Culebra Island Journals

Laid Back Culebra, Puerto Rico -- The Last Virgin

A December 2002 trip to Culebra Island by ScottytheBody

Villa Melones Photo, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico More Photos
Quote: Acting on an insider's tip, we investigated this laid-back, beautiful island located between "mainland" Puerto Rico and Saint Thomas, USVI. Called by many "the last virgin," referring to its status as a mostly-protected, relatively undeveloped part of the "Spanish Virgin Islands," this place exudes tranquility. Our verdict: read on!

Laid Back Culebra, Puerto Rico -- The Last Virgin

Overview

Dockside Photo, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
Quote:
Culebra is relaxing to the extreme. You'll find no resorts, no high-fashion shopping or duty free, and very little tourist infrastructure by Caribbean standards. You'll get pristine beaches, friendly people, an interesting and diverse expatriate population, and as much sea and sun as anybody could ever want. Geographically akin to the Virgin Islands, but territorially part of Puerto Rico, Culebra is quickly and easily reached via ferry or plane from San Juan. With exactly one town (called Dewey only on maps, but never in name) and nearly deserted on the weekdays, this is the place to get away from your vacation. Quick Tips: Be sure and visit some of the "local" restaurants for some aut...Read More
Villa Melones Photo, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
Quote:
Villa Melones is considered by most to be the finest rental property on Culebra. Designed and owned by an architect and furnished and owned by a real interior designer, everything has been carefully thought out for maximum enjoyment and efficiency. We rented the villa as a couple, but if two couples were to split it (or a family), the villa would be considered inexpensive by Caribbean standards. The basics: The villa is composed of two structures, with a deck/pool between them. The main structure contains the large living area with kitchen, deck, and laundry facilities. The second structure contains two one-bedroom units with private baths that feature wide-open, ocean-view showers! ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 23, 2003

Villa Melones
Near Puenta Melones
Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
(787) 765-5711

Casa Ensenada Guest House Photo, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
Quote:
This is a solid choice for a guesthouse--it's located right in the middle of the action. The owners also rent sail and motorboats and your room comes with the free use of a sea kayak and access to the lovely dog Cocoa. The rooms are basic yet comfortable and feature nice, clean, tiled baths.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 23, 2003

Casa Ensenada Guest House

Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
1(800) 484-9659

Club Seabourne

Restaurant

Quote:
Club Seaborne has a friendly atmosphere and a spectacular outdoor bar. The food is quite good, but not on the level they pretend it to be. The problem with Culebra is that it's remote and it's hot, so nearly everything has to be frozen, including the seafood. Don't come to Culebra for the food, but if you do need a nice meal at a resonable price, Seabourne is the call.

The lobster monfongitos were quite nice--tiny cups of refried plantains and pork skins, stuffed with a lobster mixture. The churasco, a flattened flank steak, was well done with a nice mojo-type, creole-inspired flavor to it.

Carlos, the guy with dreads and nice clothes, is a grumpy, grumpy waiter.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 24, 2003

Club Seabourne

Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
(787) 742-3169

Culebra Dining

Restaurant | "A Roundup of Various Options"

Culebra Dining Photo, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
Quote:
Culebra is not about cuisine at all. You get the basics, and they're usually done fairly well. Some recommended options: LAS DELICIAS: specializes in lobster dishes and is a bit out of the way, but worth it for a meal or two. The owners are super-friendly and the restaurant is totally family-friendly. OASIS: great pizzeria right on the main street in the town. Get some beers here and a lovely seafood pizza with squid, conch, octopus, and other fruits of the sea for a great deal. EL CAOBO (or "Tina's"): find this place (just ask around) for excellent "locals' food," meaning fried fish, pork chops, and other Puerto Rican specialties. It's an extremely casual and very laid-back ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 24, 2003

Culebra Dining
Throughout Culebra
Culebra Island, Puerto Rico

Playa Flamenco

Attraction

Playa Flamenco Photo, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
Quote:
This is the widest, largest, and most unbelievable beach on Culebra. If you like crystal blue waters and sand the color and texture of powdered sugar, this is the beach for you! Protected by reefs on either side, the two-mile-long beach is also highly popular and, on the weekends, filled with Puerto Ricans from the mainland having a good time. This isn't a bad thing at all, adding a festive element to the normally near-deserted beach. However, if crowds are not your thing, head to a different beach on the weekends. Once used as target practice by the Navy, a couple tanks remain as reminders.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 23, 2003

Playa Flamenco
Flamenco Beach
Culebra Island, Puerto Rico

Sea Kayaking to Jose Luis Pena Photo, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
Quote:
In a word, this was unbelievably great. We rented a couple sea kayaks and paddled over to the most pristine, deserted beach ever. Take a lunch and some sunscreen and enjoy the total beauty and complete relaxation this beach has to offer.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 23, 2003

