Isla culebra en puerto rico: Ceiba Culebra — Puerto Rico Ferry anchored by Hornblower

Best Things to do on Isla de Culebra Puerto Rico

Located approximately 30 km off the east coast of the Puerto Rico mainland, Isla de Culebra (which translates to “Island of Snakes” in Spanish) is one of 143 islands that belong to Puerto Rico. However, only Isla de Culebra and the island of Vieques are inhabited.

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Isla de Culebra Travel Guide

In this guide, we’ll explore the island, how to get there, things to do in Culebra, as well as the best time to visit, and how to make the most of your trip.

Why Travel to Isla de Culebra?

If you’re already traveling to mainland Puerto Rico, making an effort to travel that bit further to Isla de Culebra will reward you with an old-school Caribbean relaxed vibe and some of the best diving and snorkeling in Puerto Rico, so don’t forget to pack your favorite scuba mask

If you have spent any time snorkeling on the west coast or near San Juan, you’ll notice the waters of Culebra are calmer and full of turtles, starfish, and other tropical and exotic fish.

There is no need to worry about safety in Puerto Rico or on the island. Isla de Culebra is a great place for independent exploration. Thanks to its small size, it’s easy to hire a jeep or buggy to explore the island on your own.

Culebra Island has an old school relaxed vibe not often found in the Caribbean anymore.

Another great reason to travel to Isla de Culebra, the island has some of the best weather in the Caribbean. It is not surprising, so many Americans choose to spend the winter months in Culebra.

There are over ten beaches, including some which may be a little more difficult to reach but are wonderfully secluded. There are also the smaller islands of Culebrita (meaning “Little Snake”), Cayo Norte, and Cayo Luis Peña.

Travel Tips for Isla de Culebra

Best Time to Visit Isla de Culebra

With the island’s climate best described as semi-arid, as well as the overall small size, Isla de Culebra receives less rainfall than the mainland.

Temperatures are consistently between 82°F and 90°F most of the year, although these can rise as high as 95°F in the summer months.

Culebra is great to visit all year round. However, much like the mainland of Puerto Rico, a popular warm weather winter escape from the US, the best time to visit is in the winter dry season between late November and June for a rain-free trip.

The Hotel Kokomo is directly adjacent to the ferry port in Culebra.

Even in the rainy season between June and November, levels rarely reach as high as 150mm in any month. Showers are usually isolated, lasting a few hours at most. 

Sometimes, a bit of rain in these humid and hot areas of Latin America is like a breath of fresh air, so it is better to welcome them rather than detest them.

Be mindful, the months between June and November are also the official hurricane season in the Caribbean with the peak time starting from August. 

How to Get to Isla de Culebra

When looking at the map, Isla de Culebra may seem difficult to reach but is relatively easy to do.

The ferry port in Fajardo on the big island of Puerto Rico is the most economical way of reaching Isla de Culebra.

Ferry to Culebra

There are two options for reaching this beautiful island. The first (and most economical way) is to take a ferry from Fajardo, which is roughly a 45-minute drive from the capital San Juan.

How to Get To Fajardo

Local buses are the cheapest but slowest and can be unreliable. There is a shuttle service from the airport, or your accommodation could arrange for a local driver. Expect around $80 one way for a taxi and approximately $45-$50 for an Uber. 

Purchase a ticket from the ferry terminal at Fajardo. The ferry trip will take around an hour and a half and may include a stop at Vieques Island first. Be aware, the ferry to Culebra is very unreliable and rarely leaves on time, so be patient. 

You will arrive in the southwestern portion of the island, commonly known as “Dewey,” where you will find dive shops, restaurants, and golf car rentals and the Hotel Kokomo adjacent to the ferry exit.

Fly to Culebra

The other, more expensive way is to fly into the small airport on the island.

The Culebra airport only has a domestic route that arrives from San Juan (good for connection when arriving in the country) and also La Ceiba.

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Things to do in Culebra

Discover the best things to do and see on the island, including some smaller cayes and more off the beaten track trips you can take.

Beaches

Isla de Culebra is full of fantastic beaches, and one of the best is the Flamenco beach.

Ranked year after year not just the best beach in Culebra but as one of the top beaches in the world. The pristine white sand beach blends perfectly with the multi-colored hues of the Caribbean Sea for a postcard-perfect island setting.

Flamenco Beach Culebra Island

Great for both diving and snorkeling, the island was once used for military training, which is why an abandoned tank lies on the shoreline. A popular photo opportunity for visitors.

Other cool beaches include Playa Resaca and Playa Brava; however if you are strapped for time, head to Playa Melones, which is closest to the ferry port. A lovely beach with swimming-friendly waters.


Best Beach Safety Gear: Relax on the beach without worrying about your valuables. We have found the Best Beach Safe Solutions for a stress-free day by the pool or at the beach.


