Puerto rico la culebra: 25 Things to Do + Best Beaches & How to Get There
The Ultimate Culebra Travel Guide
Updated September 2022, the Ultimate Culebra Travel Guide was originally written in January 2017
Culebra is Puerto Rico’s little gem off the east coast with some of the world’s most stunning beaches and a fun relaxed pace. Are you looking for beautiful, idyllic beaches, yet laid back, sans designer store, and barely touched the Caribbean? Good, this is the place for you.
Sitting in between Puerto Rico and St Thomas, Culebra is geographically speaking a part of the Spanish Virgin Islands. Though Culebra translates out to snake island, the island is also nicknamed Última Virgen, meaning the last virgin.
Looking for more in Puerto Rico? Check out Cabo Rojo
Culebra Travel Guide Table Of Contents
- Getting In & Out
- By Ferry
- By Plane
- Recommended Hotels/Hostels
- Where To Eat
- What To See & Do On Culebra
- Flamenco Beach
- Playa Zoni
- Isla Culebrita
- Playa Tamarindo & Playa Melones
- Short on time?
- Health Concerns
- Internet & Phone
- Other Important Information
A phone shot out the window of the plane
Getting In & Out
Culebra is officially part of Puerto Rico, and therefore, part of the US. You will most likely be arriving from the island of Puerto Rico. US citizens only need a driver’s license/state ID card and foreigners will, of course, need to enter using a passport.
You can arrive to Culebra by flight or by ferry. Due to the frequent breakdowns of ferries that leave people stranded and difficulty in purchasing tickets I strongly recommend spending the money to take the flight to avoid the upset and headaches.
The ferry takes about 60-90 minutes (depending on the ship) to travel between Puerto Rico and Culebra. This is the cheapest option, but the ferry comes with a few caveats.
Ferries used to depart from Fajardo, but since 2018 have been departing from Ceiba according to friends in Puerto Rico. Tickets can be purchased at the ferry terminal office in Ceiba for about $2.50 one way or $5 roundtrip (plus plan to pay 0.60¢ per day for parking), however, many times the ferry is completely sold out (also worth noting is that residents of Culebra and Puerto Rico have priority over tourists on tickets) and it’s quite common for some of the ferries to be broken down and not in service.
I would advise booking your tickets in advance via Puerto Rico Ferries to (hopefully) avoid any headaches. If you are combining a visit to Culebra with Vieques you can also take the ferry between Vieques and Culebra as well.
The sea can be notoriously rough between Puerto Rico and Culebra, so if you are prone to sea-sickness I would try to avoid the ferry, or at least prepare yourself for the worst. I also do not recommend the ferry for those on tight schedules as you should expect hiccups getting to/from Culebra.
More expensive but more efficient and predictable. Air Flamenco & Vieques Air offer connections to Culebra from both Isla Grande Airport and Ceiba Airport.
Ceiba is the cheapest option as it is lies on Puerto Rico’s east coast. The flight lasts about 15-20 minutes and will set you back $99 roundtrip. Expect to pay a little more from Isla Grande.
Being part of the USA the currency is, of course, the US dollar.
There is one ATM on the Island at the Banco Popular in Dewey near where the ferries dock. Otherwise, just stock up on cash before leaving Puerto Rico. Cash is still the favored form of payment here, however, several grocers, shops, and restaurants around Dewey accept Visa and Mastercard.
Tipping at restaurants is expected just like anywhere else in the USA. 15% is the norm.
The lines can be a little blurred here. You can spend a lot and live a little more luxuriously or you can kick around on the backpacker budget, though not quite as dirt cheap as you’ll find in Southeast Asia or Central America.
Considering that this is the Caribbean and the natural beauty of some of the beaches Culebra really is a bargain for what you get. From tent camping to lovely villas, walk or cycle the island or rent a golf cart…. you have plenty of options here that will fit most any budget.
You have a plethora of options here considering just how small the island is.
Your cheapest bet will be camping on Flamenco Beach. Camp slots are $20 per night with up to 6 people allowed to stay at each site. There are restrooms available albeit online reports say they’re pretty dismal.
