also the star of the upcoming TV series “Destination Takeover” which is scheduled to premiere in the new few months.
Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 print and online publications, including The Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Travel, Travel Girl, Travel Play Live Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal. She has traveled extensively through six continents looking for fabulous destinations, exotic beaches, and adventure activities for her Baby Boomer tribe.
Leave a reply