Sea Kayaking to Jose Luis Pena
Playa Tamrindo
Culebra Island, Puerto Rico

Playa Zoni

Attraction

Playa Zoni Photo, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
Quote:
Travel the winding road out of town (you'll see signs or can easily get directions from anyone in town) to lovely Playa Zoni. This is a sunrise beach, meaning that the sun faces you before midday, and sets behind you, so go early. If you're visiting on a weekday, you'll more than likely have this beach to yourself.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 24, 2003

Playa Zoni
Zoni Beach
Culebra Island, Puerto Rico

Playa Brava / Playa Resaca

Attraction | "Playa Brava/Playa Resaca"

Playa Brava / Playa Resaca Photo, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
Quote:
Brava: Accessing this beach requires that you hike through some ranch land, so look out for cows and/or goats. Additionally, it can get a little shady trying to find the road. We ended up on somebody's property who didn't like us too much, but was nice enough. We finally found the road and drove to the end. Park by the trailer house and head down the dirt road. You'll wind through some scrubby brush, and after a while, you'll see a really old well on the right-hand side. Keep going to emerge on the beach. You will almost certainly be the only people on this beach. We did the hike in tennis shoes and were just fine. This beach is prime leatherback sea turtle nesting ground a...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 24, 2003

Playa Brava / Playa Resaca
Brava Beach / Resaca Beach
Culebra Island, Puerto Rico

Mamacita's

Attraction

Mamacita's Photo, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
Quote:
Somehow, while sucking down our Presidente beers we managed to unearth a rift in the island. And while we never found an explanation, nor ever determined the cause, on one side of the battle, the war was evident. And just about everyone we asked sang the same song, or rather, lamented to the same tune: The Dinghy Dock is closed. They also had the same stern warning: Mamacita's, the only other real dining option in town, had recently undergone a management change and was, "not as good." Mamacitia's is a guesthouse, restaurant, bar and, most controversially, a laundromat. It sits directly on the channel that connects Ensenada Honda to the Lagoon where the ferries dock, so one can pull a ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 24, 2003

Mamacita's
64 Castellar Street
Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
(787) 742-0090

Playa Carlos Rosario

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Playa Carlos Rosario Photo, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
Quote:
This beach, and the offshore areas, are protected national aquatic parks, so the diving and snorkeling are pristine. One can charter a boat to take you here, or you can even drive pretty close to the beach, park and walk in. A nice option, and one we had to adhere to as we couldn't drive our rented jeep on dirt roads, was to park at Playa Flamenco and walk to the back of the lot, where a dirt road leads over the hills to Tamarindo and Carlos Rosario beaches. Once there, strap on your gear and swim about 50 yards out to the channel marker (usually a white milk jug), turn right and you'll be swimming along some pristine coral reef. I saw trigger fish, yellowtail (?), eels, starfish, sea horses ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 24, 2003

Playa Carlos Rosario
Carlos Rosario Beach
Culebra Island, Puerto Rico

Playa Carlos Rosario Photo, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
Quote:
It's AMAZING! Swim 50 yards out to the channel marker (a white milk jug) and turn right. You're there. Pristine, beautiful coral reef teeming with wildlife to the point of almost being creepy.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 24, 2003

Playa Carlos Rosario
Carlos Rosario Beach
Culebra Island, Puerto Rico

The Ferry Dock

Story/Tip

Daytime Passenger Ferry Photo, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
Quote:
The most action you're likely to see is during the loading/unloading of the ferries. Get a schedule from the harbor master and then position yourself with a cold beer or delicious coffee drink from Cafe Isola and enjoy.

Since Culebra is a tiny island, with a tiny airport, everything must arrive by ferry--even the garbage trucks. It's really unbelievable to see.

Families reunite after a day of WalMart-ing on the big island, visitors pour in searching for some respite from the hot ferry ride over, and all sorts of people come simply to watch what's happening. Somebody is sure to put on some LOUD music out of the back of their pickup, and people are sure to cruise by.

Quote:
Nobody calls Dewey Dewey. It's an artificial name imposed by the Navy when they moved the original town. So just call it "town" or, as the locals call it, "el pueblo." In town, you'll find a couple grocery stores at the main intersection, some assorted dive and tourist shops, eXcetera, which is the office/copy/phone call location, some guest houses and a few restaurants. Check my restaurant reviews for more about that. Culebra has a couple of churches, which act as hubs for activity. You can hear steel drum bands rehearsing, choir practice, whatever, as you stroll by. Town is tiny and totally walkable. Most of the best restaurants are located outside of town, so transporta...Read More