If you don’t have your own camping gear don’t sweat it, gear can be rented nearby. As well as there are a few food kiosks just in a little way from the beach (trust me, you can’t miss them). Want more info on camping in Culebra? Check out Camping Culebra.
Culebra International Hostel
| Culebrahostel.com |
| Booking.com | Hotels.com |
Club Seabourne Hotel
| Booking.com | Hotels.com |
There are also several Airbnb listings around Culebra, you can shop them here.
Where To Eat
There are several small shops and grocery stores around the island where food and alcohol can be purchased if you’re trying to save. Expect similar prices to what you pay in Puerto Rico.
There are also several restaurants and bars around the island, expect to find dishes priced between $3 on up to $25 or more. There are prices to fit most budgets around in Culebra.
Cheaper options can be found at Zaco’s Tacos, El Panino, and Tiki Grill. Personally, I think my favorite dish I sat down to in Culebra was at the Krusty Krab, the grouper there is perfect.
From my experience on Culebra, I personally recommend renting a golf cart from either Carlos Jeep Rental or Jerry’s Jeep Rental. A golf cart will run you about $45/day. You can’t beat having the wind whip through your hair, plus it’s a blast. Jerry’s also rents scooters for the same price per day.
Another, slightly cheaper option is bicycle rental. Start by calling 787-645-5355 (La Romana Apartments) where bicycles can be rented for $20/day or $120/week.
The most expensive option is renting a full-on jeep from either of the aforementioned rental companies. Expect to pay $70+/day.
Official public transit doesn’t really exist here. There are Publicos around the island operate as taxis, expect to pay $3-5 depending on the length of the journey.
What To See & Do On Culebra
Beaches, beaches, and more beaches. Of course, catching a nice sunset, snorkeling among some pretty pristine corals, and kicking back are going to be the most popular.
The roughly 30 square kilometer island is home to about 1,800 residents, with Dewey being the main town on the island. This is where your main concentration of shops, hotels, restaurants, bars, and the ferry terminal are located. It’s fairly small, so no need to worry about getting yourself too lost here. For those traveling in by air, the airport is located just slightly north from Dewey.
Flamenco Beach is regularly ranked as one of the top 10 beaches in the world. A long strip of sugary white sand with turquoise crystal clear waters lapping at its shores.
A main draw is checking out the tank further down the beach. It’s been covered in colorful graffiti and is a must-see if you end up out here.
The US navy used to use Culebra as a bombing and gunnery practice site and were eventually chased out, and this a remnant. There is also another tank hidden back in the trees off the beach as well.
You can camp a little back from the beach, find out more here.
A nice, normally fairly quiet beach on the eastern side of the island. On a clear day, you can see clear over to St. Thomas. But don’t worry if you don’t have perfectly clear skies, you’ll still be able to take in views of nearby Cayo Norte and Isla Culebrita.
Isla Culebrita can be reached by renting a private boat (will run you about $150-200 for the day). If you think the beaches back in Culebra are quiet, these are barely touched. You may have it to yourself.
Going to the USVI too? Plan your visit to Trunk Bay, St. John
Playa Tamarindo & Playa Melones
Both on the west coast, nearly right next to each other and usually pretty calm. Perfectly situated for a great sunset. Bring your bug spray, the sand fleas come out in full force at dusk.
Parallel park your golf cart on one of the roads and walk around Culebra’s compact little town. A number of shops, restaurants, and bars are all located along the main streets here.
‘Hector the Protector’ statue near the dock in Dewey
Stroll into a dive shop in Dewey and you can easily set up a trip, or if you have your own snorkel gear you can venture out from your chosen beach. Don’t worry if you’re a meticulous planner- you can book snorkeling trips in advance here. There are plenty of good places to snorkel- check out that map earlier in the post for dive sites.
Shop Culebra snorkeling trips here
Culebra is super safe, even at night. Head down to any of the beaches and listen to the waves crash ashore and gaze up at the night sky. Flamenco is a great option for a nighttime visit as it’s far enough away from Dewey that there’s not tons of light pollution. You’ll probably even run into some families out camping and some fisherman.
Short on time?
If you only have a day to spare on your trip to Puerto Rico and want to see Culebra, a great option for you is to take a catamaran day trip from Fajardo. These types of tours will set you back about $120 For a visit to Flamenco as well as other beaches on the island, snorkeling, and lunch.