Isla de Culebrita

The island of the little snakes sits just off the eastern coast of Culebra, so it is a bit of a trek to get to. Uninhabited, it has some cool gems to visit and can easily be done as a day trip from the main island.

You can access the small caye by water taxi, which will cost around $60 per person and will pick you up at an arranged time.

In Culebrita, you can visit an old abandoned lighthouse that has been out of service since 1975 by following the trail path from where the water taxi drops you. It should take about 20 minutes. You can also visit Tortuga beach, which is frequented by green turtles hence the name.

Museo Histórico de Culebra

Perhaps not the first thing you would imagine yourself doing on a tropical island. However, a visit to the Isla de Culebra museum is an excellent break from the heat and a nice change from the beaches.

Learn about the history and story of Culebra. The museum has ancient artifacts of the Taíno (indigenous peoples of the Caribbean who lived here) preserved despite the arrival of the Spaniards. It also covers the history and presence of the military who made the Puerto Rican Islands their home.

Experience Real Island Life

As soon as you arrive, you will feel time stop, and the Caribbean chill tempo will take over. Sometimes the best thing to do is just relax with a margarita on the beach.

Isla Culebra is as Caribbean as it gets. As soon as you arrive, you will feel time start to really slow down.

At the beach, it is possible to try jet-skiing, surfing, or even kite-boarding. Grabbing a bike and exploring by yourself at your own pace is also nice, and as mentioned, you can also hire a jeep or golf cart to see more of the island.

Isla de Culebra: Off The Beaten Track

The most popular thing to do in Culebra is to head to Flamenco beach, with its pristine turquoise waters and infamous tank. Also, depending on how much time you plan to spend here and your budget, you should check out Isla de Culebrita for a more off the beaten path experience by hiking around the island, checking out the lighthouse and looking for nesting turtles.

Another great thing to do is hire a golf cart, and head up to the quieter sides of the island. Head up to the north coast to join one of the small snorkeling tours. It is an excellent opportunity to swim with turtles, sting-rays, and a myriad of exotic fish.

It’s relatively cheap, and while you can also do it independently, the locals always know the best times and places for the best possible marine life sightings.  

By Thomas Shahan – Flickr https://flic.kr/p/AEPaTg, CC BY 2.0, Link

Ready to Visit Culebra? 

We have delved into “the Island of the Snakes,” which is just a short ferry ride over from the Puerto Rico mainland.

We have explored the things you can do and see, short day-trips, how to get to the island, when is the best to go, and some off the beaten track recommendations.

If you are thinking of visiting Puerto Rico, plan a side trip from busy San Juan to visit Culebra Island for more relaxed vibes. Culebra is one of the most beautiful islands in Puerto Rico and is 100% worth a trip.

About The Author

Daniel James

Daniel from Layer Culture is a cultural traveler based in Colombia who dedicates his time to learning Spanish whilst exploring life in both Central and South America.

Isla Culebra, un paraíso amenazado en Puerto Rico

Junto a Vieques y otras pequeñas islas situada al Este de Puerto Rico, se encuentra la isla de Culebra. Antes de la llegada de los españoles que le dieron el nombre de isla del Pasaje estaba habitada por los taínos e indios caribes. Hoy forma parte de una reserva natural junto a islas cercanas como Culebrita o Tortuga.

Para empezar hay que aclarar que la isla recibe su nombre no por la abundancia de culebras sino por el nombre de un obispo de Toledo llamado San Ildefonso de Culebra. La colonización española de la isla no empezó hasta ya bien entrado el siglo XIX pues durante los siglos anteriores había sido usada como refugio por los piratas que infestaban el Caribe.

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Tras la guerra hispano-norteamericana de 1898 se cedió la soberanía de la isla a los USA que desde 1901 decidió emplearla como campo de tiro de la Marina y lugar de ejercicios militares hasta 1975 obligando a desplazamientos forzosos de sus habitantes. Esta es la razón de que todavía hoy podemos encontrar algunos tanques abandonados en Playa Flamenco y áreas no accesibles. Curiosamente Playa Flamenco figura en muchas listas de revistas y agencias de viajes como una de las más hermosas playas del mundo. Por otro lado los continuos bombardeos dejaron muy afectados los fondos submarinos coralinos que hoy se encuentran en un lento proceso de recuperación. La isla presenta una vegetación más bien subtropical adaptada a la carencia de precipitaciones. Y de su fauna lo más destacable es la riqueza de su vida submarina, además de la avifauna y la presencia puntual de tortugas.