Check out Culebra day tours here
Culebra is generally a pretty safe place. Just use usual precautions and you can avoid most unfavorable situations.
Mosquitos and roosters are about the only two nuisances around the island. Mosquitos can carry Dengue out on Culebra, so make sure to bring bug spray. Zika is present in Puerto Rico in general as well.
Roosters mostly will wake you crowing at the morning sun, but sometimes they can be a little aggressive and steal food right off your plate at a restaurant (I witnessed it).
Internet & Phone
Most US carriers will work and coverage falls under your US plan. Wifi is available at most hotels.
Other Important Information
- English and Spanish are spoken throughout Culebra.
- Culebra is a part of Puerto Rico, meaning that it is also part of the USA. Check out the US gov website to find out if or what sort of visa you may need to visit.
Have Any Questions About Traveling Culebra?
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More Posts from Puerto Rico and the Caribbean:
Exploring Puerto Rico’s Culebra Island? Here’s Everything To Know
With plenty of activities to enjoy here, including sightseeing the breathtaking scenes, Culebra Island should be on every traveler’s bucket list
aerial view of Culebra Island, puerto rico
There are beautiful places in the world with special qualities, and Culebra Island in Puerto Rico is one of them. Culebra is a secret, having so much to explore and share. There are plenty of activities travelers can enjoy here – from snorkeling, kayaking, and scuba diving to fishing and sightseeing the breathtaking scenes surrounding this Island. It is an ideal place to connect relax and connect with nature. The attractions here are some of the best ones can ever experience. Planning to explore Puerto Rico’s Culebra Island? Here is everything to know.
Related: Top Reasons Why You Should Visit Puerto Rico
Visiting Culebra Island
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Because Culebra is situated at the end of the Virgin Islands archipelago, it is sometimes referred to as «Ultima Virgin,» which translates to the last virgin. Cayetano Escudero discovered this Island in 1880, and it has been a major tourist attraction ever since. To get to Culebra Island, visitors can board a ferry from Fajardo to the Island.
- Cost of a ferry from Fajardo: $4.50 Travelers can also access the Island through flights available at the small airport on the Island. The airport offers transportation services to and from San Juan.
- Cost flight: about $120 (to and fro).
Culebra is known to be a weekend safari destination – thanks to the many beautiful beaches found here. This area has some of the most spectacular coral reefs, allowing snorkelers to wander and experience the best of these beaches. Travelers can also explore the cays surrounding the Island, although the Fish and Wildlife Service requires every visitor to provide permits.
- Fish and Wildlife Service Address: Box 510, Boquerón, PR 00622
Culebra National Wildlife Refuge administers and regulated the area’s visits to ensure that the Island’s resources are well protected.
Top Tourist Attractions at Culebra
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Flamenco Beach is Culebra’s most famous beach and is considered the best in the U.S. and on earth. It features white and soft sands and beautiful coral reefs, making it an ideal spot for swimming and snorkeling. Visitors can camp on the north side of Flamenco Beach. The campgrounds here are run by the government.
- Contact for Reservations: Autoridad de Conservación y Desarrollo de Culebra, Attn: Playa Flamenco, Apartado 217, Culebra, PR 00775.
This beach is one of the most breathtaking beaches on Culebra Island and is a great choice for visitors looking for a place to have peace of mind since it’s never crowded. The drawback of visiting this place is one cannot snorkel or enjoy sports as no facilities are supporting such activities. But exploring this beautiful beach can still be worth the time.
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Eco tours combined with jet skiing allow visitors to explore the natural treasures of this stunning island, including the most hidden spots. Explore the island’s vast marine culture and the most breathtaking beaches on earth, as well as the natural reserves and the greenery. Eco-tours offer a luxury safari, allowing travelers to engage in snorkeling, swimming, and enjoying basking in the sun. The waters sound pleasing, and it’s an experience no traveler would want to miss. When going on eco-tours, bring a towel, some set of clothes, and sunscreen. Don’t bring an underage child to this kind of tour, as it is not allowed. One can come with their snorkeling equipment or get them at a fee. It is important to listen to the guides assigned during eco-tours.