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Se puede llegar a Isla Culebra en avioneta desde San Juan de Puerto Rico en unos 35 minutos de vuelo o desde Fajardo. La opción más económica es tomar el ferry desde la Terminal de Lanchas por unos 5$ ida y vuelta y en apenas una hora estaremos llegando a Culebra tras disfrutar de un agradable paseo marítimo. El problema es llegar a Fajardo pues en Puerto Rico el transporte público brilla por su ausencia. La opción más recomendable es alquilar un coche y dejarlo aparcado hasta nuestro regreso. Otra opción si no quieres alquilar coche es visitar Isla Culebra en un viaje organizado que te desembarcará directamente en Playa Flamenco. Del resto de la isla no verás nada y el precio incluyendo traslados desde el hotel en San Juan a Fajardo, el viaje en barco, la comida y el regreso a San juan sale por unos 120€. Sinceramente, os recomiendo la opción de alquilar un coche y viajar en el ferry.

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Una vez que bajamos del ferry veremos unas furgonetas y pequeños autobuses que hacen de taxi y que por 2$ i/v (3$ en temporada alta) acercan a los visitantes hasta el principal reclamo de la isla: Playa Flamenco. Esta playa es un magnífico arenal de aguas limpias y trasparentes de tonalidades celestes que se conserva casi salvaje. A pesar de la afluencia masiva de bañistas en vacaciones playa Flamenco todavía se conserva casi virgen y tiene apenas unos puestos de ventas de bebidas -riquísimas las piñas coladas- donde también encontraremos algo de comer. Otra historia son los fondos marinos que se encuentran totalmente arrasados por los bombardeos de la Marina norteamericana.

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Para conocer otras playas más remotas lo mejor es contratar los servicios de una lancha que nos dé una vuelta por la isla. En temporada baja este es un servicio realmente difícil de encontrar así que os tendréis que contentar con las caminatas hasta la playa de Carlos Rosario donde hay unos magníficos arrecifes a ras de agua para hacer snorkel o a playa Resaca. Caminar por la isla os permitirá adentraros entre una auténtica mata selvática costera no muy alta, pero llena de vida, aves, insectos, lagartos y mariposas de todos los colores. Pero atentos, unos mosquitos invisibles os masacrarán y lo peor es que sus picaduras no se sienten hasta varias horas después. Si queréis bucear con botella justo en el puerto hay un par de agencias que ofrecen esta posibilidad.

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En Dewey, el pequeño pueblo-capital de Culebra la gente es tranquila y amigable. Aquí el ritmo de vida es leeeento así que las prisas hay que dejarlas atrás. En temporada alta resulta casi imposible encontrar alojamiento aunque siempre queda la posibilidad de hacer el trayecto de i/v en el mismo día. El primer ferry sale de Fajardo a las 9 de la mañana y el último parte de regreso desde Culebra a las 5 de la tarde. Es ideal para pasar un día de playa en un entorno todavía tranquilo. El problema es que la especulación turística llega a todos los rincones de nuestro planeta y al parecer mentes perversas ya están planeando destrozar la isla construyendo apartamentos y hoteles en los lugares más privilegiados. Esto supondría triplicar la población de esta pequeña isla y destrozar su ya machacado entorno natural. Los lugareños no parecen muy dispuestos a recibir con los brazos abiertos una avalancha de visitantes en masa de tal calibre y ya se están movilizando para evitar tamaño desastre.

Si vais en temporada alta no dudéis en acercaros a Culebrita en un barco que sale del puerto para disfrutar en sus playas paradisiacas de postal y encontraros con el faro más antiguo todavía en pié en el Caribe, hoy abandonado a la ruina y a la furia de los huracanes provenientes del Atlántico. Culebrita es el cayo más grande cercano a Culebra. Sus playas son de finísima arena blanca que contrastan con el azul turquesa del mar. También podéis acercaros a Luis Peña, otra pequeña isla con fondos tranquilos ideales para ver pececillos y corales a poca profundidad ideal para la práctica del esnorkel y del buceo de iniciación y donde parece que nos sumergimos en un acuario.

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La verdad es que una vez aquí me doy cuenta del valor de estos pequeños paraísos que se encuentran en peligro de desaparición. Lugares donde todavía es posible relajarse y disfrutar del simple hecho de caminar por una playa de suave arena, mecernos en una hamaca o flotar en un mar de aguas cálidas y transparentes de tonalidades celestes. Quizás lo único que puedo hacer es contarlo, enseñar como es ahora y aspirar a que el turismo masivo no la deteriore todavía más de lo que lo hicieron los bombardeos de la US Navy.

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Y recuerda que un buen Seguro de Viajes te puede ahorrar preocupaciones y resolver muchos problemas. Así que ni lo dudes. Desde aquí te recomiendo MONDO, el seguro de viaje inteligente para viajeros inteligentes.  Además contratando tu seguro desde esta página tienes un 5% de descuento.

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Artículos relacionados:

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Weather in Isla de Culebra for September 2023 ⋆ Weather forecast for Isla de Culebra for the month of September ⇒ Puerto Rico

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