Culebra Historical Museum «El Polvorín»
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Visitors can learn the unique history of the Spanish Virgin Island of Culebra. El Polvorin Museum offers an insight into the Culebra peoples’ past. It is an interesting history that children, as well as adults, would enjoy. The museum also stores the memories of the times when Culebra was used as a bombing testing area. There are Navy artifacts to tell that history. There are photos taken as early as 1930 as well as documentaries explaining the Island’s history.
- Opening days: Friday to Sunday
- Admission Coat: $1
Carlos Rosario beach
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Carlos Rosario Beach is an ideal safari destination for travelers looking for the best snorkeling spot in Puerto Rico. Although it is not as popular as Flamenco, Carlos Rosario Beach is not always crowded and is perfect for those seeking peace and serenity. Its beautiful coral reefs allow for the best snorkeling experience. Please be careful not to get hit by local powerboats and water taxis cruising on the beach.
The Culebra National Wildlife Refuge
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The United States Fish and Wildlife Department manages and administers these wildlife refuges, alongside many others. Other than a wide variety of bird species, extraordinary wildlife and a diverse range of plants thrive in this mind-blowing environment. Theodore Roosevelt built this refuge in 1909 – thanks to his long-term dream of constructing the world’s largest wildlife.
Related: A Travel Guide To Puerto Rico: Tourists Should Plan Their Trip Around These 10 Things
Where to Stay in Culebra Island
A safari to Culebra Island means enjoying the island life at its best. Vacation rentals and inns in this place are plenty to make your experience unforgettable. Club Seabourne, the only boutique hotel on the island features basic and deluxe rooms with plasma TVs, private balconies, and fully-equipped bathrooms. One can have a moment’s relaxation under palm and mango trees found here.
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Visitors traveling as a family or a group can use the Culebra Ocean Front Marbella and get access to two guestrooms as well as bathrooms. This house offers a beautiful space where travelers can even host gatherings while enjoying the peacefulness and quietness of this spot.
The Hillbay View Suites offer travelers a spectacular view of Culebra’s Bay. Up to four visitors can stay in its spacious setting. The rooms are equipped with luxury bathrooms, queen beds, and flat-screen TVs offering satellite channels to entertain travelers. Hillbay View Suites offer an incredible view of the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean. There is free Wi-Fi here; travelers can browse as they wish throughout their Culebra Island safari.
Exploring Culebra’s attractions is the best experience one can ever have. The beautiful beaches, bays, and luxury hotels will make every traveler want to build a house and remain to explore this place forever.
location, climate, language and attractions
Puerto Rico is part of the Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean. Compared to such giants as Cuba or Haiti, which are located to the west of the island, it is just a baby. When people talk about the islands of Puerto Rico, they mean the island state of the same name. In addition to the main island, it includes many small islands, among them — Mona, Vieques, Culebra, Deseceo, Caja de Muertos, etc. Puerto Rico is also surrounded by many reefs. Not all islands have a permanent population. For example, during the whole year people live only on the main island, as well as on Culebra and Vieques. And on the island of Mona, only the Ministry of National Resources of Puerto Rico is located.
- Language in Puerto Rico
The main island is somewhat elongated, 170 km long and 60 km wide. In the northern and southern parts, the coastal territories are quite extensive, and there are many mountains in Puerto Rico. The main mountain range passes through the center of the island — La Cordillera Central, which means «Central Range». He owns the mountain peak Cerro de Punta, which is the highest point in Puerto Rico and reaches a height of 1338 meters above sea level. Another mountain peak exceeding a thousand kilometers above sea level is located in the Sierra de Luquillo. It is called El Yunque and belongs to the Caribbean National Forest. The capital of Puerto Rico, the city of San Juan, is located on the northern coast of the island.
There are quite a lot of mountain rivers on the island of Puerto Rico, there are also 17 lakes, but all of them were created artificially. The north is famous for full-flowing and wide rivers. And in the northeastern part, in the Rio Camai National Cave Park, you can see bizarre karst caves. Their shape attracts thousands of tourists every year. The Kamai River also flows here; it is one of the largest underground rivers in the world.
The climate in Puerto Rico changes little throughout the year. It is always warm here, the average air temperature in summer ranges from +28°С to +29°C. In winter, the air temperature is around +23°C. During the day, the temperature also changes slightly. The exception is the mountainous regions, at night it is cool there. As a rule, it is warmer in the south than in the northern part of the island. And in the central part of the island, due to the abundance of mountains, it is always cooler than in coastal areas.
The amount of precipitation is due to the tropical trade wind climate, it is always quite humid here. However, the moisture distribution is uneven. The southwest of Puerto Rico is drier, with about 800 mm of precipitation per year. But the area around the El Yunque mountain peak is very rainy, about 2000 mm of precipitation falls here every year.
The most unpleasant weather phenomenon on the island is hurricanes. However, the local population is accustomed to these destructive manifestations of the elements. Here it is believed that the word «hurricane» comes from the name of the god of evil Huracan. Indeed, hurricanes bring a lot of evil, because sometimes the wind speed reaches 150 kilometers per hour. The hurricane season here starts in May and ends in November. At this time, Puerto Rico is constantly windy, the climate is hot and humid.
The best time to visit the islands is the winter period, which lasts from December to April. At this time, it is relatively cool here, not so humid and windy.
Language in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is a multinational state. Here mixed not only different nationalities, but also different races. Once the island was discovered by Christopher Columbus, at that time it was inhabited by the Taino Indians. They sailed here on rafts from South America. Later, the island began to be actively settled by the Spaniards, respectively, the Spanish language began to prevail over the rest.
At the end of the 19th century, during the Spanish-American War, the island of Puerto Rico and several others were conquered by the United States. At the moment, the state has a twofold position. It is not an integral part of the United States, but is administered by that country. At the same time, Puerto Rico has its own government and even its own Constitution. At the end of the 20th century, Spanish was recognized as the official language. However, in schools, children learn Spanish and English equally. In large cities, many people speak both fluently or at least know some English.
Perhaps you should start sightseeing in Puerto Rico from the capital, the city of San Juan, built by the Spaniards in the early 16th century. It is located on the north coast. In one of the best harbors in the Caribbean. Now this city is the political and economic center of the state. The beaches here are adjacent to office buildings made of glass and concrete. Most of the attractions are located in the Old Town area. Here you will not find ruins, the administration of San Juan monitors the condition of historical buildings, regularly carrying out restoration. Here you can also see many coffee houses and restaurants decorated in the old style.
The Plaza del Cinto Centenario area is located by the sea, which is more like a museum of colonial era buildings. The streets here are paved with smooth cobblestones, the buildings are decorated with balconies with wrought iron bars that wrap around flowers of various varieties and shades. Powerful defensive walls are also located here, which in the old days protected the settlement from attacks by the Dutch and the British.
Fuerte San Felipe del Moro is an example of fortification architecture in the northwest, and Fuerte San Cristobal in the northeast. Throughout the New World, it is difficult to find more majestic and awesome fortifications than the remains of these structures.
Those wishing to get acquainted with the history of the city should go to Plaza de San José. In its center is a statue of the founder of the city, Juan Ponce de Leon. There are all sorts of museums around. Nearby you can see a beautiful Gothic church — Iglesia San José, which was built in the first half of the 16th century. It is the first church built in Puerto Rico.
In the south of the island is the city of Ponce, which is the second largest city in Puerto Rico. It was recognized as a national treasure of the country, because the entire central part of the city is simply strewn with old buildings of the colonial period. Here you should pay special attention to the Cathedral of Cateral de La Guadalupe, built in the second half of the 17th century, the park with ancient fountains De Bombas, the Institute of Culture and Casa Alcalda. Nearby is the building of the Historical Museum. Among the museums in Ponce, the Museum of Art stands out. There are more than a thousand paintings, about 500 printed publications and 800 sculptures. Also worth visiting are the Sports Museum, the Musical Museum, Tibs Ceremonial Park and the Seragles Mansion.
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Puerto Rico — tours from St. Petersburg
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Puerto Rico is a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea, a former Spanish colony, which is now part of the United States.
Puerto Rico’s Spanish heritage remains prominent today in many forms, from architecture to food, music and language. In addition to Spanish, English is also spoken, and the US dollar is used throughout the island. The rules for visiting Puerto Rico are similar to visiting any US state. The advantage of Puerto Rico is that it is always warm here, year-round temperatures range from 21 to 27 degrees Celsius.
In addition to relaxing on the beach, there is a lot to see: the old part of San Juan, where the defenses against pirate raids are still preserved, the central part of the city of Ponce, consisting of squares, churches, beautifully decorated colonial houses and magnificent fountains, the Ponce Museum of Art, considered the best in the Caribbean, the Ponce History Museum and the Puerto Rico Music Museum. Tibs Indian Ceremonial Center with its own archaeological site, which is a restored village of the Arawak Indians — the indigenous inhabitants of the Caribbean, destroyed by the Spanish conquerors.
Puerto Rico abounds in natural beauty worth discovering. These are sunny beaches and 36 nature reserves, 19 state forests and 5 wildlife sanctuaries. For outdoor activities — rock climbing, trolls, snorkeling and much more. Walk through local markets and art museums, and watch performances by local street musicians. Visit unspoiled neighboring islands such as Vieques and Culebra.
- El Yunque Tropical Park, where along the paths among ferns and parrots you can feel like in a Puerto Rican paradise;
- In San Juan there is a six-level fortress of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a stunning architectural structure from the time of the Spanish conquest of the new world;
- Toro Verde Natural Adventure Park, home to the second longest Zip Line in the world;
- The famous Flamenco Beach on Culebra Island, which is the best beach destination in Puerto Rico;
- De-Tanama Canyon, cut into the earth’s crust by the Tanama River in Utuado, where you can do rock climbing and caving, as well as just abseiling over a mountain river;
- Plaza del Mercado in San Juan, which, after a shopping market in the evening, turns into an entertainment venue where you can eat, dance and listen to local musicians;
- The De Ponce Museum of Art, whose galleries are dominated by the works of such great masters as Rubens, El Greco, Velázquez and Liechtenstein;
- Casa Bacardi distillery producing the famous local rum;
- Miramar Museum of Art and Design (MADMi) — an interactive museum located in the stunning Casa Rosada (Pink House) built in 1913, celebrates art and creativity of all kinds, but especially the historical and aesthetic development of building design;
- Mosquito Bay, where the water glows really brightly, especially at night.
In the east of Puerto Rico are the cities of Fajardo and Rio Grande, as well as the heart of Puerto Rico — Caguas. Here, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy scuba diving, kayaking, hiking and more. Those looking for a more peaceful activity will find it in the area’s historic centers and first-class hotels. The area is dotted with wooded hills and is most notable for the spectacular El Yunque National Park.
The East Coast is also lined with white sand beaches offering hideaways for couples and families, while the warm Caribbean waters offer a wide range of adventures. Fajardo has many picturesque marinas from which to start a boat tour of the area, including the largest marina in the Caribbean: Puerto del Rey. Take a boat trip to the 10 islands of La Cordillera Nature Reserve to get up close and personal with coral reefs, rare plants, marine animals, reptiles, birds and seagulls. Explore the water on your own by kayak, snorkeling or snorkeling. For an unforgettable night out, take a glass-bottom kayak ride in Laguna Grande to see this bioluminescent cove — algae-filled waters that shimmer and glow under the dark night sky.
There are few places in the world like the magical El Yunque National Forest. With its emerald rainforests, misty waterfalls, spring waters and paved hiking trails, it’s no surprise that El Yunque is the island’s most visited destination. Stop at the park’s observation towers for unforgettable views from above, before heading out to explore the park, you can apply for a camping permit to spend the night in the rainforest. Don’t forget to bring umbrellas and raincoats as it rains four times a day on average in the forest.
There are other ways to have fun around Fajardo, Rio Grande and Caguas. The Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve in Fajardo introduces visitors to a variety of ecosystems, including dry forests and beaches that are ideal for hiking and walking. Here you can have a picnic, rent a bike or fly a kite. Las Croabas has trails and decks for leisurely walks along the coast. In Caguas, explore the town square for lunch and stroll among the tropical plants and art of the William Miranda Marin Botanical and Cultural Garden.